- You only have you to rely on, don’t bring anyone else into your messes
- Don’t get close, remember the last time you did
- Don’t drink, you get stupid when you do
- Don’t fall in love, it’ll only disappoint you in the end
- NEVER break these, they help, they protect, and most importantly remember breaking results in consequences you don’t want to face
Five. Only five rules I live by, I’ve learned to make adjustments to maintain these rules. To not break them, for breaking them will only result in a shit storm. Rules that I forbid myself from breaking.
But in the end you never know who will make you break them, whether it’s conscious or not.
I stood at the door contemplating if I should open it or not, in a way it’s become a sort of ritual I do. It’s not like I don’t want to go in, it's just...difficult. Not only did it always smelt like hand sanitizer, and not the good kind, the kind that burnt one’s nose when they took a whiff but, I didn’t like the forced memories. The unavoidable questions that were always sent my way, the silence that followed as I shut down. Finally after standing there and retrieving weird looks my finger finally pushed the button. The buzzer, which sounded like someone gurgling on their own blood as their throat was punctured, wasn’t pleasing. To be somewhat fair it was old, just like the rest of the building. A new sound of a door unlocking was my que, I pushed the doors open dreading what was going to occur. Not only was the smell horrible but so were the lights, it was harsh and even more blinding than staring at the sun, not to mention the small buzz that emitted from them. Then there stood Divina, the one and only receptionist. I had absolutely no idea what drove her here, she was beautiful. She had strawberry blond hair with perfect skin, there was no imperfection on it. Not to mention her hypnotizing bright blue eyes, if I had not known Divina and her job I would’ve guessed model off the bat. She was also very sweet to anyone who walked through those doors, always offering things such as; candy, a drink, control over the next song to play on the small radio by the desk, ect. She was also one of those people who if pushed wouldn’t take anyone’s shit, I loved that about her. “Hey D! Is the Doc ready?” She smiles brightly at me, it’s become a regular thing at this point. I always had to remind myself about my rules though, no matter how nice and how much I wanted to just be normal again I couldn’t.
“Remember to sign in Adeline, then Dr. Davis will be right with you.” Her smile would be infectious to many others, but I held back opting for not looking. I eye the sign in sheet. A old piece of string attached to the clipboard, the other end attached to a pen. I pick up the sen lightly and examine it, it was one of those that were semi-see-through so you could see the ink. This pen looked almost dead. I slowly start writing my name, date of birth, age, and time of appointment/date.
Name:Adeline Grace Peterson,
DOB:October 16, 1995
Time/Date: 3:30pm/October, 16, 2018
For a minute I just stare at the ink on the page. My handwriting was sort of shaky and one would think that after multiple times writing all of this information my penmanship would improve, it never did. Always somewhat indistinguishable, and always made me a little self-conscious. Where would I be if I had actually just listened?
I start walking toward the room right behind the reception wall, A small hallway was there and lead to one room that most didn’t like going to. One that made them feel like something was wrong with them. If I had been here on time I would’ve had to sit on the uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room which so conveniently was the same room as Divina’s desk. Nothing screamed normal about this place, if anything it screamed let me fix you. My hand gently tapped on the door waiting for Dr. Davis, Dr.Spencer Davis M.D. Slowly the door opened and there he stood. The reason why I loathed this place. How badly he made me want to break the rules, he always tried to act nice towards me, acting interested. A few times I let myself indulge in that small fantasy, one where someone cares about me, but then I was always brought back to reality. I was just another patient, another way for him to make a living.
“You ready, Adeline?” He questions, that pleasant smile adorning his face.
“What if I said no?” I couldn’t help but question him.
“Then I guess I would wait. I would always wait for you.” He smiles kindly at me. The smile that always risked tearing down the walls I spent years building. Not only that is words seemed so genuine, so real.
