"Dan? Daniel, could you start the coffee?"

She did not ask this in the form of a question. It was a command disguised as a question…disguised in that clever, condescending way that she has about her. It's actually very clever, you see, because if one were to get offended by this, they would come off as an asshole. It's amazing, really. It's amazing that a woman of such limited intelligence could be so clever. Especially right after waking up.

"Sure, honey."

That's how I voice my opinions. I'm a pussy. My life at home reflects my life at work. I am nothing, and I say nothing. At work I listen to rich women complain about how difficult their lives are. Rich men pout about their childhoods, and their children talk…they talk and they talk, about absolutely nothing. And there I sit, in my three thousand dollar chair, nodding and telling them things that they should already know.

I am an unnecessary being.

I walked into the office in a bad mood; result of the coffee incident. Sandra, my secretary, grinned with her bleached teeth and pink lips. God, I hate her.

"Good morning, Dr. Whitmore!" Exclamation point. She looks like an exclamation point…the stereotypical secretary. Beautiful, young, never wears anything but designer clothes. Annoying as hell. I often find myself wishing that I had chosen the chubby girl.

"Mrs. Martinez will be here in about twenty minutes!"

I nodded, walking into my office. It really is a beautiful office…dark wooded furniture, big windows, and the customary original Van Gogh painting. I don't even like Van Gogh. Sandra's voice came through my phone, announcing my first patient of the day.

Mrs. Martinez walked in. She was clad in the style that many middle aged women choose, too much makeup and too little clothing. Her illness was stress, of course. She was just dropping by for her monthly chat. I was treated to an hour of listening to her compare her life to soap operas, reminisce on the good old days when she had been beautiful, and complain that her husband just didn't appreciate her. Right.

After a grueling hour, the next patient was quickly buzzed in. She was a new patient, 19 years old. Giles, Samantha. She had attempted suicide, and I got the pleasure of evaluating her mental health.

"Wonderful. A suicidal little rich bitch." I pressed the hateful green button, sentencing myself to an hour of listening to Samantha give excuses about what boiled down to a plea for attention.

And then she walked in, attitude and legs. I was taken aback at first. She was not beautiful. She was…intriguing, interesting, pixie-like. But not beautiful. She had a smooth complexion, somewhere between tan and white, big black eyes that were not tainted by makeup, and a naturally red mouth. Her mouth was nothing compared to her hair, though. It was bright red, long, and pulled back messily. Her thin nose was lightly sprinkled with freckles, making her look very young. She was thin; a bit too thin, though that isn't unusual in suicide attempts. Black slacks and a white t-shirt hung off of her frame.

"Hello, Samantha. I'm Dr. Whitmore." I stood to greet her, trying to use my warmest voice-the one that I saved for children. It grated my throat uncomfortably, rusty from disuse. She stood there, her face blank. "Okay, ah, take a seat. Anywhere you'd like."

I sat in my chair, watching her. She looked around the room briefly, settling on an oversized bean bag that I had for children. The Styrofoam crackled as she moved around, sitting cross-legged. She never broke eye contact.

"Okay, then. Why don't you start us off, Samantha?"


"Very well, start us off, Sam."

She played with her shirt for a moment. So she was nervous…okay then.

"I don't know. I don't want to be here."

"Understandably. But as long as you are here, why don't we make the best of it?" Once again, I was using The Voice. The mock-caring voice that I use with children when I try to coax them into trusting me. Maybe it was because she was in the bean bag…maybe it was how helpless and small she looked.

"I don't appreciate being spoken to like I'm a fucking moron." She made no gestures to further the impact of her words, the tone of her voice remained calm and neutral…not even her countenance changed.

"Okay, then. Sam," I spoke to her now like an adult. An adult that I was ready to butt heads with. "Why do you think you tried to kill yourself?"

"Getting a little ahead of yourself, aren't you? We didn't even talk about my childhood yet."

"Why did you try to commit suicide?" Oh God. I had let her get to me. That sneer… "Why is it that you couldn't live any longer?"

She winced. I rejoiced inwardly, and tried to keep a smirk off of my face. I had put a crack in her shell. There was a good two minutes of silence as she stated me down, allowing no expression to come across her face.

"I suppose…I wanted to die." Sarcasm returned to her voice. Had I imagined that crack? Had her veneer remained intact?

"What made you want to die?"


"Anything in particular?" She shrugged. I hate shrugs. Like I can't be respected with a verbal answer…even a fucking grunt is better than a shrug.

