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There is a photograph across the room that catches my eye every time I walk in here. This man really doesn’t want to know about me. He really doesn’t care what I am up to or how I am feeling. I watch the photograph and out of the corner of my eye I see him checking his watch. He wants to know how long he has to sit here before he can go home.
“So how are you feeling today, Gwen?” he asks.
“Fine,” I reply in a monotone voice, and he glances at me with one eyebrow arched. I copy his facial expression – just for laughs.
He doesn’t smile. He never does. He could care less about me and my life; does he even know why I am here?
“How are you today?” I ask.
“I am the one asking the questions, Gwen.”
“You’re not a cop.”
He looks at me closely as if there is some hidden meaning behind everything I was saying.
“You are unusually chipper today, young lady.”
“I am bipolar, and I just happen to be on my period.” Men know nothing about teenage girls, and especially don’t know anything about teenage girls on their periods. He shut his mouth and stared at me with his eyes bulging like they were going to pop out of their sockets. “Jeez Lou-eeze, man! I am just kidding!”
His face relaxes, but watching his form, I can tell he is still on edge by what I have said.
“Do you really know what you are doing?” I ask him.
The question surprises him, I think, because he gives me a curious, half-reprimand half-startled look, but he doesn’t say anything for a moment, and I wonder if maybe I am not really the one who needs help.
“Do you know why you’re here?” I ask, and then continue, for it looks like he is going to speak and I don’t want him to yet. I am not done. “I know why I am here. I’m here because my father thinks I have problems with drugs, which I don’t by the way – my friends do, but I have not once done drugs of any kind – and I supposedly need help. Why are you here?”
He sits back in his chair and pauses. Maybe I have dented his hard shell. I don’t know. He looks at his watch and says, “Well, that’s all the time we have today. Thanks for talking, Gwen,” and I know that he hasn’t even thought about what I have said.
He just wanted me to admit I have a problem, which I don’t, so he loses either way.
As I walk out I look at the photograph on the wall again. It is a winding road making its way toward the sun with the word “Goals” boxed in at the bottom.
Then I realize we both lose.