I have a dog named Frank, and it’s taken quite some time for me to grow fond of him. His countenance is less than ordinary and his personality nonexistent. I used to joke that he didn’t know how to act like a dog, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with him.
Sometimes when I look at my therapist, I can see in her eyes that she wants to say something.
She looks at me like I imagine I look at Frank. Sometimes I can’t bear it any longer: “Just say it,” I
say in a fortified manner. She smiles, and I think about how my mother has never smiled at me in
I talk about my therapist at parties and during coffee dates, and my friends begin to ask for her
office number. Soon, Janice is telling me about my own therapist: how her husband recently left
her and owns the apple orchard that I pass on the way to work. And knowing this makes me feel
more normal, but it also makes me wonder why she shares personal things with Janice.
Only yesterday, I sat in the waiting room rehearsing our session’s start: I’m sorry for boring you,
for feeling insecure when you’re silent for too long, for not knowing what to say most of the
time, and for never crying. I needed to let her know that I’m self-aware and the kind of person
she can trust. But my monologue abruptly ended when Beverly, who is a source of many of my
problems at work, stepped from my therapist’s office door. We looked at one another and said
nothing. She exited and I stood to take the seat she had warmed.
Instead of sticking to the apology plan, I talked about my dead father. And as I rambled, I began
to think about all of the things that I told my therapist about Beverly, and I imagined what
Beverly has said about me. And I then thought about my friends who have been sharing this seat
and wondered who she likes best and suspect they are doing things without me. And I pictured
Frank, who I left in the car, and wondered if he was worried or content without me, and I
thought about how far we had come, probably because he can’t say a word.
I abruptly ended talking about my father.
My therapist sat in her chair and looked like she had a secret to tell. “Please, just say it,” I
begged. She smiled and then asked me about my mother.
At the end of my session, I felt relief to see strangers in the reception area. Outside, I found my
car empty and Frank leisurely prancing down the sidewalk. When I called out to him, his pace
became comically infuriating. I yelled again but resigned myself to following him into the mid-day
congestion because chasing him would release me from chasing the world in my mind.
That's it for this year's FlashFlood! Huge thanks again to our writers, our readers, our editors , and everyone who submitted work....
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