Short Story: The Waiting Room

It sounds like prison bars are closing in on me as I slam the door of my Toyota.  I walk inside this new psychologist’s office.  It’s deceivingly nice looking.  There are stones and logs on the outside of the building as if we were all going to a retreat in the woods instead of a therapy session.  I’m certainly not dressed for a posh retreat in my cutoff sweatshirt and jeans too big for me now.  If anything, it appears as if a zombie has commandeered my body.

I’m not sure where to go when I enter the building, there are doors but they have no signs.  The staircase stands as the only viable choice.  I walk up step by step.  They probably have video cameras posted around just to watch the confusion below, that way they can see just how crazy you are before they meet you.

Before I walk through the office door, I stop at the restroom.  I need to put on lipstick and blush so they don’t think I‘m so depressed I can’t even look respectable, even though that is the case.  In the mirror, the lipstick seems too bright on my face which is too thin and too pale these days.  I look like a sick porcelain doll.

I take a sweep of the room when I get in to see the faces of others waiting.  I know it’s wrong, but silently I stack us all up from crazy to not that crazy.  I walk up to the glass slowly while rummaging around my purse to find my cell phone for no reason other than that I hate  walking into a waiting room where everyone is seated but you, it makes you the center of attention.  Do I knock on the glass for the receptionist?  Do I wait?  I’m not good at these things.

Someone finally turns around and sees me.  She has a look on her face that says, “You could have knocked.”

“Hello, can I help you?” she questions with false concern.

“I’m here for a 10 ‘o clock appointment.  My name is Louise Fisher.”  My voice is too loud for this small waiting room.

For a moment I’m terrified that she’ll ask what I’m here for, but of course that doesn’t happen.  I sign some forms and sit by myself.   I hope no one I know comes in today, because I know I’m not the only one in this screwed up town coming here, but especially no one from school.  A teacher should be sane and although I’m not insane, people could think anything about anyone in here.

I notice I’ve been shaking the foot of the leg that’s crossed over the other one incessantly, I can’t stop.  I rifle through my purse for something to do.  I can’t just sit here waiting.  How would that look?  There’s nothing in there except old receipts, my wallet and my cosmetics.  I don’t even have a pen to sketch something.  I’m tempted to use my eyeliner, but that may be perceived as strange.

“First time here?”  Someone’s voice travels to my ear.  I hate when people say this like we’re in some 80’s cult classic.  I look in his direction trying to hide my disgust but I’m  awful at hiding the expression my face chooses to make when  feel a strong emotion.

“Yes,” I try to say t with a smile, but honestly I don’t want to talk to anyone here.

“Mine too,” he replies in a way which leaves me no way to respond except to nod and smile awkwardly.  I look at the door willing it with all of my might hoping that like Matilda, today is the day I’m going to wake up with magical powers but I’m pretty sure that at 23 I should already have received my powers by now if I were to have them.

I’m squinting at the door now in a very visible way as hard as I can.  Out of my periphery, I can tell this guy, this overweight balding guy, is looking at me like I’m an interesting specimen in a lab still wanting to talk to me so he could say he talked to a crazy person today.  I’m hoping above all hope that they call me first so I don’t have to overhear him talking about the “strange gal” in the waiting room as I walk down the hallway.  I bet he thinks I’m attractive, all thin and listless, some kind of damaged goods fantasy.

God, I have to get out of this waiting room.  In my head I’m thinking of every Harry Potter spell in the book, throwing it at the door.  I see the guy moving closer to me out of the corner of my eye.  Ten seconds until he says something obnoxious again.  Accidentally I whisper, “open sesame,” at a barely audible level and the door opens to a woman I can tell hates her job.  She’s worse than me at hiding her expressions.

“Fisher?” She calls out in the most nasal, uninterested voice.

I almost skip to the door and stick my tongue out at the gross man now sitting only one seat way from where I was sitting, but how would that look?  Instead, I walk briskly to this unlikely guardian angel and she leads me to the room where I will be saved from myself.


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