Saturday morning, Dr. Samuels drove to her office to get some administrative work done since she wouldn't have to worry about any appointments. The parking lot was empty and the trees were bare, but there was a warm yellow sun in the sky and there was a delicious crispness in the air – just the right kind of weather for a cardigan and a comfy pair of slacks. She felt the wind blow through her hair and took a deep breath, relishing the feeling of being outdoors before she unlocked the glass door to her office.

The building was empty and quiet. When she got into her office, she made a point of turning on her stone waterfall, a nice treasure she had stumbled upon at a world goods store. Intended for meditation purposes, she often used it to create a calm and relaxing setting for her clients. This morning she would use it to create a little white noise in the background.

She sat down at her desk and went to shake the mouse for her computer when she noticed a piece of paper lying on her keyboard. Curious, she picked the envelope up and took a closer look at it. On the front, in tidy cursive letters was her name. She wondered who it could be from and proceeded to open it.

Inside was more writing in the same tidy cursive handwriting. She read:

Dear Dr. Samuels,

Thank you for your time this past year. While I know I have not always been the most agreeable patient, I have appreciated your sincere concern and your suggestions to improve my well being.

One of the things you frequently recommended was that I go out and meet new people, so that I might start building relationships outside of my job. You said that it was important for people to have healthy social lives, but for a long time I thought this was just something doctors like you were supposed to say.

My thoughts on the subject have changed. I now have a friend – two, in fact. Their names are LouAnne and Dale. I have been living with them for just a few weeks now, but I can already tell that we will be friends for life. They are just those kinds of people.

I won't bore you with the details of how I came to know them or why I decided to move in with them so quickly. I'm sure that will make you a little nervous, but don't worry. I'm doing very well. In fact – this may come as quite a surprise to you – but I've quit my job at Perkin's. Dale & LouAnne both think that my artwork is very good, and they are letting me use their basement to continue practicing with my water colors.

At first, they recommended that I share it with others, much like you, but I explained to them why I felt uncomfortable. They understood my reasoning and they are respectful of my boundaries.

Mr. Seeley was quite as surprised as I'm sure you were just now when he found out I was quitting. He thought it might have something to do with all the recent events at the store, but I just told him that I was moving forward in a different career direction. He didn't seem to care after that. He said I could keep my apron and my name tag and that I was welcome back should I ever need a job. That is quite reassuring, although I don't think I ever will go back even if I needed to.

Anyways, the reason I am telling you all of this is because I am no longer in need of your services. Other Susan has been getting quieter and quieter lately. Since I moved to LouAnne and Dale's house, I almost never hear from her. Occasionally, when I am falling asleep at night, she will peek in to see how I am doing – but as soon as she sees that I am strong and sound, she scatters away. There is nothing there for her to fight with anymore. She has no reason to stay when LouAnne and I have coffee in the morning together. We go grocery shopping at a new store that opened up on the other side of town so we don't have to go to Perkin's. You won't understand this, but LouAnne was actually going to file a lawsuit against the store! She dropped it, though... and for the most wonderful, kindest thing in the world. Can you believe this? She paid for my medical bills after the accident! She said it was a better use of the money, but I still can't get over it. I do my best now to return the favor in little ways. If she's not feeling well, I'll help her prop her feet up and bring her makeup. She loves wearing makeup, and so do I. I haven't worn it since I was so young. It's like painting for your face!

Dale is great, too. He was so understanding after the accident, he didn't even bother filing the claim. Oh, that's how I met Dale. I told you I wouldn't bore you with the details, but I guess there wasn't much else to say besides that. His truck is fine, he's fine, and so am I. He works very hard at his job, and when he comes home he makes dinner for us. He also likes to play video games in the basement, but since I'm down there with my paints now he keeps the volume down so that I'm not disturbed.

My address is at 40 Ranier Avenue if you ever wish to reach me. I am hoping to get my first letters in the mail any day now; I changed my address through the post office about a week and a half ago. I only ever get junk mail, but there's something nice about getting your first letter at a new home.

There's not much else to say, I guess. Thank you again for your help. I guess you were right all along about me needing a friend. Even people like me aren't meant to be alone in this world. And my painting is coming along nicely again.

Kind regards,


The End