"I only believe in fire. Life. Fire. Being myself on fire I set others on fire. Never death. Fire and life. Les Jeux."~ Anais Nin
Of Princesses And Queens- Chapter 1
If you really wanted to think about it, the demeanor of women could be classified into two parts. Well the demeanor of men too I suppose, but why bother classifying men? The first group of females consists of girls who wished to be princesses when they were little. They wanted pretty poufy dresses, balls with merry music, a soul mate in a prince charming, and a lifetime guarantee of Happily Ever After. They wanted the smaller crown.
Then there were the Queens. A type of female that is most certainly a breed apart, perhaps they too had grand balls with merry music, but the ornament they wore on their heads was much larger and therefore no one could confuse the two. They had a certain sophistication, a certain presence, a certain power that princesses could not posses.
And there was the true difference. A princess wanted, dreamed, desired, asked, but never demanded. A queen took but never wanted, could not want or else she could not take. It was an exchange of jealousy, a princess had passion but a Queen had expectation for things she knew she would get.
Those who tried to be both, well it's not as if it was a choice, but those who tried suffered greatly. It was like pushing two similar sides of a magnet together, impossible. They were too different and yet too similar to be possessed by one. Look at Marie Antoinette. A princess who was forced to be queen, and killed because she could not be.
Gwen Wes was a Queen. Had been since she was five and her mother asked her what color dress a princess like her herself would want to wear. And with her reply of "I'm a Queen mommy, A Queen has everything," her fate was set. And like Queen Elizabeth the 1st, she was intensely neurotic and thus thinking in third person. Stupid princesses never had these problems. All they had to worry about was doing the stable boy.
I really have to stop that. It's unhealthy.
Maybe if Dr. Whitman would actually talk. Damn her for keeping me in silence for so long. I hate when my unhinged tendencies start to rear their ugly heads.
But by the look on her face I had won. 15 minutes of a hundred dollar hour long session wasted, but it didn't matter as long as I won and she started. Her relatively pretty face showed irritation, her mouth opened. She, who pretended to be a princess but was most certainly a queen, hated when she had to start a session with me. Because I hated to begin, and what Queen likes to lose to other Queens?
Just look at Mary Queen of Scots.
"Why are you here Gwen?" She sounded curious. I paid her to sound concerned.
"Actually you can call me Miss. Wes."
"Are we back to that?"
I raked my eyes over the room. My first glance since entering. It was oddly pleasing to see that nothing much had changed. It wasn't a particularly cheerful room, but I liked that it lacked sentiment, there were no cheesy euphemisms hanging on the walls, no pictures of family, no knickknacks for patients to play with instead of dealing with their problems. There were just two chairs and a table in the middle with tissues on it. No physical barriers to stop the emotional ones.
"All right," She sighed loudly, it traveled the room and went back to me. " Why are you here, Miss Wes?"
Her voice took an edge at the last part. I suppose she found it ridiculous after all this time for her to be calling me by my last name, but it wasn't ridiculous: it was neurotic. Which I was, which I am, which I am being.
Her words were a compromise, a bribe. I took it.
What she wanted I couldn't truly give her though. She wanted absolute honesty, something I'm not sure I have. I wanted separation from her. Even though I had had it for a year, even though I was the one who scheduled this meeting for this day at this time, even though I left a fake name.
How long since I had been that person?
I am 'too fiery'...yet I wish to be seen as I am, and would lose all rather than soften away anything"
I decided to humor her a bit. Maybe I needed to, but that didn't really work because Queens don't need.
"It's September 4th."
I looked at her. I looked into her eyes for perhaps the first time. I always look at people's eyes, it would be cowardly not to, like a downtrodden animal, but to look into them was an entirely different subject. Her eyes shone blue, tiny colored dots encompassed by white. I couldn't see anything in them but I knew she was seeing Gwen Wes in her entirety. And that scared me.
"It's September 4th" She repeated my words with a prodding, a jabbing, an ice pick trying to find the chinks.
Gwen had none.
I had none. I had none!
"Yes." My voice sounded curt but small. Pathetic. I wanted a redo.
"Could you tell me what you're thinking of?"
"I'm thinking of metaphors."
There was a loud scratching noise of pen on paper in a dead room. It sounded louder than necessary, a sigh not spoken. Frustration was palpable in the room. As was silence.
I relaxed. My heels rested rather than dug into the floor. My arms left my stomach and found the chair rests. Silence was welcome. There were no expectations in silence, only words. Dr. Whitman did not like silence. Her mouth twisted, her manicure twitched, and her legs moved on their own merit.
I wanted to smile but I didn't.
A sobbing broke my peace, killed my peace. For a fleeting second, I feared it was me. It wasn't, its origin was unknown, from another room with 4 walls blocking it. That was 8 walls blocking it from me and yet I still heard it. It was ugly. It was weak and strong all at once. It was raw; it was pain at its purest form, it felt like truth. I hated whoever was doing it.
Crying. Who cried anymore?
My stomach clenched. I think I actually looked alarmed because Dr. Whitman was looking at me. I made my face relax but I felt a great seizing in my chest. I wanted to leave, not run, just leave.
