REAL ART

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Alice Pokes Her Head out of The Rabbit Hole

Chapter 21: Alice Pokes Her Head out of The Rabbit Hole

It worked! When I left my house on Monday there was a red car parked to the right side of my house. It wasn’t a flashy car or anything but it did the trick. It was just some kind of Toyota but I smiled as I past the car. I was probably getting too caught up in this artistic adventure.

I was going to visit my new psychiatrist: Dr. Valex Walsh. His office was downtown and in the same area BEING was. My parents, including my sister, we’re encouraging meditation but I refused. I didn’t need meditation; I needed music. Music was my meditation. I had told my parents and my sister this, but they didn’t seem to believe me. I didn’t care. I knew I would be seeing Dr. Valex Walsh even if I did decide to take meditation courses again.

When I walked into the office, I could tell that Walsh wanted to make a good impression on his patients. Hanging behind his desk was some kind of Picasso cubist painting and to the right of that was an old record player with records such as Pink Floyd and The Doors. His desk however, was a complete mess. There were papers everywhere and about ten folders stacked high as if they were trying to reach the ceiling. He had a dimly lit lamp sending a pale glow on top of his computer screen, which was some old shitbox Dell. But the man himself was quite small, about your average small girl size, five foot-something. I never asked him how tall he was. He had a small brown beard, wore silver glasses, and he shook my hand which made me think I was shaking hands with a midget. I know it’s wrong to call him that, but hey, honestly, I didn’t like the guy already because he was making my life so much harder than it already was.

“Hello, Art,” he said in a deep voice. He beckoned me to a black chair at the front of his desk, which I noticed reclined the moment I sat down.

“Hello,” I said as I shut the door but then realized how rude that had been. “Sorry, did you want that closed?”

“It’s perfectly alright. I usually have meetings with my clients with the door closed.” He lipsmiled expecting me to laugh, but I didn’t.

Walsh refused to call his patients, “patients” because he found it to be such a derogatory word. He wasn’t some medical doctor prescribing pills (although he could and did), he wanted all his patients to feel like he was their friend or at least colleague and that every appointment was just a business meeting with a fellow colleague. I had to admit it was a clever idea, but I still didn’t feel at home in his office.

Dr. Walsh waited until I was comfortable before speaking again.

“Your mother and father spoke to me on Sunday and normally I wouldn’t accept new clients or even schedule a meeting this early but I was actually intrigued in meeting you.”

I looked at his face, but he didn’t seem to be fibbing. It actually seemed he was intrigued to meet me. And who wouldn’t be? I was a nutcase.

“Well, thank you for seeing me.” It was the least I could do.

Dr. Walsh cracked his knuckles before speaking again. “So tell me about your experience in Kelowna, did you enjoy U.O.K.?”

“Yeah, for the most part.”

Walsh was holding a clipboard and began writing down notes the minute I spoke. He looked up and then asked me another question. I felt more nervous than I had been with Dr. Window.

“Your parents believe you were overstressed and overworked, is that true?” Suddenly I began really hating this guy. This “meeting” as he so called it was beginning to feel like an interview.

“It was more to do with a girl.” I felt that by now he knew about Alice.

“I see. How do you feel about the restraining order?”

“Shocked actually.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, I don’t deserve it. I barely touched her.”

“From what I’ve read (I do have a copy of the restraining order, but don’t worry I will not share it with anybody. Client confidentiality of course. That is, unless you want me to—”

No!” I cried a bit too quickly and then I spoke to the floor. “Sorry.”

“It’s alright,” assured Walsh. “I can see you’re upset by the whole ordeal.”

No shit, Sherlock. I nodded.

“Alice seems to think that you were getting a bit too close to her especially since she had a boyfriend. Do you think she’s lying?”

I shook my head. “No. But all I did was kiss her. It was more of a peck, actually. Anyway, she slapped me and wasn’t happy with me at all. But we still remained friends.”

I didn’t know why I was telling Wash the truth. I couldn’t even fucking tell my parents let alone my sister the truth! But Walsh had these inquisitive hazel eyes that seemed to suck the truth out of me. You didn’t need a lie detector with this guy.

“So you’re telling me that Alice Sterling—may I say her whole name?”

“Yes.” Get on with it!

“Well, actually, her full name is Alice Chrystal Sterling.” He smiled at his little joke but I didn’t smile back. “Sorry. Anyway, you’re saying that Alice might have overreacted at your advance?”