“Well, then I guess you’re lucky.” I lightly smile back. My heart fluttered in my chest. I knew when these butterflies starting coming I should’ve left. It would’ve been so easy to leave, but then I couldn’t. He would text, email, and call to ask if I was alright, why I missed the appointment. I think I got caught up in the fact that someone paid attention, that someone cared.
“Yep, lucky me.” He says sarcastically before moving back into his office. The grey couch sat dead center of the room. Shelves were lined with games, puzzles, and books. A white noise machine was perched on the side table of the grey couch. Brightly colored throw pillowed decorated the bland place making it a little more lively. A candle was burning as well, I never liked the smell of candles but somehow this smell was pleasant. Small plants littered the place, I could never tell if they were fake or not but they gave off a nice vibe. I gently sit down on the couch watching as Dr.Davis walks to his chair that was across from mine.
“I didn’t know you knew how to decorate.” I tease a smile easily coming across my face. It was rare for me to smile these days.
“Yeah, Jessica helped. She suggested that it’d make the patients feel more welcome.” He replies smoothly. Another thing, he has a girlfriend. How badly I wanted to point out that I had suggested that. That I had been the one to point out the dullness in the room, but I held my tongue.
“Really? Do you think she’ll bill me if I ask for consulting services?” I attempt to joke. It was easier to hide behind jokes.
“You shouldn’t do that, who knows how high her prices might be by now. You could end up broke.” He continues the joke, I was so glad he caught on and understood my humor.
“Whatever will I do if I end up broke? Surely the service is worth it, no?”
“You should allow me to help if you really want decorating advice.” He offers, HIs smile growing. I couldn’t tell if this was the continuation of the joke or not. With that, I stop smiling. How easily I could forget rule #2. My entire demeanor changes and I know he’s felt the shift, it’s what he was trained to do. “How have you been doing? Last we spoke you informed me about your struggle with sleeping. Is it still a problem?”
“No, I mean yes it is, but it’s getting better now,” I tell him looking down at my hands. I could already feel myself shutting down.
“How are the episodes?” He pushes. I couldn’t be so mad, it was his job to push. I lightly flinch at that term. Episode made it sound like I was crazy.
“Better,” I reply quickly. I could feel him start to get tired, neither of us liked it when I reverted back to this.
“Addy, tell me the truth.”
“It feels like I’m slowly losing control over everything.” I sigh hoping that was explanation enough, I never did like to dive into my innermost demons and have them exposed. It made me feel weak, and if I was honest I didn’t like the look Dr. Spencer always gave me.
“Why is that?”
“Everything is spirling. Like I can do nothing right. Everything I touch ends up...dead. Every night I lay my head on the pillow I just think about that night and how they were all right about me. They agree with the voice in my head, the one that tells me I’m not worth it.”
“You think people in your life see you as a burden. That they’ll toss you out as the first chance they get. I’ve been in your life for more than three years and I have never seen you like that.” He says softly leaning closer and grabbing my hand. It warmed my heart a little.
“Well, you kinda need me to pay your bills.” I point out. Forcing the feeling of his warm hands on mine to the back of my head. Come one remember Rule 4.
“That’s not fair.” He retorts. His face contorting into hurt at my comment. I felt bad and immediately wanted to take it back but I knew it was better that I said that.
“It’s true. If I die or leave you lose income.” I frown looking at our hands. I gently pull away.
“You always do this. At least once a week you pull away completely and we start back at square one.” Dr. Specer tries to turn the tables on me, he says in such a soothing voice. I could hear the hint of desperation in it too. Then his face lights up as though he’s come to a scientific revolution. “It’s the rules, isn’t it?” I don’t reply, what is there to say that hasn’t already been said? “We talked about this. You shouldn’t continue to punish yourself.”
“They looked at me like I was a freak, a monster. Everyone who mattered left and no one was there to fix the broken girl. No one cared, so why should I even start?”
“It’s easier when you have someone to lean on. To be there for you.” He tries to explain to me.
“They help me,” I mumble looking down at my hands. My fingers start to pick at the nude-colored polish on my nails.
