“Back again,” says Ms Therapy, reclining in her chair.
“Yes,” I reply, eyeing her curiously. “Every month, as you know.”
Ms Therapy sighs, grabs a pen and notepad from the desk behind her. “Yes, I know.” She sighs again and my anxiety level rises.
“So, what would you like to talk about this time?” Ms Therapy taps the pen impatiently on the pad. She glances at the wall clock. By this point I’m feeling a little put out.
“Do you have something you’d rather be doing?” I say. “I can always come back later.” The last words via a thin smile.
Ms Therapy grins; it’s a little forced. “No, no, you know that I’m here to listen, help you with your problems…” She trails off. Her eyes are distant, and I could swear she’s starting to tear up a little.
“Are you alright?” I say, leaning forward in concern.
“Yes,” Ms Therapy says, putting a hand to her trembling mouth. “No. I’m sorry,” she says. She starts to cry, suppresses it, fanning her face rapidly with one hand, like she’s swatting away imaginary butterflies. Or maybe killer bees.
“How about I come back another time, maybe when you’ve had time to…adjust.” I start to rise, she holds up her palms signalling stay. I glance at the door – if I’m going to get out of here this is my last chance.
“I’ve broken up with my girlfriend,” Ms Therapy says. This is a surprise, as I wasn’t aware she was gay. Not that I know much about her, but I guess my gaydar is as non-existent as the rest of my people-reading skills. Before I can respond, she continues in a torrent of tears and sputtering speech.
“We’ve been together five years. She’s my everything. We are so good together. And last night, all of a sudden, she says ‘it’s not working’ and that she needs to find herself. I mean, what’s not working? She’s never indicated anything was wrong before. Then she leaves and she hasn’t come back and I’ve been worried sick and she’s such a bitch but I love her…”
I’m glad she doesn’t notice how uncomfortable I’ve become; the occasional squirm and nervous tic. “Umm…do you need a hug?” is all I can think to say. Ms Therapy graciously accepts, and for the next half hour I listen to her travails and placate her with “it’ll be alright” and “she’s a stupid woman, she’ll be back when she realises what she’s lost”.
Eventually, the tears subside and Ms Therapy composes herself. “Thank you,” she says. “I just needed to talk to someone about it. I feel so much better now.” It’s a shame I don’t, but I guess I didn’t really need a session, anyway.
“Glad I could help,” I say. My halo glows with new found, smug self-confidence.
“This one’s on the house,” she says, shrugging. “Least I can do.”
“Gee, thanks,” I say as I exit.
I can hear Alpha Girl now: “Hah! You can’t even get a therapy session right!”