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Compartment 114
Compartment 114
Chapter Two

Chapter Two

A Chapter by Ocularfracture
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Miranda recalls a time when Alice was her old self.

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Just about a month ago, give or take a few days… That’s when Alice and Floyd had decided to move in together.

They’d found a modest little apartment with a balcony and a gas stove. It was perfect, according to Alice.

Floyd said he wasn’t picky as long as there was a roof over his head.

It seemed odd to me that after three years of dating they were only just moving in together. I don’t know which I found more odd: The fact that they were just moving in together after three years, or that they were moving in without even the slightest mention of engagement or marriage…

But it’s none of my business.

That was only a month ago, but it seems like an eternity. Alice was still her old self. Not even a shadow of an indication that she would suddenly bug out on everyone.

It was a sunny spring weekend, though still cold, and they had asked me if I would help them move in.

I agreed to come Friday evening after work, and I would’ve been on time, if not for my last appointment running over by more than half an hour.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a therapist. I have several patients that I see once a week or more, depending on the severity of their conditions. But most of the patients are simply troubled teenagers, going through normal pubescent mood swings.

Jacques Wilson is not one of those people.

As far as I can see, there is nothing really wrong with him, other than his determination to gather attention by whatever means he can create. Every couple of weeks or so, he comes up with new “symptoms” of other mental illnesses, and so every other week, he’s got some new disorder.

Mental Munchausen’s syndrome.

I’ve spoken to him on several occasions about this, and the only thing that remains consistent with him is the threats he makes to kill himself because no one, not even his therapist “takes him seriously.”

On the Friday that I was supposed to be helping my dear friend and her boyfriend move into their new apartment, I was stuck with Jacques as my last appointment.

 That was the week that he suddenly had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He was telling me how no matter what, he could not stop washing his hands.

It was like a parasite was controlling his brain, he said.

I looked up from the folder, eyeballing him over the tops of my reading glasses.

“Maybe you should cuff them behind your back for awhile,” I said. “Your hands, I mean.”

“That’s stupid,” said Jacques. “Something tells me that’s not really your professional suggestion. Aren’t you supposed to prescribe me something for this? You know… to make the urges go away?”

I tapped my pen on the papers, chewing the inside of my mouth.

“Jacques,” I said lightly, “We’ve been over this a hundred-thousand times. I know you’re sick of hearing it, and frankly, I’m sick of saying it.”

Jacques rolled his eyes, looking away. He knew what was coming just as well as I did.

“The only thing that you really, truly suffer from is Munchausen Syndrome. And you know very well what that is, but I’ll say it again: Munchausen Syndrome is�"“

“Someone who hurts themselves or pretends to be sick for attention,” he finished, with a sneer in his voice. “I don’t know why I keep coming to see you,” he said. “You’re no help at all. If my own doctor won’t take me seriously, then who the hell’s going to?”

“Well,” I told him, “No one person has every single mental condition known to man. And you know just as well as I do that you’re perfectly alright. What do you really think is going to happen if you keep this up? Do you think people are going to fawn all over you? Do you think they’ll keep caring?”

Jacques remained silent, clicking some buttons on his cell phone.

“If you’re constantly selling your soul for attention, then all that will eventually happen is that people who once cared about you will just become used to it. They’ll probably even find you annoying, and then if something really does happen to you, no one will take you seriously because they’ll just assume that, as usual, you’re just fishing for attention. Do you want to die alone, Jacques?”

He took a deep breath and blew it out, forcefully.

“No matter what I do, I’m going to die alone,” he said. “Because no one has or ever will take me seriously, and to be honest… I don’t want to live in a world where everyone is so hardened and callous. It’s gross.”

“So, let me guess,” I said flatly, “You’re going to kill yourself, right?”

Jacques let out a small, amused laugh.

“Oh, definitely,” he said. “No matter what, I’m going to do that. This place is a dump. The world, I mean. Everyone’s too concerned about themselves. No one cares about anyone else anymore.”

“That’s an interesting thing to say,” I replied, bending in a little closer. “And also a very hypocritical thing to say.”

Jacques’s eyes widened a bit, though he fought to keep his face worked into a look of sourness.

“You say that people are selfish, implying that you’re not like them, correct?”

“I’m not,” said Jacques. “I’m not like the rest of the scum on this planet.”

“So, you’re not selfish. Not at all, right?”

“Of course not! I always think about the people I care about, and even people who I don’t even know. I’m very thoughtful!”

