After school, Jason was waiting in his truck outside the school. I quickly ran out to join him.
"How was your first day?" He asked as we drove only a few blocks to the town square where my new therapist’s office was. The autumn leaves were starting to fall from their original branches. People were walking along the sidewalks, sitting outside the local cafe talking over a warm drink.
"Great!" I found myself smiling, remembering the course of my day.
"Did you make any new friends?" His arm rested on the back ledge of the seat, much like Father when he drove the car. My thoughts turned to Becky and Colin.
"Yes, yes I did." I nod. Pulling up to a building, that read "Office of Dr. Rae Carlson."
"I'm glad." He nodded, parking the car. "Alright, I have to go back to work at the hardware store, which happens to be just over there," he pointed out the window to the little shop across the square from where we were. "Will you be okay walking over thereby yourself?"
"I think I'll be fine crossing the street without holding someone's hand." I laugh.
"Just want to make sure," He smiles.
I hug him, "Thank you, for everything."
"Anything for you Alice." He squeezes back before letting me go. Walking into the office, I take note of the musty smell in the air, the pale wallpaper, and torn rug under my feet. However, it felt warm, comforting even. I walked up to the front desk, only a few feet from the door.
"Hi, I'm..." It took me a second to say my cover name, "Ali Colette?"
"I'll let Dr. Carlson know you're here," the perky redhead told me. "You can take a seat meanwhile."
I did as she said, taking a seat in one of the five chairs that were all empty. On the coffee table in front of me, there are many magazines, tossed around. Through two of them, I see a photo of my parents. Pushing the others aside, I read the cover of "SPOTLIGHT" magazine. One of the most read magazines in the world.
"McCreed's out on the town, but who's babysitting Alice?" I read the headline. I started opening the magazine to find the story but someone calls, "Ali Colette?"
Looking up, I find a very small woman in a pair of boots that made her a little taller but not much. She has dirty blonde hair that was cut short to fall just around her face.
"Ready to come back?"
I wanted so bad to say no, just to sit in that seat and read whatever the press was saying about me, but reluctantly, I set down the magazine and follow her behind the door she came out of. Walking down the hallway, she opens a door for me and lets me in. I saw one couch and a chair, facing it. There were some plants to fill the empty space and some artwork on the wall. All the sudden a panic rose over me.
"I can't do this." I step back from the couch. She was already poised and ready for note taking in the chair but remained completely calm to my reaction.
"You are the only person who knows what you're capable of." She shrugs, scribbling something down.
"I don't need petty quotes," I somewhat snap.
"They aren't petty quotes, they're theories, Alice." She rests her chin on her palm, in a bored manor.
"You know my real name?" I ask suddenly realizing what she said.
"Why don't you come in, close the door, and sit down so we can talk." She orders, so I do not refuse.
"Yes, I know who you really are." Dr. Carlson confirms once I nervously sit on the edge of the couch.
"You aren't going to tell anyone?" I ask worried for my cover being blown.
"Of course not. Confidential Policy. What I'm concerned about is my clients' well-being." She starts to write in her folder again.
"I've never done something like... this before." I take a deep, shaky breath. The scratch of her pen fills the silence, before she speaks.
"Therapy?" She questions and I just nod. "No worries. All you have to do is talk about your life and how you feel, by answering my questions. I'll take care of the rest." She reassures me. Feeling more at ease, I slide back on the couch.
"Where do we start?" I ask, wanting to get a move on.
"Do you want to talk about what brought you to America?" She clicked her pen, which sound piercing in this hushed atmosphere. I shake my head, not able to stomach the thought of it. "Alright, how about your family or your life back in London?" Even the mention of my parents, the image of them in my head made tears want to work their way out of my eyes. The kind of tears that are unable to control. Shaking my head again, she understood the point that we would not be getting very deep today. "How about, let's talk about your day today. It was your first day at school here."
So for the next thirty minutes, we discussed my day; teachers, classes, and even what it's like living with Anna and Jason.
"I think we got a good start today, Alice." Dr. Carlson beamed at the end of our session. "I'm very excited about getting to know you better. Maybe next time we can continue talking about your current living conditions."
"Sounds good," I nod.
"See you later," she waved as I walked down the hallway, making my way out of her little office, back out into the fresh air of the outdoors. I inhaled all the smells of fall. I begin to walk down the street, the sound of crunching leaves under my feet and the chilling breeze hitting my cheeks as I make my way to the hardware store. Once I've made it to Harris' Hardware Store, Jason is waiting for me at the counter.
"How was your first session?" He asks in a hushed tone.
"It was good, nice. I am just nervous for when we actually have to talk about the thing that happened." I tell him, awkwardly.
"Jason!" Someone calls from the back, making their way up front, wooden floorboards squeaking as they walked. "Where do you want this box?" Colin reveals himself from behind a large metal shelf.
"You can just set it there." Jason instructs, so Colin drops the box, finally looking up to see me. "Have you met my niece, Ali?"
"Yeah," Colin's face lights up. "We met at school today. She's fantastic."
"Oh, thank you. I didn't know you worked for Jason." I try to play it off cool, getting the attention off of me.
"Yeah, I work every once and a while around the hardware store." Colin looks around observing the place. It really wasn't much, but very well-respected in the community. "I was just about to clock out early, because it's my brother's birthday."
"Before you go I want you to fill up some of the bolts in the back." Jason lets him know.
"Sounds good. See you around, Ali." Colin gives me one last smile before, removing his apron and heading towards the back. I watch him in admiration before continue to answer Jason's questions about today.
Spotlight - Chapter 6Therapy.
By joslyn miller