“Sarah, please come in.” Doctor Rollins smiled at me as I stuck my head hesitantly into his office. I feigned a smile and entered the dark room. There was only one window and the blinds were always pulled shut. I could see the dust collecting on them, and through the sharp beams of sunlight that managed to sneak through, I could see fragments circulating in the air.
“Did you know that 97% of dust is dead skin?” I asked before I sat down.
Dr. Rollins laughed. “I didn’t know that. What useful information.”
I sighed. He always spoke to me like I was a child when I first entered the room and it tugged on my last nerve. It never lasted, though. He would always come around after a few moments and we could have an adult conversation. I knew he was smiling at me but I didn’t want to meet his eyes. I looked around the room instead. Diplomas were hanging on the wall to my right. There was a bookcase behind his chair that was filled with encyclopedias, classic literature, and case studies. The smooth finish of his mahogany desk was tainted by scratches along the outside edge. They were probably from other patients, I mused. Probably caused by nervous twitchers who couldn’t express their feelings and chose to take it out on the wooden furniture instead.
Dr. Rollins hadn’t spoken so I finally raised my head to look at him. He was an attractive man in his late thirties, if I had to guess. His thin glasses sat comfortably on his nose and his tanned skin gave him a rugged appearance. His hair, which was full and thick, was always neatly parted and combed to the side, the natural highlights accentuating the dark auburn color. The curve of his mouth was always deceptive, however. It was as if he was always smiling even when his eyes and his forehead were clearly upset. I hated that about him.
“So,” he finally said. “You’ve been here two weeks now, how are you feeling?”
“Fine, I guess.”
“Do you want to tell me about what happened at the nurse’s station this morning?”
I tilted my head to the side and observed him. He clearly already knew what had happened this morning and was gauging my reaction in order to determine if I felt comfortable enough telling him in my own words.
“The nurse was trying to make me take something without telling me what it was.”
“So you became violent?”
“I wasn’t violent.”
“Nurse Rice says you were throwing things and your voice was raised.”
“I threw the pill at the closed window and yelled, yes.”
Dr. Rollin’s eyebrows rose as if he expected my answer to somehow prove that I was guilty.
“I was never violent.”
“Tell me, Sarah, why didn’t you want to take your medication this morning?”
“I had no problem taking the rest of my medication. But there was a new pill in the cup and I wanted to know what it was before I consumed it and it ruined my day.”
“Did you have plans for today?”
I frowned and crossed my arms in front of my chest. “As a matter of fact, I did.”
“What were you worried was going to happen if you took the pill?”
“I didn’t know. Anything could have happened. Look, if you want me to take something new, I’m not opposed to it. Just tell me what it is before you expect me to willingly accept.”
“You are the only one of my patients that has ever questioned my practice.”
“One, I find that hard to believe. Two, I’m not questioning anything. I’m requesting you give me advance warning so I know what I’m getting into. There’s a difference.”
“Is there?” He asked, a large smile on his face. He was clearly amused by my determination, as he always was when I was in his office.
But I didn’t answer him. He knew there was and there was no point in getting worked up over the issue. I unfolded my arms and rest them on the chair, holding his stare and trying not to blink.
“It was Loxapine, an antipsychotic drug.”
I inhaled sharply at that word: antipsychotic. But there was a reason I was here, in this hospital, institution, asylum, whatever you wanted to call it.
“What will it do to me?”
“Most people experience drowsiness during the first few days of medication. Some show signs of light tremors, muscle twitches, often nausea and confusion.”
I blinked and looked away from him. If I exhibited those behaviors, Sawyer would be scared out of his mind for me. He wouldn’t know what to do. I slowly shook my head and my eyes moved back to Dr. Rollins’.
“Is it necessary?”
“I believe it could help you.”
Help me? I had been here for two weeks and no one had been able to help me. But Dr. Rollins had been doing everything in his power, he had assured me of that.
“Have you heard anything about…”
But he shook his head, his eyes sad and sympathetic. “Your fingerprints are being run through the State’s system. If they don’t find anything, they’ll send them off to a federal bureau. It could take months.”
I closed my eyes. Months?
“Sarah, have you remembered anything? Experienced any flashbacks or seen anything that might give us a clue?”
But I shook my head as tears started to prickle my eyes. “No. Nothing.”
