I sat there in the small room, with its monochrome palette of tans and bisque, its bland wallpaper and unimaginative office furniture, all designed to calm me, but I was not calm. Numb perhaps, but not calm. An unassuming woman with an empathetic posture sat a safe distance from me, her dark blond hair and beige outfit even seemed a part of the decor.
As she spoke the fabrics of the room seemed to absorb and soften her already gentle tone and all the sound for that matter, giving the room an almost whispering quality" fitting for this place where painful secrets were undoubtedly revealed.
"So tell me why you've come here today." It was of course a rhetorical question. She knew why I was here. My mind was in a fog, yet in some ways still acutely aware, balanced precariously between this world and one of pure madness.
I sensed her tone was kind but could I trust her? I tried to answer as rhetorically, "I suppose to find out if I'm insane. Or, if maybe I'm fine and the rest of the world is insane."
She quickly and assuredly answered, "I don't think you are insane. But tell me what's going on. You have trouble sleeping and are having anxiety? What kinds of thoughts do you have?"
The pristine quiet gave the illusion the very room was listening, waiting breathlessly for the next secret. My eyes moved from staring at the floor to a meaningless floral print on the wall, but never to hers. From my peripheral vision I could tell she was looking at me, her eyes studying me for some clue as to how she might resolve my current state, but I avoided reciprocation for fear of pulling her into the abyss with me.
The room felt like a portal outside of time, where reality could be changed with the utterance of words. And in truth, it could be. Only the stale air of the room separated the two of us yet at that moment I knew that we did not exist in the same reality. As she prompted me to share my thoughts, I weighed in my mind that once spoken, I could never give her back any peace my words might steal.
But why was I here if not to try and resolve this? If I did not try to end this agitated isolation then I would remain, like a fly, trapped between two panes of glass, buzzing wildly and bouncing hysterically against his prison until he falls silent. Never escaping. Effecting nothing.
My eyes cast to the window. Outside the sun shown brightly on the street, still and free from traffic. As I began to speak, my heart felt like a giant hand was squeezing it with each beat as I dared to share my torment. Beginning to speak was like passing over the peak of a rollercoaster - terrifying but there was no way to stop.
"Do you ever look out the window at that street and imagine that there are tanks and soldiers walking up and down? That they could burst in at any time and drag you into the street? That in a minute you would be thinking of every way to get out of this building without being caught?
As I said this I felt numb but I felt a tear roll down my stoic face. My eyes never leaving the window for fear in even blinking the madness of my mind might materialize into the still sane reality.
The therapist voice was calm. "Do you fear these things? What makes you fear it?"
Finally I looked back at her, "Because it is happening. It happens all the time. We think it can't happen here. But none of those people, in those places where it did happen, thought it could happen there either. But it did."
"Do you feel like its happening right now?"
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