Dr. Whitman reached over and turned on one of those wave-making machines. She smiled and I found that odd.
"I guess it's September 4th for someone in the next room too."
If I permitted myself to curse, I would curse her, but I don't so I hope she knew I hated her for that statement.
"It's ironic, If I remember correctly your last session was exactly a year ago. I thought you had broken your patterns?"
Actually it was September fifth. My stomach felt ill and I didn't feel like informing her.
"I'm done today. I'll schedule an appointment for next week. "
"May I call you Gwen?"
"Then yes you may."
Such a Queen.
He fucking needs a cigarette.
Like really, really, fucking needed a cigarette. So much so, that every eloquent way he had learned to turn a sentence was gone, his thoughts were shitty and simple and this: cigarette, need, fuck. Luckily there was no one he wanted to impress, here. Really this place made him feel pretty good about his screwed up addiction. Sure, he liked to inhale cancerous toxins but he didn't need to go whine to a shrink about it.
Funny, he used to respect people who admitted they needed help. Until the person needing help was Emma. Stupid Emma. God, when was she gonna get her license so he didn't have to wait around for her here. Every week. Every week of his life for indefinitely, he was gonna have to spend an hour in this waiting room, waiting around. Listening to his ipod or making forced chitchat with the receptionist, who apparently had a wild daughter that liked to drink. He found all of this out, when she got into a conversation with the drunk sitting next to him.
Emma wasn't a drunk. She just needed "help".
Right. Well so did the rest of the world. They didn't drag him here.
Cigarette. Cigarette. Cigarette.
Could he at least get some bubble wrap? This waiting was killing him from boredom. Liam tapped his hands on the metal chair. Tap. Tap. Tap. The drunk next to him looked over in annoyance.
He wondered if it would be rude to ask for a cigarette. It's not like he was gonna ask for some whiskey.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Then Liam's stomach dropped. His sister was crying.
He had heard the sound of her crying a lot. She was always overly emotional. Once, when they were little, they collected tadpoles and they died because they were fucking tadpoles, and they could barely survive without the help of 7 and five year olds. Emma had cried for hours. She had called herself a murderer and declared she would never want pets again.
When they were younger he had focused solely on the fact that his little sister was crying and in pain. He didn't know what she sounded like or how she cried, just that she was hurt and by some crazy link of family, he was hurt too. But now, she didn't cry as often, but when she did cry he noticed less of her emotions and more of her actual tears. She cried in an ugly way, a blubbery way, a screeching desperate please look at me/don't look at me way.
And he wanted to shrivel in his chair, because her room was down the hallway and he could hear her. Everyone sitting with him could hear her. He wanted to hit the drunk next to him for his sigh, wanted to yell at the receptionist for her pitying look. How did they know it was his sister? Was it written on his face? Were her cries secretly saying my brother is that boy in the chair tapping, he's not fine, I'm not fine, we're not fine.
It wasn't him damn it. He was fine. It was her.
And he hated that Emma was doing this to him, but why the fuck was she doing this to herself? She was embarrassing her self. She hated being embarrassed; it made her freeze up, what the hell was she doing.
Liam closed his eyes. Emma had stopped. He wondered what someone had said to set her off. Was she saying anything at all or was it just her pain unleashing itself into thoughtless cries and the redness of his cheeks.
He kind of hoped she was embarrassed too. At least it would be Emma. At least they would be shamed losers together.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
From the door on the right a person stepped out. He thinks he remembers reading Dr. Whitman on the door. But he's looked around so much in the last 40 minutes he's can't be sure. It's a she. But it looks like she's almost trying to hide it or any other signs of life form. She's wearing a heavy long coat, and glasses that take up the majority of her face. Her golden locks are peeping out through a hood.
She's either embarrassed or dying of a fever. It's well into the 80's and Liam's sweating in his tee shirt. It's the kind of weather that makes people stay still all day, it's the kind of weather that makes perverted teen boys (he's not one of them) not want to have sex for the first time since they watched porn, it's the kind of hot that made Liam feel even warmer by just staring at her thick jacket.
All he could really see of her was her lips; they were pouty and red and made him wonder what the rest of her looked like. She didn't look at anyone but took a seat horizontally to him.
Damn the drunk sitting next to him.
To be fair someone who wore a huge coat and glasses and seemed to want to run as far away as possible from the place (didn't he know how that felt?) probably would have chosen an empty spot anyways, but who was he to break the time honored tradition of hating lushes for no particular reason?
"I need to make an appointment for next week." She said this boldly, as if daring the people in the room to judge her. But he watched the only part of her he could see and he thinks maybe she is full of bravado. Or maybe he is projecting.
It's kind of creepy looking at her. He can't tell if she notices and not only does it make him feel like a weirdo but it's just off putting. Looking at someone and them possibly looking back, without truly seeing. It's a gift those glasses she is wearing, but it's a punishment for those around her.
The receptionist replies and he doesn't know what she says but the strange, embarrassed, hidden girl stands up and leaves.
He fucking needs a cigarette.