“Well, the police are still checking reports for a missing girl in all the surrounding counties. Something will turn up eventually.”
I opened my eyes and gave a week smile. “It’s just hard, you know? Not knowing who I am or where I came from. Not knowing what made me the way I am.”
“What way are you?” He asked, his eyes reluctant to hear my answer.
“I’m fucking crazy,” I laughed and Dr. Rollins smiled.
“We’ll let the police work on finding out who you are. You and I will work on the crazy part. You’re safe as long as you’re here, you know that, right?”
I nodded. “I know. Thank you.”
There was a pause in the conversation and I knew Dr. Rollins was ready to discuss other things. “Are you still seeing him, Sarah?”
“Yes,” I answered quickly. “I’m still seeing him.” I didn’t like the way he spoke about Sawyer, as if he wasn’t a real person, as if he didn’t really love me.
“Have you tried asking him about your past?”
His question startled me. “Why would he know anything about it?”
“I believe this hallucination is your body’s way of manifesting your subconscious. I believe you knew this boy at one point in your life and perhaps he even had something to do with your amnesia.”
I frowned. “His name is Sawyer, and he’s as real to me as you are now.”
“I know he seems that way…”
“No!” I screamed and then instantly regretted it. “I’m sorry. It’s just, he’s the one comfort I have here. I don’t like the idea of him fading away as my mind heals.”
Dr. Rollins smiled, clearly unaffected by my outburst. “You are very well spoken for a girl your age.”
I smiled back. “We don’t even know how old I am.”
“I may not be a surgeon, but I went to medical school. If I had to guess, I would say you were no older than 18 years of age.”
I thought about it but quickly discovered that I didn’t really care how old I was. “18 sounds nice. Can I make up a birthday?”
“Of course,” he said with a laugh.
“That’s almost a year away, we just came into June.”
“I know. But it just sounds like a good date.”
“All right, then.” He smiled and scribbled the date down on his note pad. “May 12th it is.”
My head nodded in satisfaction and I craned my head to see what else he may have written about me. But Dr. Rollins was too fast for me and covered the yellow paper with his arm before I could read any of it.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
“It’s a natural curiosity,” he responded. “But one that can unfortunately lead to digression in your treatment.”
“You think I’ve made progress, then?” I asked, my spirits full of hope.
But his face sank. “No, Sarah, I don’t believe you have made any progress. That is why I am starting you on the Loxapine.”
I could feel my hands start to shake at his admission. No progress? “I feel like I’ve failed something.”
Dr. Rollins shook his head. “There is no failing or winning when it comes to this sort of thing. Only control.”
I nodded in understanding and waited for him to say something more.
“You should try speaking to him, to Sawyer about your past. See what he says.”
This again. “I’ll try.”
“Sarah, what do you and Sawyer do together?”
The question made me slightly uncomfortable. Dr. Rollins looked as if he was expecting a dirty answer, something obscene.
“We talk and we sit together mostly.”
“Do you touch him?”
“Does he ever touch you?”
“All the time.”
“Does he ever hurt you?”
“No,” I answered faster than I should have. I had told Dr. Rollins about Sawyer, but had neglected to tell him everything that went on between us, specifically the activities which ended our day.
“Okay,” he stared at me, noting my defensiveness. “If there is something peculiar about your relationship with him, I would encourage you to tell me. It will only help you.”
Peculiar as in I kill my boyfriend every night? Peculiar as in somehow he manages to come back to life every morning just to be with me? No, somehow I didn’t think that information would help Dr. Rollins diagnose or prescribe anything that would jumpstart my progress. It would probably get me sent to solitary confinement in a padded room with no windows.
“I’ll let you know if anything happens.”
Dr. Rollins smiled his telling grin that let me know our session was coming to an end. “Please do,” he said slowly, standing up and gesturing for me to do the same.
I sighed, feeling as if I had accomplished nothing and pushed my chair away from his desk, my fingernails running over the already mutilated wood as I stood up.
“Have a good afternoon and I will see you in a couple of days.”
“All right. Thank you.”
“My pleasure, Sarah.”
I took a deep breath once I was outside of his dusty room. The hallways were spacious and bright and I could see Sawyer waiting for me near the door. I smiled and walked quickly towards him, taking his hand and feeling his warm skin against my palm. Hallucination or not, it was the best feeling in the world.