Visit the abyss

Fred was waiting in the box room, impatiently. He tried sitting down quietly, but his nerves showed through his shaking leg. He paced the perimeters of the room and counted each step it took.

"Twenty." He sighed to himself.

The door from the adjoined room suddenly opened and Fred stopped in his steps. A tall woman walked out of it, wiping the tears from her eyes with a lavender coloured handkerchief. Lydia followed, smiled at Fred and then beckoned for him to come in. As Fred walked towards the room, he couldn't help but look back for a moment at the crying woman who was now sitting on a chair in the box room, trying to compose herself.

"Take a seat and I'll be with you in a moment." Lydia informed, as she sat down at her desk and started writing notes on what could only be presumed to be about her last session that was with the crying woman. Fred took the only seat in the room which was a cushioned chair, placed right in front of her desk. He would often trace the deep dents on the wooden arms of the chair (which used to be once, smooth) with his fingers, and then ponder about the people who have sat on this chair and left these scars. When she finished, she tucked her notes away into a drawer and then focused her attention on Fred.

"Let's get this over and done with." said Fred, abruptly.

Lydia peered at him with her wrinkled eyes, and then sat back on her chair as if she was relaxed, but continued to look at him with intrigue.

"So how's things been then Fred? Still up to no good?" she finally asked with amusement.

Fred half smiled at this. He was always up to no good. Why else would he be here, talking to her about things that she didn't really care about. Although he thought she was useless, Fred would tell her things that he never would have told anyone else. The fact that she was only someone he knew inside this office made him more comfortable - knowing that she doesn't really know him. Other than what she already knows about him from being inside her office, and what his doctor may have said about him.

"Sometimes I don't know what's good for me and what isn't. I have to touch the flame a couple of times to finally learn that it's bad for me. You know? But even then, I still choose to cross lines."

Feeling his emotions rise, he took out a cigarette and a lighter from his jean pocket and placed the cigarette between his lips, then ignited a flame. He started smoking away his repressed feelings, as he watched a crow standing on a branch – watching him, through the large window behind Lydia. Until Fred finally noticed that he wasn't being watched by only the crow.

"Did you want one?" Fred asked

"Solving problems isn't as easy as exhaling them."

"I'm an unsolvable puzzle."

"That may be. Have you been taking your new pills?"

"No."

"And why is that?"

"Sam forgot to take his one day and he went absolutely nuts, he was worse than how he was before he started taking those loony pills. He's in one of those mental hospitals right now; I wonder what that's like. It must be bliss being separated from society for a while, like taking a break from life. I need that."

"I may not be a doctor, but I know, and you know that you should be taking your pills. If you're worried about the side effects then talk to your doctor, they'll tell you what you need to know. If things don't go down well with those pills then tell them and they'll try to look for alternatives. We all want what's best for you, Fred. If you don't try then you don't move from base one."

Fred extinguished his cigarette on his shell shaped ashtray which sat on the mini table next to his chair. Ever since Lydia had taken up Fred as one of her clients, she decided to buy ashtrays for him as a substitute for his initial ashtray – the arms of the chair her clients sit on.

"What's 'base one'?" asked Fred inquisitively, whilst dusting off his hand.

"The 'lost' stage."

Fred mused at this for a while.

"Is it possible to be stuck at this 'lost' stage for the rest of your life?"

"It's possible, when you've fallen into an abyss there's no turning back - they're so far down that they can never escape. There are also others that are born into the abyss, they have no sense of what's real, what isn't, what's right, and what's wrong. They just don't know how the world works, properly."

Lydia looked sideways towards her clock on the wall. Fred saw this and then looked too; it's ten-thirty.

"I'll see you next Wednesday then, at the usual time" said Lydia with smiled her Cheshire cat smile, like always at the end of the session. Fred always wondered whether the rest of her would eventually disappear into the darkness, leaving only her smile.