I feel the music coursing through my veins like blood. I hear it ringing in my ears, see it play before my eyes. It liquefies and drips down my throat, warming my body like hot chocolate. It numbs my senses, forces my eyes closed as I am claimed by it. I can’t go anywhere without it. I breathe it. Music is my drug, my love, my life. And I just can’t get rid of it.
“Did you hear me?” Mr. Williams asks, leaning forward. I look over at him in his pressed dress pants and tucked in shirt. He has on a silly bow tie- like those will ever be in fashion. His face is clean shaven, glasses clinging to his nose, sharp eyes focusing on my facial expression, trying to read me like I’m reading him.
“Yes,” I sigh. “I heard you.” I swallow, pinching my lips tightly together, narrowing my eyes. I don’t trust him. I never trust shrinks. They all think they can ‘reach me.’ They all think they can get me to willingly take off my headphones and pay attention. They all think a lot of things.
“Jade.” Mr. Williams leans back in his hair, folding his hands and crossing his legs. He looks at me, glaring at him, and uncrosses his legs, bending forward again. I smirk. He knows I’m in control. He knows I can use him and bend his words just as well as he can bend mine.
“Oh, Mr. Williams, is that a new painting?” I look over at a mess of blue and green plastered to a wall. It looks like It’s been painted by a five year old.
“Yes indeed!” Mr. Williams brightens up instantly. What he doesn’t realize is that I’m using another one of my tactics: Distraction.
“Where did you get it?” I ask, looking back at him.
“Actually I painted it myself.” He smiles, straightening his bow tie.
I have to bite my lip from bursting out laughing.
Suddenly the music from my IPod ends. I know its switching songs and only takes a few seconds, but I panic, holding my breath, my eyes growing wide. Then a new song comes on and I relax, breathing again. I am seduced back into my dreamy state where nothing can ‘reach me.’ Luckily, Mr. Williams was too busy looking at his painting of moldy soup to notice what happened.
He turns back to me, his expression hardening. “Jade.” He repeats. I roll my eyes at him, discouraged that my distraction only lasted a few seconds. “Is this because of your father?”
My father? I remember him, though only the small details. I can’t remember what color his hair was, but I remember how it spun out in three different directions, impossible to tame. I can’t remember his height, but I remember that when he knelt down to hug me, my head fit right between his neck and his shoulder. I can’t remember what cologne he used to wear, but I remember the smell of hot cocoa and mint that always seemed to follow him. That scent died the night he left.
“No,” I reply, trying to keep my face straight.
“Is it because of school?” Mr. Williams asks, tilting his head.
Starting middle school was hard, but it’s fine now. It’s not like I’m being bullied or anything. It wasn’t that hard adjusting. They put way to much effort in making sure we all knew each other and felt comfortable. Sometimes I wish they would all just leave me alone. Adults, I mean.
“Is it because of friends?”
I have my own lunch group, new friends from my classes, people around the neighborhood. I’m not an outcast. I have fights with my friends but they never last longer than a week.
“Look, Jade. I don’t know what to say.” Mr. Williams sighs, looking down at his notes of nothing.
“Then don’t say anything,” I mumble. I realize too late that I’ve just given him something to scribble down onto his little yellow sheets, giddy with pride from finally getting something out of me that means something.
When he is done he looks back up at me, his face turning serious. “Does it bother you, coming here?”
“Obviously,” I sigh, looking out the window. It’s the smallest window I’ve ever seen, and all you can see out of it is the streets below, but it’s better than looking at Mr. William’s moldy soup painting.
“What else bothers you?”
I am silent, watching the cars pass by. I wish I were in one of those cars, driving away from this horrid place.
“Nothing,” I say, shattering Mr. William’s plan. I love this answer. It’s almost always wrong, a lie, but it’s one of the easiest lies to tell.
The timer set on the coffee table between my seat and Mr. William’s goes off before he has time to ask any more questions. I jump up, grabbing my back pack from school and rushing out the room, slamming the door behind me. Try to reach me now.