serialized fiction (part 2 of 4)

Emotions are a roller coaster of intoxication. Certain days when I demand to know where Jacob is the mother tells me, ‘Under the couch last time I saw him sweetie.’ Sometimes I collapse to my knees and check to see, other days I want to strangle her.

I’m erratic and irritable. I can’t identify anyone. I tell the mother I think I have amnesia and grow sadder with the seasons. I only wear black and the sisters tease me.

The mother develops a distaste for the voices. She eventually says she does not want to hear anymore about them because I was getting ‘…too grown up to entertain invisible companions. Real young ladies have real friends.’

I told her I’d stop mentioning the voices when she stopped calling me a child.

The sound of her hand across my face hurt more than the physical blow. She let me know that being fourteen does not give me any right to speak to her that way in her home. I screamed back. ‘If you just fucking tell me where home is I will happily see myself out!’

I swooned within the four walls confining me. I remember the blue couch, peach ice tea, the smell of orchids. I pass out and come to my senses and swearing I’ve never had sisters.

I examine the two girls standing above me whose lips seem to coincide with the sounds that I hear. They’re carrying on about ‘Weirdo’ and ‘Why can’t you be normal for one day?’

Soon after the sisters move out I approach the mother again. ‘Tell me where they’re coming from!’ I screamed in a way that caused her to drop the porcelain doll she was dusting.

The mother starts sobbing. She says she never thought I’d turn into a drug addict and asks the sky where she went wrong.

I’m taken to see Dr. Rosenthal.

The doctor has shoulder-length, grey, wavy hair and dark circles beneath his amber eyes. The air in his office tastes like the window cleaner Jacob and I buy at the dollar store. Pushing up his thick-rimmed glasses he asks, ‘Are you familiar with schizophrenia?’ Why does this man seem familiar to me? He asks again.

I am floored at the recollection of how I know the aging doctor before me. I t must have been twenty years ago that I was treated for anorexia. Well, that I’d say I was actually treated. I was brought to this very room when my parent ran out of ideas to try to make me eat.

Dr Rosenthal’s wiry lips look like the ocean during low tide. I wonder if he remembers Cynthia Williams, I decide to ask. Ignoring the muffled voice I’ve grown to accept I tell him how surprised I am that his hair has stayed ‘so incredibly thick’ I know a lot of women who would kill for those tousles.

On the way home the mother demands to know what I said to that man that made him not want to see me again. In between sniffles she asks why I want to be an outcast and if I understand how difficult I make things for her…

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