That day, I remember, was the day she came into my life and totally destroyed all normalcy. My day was going just fine. I had stopped by Starbucks and ordered the usual, a tall non-fat white mocha with whip. I walked the streets of New York, coffee cup in hand, sharp winter air numbing my face. Entering my building, I passed the waiting area and waved at Patty, the elderly receptionist, with my free hand. Walking down the short hallway leading to my office, I unlocked the door and strolled in, shrugging off my coat with ease. I hung it on the coat rack by the door and walked to my desk, turning on the lamp. I hadn’t even had time to sit down when the crazy lady burst in my office, hair frizzed and wild.
“Hello, ma’am, have you scheduled an appointm-“ I asked as politely as possible before being interrupted by the woman.
“Appointment? Oh yes, well seeing as how this was an emergency I didn’t think to-“ She said with vigor. Patty waddled in with a speed not yet known to me before then.
“I am so sorry, Roger, I couldn’t stop the woman. I tried to keep her in the waiting room but she just ran right on past –“ Patty explained in an apologetic tone. Patty, Patty, always the people pleaser, I thought. Just before I could reply, the psychotic female swung her hands out wide in exasperation, slamming Patty in the face. Right then, chaos abounded. Patty screamed as she held her nose, trying to stop the blood from seeping between her fingers and on to her flower printed sweater. The Klutz stammered her apologies and tried to help her clean up her bloody nose. Her assistance only resulted in poor Patty getting her arthritic foot stepped on. The elderly woman, outraged and mortified, struggled from the Klutz’s arms. Brian, one of my colleagues, appeared in the doorway and took a swift intake of breath.
“Brian, get Patty some Kleenexes and close the door! Maybe some Advil too!” I shouted over the havoc, prying Klutz from Patty. He nodded quickly and ushered the pitiful, elderly woman from his office.
As soon as the door closed with a resounding thud, I eyed Klutz, annoyed, hoping to come across as intimidating. She gave me a small smile of apology, her face falling when my critical expression hadn’t changed. I cleared my throat and cocked an eyebrow, impatiently waiting for her to begin. She paled slightly and sat down in one of the leather chairs.
Great. Now the therapist hates you, I thought. This day just keeps getting better. I tried to look him in the eye, fumbling about my vocabulary, trying to find the best way to begin. I smiled apologetically, but his face remained stone hard. Sitting down in the modern, leather chair, I cleared my throat and began.
“ Um, hi there. My name’s Beth and I, uh, really need your help,” I said, glad I had even gotten this far.
“Clearly,” Roger grumbled. I could tell I wasn’t the usual client. I knew that, right at this moment, he wished he weren’t a therapist. I sighed, and gathered my strength for the spilling of my life story. He forced a smile and took out a notepad and a pen, straightening his tie after he was situated.
“I guess I’ll begin with this morning, then,” I said, looking for a sign of approval. He nodded slightly, “Alright! Here it goes! Well, this morning, I lay in bed, staring aimlessly at my ceiling. I watched as the fan spun—“
“Look –Beth is it? –I’m really not in the mood for theatrics or pretty language. Please proceed.” He looked annoyed. Some therapist, I thought.
“Well, alright-y then. Seeing as how it was cold, I tried to pull up the blankets but my hand slipped and I punched myself in the face. Pitiful, I know, but I thought I’d do you a courtesy by explaining the bruised nose. I tried to rub the pain away, but it didn’t work. I attempted to go back to sleep so I lay on my side. That’s when I saw the time. It was 8:20. Fantastic, right? I was late for work!” I scanned his face. He didn’t look surprised.
“So, continuing, I sat up and got out of bed but, lucky me, the sheet caught on my foot and I fell with a clatter to the floor. My face was mangled (more than the usual anyway) and my nose was probably broken for the seventh time… I yanked my foot out from the sheets and stood up shakily, walking to my bathroom. I remember looking in the mirror and seeing a slightly purple face and a bloody nose. Need I mention that my hair looked like an Afro—“ That’s when Roger interrupted me.
“What do you mean looked? It still looks like an afro…” Roger, my-oh so-understanding-therapist, said dryly. That one hurt, but I wasn’t going to let him ruin my day…more.
“Anyway, I began to wash my face when—drumroll please—soap got in my eye. There I was, Roger, my eye smarting and turning red. I screamed and tried to wash it out. I tried to find the handle when my head ran into the faucet. After finally feeling the sweet relief of water, I dressed hurriedly in my work clothes. Doctor, that wasn’t even the worst part! After that ordeal, I attempted to go downstairs to breakfast. We’ll skip over the fact that I fell all the way down the stairs and probably broke my toe. I made my cup of coffee and poured it in my extra special birthday mug. As soon as I walked outside to my car, a stupid bird—you won’t believe this Doctor—flew over me and pooped in my coffee. See, without my coffee, I just can’t function—“
“Clearly,” Roger said again, writing furiously. I rolled my eyes and continued.
“I was angry, so I screamed and threw my arms out—“
“You mean like with Patty?”
“Stop interrupting me!”
“Stop throwing your hands out.”
“Touché…” I sighed, pressing on, “ Unfortunately, when I threw my hands out, my coffee (with a dollop of doodoo) splattered on me. My extra special birthday mug flew out of my hands and into the bushes. The broiling coffee burned my skin and soiled my clothes. Disheartened, I climbed into my car, now extremely late to work. To my disadvantage, my fingers got caught in the door as it shut. Now one’s dislocated, one’s purple, and I can’t seem to find the other three—“ He looked up in horror. “Just kidding, doc, they’re all to be accounted for… But in all sincerity, I just decided to call in sick and come straight to a therapist. Please help me, Roger. I need some suggestions! I’m living a nightmare.” I pleaded with him.
I smiled politely, still not quite sure how this poor, frazzled woman managed to survive in New York. Talk about danger; whizzing cars, angry people… I wouldn’t be surprised if she was dead within the next 24 hours. I tore the piece of paper and called Beth forward, handing her my suggestions. I stood up and quickly ushered the woman out, hoping to be rid of her before Havoc came to knock at my door again. Before she walked out of my building, she looked at me with those pretty blue eyes and thanked me for my time. She tugged at my heartstrings, with that look of hers. I pushed her out the door and told her to stop by if she ever needed anything. I saw Patty’s death stare in the reflection of the glass, still cradling her injured nose… and pride. I turned my gaze back on Beth and watched her go. She waved once more but, her luck being as it was, the piece of paper slipped from her hand. She raced out into the busy street, running dangerously fast in those Steve Maddens. She bent down to retrieve it when, all of a sudden, a green smart car rammed her in the rear, slamming her battered body to the ground. How unfortunate.