Before I could just sit back, pretend to listen, come up with answers that she would want to hear, and be done with it. It was group-therapy and being in a group allowed me to sneak by. Avoid ever having to really discuss what was going on with me. Why should I, it would just be ammunition to be used against me later on. But that all changed when she felt it would be better for my development if I had one-on-one sessions. Not with her, of course. I was too damaged for her level of education.
That’s when I was sent to meet with Doctor something Sacklow. Legit, that’s his name. No gayness intended. A published psychologist, he thought he was the shit in his field. Told me so on several occasions. Didn’t give him a reason to, he just did. And yet here he is working as a guidance counselor/social worker in some shithole high school within a shithole borough of the city. Clearly, he was going places.
I hate these sessions. They’re nothing more than an hour spent sitting in a cubicle-sized office within a room crammed with filing cabinets filled with who-knows-what. I tried to get out of the sessions, was willing to even go back to gym but it was a no go. It was mandatory if I wanted to stay in school. I could care less, but what I wanted didn’t matter. So I went to them.
I’ll give it another year before I make a permanent decision as to what I’m going to do. Until then, I would play the recovering truant and make it seem like I’m putting an effort into my high school education. Play the part, play the mental screw-up trying to get back on track to make everyone else happy. Or at least try to ease their burden of having to do with me and—
“So, what do you think? Does that make sense?” He’s been talking since I got here, and while I was nodding my head seeming as if I was paying attention I wasn’t. Usually I’d listen in every now and then to get what he was trying to say, but I hadn’t even been doing that.
So I do what I do best, “Yeah, I think that actually does make sense.” I say what he wants to hear, a true giver, to the very end.
“Ok then tell me.”
“Tell you what?” I ask, playing with the chain that straps my wallet to my belt loop. “Tell you how my day is going?”
He nods his head, he’s disappointed. He knows I haven’t been paying attention, “Ok,”—he goes with it anyway—“tell me how your day is going.”
“It’s going good. Never better.”
“Better than the last time we met?”
“Is that true?”
“That’s not true is it? Because if it was you wouldn’t look like you do.”
“How do I look?”
“You tell me.”
I could give him something. Make up an answer that wouldn’t be the whole truth. Just provide him with enough to get him off my back. Give him some satisfaction that he’s doing some meaningful work. But I don’t. I drift off and try thinking of something else. I escape into myself. Not because I don’t like the focus on me, but it’s mainly because I don’t like him. I don’t like anyone. The feelings are mutual—despite the phoniness—and should be acted upon.
“Are you going to answer?” Shit, not paying attention and jots it down in his stupid pad. It’s going to give him a reason to call home, say something negative about me and blame it on my parents. Bring on another argument. Now I’m going to have to go straight home and erase the message, fucking prick.
I snap out of it. Start to pay attention. Get out of my head and listen. “What was the question?”
“I was asking you to describe how you feel about the situations you’re currently going through. Situations at home or at school. How would describe your….” He starts to ramble, wants me to describe how I feel when faced with one of my problems that’s led me here. Thinks using symbols and all that would help understand it. Mainly, he wants to determine what he’s working with, thinks he can actually help me.
I’m tired of people saying how they want to help me. They say it more for themselves to feel better since they really can’t. Not just any random person you pass by on the street—although they are susceptible—I’m talking about the people you meet. The people who supposed know you but don’t really care to.
“I feel like a caged lion.”
“A caged lion?”
“Yeah, an antsy caged lion who just wants to get out.”
“And destroy everything around him. I just want to break out and tearing everyone that comes into my sight.”
“I want tear into that fucker in my World History class who thinks it’s fucking hilarious to call me ‘Fat Bastard’. I want to destroy his bitch of a girlfriend who asks him to do his impression of me as if it’s the only thing that gets her wet. I want to show the fucker who thought it’d be cool to out me so I’d owe him one.
I want to fucking terrorize my Spanish teacher who thinks it’s going to do something for the class to put down the Spanish boy who doesn’t speak Spanish. I want to hunt down that asshole gym motherfucker who likes to put his little pep squad of basketball turds on me since I’ve emasculated him as the failure he is.
I want to show that prick neighbor who caught me at the park and thinks just because we’re into the same thing I’d be into him. Use it over my head as if I care about losing the shit I have in this world. I want to fuck up those assholes who are friends of my father but punks to me the minute he turns his back. I want to show my parents that I may not be like the pricks they hang out with but I’m better than they are.
I want to get out and find the son of a bitch who said he was my friend and used the things I told him to continue three years of endless bullshit. I want to stand up to motherfuckers who jumped me because they thought they could because I wasn’t like them. I want to corner the turd that convinced me what we were doing was normal and ok as long as no one knew and then sold me out the second a rumor got around.
I want to finally stand up and ask the one thing they never told me, I want to ask my—”
“So are you going to tell me how you feel?” He asks again, it takes me a moment to realize the outburst wasn’t so much as out but in.
For a moment there, I want to repeat it. It felt somewhat good letting that out, mentally. “I feel like,”—I think about what would happen if it’s finally out—“I feel like a bird who’s flying,”—And I back away from doing so—“and trying to find stable ground to land on because he’s ready to stop fluttering around.”
“Interesting, symbolically philosophical.”
I know. “I know.” I tell him something reasonably cliché, but something that could possibly be said by me. He says it again, ‘interesting’ and jots down some observation. He thinks he’s making headway with me. Finally broke through my defenses. I let him think so. He goes on to analyze my response, how I’m starting to change for the good and all that. I listen to him, while a part of me makes the countdown. The countdown to when I can get the hell out of here.