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An Appointment with the Therapist

By G. Samsa


The therapist’s office was small. No more than a cubicle really. A gaudy post-impressionist painting hung from one of the clinically-white walls, the carpet was an unpatterned blue, and the desk and two chairs simple and unclutted.

Taylor shifted nervously on his chair.
‘I hate this room’, he said under his breath.

He scrunched his eyes and ground his teeth at the thought of all those difficult months of therapy he’d had to put up with in this claustrophobic room; all those shameful confessions and split dark secrets. More disturbing to Taylor was the realisation that he had been in this mental institution now for sixteen years. Sixteen years of hopeless madness and desperation. And what did he have to show for it?

Better to not think about it.

‘Easier said than done’, he snarled at the four walls. ‘I’ve tried to fit in, tired to conform, and they still aren’t satisfied.’

He thought of the doctors, with their sinister authority, and of the nursing staff who never questioned a psychiatrists judgements, even when those judgements were clearly wrong. They thought Taylor was dysfunctional. Why? Because he preferred to eat alone. Read alone. Think alone. And because of his fixation with language, his awkward, perhaps meaningless, challenges such as: is there an abbreviation for abbreviation? A synonym for synonym? And why was pulchritude such an unbeautiful word? Or his pointless observation that many English words were polysemic, except the word polysemic, which only had a single meaning. But the one that really caused consternation among the staff was his declaration that the opposite of opposite must be the same, therefore the same of same must be the opposite of opposite.

He had tried to defend these musings but the more he did so, the more disturbed others thought him. What was he to do? Fake normality? Bluff his way to emotional stability so that they could pat him on the back and tell him he was fit to be among normal people?

No Taylor couldn’t do that. Even if he had the will to try it he just could not pretend that he was like them. His dissatisfaction with the limitations of life in a mental hospital was constitutional. He’d been here too long to ever think that the closed world of the mad and the disenfranchised was something from which he could escape. The doctors would frown and tut-tut, because they could see that Taylor would never become socialised, and never feel positive about being here.


...


His sigh was heavy.

Despite the noise and bluster of insanity all around him, Taylor was expected to be happy-clappy, cheepy, chirpy, and cheerful.
Impossible. It couldn’t be done.

He shook of these unhappy thoughts and tried to prepare himself for that morning’s therapy session.

‘It has to be faced.’ The words lacked confidence.

He took a deep breath, straightened his tie, and leaned across the desk.

Pressing down the intercom Taylor said: ‘All right, Miss Blunstone, send in the next patient.’