“They’re a way for you to punish yourself. You regret what happened and you feel as though you deserve something that’ll hurt. Pushing people away and never letting anyone get close is that punishment.” He tries to explain to me softly as f I was a child.
“It’s five simple rules. One’s that stop it from happening again.” I try to explain to him.
“What happens if you break one of them?”
“I could get hurt again. Another accident might happen. I could get abandoned again. I could trust someone and then they could break it.” I point out, hundreds of possibilities rush through my head all resulting in me being broked again.
“All of these situations are just a ‘what if’. What makes you think history will repeat itself?” He asks to lean back in his chair. I think this is the furthest he’s been able to get without me completely shut down.
“What if I fell in love with someone, got close to where they knew almost every aspect of my life, relied on them...”I trail off feeling a melancholy feeling start to form in my chest.
“I would say that sounds great.” His smile grows.
“What if they’re in love with someone else?” He doesn’t reply. “I know one of us will end up leaving if I told him, it’s easier with the rules in place.”
“So this isn’t a hypothetical?” He tilts his head to the side. I saw a brief glimpse of sadness as this dawned on him.
“No. Which is why the rules are in place. Leaning on someone else leads to you getting close, you getting close leads to love. This opens up chances for hurt and betrayal and the only way I could handle that is by my one worst enemy which leads me to break all of the rules.” I explain watching as he exhales deeply rubbing his eyes.
“Isn’t there always a risk to love?” He finally breaths out.
“This risk is too high.” I finish before glancing at the electronic clock seeing the time was up. “I’ll see you on the 18th.”
“Wait, Adeline.” I can see the struggle on his face, it was always like this when I left. The struggle of retaining professionalism and friendship. I didn’t see him as a friend, that would be too close, but he always threaded that line. Just like every other time his resolve quickly dissipates and his professional mask is back up. “Isn’t today your birthday?”
“Yep, another year alive. Congratulations to me.” I state sarcastically moving to get up. “It’s not like I have any plans anyway, just another year alone.” His face is back, I could see the internal struggle. He wanted to desperately say something.
“You don’t have to be alone.” He says his voice straining. If I didn’t know better I would think he was implying himself, but I didn’t want that fancy in the front of my head. Not today.
“We just went through this Spence, it’s easier being alone than being with someone who I don’t stand the chance with. Better than getting hurt.” I state simply, his name slipping. I fully standing up and walking away exiting the small office before he can stop me. I walk back towards Divina and see her smile that’s never faded. “Hey, I would just like to cancel my appointment for the 18th,” I state to her.
“Oh no, is something wrong?” She questions. Worry swarmed in her eyes.
“Yeah, something just came up,” I say simply watching her scroll through her computer imputing that information. As I say that I see Spencer walk out of his office. I was the last appointment for the day anyway, they always closed earlier on Tuesdays. His face held regret and something else I couldn’t pinpoint. He had clearly heard me canceling it.
“Okay, all done.” Divina smiles looking up at me.
“Thank you,” I reply curtly before turning around and walking briskly out of the office. I faintly hear footsteps following after me. “You are my therapist, nothing more, nothing less,” I state as I open the door pausing briefly.
“What is I wanted to be more?” He questions making me completely turn to face him.
“Then I would say you’re crazy and a complete and utter idiot,” I reply holding my tone from lashing out completely. I couldn’t help it, I didn’t want to risk it. Who even falls in love with their therapist who has a girlfriend? “It can’t happen.”
“But it could.” He retorts taking a slow step closer. “I know for a fact you feel this too.”
“Goodbye Spence.” I finish turning back and preparing to walk away.
“You’ll come back won’t you?”
“Rule number five, don’t break any of the rules. In the past two years, you’ve made me break rules 1,2 and 4. I fell in love, got close, and relied on you.” I state not looking at him.
“I won’t leave.” He promises.
“You have someone else and I have myself.” I finish closing the door and walking up the street away from the man who I broke the rules for.