Love is Cold
Chapter 23: Love is Cold
Being stuck in winter in Toronto made the red cars stand out more. And when it snowed, they were like cherry red noses poking themselves out of the bleak whiteness. I missed Alice and when the snowfall hit Toronto that Tuesday, I immediately thought of “Wonderland”. In a way it was spectacular, but now that I had to see Dr. Walsh I realized I would have to lie more. Soon I would be lying so much that I wouldn’t be able to figure out what lies were lies and what the truth actually was. And if this happened, well, guess what? Yes, I would have a mental illness but I would’ve caused it.
I walked into Walsh’s office again that Tuesday and placed my snow-stained boots on the grey mat by the door. Walsh greeted me with a smile. It was almost as if yesterday hadn’t happened. Maybe it hadn’t. Fiction and reality were becoming fuzzy.
“Sit down,” he beckoned me as my brown-socked feet padded his white fluffy carpet. “I appreciate you coming back, but I feel your parents had something to do with it.” His eyebrows raised themselves at me like two ginormous caterpillars.
“Are you Greek?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“Very good,” applauded Walsh. “My full name actually is Bαλέξανδρος.”
“Nevermind,” chuckled Walsh. “Valex isn’t actually a common Greek name at all as it really should be Aλέξανδρος.”
“So why’s it ‘Valex’ then?”
“My parents thought it would be neat to give me a different name and a name that no one had. Therefore, Bαλέξανδρος was born.”
“Say it slowly.”
“But why, Walsh? That’s not Greek.”
“Only my father was Greek.”
“You inherited your mom’s last name?”
“Correct. It’s not a common occurrence, but it does happen. I like to consider myself ‘different’.” I smiled. Maybe Walsh wasn’t so bad after all. “But we’ve wasted enough time. Art, I think we should talk about why you would’ve left my office in such a hurry. What provoked you?”
You, I thought, but didn’t say it. “Um...well...you see...Alice is still fresh in my memory.” I hadn’t planned for that sentence to come out as poetry but I didn’t seem to know how to control my brain anymore.
“I see,” nodded Walsh seeming satisfied. “What would you like to talk about?”
“Honestly, you don’t really have to speak. We could just listen to records all day and I can just give you the general sheet update.”
“What’s the sheet update?”
“The sheet update is basically a checklist of things every psychiatrist must check off for their patients. I said ‘patients’ only to show how most operate in this business.” I nodded. I did like “clients” so much better.
“What does it contain?”
“Such questions as what would you rate your mood, are you eating healthy, et cetera.”
“Preferably I would like you to talk, but I can’t force you and I hope you will as we have more meetings.”
I could already sense the manipulation. “What about the pills?” I tested to see how far Walsh’s manipulation went.
“Well, I think it would help but, again, I’m not forcing you. Your parents though might get involved and well...I think you can see where that would go.”
The manipulative bastard. “I’m not taking pills,” I said sternly.
Walsh nodded. “That’s fair.” He didn’t say anything else about it and I appreciated that.
“So what do you want to know about me?” I asked turning his question on him.
Walsh smiled. I could tell that he was impressed that I could spin words too. “I am curious about the Alice Situation, but that’s only if you want to discuss it.”
“I was framed,” I told him before I had really thought the words through.
Walsh nodded again as if he had already known. Was it possible Alice had already gotten to him? Maybe that was why I had been signalled to go back. “What do you think she did?”
“Well, all I did was fucking kiss her and then the next thing I know I’m in a mental hospital under the Mental Health Act.” Walsh nodded. He knew all of this. I just wasn’t sure if it had been from my parents or even before.
“And you don’t think there’s any reason that you should’ve been put in the ward?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Mhmm…” Walsh scratched his chin in thought and then looked at me with his warm hazel eyes. “So you think you were framed, then?”
“Yes!” Maybe Walsh actually believed me.
“But why would Alice frame you, Art? What reasonable grounds would she have if all you did was kiss her? I gather it was an unwanted kiss, but, even so, framing someone for something as small as that is pretty extreme.”
“I know,” I agreed.
“And how exactly could she contact the R.C.M.P. and then have them drive you to the mental ward? That would take a lot of preplanning don’t you think? And that’s a lot for one girl to do.”
“Yes!” My thoughts exactly.
“So then what’s happening now? Is she still, you know, present?”
“What do you mean?” I tested.
“I mean, is her presence still here?”
I wasn’t sure where Walsh was going with this, but either he knew about Alice’s artistic journey or he didn’t.
“Her presence is here everyday, Valex. Sorry, may I call you that?”
“Sure,” nodded Walsh. “What do you mean by that?”
“Well I feel she has set me up on some creative artistic journey, which I’m somewhat involved in. And I doubt she’s working alone. I think she’s got a helluva lot of people involved. Practically all of Toronto and possibly most of Kelowna.” Walsh turned away from me and I could tell he didn’t believe me. I had no idea why I had admitted the truth to him, but I thought I could trust him. It didn’t take long for me to realize that telling the truth was stupid. He had manipulated me with those fucking hazel eyes and his manner of speech. He just wanted to test if I really was in fact as crazy as they say and now he knew that they had been right.
I stared down at the floor as Walsh wrote something else down on his pad.
“I believe you, Art.”
No, you really don’t. Not really, anyway.
“But she must really be in love with you to pull off this kind of journey. Do you really think she is?”
“Yes!” I said exasperatedly.
“Well,” Walsh sighed. “Love is a complicated emotion and makes us do crazy things. This, if it is true, is one of the craziest things I have ever heard of even in my line of work. And believe me, I’ve seen some very unwell people.”
I nodded. I still wasn’t sure if he really believed me though. But I had revealed the truth and I couldn’t just shove it back into its bag. I had exposed myself and all I could do was continue sitting on Walsh’s chair stark naked.
“What do you recommend I do?”
Now it was Walsh’s turn to look down at the ground. “Honestly, I have no idea. This is the most unprofessional suggestion I could give a patient, but I’d say let it happen. But that is if you believe it to be true. Here, let’s take a walk. A five minute walk and let’s see what happens when I’m with you.”
Holy shit! He believed me! He actually fucking believed me! I tried to not have my smile reach my ears, but I was extremely happy. I needed support. I really did. And the best support I could have would be from my psychiatrist. The only other person that had confirmed my suspicions had been Jake and I knew Jake was long gone.
So after I zipped up my green coat and Walsh buttoned up his black P-jacket, we ventured into the winter weather.
“Alright,” said Walsh, once we were outside, “do you see anything out of the ordinary?”
I looked around and then noticed a billboard. “That,” I said, pointing to it. The billboard was advertising the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ballet.
“I see,” nodded Walsh. I almost expected him to be smoking a corncob pipe. “A bit of a stretch don’t you think?”
But then a red car passed down Yonge Street. “What about that?” I said as I pointed to the car before it disappeared around the corner.
“The V.W. Beetle,” acknowledged Wash just before the car turned down Pears Avenue.
“Are you saying the sign or artistic journey element is the fact that the car is red?”
“Yes,” I nodded.
“That’s over reaching a bit, Art, don’t you think?”
“But the fact that the red car came the minute we were outside staring at the billboard, don’t you think that’s too well planned?”
“Did you see the license plate?”
“No,” I said disappointingly.
“I’m guessing the red car symbolizes love?”
“Yes,” I said a bit quieter.
“And so the red car going by just when we see the billboard proves that Alice loves you because the billboard showcases Alice.”
I could tell he didn’t believe me. His tone signified everything.
“Let’s go back to the office,” I said regretfully and as we did I saw a black Mercedes-Benz pass by, but I didn’t tell Walsh about it.