“Well think about this, then: I’m here with you at a quarter after six when I should have been out of here fifteen minutes ago to go help my friend and her boyfriend move into their new apartment. I’m here with you instead of them, because you insist on taking up all my time pretending you have this, that, and the other thing, and threatening to kill yourself if I don’t give you medicine for whatever you supposedly have. How thoughtful is it when you do this to me? Seems pretty selfish, actually. And imagine how your family feels. You surely don’t pay for your own visits, right? You’re fresh out of high school, you don’t even have a job yet, so guess who gets to pay for all these pointless visits! Your family! Your constant attention craving behavior is extremely selfish… so how can you sit there and accuse the whole world of being selfish when you don’t even have to look past your own mirror to see selfishness in its true form?”

Jacques glared at the clock on the table.

“Or,” he said coldly, “Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe you’re the selfish one for caring more about getting out of here and going to see your friends than you are about me! Maybe you’re selfish because you’d rather believe that I just want attention than actually try to help me!”

“If I was more concerned for myself,” I said, piercing his eyes with my own, “then I would not still be here. We would not be having this conversation. You wouldn’t even be coming back for regular visits if that were the case! So how dare you accuse me of being the selfish one!?”

We glared at each other for awhile, before I finally shook my head and yanked out my pad of prescription pages, jotting down a prescription for Paroxetine in the messiest handwriting I could possibly muster.

I thrust it at him.

“Here,” I said. “There’s a prescription for your alleged OCD. May it please you.”

I stood and crossed the room to the door. “So, I guess we’re done here. You can go.”

Jacques didn’t move.

“You’re not seriously going to drag this out, are you?”

He didn’t answer me. Instead, he continued to stare at his own feet.

“Jacques!”

“You know,” he said slowly, not looking at me. “It’s not about prescriptions. Maybe I just need someone to listen to me. Maybe I need someone to take me seriously…”

He stood and joined me at the door.

For just a moment, I could see the hint of a blue eye through his messy black hair. It was piercing.

“Maybe,” he whispered, “I was hoping you would understand me.”

His eye pierced me for just a moment longer, before breaking away as he opened the door and pushed his way past me.

For awhile, I just stood there, trying to understand how that whole exchange had just made me feel… but after a few minutes, I realized I had no idea how I felt, and that every moment I wasted by standing around was another minute I’d be late to helping Alice and Floyd.

I gathered up my things in a hurry, throwing them into the bag in no particular order, and left the building quickly.

By the time I reached my car, I had Alice’s digits punched in and the line rang and rang as I dumped my junk into the passenger seat, before dumping myself in.

Just as I thought that maybe she turned off her phone, she finally picked up.

“Hey,” came her voice from the other end. “We’ve just finished up for the day, so you don’t have to worry about coming all the way over here.”

My heart sank.

“I promised you I’d help,” I said. “Isn’t there anything I can do?”

“Nah, don’t worry about it. You’re more than welcome to help tomorrow, though… If you have time.”

The tone in Alice’s voice should have been cold, or guilting, but it was not. It never was.

I felt like scum.

“Can I at least have you over for dinner, or anything?” I pressed.

“It’s really okay, Miri. Floyd & I just picked up some burgers for dinner. We’ll be okay, don’t worry!”

I apologized profusely before we hung up and I drove back to my empty, lonely apartment.

That was a month ago, give or take a few days.

It’s surprising how many things can change in a month, while other things can stay the same down to the finest detail.

As I walk into my apartment this night, a month later, every tiny detail seems exactly the same. It’s like déjà vu. I even have to stand and just blink a few times.

The setting sunlight beams in through the open door, revealing every floating particle of dust in its path. The steady bump-bump-bump of the neighbors enjoying each other’s company in the next apartment. The stack of dishes in my sink.

It takes me a moment to notice the one thing that is not the same.

Even after I notice it, I have to spend a moment trying to take it in.

Sitting on my coffee table is a bright yellow bouquet of flowers that I did not buy. The mystery is who really did buy them.

I try to ignore the flowers as long as I can, but eventually they just get in my way, and I end up putting them in a vase of water, before heading back to the table to clean off the extra petals and other flower pieces that had fallen off.

When I do this, and only then, do I notice a small, white card, no larger than a business card with the words “Thank you,” printed in tiny letters.

 



© 2012 Ocularfracture


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Added on April 10, 2012
Last Updated on April 10, 2012
Tags: psychological, trigger song, music, vision, premonition, friends, mental, crazy psychosis, therapist


Author

Ocularfracture
Ocularfracture

Bennington, NE



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I've been writing since I learned how. I'm not saying that 5-year-old work was any good. All's I'm sayin' is that the passion has been there as far back as I can remember. My mother always read me sto.. more..

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