I went to take out the IV- but it was some kind of surgical tape that I couldn’t seem to get off without taking my skin with it. 

“Thanks for coming, but you guys really should go home now, you look like you’re already asleep over there,” I said. 

“I would, but I can’t seem to get a hold of that woman of mine. She insists on staying, but you’re fine right? There’s nothing more we can really do just hanging around bugging you- that’s what Sherice is paid to do,” he smiled. 

“Yep. Besides, she’s on my shit list now and you don’t want to be around when I go to kick her ass.” I continued to pull at the tape in vain. “Just make sure you give your wife some caffeine first for the drive home- if you guys die, I end up in the pound or something.”

        While what I said was true, I actually just didn’t want to be around both my parents at the time, it had always tired me out for some reason; like an unspoken guilt or tension, always feeling uncomfortable and out of place. I’m not sure how I would have defined my relationship with either of them,  as I had no real basis on which to compare- I lived under their roof but I hated how much I needed them- though only to survive physically, at the price of a chronically abrasive environment emotionally. But everything had its tradeoffs- I learned young, developing a clear proclivity for unhealthy or nearing abusive relationships, to attempt to meet the needs that I had always tried not to have. It was never my intention to use anyone; but I hated that I could no longer seem to take care of myself- I hated myself for it. 

     “Ah, there’s my better half,” he said with a yawn. 

 Sherice and my mother walked in, apparently having gone out looking for food. We all exchanged bullshit small talk for a bit; I never understood how people do it- are they just thinking the same thing as me? They were all pretty good actors if that was the case. Sherice kept them busy chatting long enough until they left with my promise to keep them updated, and sat down with an exasperated sigh and a smile. I honestly didn’t particularly like most humans, and she was always upbeat and in a good mood- yet despite this, I somehow liked her. 

      “Whew… I think the room just dropped a few degrees! Your mother… She clearly cares about you, but my blood pressure is up twenty points just in that much time with her.” she set a carton of orange juice and some crackers on the bedside table. “Eat. You haven’t had anything since God knows when.” 

“That’s not food and you’re not my mother, though I guess I don’t listen to her either.” I enjoyed very little in life, but giving her a hard time was one of them. 

“I sure as hell am now- at least until they get you into another facility, and I’m not leaving until I know someone else will watch you.”             I was already in the hold room in the middle of the ER, I couldn’t be much more watched. 

“Why do you care so much if I did off myself,” I stated rhetorically. 

“Oh I don’t know. It’s my job? No, it’s because we’ve been talking what-for three years now? I care about you, I would miss you, and I don’t have any other clients who are as much a smartass as you. Who would take your place?”

I knew what she meant to say. Sherice was the therapist I had been seeing biweekly for the past three years. She knew more about me than any other human ever had, and as pathetic as I always felt that the closest human to me was being paid-  it likely wasn’t just about the money. She had cut her rates before insurance made a single-case agreement, and even then had barely been paid at all by the insurance, sometimes for six months at a time. 


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