Note: Sorry about the empty chapter clusterfuck. Here is 1.20 good and proper, thanks to having time to rewrite it and surprise WiFi for one night. Hope you enjoy! Also I might not be able to respond to comments, sorry!
Less than five minutes after I arrived, I was called in. Dr LeBlanc’s office was decorated in warm, muted tones. A lot of light streamed in through the windows. It was a comforting room. Her smile was warm and reassuring.
We chatted a little, she told me to call her Alessandra. Then she asked the obvious, slightly dreaded question: why are you seeking therapy?
“I…” My fingers shook. “I don’t even know why I came here.”
“There must be a reason. I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what that is.”
I threw out my hands. “What-what do you want?”
She sighed and smiled at me. “What I want is to help you with your mental health, and see that improve, Sarai. And to do that I need to know…problem areas. I am not here to judge you. You say what you feel the need to say.”
“Well…” I shifted around. “I guess I’ve been feeling…kind of empty lately. I don’t do much of…anything, at all. Just work and seeing my cousin occasionally.”
“And you would like to go out more frequently?”
“Sure, who doesn’t? But I’m not even good at that. Last time I…well…I regretted it. It kind of pushed me to come here.” I covered my face in shame. “It’s just…I felt wanted and I liked it, but I realized…it’s not good for me, all these short flings. Took me years to get it but…” I shrugged and rolled my eyes. Stupid slut, I thought.
She appeared to understand all of my ashamed insinuations. “You would like longer-term relationships? That’s a goal for you?”
“Yeah…I really do. But I don’t…I don’t know why I would inflict myself on someone.”
Her brow furrowed at that.
“Doesn’t it make sense?” I pressed on. “Why would I – it’s just that why would anyone actually want me, in any way at all? I’m just…a disappointment. A burden.” I finished lamely.
Exactly. You’re a real dumb bitch if you think that anyone should…you’re terrible. You’ve always been terrible and you don’t deserve to be loved. Who would ever love you, you fucking awful mess? Why are you here? She can make you pretend like you’re OK and you’re not a disappointing bitch but you are, and you’ll never be anything else. Piece of shit.
I didn’t say any of those thoughts out loud but she still had a lot to say. And it wasn’t that bad to hear.
“How was it…did you go?” Dianne asked. She eyed me worriedly.
“Yeah…I went. It was fine.” I answered.
A silence fell between us.
Stop ruining this! Why does she even like you? I fumbled lamely for something to say. No words came out.
Was that one of the ‘unfounded negative thoughts’ I was supposed to think over? Alessandra saying catch the thought rang in my head.
But I didn’t. I didn’t go through the steps, and reformulate it. I just continued with my night.
Carson stopped me just before I entered the studio and asked to see me in his office after class.
Ha, you’re fired, aren’t you? Of course you couldn’t keep this job…of course you’d keep on fucking up your life. It’s your fault for getting pregnant, you screwed up. You piece of…just useless.
What about Alexis? We needed each other to afford rent. This would absolutely fuck her over. And I’d have to ask Clarissa for help. I could imagine her smug smirk at the request. I wasn’t supposed to need her again. I messed up.
I tried to keep calm throughout my class. Hopefully I did fine. Yeah right.
My stomach churned and twisted as I walked down the stairs. I’m screwed. What am I gonna do?
Maybe there was a bit of hope left. I might not get fired. I mean…I show up on time, don’t take many days off and do cover work all the time. I’m actually OK at this job. Why did I think I’d get fired? Was I too hasty in jumping to conclusions?
No! What else would you be down here for?
Maybe all of this was one of those thoughts Alessandra mentioned?
I walked out of Carson’s office pleasantly surprised. I knew I’d have to pitch in but he had given me a lot of Zoe’s old hours. Almost two thirds of them.
Fired? No, far from it. I was wrong before. A warm rush ran through me and I smiled, for what felt like the first time in ages.
You don’t deserve it, I thought, and that feeling was gone.
“Hey!” Alexis grinned and indicated two plates on the counter. “I got off work early and I know that you work late today so I made you a portion too.”
“Thanks!” I gave her what I hoped was a grateful smile.
She smiled back, took her plate and sat at the table. It seemed she was busy. Why did she make you food? You’re being a burden. You’re being pitiable. But I still was a little pleased at the gesture.
I sat on the couch and held the plate up. It looked amazing. Thick strands of pasta lay in creamy, cheesy sauce and bits of roasted vegetables. I didn’t know Alexis could cook this well.
I froze. I can’t eat this…all the cheese and carbohydrates. Isn’t there still baby weight to lose? You have to lose it – what else do you have going for you? But you can’t be rude…
What the hell should I do?
Evidence-based thoughts, Alessandra had said. It wasn’t enough to pinpoint unfounded, negative thoughts. I had to overwrite them with something based on what was real.
I pinched my side, and didn’t hold that much flesh. Maybe just a bit. It won’t ruin everything. I won’t have to be impolite and I can always exercise it off tomorrow.
I took a bite. The pasta tasted as good as it looked. And even as the cruel little voice screamed that you’re ruining everything, I was able to remind myself that it’s OK.