“Okay, mom will pick you up at five. Love you.”
And with that, he was gone, her only hope of salvation from the awful predicament that he had placed her in. She hated him for making her do this and hated him even more for leaving her here all alone. It was stupid. It’s not like it was her fault some stupid boy’s upset at her for what was very clearly an act of provocation. In fact, just the memory of her sitting outside the principal’s office makes her grimace. Then to top it all off, the roving shouting match as soon as her parents entered the door as to whose fault it was, roaming around the house, getting louder and softer, but always louder again as she tried to concentrate on a magazine.
Worse than the arguing was the result of the agreeing that they finally did. She’d only heard stories about what happened at a psychologist‘s office.
“I hear they make you feel really bad about yourself and cry-”
“Oh my god, it’s so true! My mom goes every week and I can tell she’s been crying every single time.”
“Just don’t go, just tell them you won’t do it. This is a free country, you can do whatever you want, right?”
She sat down on a sofa. It was warm. Ew. Try as she might, she couldn’t really fathom what exactly goes on in these places and that uncertainty brought about the abject rejection of everything she saw around her. The sofa, toasted by some unknown’s buttocks, the magazines, in a neat pile with the exception of the last issue, carelessly tossed on top (some health magazine mutely shouting about cancer), the tasteful soft-hued wallpapers, specifically chosen to calm down those they envelop, all served to offend her tastes now.
It was just so stupid. Why was she the one having to do this? It was that boy’s problem, he ought to be the one seeing a psychologist, not her. And why would Kelly’s mom keep going if all it did was make her cry? She wouldn’t cry at all, she told herself. And since she knew she was one of the toughest girls in her grade, she was perfectly justified in doing so, and if he did make her cry (it was always a him in her mind, even though she’d only ever known his last name) then he was a very cruel and mean person.
The low murmur muffled by the thick wooden door paused, and there was a cough. The cough brought her out of her thoughts and back to the looming realization that she would imminently be behind that foreign door and would come face to face with this cruel, mean, and utterly heartless man who would make her cry despite the fact that she did nothing wrong and only punched the boy because he was really, really annoying. The realization hit her so suddenly that she squeaked and jumped out of the sofa. This was unfortunate because she had not realized how tightly she was holding on to the sofa seat, and the seat, unable to stand the tension it felt, tore nicely, leaving a large visible scar showing the yellow stuffing inside.
This is not good, she thought to herself. Barely ten minutes in and she already felt like crying; why does everything happen to her? She kneeled down to survey the damage. Footsteps, two sets, clearly intent on removing the large forbidding wooden barrier separating her crime from its discovery, came louder and louder and before she could stuff her handfuls of yellow foam back in, the door opened.
“See you next week.” The first man didn’t look like he cried, in fact he was smiling. Then they turned to her.
“…,” She tried to explain.
The smile moved from one side of the man’s face to the other as his eyebrows furrowed in bemusement. He then stepped carefully around her legs, and walked out the hallway door, leaving her alone with the second man whose face she dared not look at. She started shaking uncontrollably.
“Ah, um, you must be Elizabeth.” She turned to look at him. He was smiling behind his glasses. “Come in, and don’t worry about that…”