“Yes.”

“Mhmm.” Walsh took a few more notes before saying anything else. “How long have you known Alice?”

“Since last September.”

“So the month you came to U.O.K.?”

“Yes.” Either this guy was an idiot or was testing to see if I was.

“Do you think you came off a bit strong?

“Maybe.”

“Because a restraining order is a pretty big step, Art.”

Yes, but you don’t know the real reason behind it. But I wasn’t really sure of it myself. “I know.”

Walsh frowned. He didn’t like my one-word answers. “Why don’t you tell me what happened between you two.”

“Well, we basically met through her soon-to-be boyfriend Joe. It was at my residence meet-and-greet I guess when I first noticed her, but Joe got to her first.”

“Are you friends with Joe?”

“Not really. And it’s not because he’s dating Alice.”

“I wasn’t going to say that.”

No, but I could feel you leaning in that direction.”

Walsh nodded, but I knew that would’ve been his next question if I hadn’t stopped him. “So why do you think you don’t like Joe?”

“Because he’s one of those stereotypical frat guys who thinks all there is to life is drinking and banging girls. He has no idea how to treat a girl let alone how to be dating one.”

“I see.” Then Walsh wrote something else down. “Do you think it’s possible that you’re just jealous?”

“Well…yes, I mean…I’m a bit jealous…but more angry. I mean, she deserves better than him.”

“Someone like you?” What was this, relationship therapy?

“Yeah,” I almost silently said.

Walsh put his pen down and looked me dead in the eye. “Look, Art. It’s nice that you care about Alice but she’s not your responsibility. I can tell that you really care for this girl but if you ever want to make any progress in life, you have to let her go. Let her make her own decisions and her own mistakes. I gather you told her what you think of Joe.”

“Yes.”

“Well, there you go, that’s all you can do. But I suspect you got a bit too involved, more involved than you’re willing to share which is O.K. I respect your privacy. Your parents seem to believe you suffered from psychosis. It’s when the brain starts believing things that aren’t really there. You begin to have hallucinations, which can almost be like being on drugs, but they last longer and go on for weeks, months, even years. It’s very dangerous and given that the brain is so plastic, you can destroy your mind if you believe these hallucinations for a long time. Your parents tell me that when you went to Kelowna, you lost yourself. And I don’t mean, “lose” in a good sense. From what I’ve been told, you destroyed property, even hospital property, and basically acted like a menace around campus. I’m sorry to tell you, Art, but the university was happy to get rid of you. I’m not trying to be cruel; I’m just trying to be honest, as you need to be honest with me if we’re going to make this work. My only question Art is why? Why do you think you did all these things? Was it all for Alice? Was Alice really tearing you apart? I have had many clients over the years and many have suffered from psychosis. I want you to know that I am your friend and want to help you, as you should want to help yourself. But I can only help you if you let me in.”

I tried not to clench my fists in anger. I did not like this man. Not one bit and I didn’t think the “I’ve been framed story” would work even when it was the truth. The art adventure was even more ludicrous so I played innocent, I played stupid, I played the little hurt bird Walsh thought I was.

“What should I do?” I asked innocently.

“Well, if it’s alright with you, I would like you to take some medication. There’s this drug called Seroquel, which you can get at any pharmacy. I believe it will calm down your mind and stop the intrusion of thoughts. Also, it may make getting over Alice much easier. But don’t worry; I’d give you a low dose. How about fifty milligrams, does that sound reasonable?”

I didn’t want to take pills. Pills were for sick people and I wasn’t sick! I stood up and stretched out my hand towards Dr. Walsh, completely ignoring his question. “Thank you for your time, Doctor.” Dr. Walsh stared at me as if I really was the complete psycho he deemed me to be.

“Art, please sit down. We’re not done here. Our meeting lasts an hou—”

“That’s all the time I need,” I said, dropping my hand. Then I headed out the door as Dr. Walsh furiously tried to call his secretary to prevent me from leaving the building. But the phone rang the minute I opened the door.

I was furious and then a girl in a red jacket walked by me.

“WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” I screamed at her and the girl looked shocked. Maybe I had made a mistake. Maybe she wasn’t part of the game. I ran down Yonge Street heading towards Bloor Street trying to get as far away from Dr. Walsh as possible. I was losing it, I really was losing it, and it was all because of Alice. I didn’t like this game anymore.

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