“You’re getting better,” the doctor says, scratching pen across his pad.
“Am I? I can’t tell.”
The doctor looks up from the pad, peering over the top of his reading glasses. “You’re not still hearing the voices, are you?”
“They weren’t voices. Just thoughts. Bad thoughts.”
“Well, you’re not hearing them anymore is the important part.” He scrawls an elaborate signature with big looping Ls and tears the top sheet off the pad. “Get this filled, and we’ll keep it that way.”
I stare at the paper he’s shoving at me, watching it flutter at the end of his fingertips, and I tell him, “I don’t feel like myself anymore.”
“Which is a good thing,” he says, smirking, not even looking at me.
“My friends say they don’t know me, either.”
He lowers the scrip. “And what kind of friends are they? You’re doing better at work. Not obsessing over every minor catastrophe in the news. Not thinking of taking your own life. You’re functioning now at a high level. Maybe they’re jealous you got yourself straightened out.”
“Here,” he says, thrusting the prescription at me again. “Get this filled and I’ll see you in two weeks.”
I take the scrip, get up from the cushioned chair, and head for the door.
I want to get better… But does it have to be like this? I mean, isn’t it normal to get depressed about what we’ve done to our planet? What we do to each other? How corrupt our leaders are? How little there is to be proud of… My people massacred a hundred seventy years ago in the name of Manifest Destiny… And my red brothers still bleed to feed the Wendigo Capitalists…
Rich wood paneling on the door in front of me, walnut varnish. Heavy brass door handle, polished. Makes me wonder if all court ordered psychiatric patients see doctors in rooms this nice. And it occurs to me just how small a cog I am in this human machine. Billions of bits, churning along. But gears who grind get pulled and tossed.
It’s bigger than me. All of it. What good does it do to dwell on it? Make myself another pointless statistic? Mom crying at my casket? No. I’m not that selfish.
A deep breath in and out. Glance over my shoulder. The doctor’s so engrossed in his phone, he doesn’t notice I’m still there.
Every choice I’ve made in life came to shit. Not a fucking clue how to live in this world. He knows, obviously. Look at this place. Bet his house is even nicer. Kids, friends, big car and TV…
I look down at the scrip in my hand. Jut my lip.
So tired of fighting for air… Maybe they’re right. Maybe they’ve been right all along. Being myself hasn’t gotten me anywhere.
Crank the heavy brass handle and leave.
I’ll be exactly who the pills want me to be.