Image Flash #30
Wrote this one pretty damn quickly in an attempt to keep on track with putting these out every Friday. Posting with plenty of time leftover!
Seth was nervous.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done this.” He said.
She flashed him a comforting smile.
“It’s okay, you know. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
He ran his middle finger nervously over the fabric seam on the arm of the sofa. He was jittery, had a few days of facial scruff, and might have been mildly handsome if not for the dark circles under his eyes and haggard expression.
Dr.Rina was sitting across from him, in her own chair. She didn’t have a notepad, or clipboard, or anything. That surprised him. Weren’t these people supposed to take notes?
“Why don’t we start with you telling me what brought you in here? If you’re comfortable with that.”
Seth shuddered out a nod. “Sleep. I can’t sleep.”
She smiled again. “You look like you’ve been having a rough time. That’s got to be hard.”
He kept picking at the couch, watching his fingertips, not looking at her. “I want to sleep. I can even get myself to fall asleep real easy, but I can’t stay that way. Even with pills. It just doesn’t last.”
“Something keeps waking you up?”
He squinted, as if the question were a spotlight. “Dreams. I keep having the same kinda dreams. All the time.”
“Did you want to talk about them?”
He stopped picking and clenched his fist. “No, I don’t. I just want them to go away.”
She didn’t respond verbally. She raised an eyebrow at his comment and folded one leg over the other, waiting, expectant.
“I guess this doesn’t work that way though, does it?” Said Seth.
“Sure, sometimes.” She responded. “But not usually. Something is causing this and we’ll talk until we sort out what it is. That’s a good place to start, since it’s close to the problem, but we don’t have to. We can talk about your job, hobbies, or your relationships. Whatever you like. I suspect whatever we discuss will circle back around to a helpful place sooner or later.”
His expression was mopey, a sort of slack jaw-ed exhaustion that didn’t have the energy to really want anything.
“Yeah, I know. I’m just sick of seeing it. Talking about it.”
“I understand entirely.”
He resumed his picking at the seam and spoke in a monotone mutter.
“It’s foggy, but not, you know, still or quiet fog. It’s like, moving and blowing around. More like I’m inside some windy cloud than fog. It just feels, pushy, or urgent somehow. Does that make sense?”
She agreed. “Absolutely. Things in dreams can carry feelings and ideas along with the image. You recognize the attached emotion as clearly seeing the item. I understand you.”
“So, I’m in this fog, but not for long. I hear voices, but not in my language. Some other language I’ve never heard. Doesn’t sound like Spanish or Chinese or anything. Just, nonsense. But I know they’re looking for me, that they’re desperate to find me. So, I run. But, because it’s so foggy, it doesn’t feel like running. Like I’m on a treadmill. All of this, it’s pretty fast. I fall asleep, and right away I’m running from the voices. That’s when I see the light.”
Dr.Rina perked up. “A light?”
“Yeah, some guys, with those big beam flashlights, coming at me, from all around. Wherever I run, they get closer and closer, shining their flashlights in my face, yelling in that strange language. I can’t see anything, just light, in my eyes. Bright, bright light. Over and over. It never stops.”
Dr.Rina sighed, stood up, and went to her desk. Seth continued to talk.
“It’s never dark. It’s making me crazy. Sometimes, I go into the bathroom and shut the door, and put a towel along the crack at the bottom, so it’s really black, and I just stare at it. That feels kind of like my eyes are closed. At first, that helped, but now, I can see every little thing. It’s just not dark enough, and I’m too tired. I can’t keep my eyes open and…”
“I’m gonna stop you right there, Seth.” She opened a drawer in her desk.
Seth startled out of his monologue. “What?”
“Look, you don’t need a therapist. If you’ll allow me, I think I can solve your problem immediately.”
Seth was confused, but not too confused to see a potential end to his suffering.
“What are you going to do?”
She took out a pair of tweezers and stood beside him. “Tilt you head back and close your eyes. I’m going to do something to your right eyelid for a second. It’ll feel weird.”
Seth swallowed, nervous. Again, he said. “What are you going to do?”
Her pleasant therapist demeanor was replaced with irritation. “Do you want to sleep again or not?”
“Then tilt your head back already.”
Dr.Rina roughly grabbed a hold of his eyelash and lifted. She poked the tweezers underneath and, after stabbing around for a moment, pulled a small layer of plastic circuitry from the underside of his right eyelid. She placed it on her fingertip and looked at it.
Seth’s right eye was watering from the intrusion and he rubbed at it.
“What the hell is that!” He asked.
Dr.Rina aimed at the trash can and flicked the object away. “Nothing you need to worry about.”
She opened the door to her office and indicated that he should leave. “Thank you Mr.Novak for coming in. You shouldn’t have any more problems sleeping.”
“But, what was that thing? It was in my eye!” He stood up, still rubbing his face.
“You’re very tired, Seth. Just, go get some rest.”
She patted him on the back, ushering him out. “Pleasant dreams, Mr.Novak. Glad I could help.”
In the hall, he turned, more questions on his lips.
She shut the door in his face.