"Any history of suicide in your family?" This was a cheap shot. Pulled out too soon, and too directly. I had read in her files that her mother had killed herself a year ago…with pills, probably. The moment the words left my mouth, I regretted it terribly. I averted my eyes from the look on her face. She freely displayed raw, real pain…for at least a few seconds. I didn't want to hurt her.

"Why don't you answer that for me? It must be on your desk." She pinched her lips together in anger. We sat in silence for a moment.

"I apologize."

"Yeah, well…don't ask me questions that you already know the answers to, okay? That's bullshit psychology. Plus, it's really condescending. I don't appreciate that."


She attempted a small, wan smile. It fit awkwardly, a bit crooked. It soon disappeared.

"Would you consider yourself to be depressed?"

"I guess." Another small smile. I felt honored; and relieved.

We talked for a while longer. My diagnosis-that she was probably dysthymically depressed, and had developed a short, if severe, case of major depression. Mildly depressed with a few bad days…but not mentally ill. This girl did not belong in an institution.

I was leading into the end of our session, when she interrupted me.

"So what's your diagnosis, doctor?" She smirked a little. "Do I get some pills? Lithium, maybe?"

"I'm not that kind of doctor." I frowned. "But I can write you a prescription for antidepressants."

She didn't say anything for a while. "I don't do drugs, if that's what you're saying, I was only joking. I wouldn't attempt suicide for a fucking bottle of Prozac or whatever." I had offended her.

"I didn't think you would do that. I really do think that your form of depression can't be cured with time or therapy, but medication may help a little bit." I wrote a prescription quickly and handed it to her. She looked at it for a very long time before folding it and putting it in her pocket.

"Thanks." Her voice sounded small and lost. "Are we through here?"

"Yes. Good luck. I've written you a clean bill of health."

"Basically…nearly, right?" But not completely. Never completely…I heard it in her voice. She smiled crookedly and began to walk towards the door.

"Sam." I called out. The doctor left me, and Dan came to the front of my personality. "You're going to get that prescription taken care of, right? Straight to the pharmacy?"

She smiled, more warmly, but still sad. "Sure. See you around." She left.

The next patient came in and I forgot all about Samantha Giles, concentrating on getting through the day. Luckily, it was a short day. I got out of work at 5:00. Leaving work has always lifted my spirits. So has dreary weather, for some reason. When I stepped outside, it was starting to rain. I walked around the corner to my car, barely noticing the small bundle sitting upright on the bench near the bus stop.


She looked up, her eyes connecting with mine in a wave of mutual surprise.

"Hey there."

"What are you doing here?"

"Waiting. I missed the first bus…then I got lost, and had to take another one back here, just to start off where I began. No fucking taxis ever come out here." She frowned, looking up at the sky as though she had just realized it was raining.

"So you're just waiting for the next bus?" She nodded, sitting back in the wet bench. "Sam, there won't be another bus for hours. Would you like me to call a taxi?"

She shook her head. "I don't have the cash on me to do that. I didn't think I'd need it this morning…I'll just wait for the bus."

I sighed, a fury of indecision sitting heavily at the bottom of my stomach. I wanted badly to walk to my car and leave her there, waiting for hours in the rain. Waiting for what? A bus? A mugger? A rapist?

"I could give you a lift." What?! I couldn't believe the words that were coming out of my mouth.

"I can wait."

A slap in the face. "I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving you out here."

"You could wait with me. It would be fun."

"Thanks, but no."

"Fine. As long as Dr. Whitmore is comfortable…where's your car?"

"Call me Dan." I showed her to my car. It only bothered me slightly that she got my leather upholstery soaking wet.

"Sooo, where are you taking me, Danny?"

"Not Danny."

"Okay, where are you taking me, Dan?"

"That depends. Where do you live?"

"That's personal, and none of your business." She snapped.

I paused, unsure of what to say. "I was joking." She said, and gave me directions to her brownstone.

I dropped her off and watched her walk safely through the front doors of the apartment complex.

Once I was home, I parked my car in the garage and went inside, dreading the evening.

"Daniel!" My wife shouted my name when she heard the heavy doors thud shut. "Where the hell did you put the vodka?"

"It's in the liquor cabinet."

"Oh! Okay…I'm making cocktails!" she announced. I bit back the urge to ask if that meant that she had already consumed all of the gin that was in the house.

"I'm going up to bed."

"It's only 6-" she came into the room, two glasses in her hands. She handed me one. "6:30!"

"I'm going to read for a bit, I think." I took a sip and handed it back to her, heading up the stairs.

I redid this chapter...didn't like the way it was.