Carol’s eyes were posing the question she had seen in so many patients’ eyes when a session was over.
How am I going to cope out there when you’re not with me?
Then with a sudden move, she disappeared out the door and closed it behind her, almost without a sound.
A wrinkly ball of Kleenex, with some brown stripes of eyeshadow on it, was left on the table. She threw it into the garbage bin behind her desk, emptied the glass of water and sat down with the Dictaphone.
There was that dove again.
Now it was staring at her from the windowsill on the right corner of the window. It had been on the left side yesterday. Would it hang upside down like a circus artist tomorrow, just to catch her attention? To tell her something? If that dove could talk, what would it say? You are just as featherless today as you were yesterday. How does it feel to be you? Why don’t you play bird and I’ll play you and then we will see who resembles most. 78, it cooed.
She grabbed the Dictaphone as it was about to fall out of her hand. She had almost dozed off. How could she have confused herself with what year. Of course it was 78.
She had definitely gotten too little sleep last night.
“Carol still navigates through a child’s need to be seen and loved. Does not spot healthy men. Seeks same dysfunctionality as she knows from adolescent years. Her ex’s degradation still shapes her perception of self. Poor connection to her own emotions and needs. Disturbed sleep pattern. Driven by fear of not being sufficient and seeks rejection. Moderate depression ongoing.”
Click. The red eye of the Dictaphone died out.
The dove was gone.
From the short story "This Life", Girl by the River by Norah Babington