She was old when she saw the therapist. "I realise now," she said. "How foolish I was to let it get to me. But it's gotten to me and I can't shake it off."
He gave her a piece of a paper and told her to go to the chemist. She walked in and handed over the paper and out of the store she looked over the indecipherable ingredients. She wasn't even sure if they were called ingredients, or if they were actually somewhere in the box at all, but they were on the packet and she couldn't understand what it meant.
She was meant to take one at breakfast and one at lunch so when she woke the next morning she slipped the small pill out of its pocket and laid it on a napkin. She didn't stare at it, that would be a standoff and she didn't want to fight with a little thing made of unknown ingredients. She had always had a small throat and struggled swallowing pills. She ate her cereal and picked up the pill. As soon as it slipped into her mouth she spat it out onto the napkin. She wished the therapist had asked her important things, like whether she liked pills or not, instead of asking her about her head. After three times she threw it in the bin, deciding there was probably little bits of papery fluff sticking to it and she didn't want that inside her.
When she saw the therapist the next week he asked if she had been taking the pills. She had been thinking about whether he would ask her about the pills but had decided that since the week before had hadn't asked at all about whether she liked pills or not, he would not be smart enough to ask now. Therefore she had not prepared an answer and so only said "oh yes, those wonderful slippery things."
He asked her again things about her head and she replied to them nonchalantly. She couldn't even remember why she had gone there to begin, her daughter had told her to she thought. It was just like her daughter, telling everyone what to do.
"I have a daughter," she told the therapist.
"What's she like?"
She was going to launch into a tale but didn't want to prattle on like a kindergarten.
"Her name is Mandy."
"Do you think of her often?"
Perhaps the therapist was scared by her shrill voice and the subject was changed to something else. She hadn't meant it to turn out so loud but he had asked such an obvious question she was almost offended for a moment. Of course she thought of her daughter often.
That night she called her daughter to tell her what had happened at the therapist but no one answered. The next day she tried again but the line just went to her voicemail. Perhaps, she thought, a mystery man has whisked her off her to feet to a romantic holiday in Hawaii. Maybe, after they had dated a reasonable time they would get married and the wedding would be where he took her on their first holiday. But she had never liked the heat and hoped he had taken her somewhere colder, somewhere not so far too for she didn't like travel. Maybe he had just taken her down to that nice restaurant on the hill, she liked that place and wouldn't mind going to a wedding there.
She had to go back to the chemist for more pills.
"Having no troubles with them?" The nice young lady behind the counter asked.
This, she thought, was a sensible woman.
"None at all." And she paid with a smile and took the pills.
She thought that since it must be a different batch they may be easier, so the next morning she set up her cereal with a napkin and a shiny pill laid out on it.
"Are you remembering to take the pills?" The therapist asked when she saw him next.
"Oh yes." She was remembering, her memory was very good on that matter, however if anyone sorted through her bin they would find several pills that should be elsewhere.
"Do you understand what those pills do?"
She didn't want to seem quite ignorant but was rather curious as to what was meant to be happening, perhaps next time she could lie and say her hair had grown three inches, or her cheeks shinier, or whatever the pills did.
"They'll calm you, help you to think clearer."
"But I already think clear."
She wondered really why ever she had found herself in this place. She was being asked such obvious questions and told to take things she didn't need.
"Do you remember the first day you saw me you said there was something you couldn't get off your mind?"
"It was probably the phone the bill." She wondered why he was bringing up such an unrelated topic.
"Can you remember why you're here?"
"I don't need to be here." It was such a pointless question that she felt like she was talking to a kindergarten. Just like every child, she thought, you must be patient. She was always having to be patient with her daughter. She hadn't called her back yet, the mystery man must have taken her someplace far. Somewhere perhaps that was hard to get to, like up a high mountain with no phone line. She would have to suggest they have the wedding at the bottom of the mountain not the top, otherwise she would be watching it by binoculars.
"Why don't you think you need to be here?"
"Because you're asking such obvious questions." She found she could not be patient much longer. People must know their faults so they can correct themselves.
"Which questions are these?"
"You asked if I think of my daughter often, well of course I do, she was the one that made me come here after all. She's off on a holiday somewhere right now I believe, she hasn't been answering her phone, but I do hope she comes back soon, I really would like to know where she's gone."
"Your daughter won't come back."
She wanted to tell the man that if she had never come to see him she wouldn't of remembered. She could of gone on living as things were before. She had always been a woman of the mind, caught up in pills and fancies, that she could so easily unremember what had happened. She didn't forget, she knew, she just didn't remember.
She wanted to say all this to the main, but she didn't and just said, "That's right."