Scalpels glinting across their sterile glasses. They lay me down on my twin-sized cot and start reading me my progress report. Ten, twenty, thirty minutes lecturing me on the results of my latest psychotextual evaluations. On the clinical hermeneutics of my calligraphy and the statistical significance of my word choice. But the good news is, that apart from a few minor pessimistic setbacks (nothing serious, nothing uncorrectable), I’m like most definitely on the up and up! So yay! Yay yay! Because apparently I’ve started to respond to the multiregression, multidisciplinary treatment. Because apparently I’m now consciously cooperating with my fantasies and “successfully integrating myself into the fabric of my remembered reality.” And this, They explain to me while They turn me over on my watermelon core and poke-a-poke a sanitized needledick into my bubble butt, is like way more than a necessary condition in order to establish a comprehensive overview of my psyche’s constructivist framework or whatever. Because now They understand me. Because now They like totally get where I’m coming from . . .
The last needledick pulling out They carefully place a Z-shaped beige bandage on the sedated cheek, then pull down my whiter than white gown and lead my really long legs over to the softer than softer chair, the plastic desk. With a stethoscope on my human heart They flip through their clipboards, check off two or three boxes of my fate, and hand me back my spiral-bound notebook. Because apparently I’m ready. Because apparently I’m ready to tell Them—to tell myself—what like actually probably definitely maybe totally happened on New Year’s . . . I nod. I nod twice and pick up my pencil. Scalpels glinting across their sterile glasses They turn and whisper themselves out of my florescent room, out of our shared space . . .
Blue, yellow. I’m looking out the window and seeing way more than just a crispy blue sky wrapped in a yellow silence. I’m seeing 1st Avenue down below. I’m seeing the high-rise straight ahead. And when I squint and squeeze as hard as I possibly can I’m even seeing twentysomething stories up into the studio apartment where that grumpy green ghost, that superhairy monster used to growl and groan before he decided to move to Afghanistan or Omaha or the homeless shelter for the almost holy . . .
Crying, waiting, crying I brush back my bangs, drool on myself, twiddle my precious thumbs. I tap-a-tap the pencil against the side of the desk. I do anything and everything but look down at the teasing page . . . I turn my heavy head and say hi to my flatscreen friend. I spend a few silent minutes rewatching the Pizza Boy Show season finale. I spend a few silent minutes rewatching the epic wobbles of that wobbly wooden chair . . . A tickle in my throat, I fake a smile and blow the mute face a goodbye kiss.
But when I look back down at my plastic desk, at the spiral-bound notebook with its evenly spaced taunts, like all I can do is frown and pout and bite my lower lip as the last scene suddenly comes a-buzzing through the window and lands on my stickysweet skin—the seriously gross images pumping themselves into my wincing jugular as the room starts to glow red, mosquito-red with spreading black wings of dread and shame and really itchy trauma . . . I close my doll eyes. I hold on tight to my #2 pencil. And totally trying my very best not to pass out I lean all the way over the desk and wait for the tsunami of college-ruled memories to hit—someone somewhere whispering in tongues as the massive wave swallows the air out of my past and his or her future . . . Please don’t overthink this, Zoe. Please don’t make a ridiculously big deal about this whole thing like you usually always do. Just take a deeper than deep breath, crack your knuckles, and dive right on in. Because this is like obviously it. Because this is like obviously the last time you’ll ever have to hear about her or see her or talk to her or yell at her or spill your drink on her or grab her or slap her or—