Three days later after hours spent questioning the situation in your mind, you walk into the Department of Psychological Science. The reception area is a large room, with a ceiling that is too high to render looking at. As you walk down the rows of metal chairs, you eye the young woman smiling at you. She seems far too friendly for you situation but you remind yourself it's not her situation.
"How are you today ma'am?"
"I have an appointment to see Doctor Ganaphe." You had spent the last three days trying to figure out how to pronounce his name. Now it came out like a half-strangled murmur, a voice full of fear at getting it wrong.
"Take a seat, Doctor Ganaphe will be with you in a moment." She says it perfectly, almost with a smug underlying tone in the pronouncement of the elegant 'ne'.
You turn and eye the rows, deciding to take a seat in the empty second row. The place wasn't particularly full, just some people dotted here and there across the seats, some looking at their phones and others twiddling their thumbs. There was something about them all, or perhaps you were just making it up, but they seemed tense. You were tense.
You pull your phone out the pocket if your skirt. After going through everything in your wardrobe, and then going to the shops, you had decided that the best thing to wear was business attire. You had held up each piece of clothing and thought 'does this make me look sane?' before choosing the simple black skirt and navy blouse. It was reasonable, repsectable and normal. That was what you hoped.
There were many nerve-racking things you had done in your life but this was probably the worst. It was walking into the unknown, into a place which everyone knew of but so knew what really happened with it. It was a place which was always seen to be open, helpful and present. It was far too good to be true. All the photos that plastered its advertisements were of smiling, happy people, swinging their arms in the air in glee. Some people seemed far too happy for it to be real.
He's tall, with a face that looks round and just passing through middle-aged.
"I'm Doctor Ganaphe."
He holds out a hand and you stand, taking the hand and wishing you had a chance to wipe the sweat off it. This was it.
"How are you today?"
"I'm good," you splutter quickly, and then smile without a clue of what you should be doing.
"Excellent. Follow me."
You glance at the receptionist at you walk past and she smiles at you, but this time it doesn't seem too friendly. It seems nice, warm, understanding. She must dozens of people each day in situations they don't want to be in.
Whilst Dr. Ganaphe slides down the hallway you stumble behind. On either side are doors labelled with numbers and names and you wonder what's going on inside of them. Will it be the same as what will happen to you?
He stops suddenly at a door on the left and holds it open for you.
"Take a seat."
The office is large considering the size of most but still relatively small. On the far side was a stylish metal desk and next to was an ominous looking bookcase full of instruments and gadgets. You wonder it's still called a bookcase, the only books you ever saw were in museums when they did exhibitions on the development of literature.
You slip down into the seat across the desk, crossing your legs then uncrossing them. Hands on your lap, you try and sit up straight but you can't tell if you look eager, desperate or something else entirely.
He takes a seat behind the desk, and looks to the computer screen to his right. Tapping at the desk, you see the lights of the keyboard on the metal and then he stops, looks up at you smiles.
"Well Mary Nome."
For a moment you want to punch him. He's said your name like it's a trivial thing, like it means you aren't someone, you're just two words put together. You've spent three days stressing over every little detail and now that you're here all you want to do is cry. You wish you knew the first name of him so you could spit it back but instead you can only call him by his title.
You remain silent, trying not to let yourself break down.
"Thank you for coming, I hope it hasn't cause you much trouble."
You had to taken the day off work and had lied and said you had a dentist appointment.
"None at all."
"Do you understand why you're here?"
Because someone thought you were crazy. "For an obligatory analysis." You quoted the words from the email.
"Yes. Your recent behaviour has been noticed, it's nothing to worry about," he adds casually. "If nothing's wrong you'll be fine to continue everything as normal. If someone is wrong well," he smiles. "We're here to help."
Since walking in you've decided you want to talk as little as possible so you're only going to open your mouth when it's necessary.
"I just want to ask you some questions, will that be alright?"
"Of course." Of course not, but you have no choice.
"Excellent." He taps away at his desk, his nails clicking against the metal in a threatening way.
"Please answer honestly, there is no right or wrong."
He adjusts the computer screen slightly, turning it away from you. Whatever is on there is a mystery.
"Ms. Nome, I understand you work in an accounting firm, what do you think about your job?"
The questions he was going to ask were a mystery to you, and you can't figure out if you should be surprised or not about this one.
"I'm very happy with my job, I've been there for almost three years now, it's a good work environment."
"And the people there?"
You wonder if he think you're raving mad for liking your job.
He nods, taps into his computer and turns back to you.
"Are you close with your family?"
With each question he asks you feel your hands getting sweatier. You have no idea how long you've been in there for, it would be rude to pull out your phone and look but it feels like the morning has worn onto the afternoon. Some of the questions are easy; you do drinking coffee, yellow is your favourite colour, but you're not sure how to answer others. Why did you cut your hair short? Is the brown natural? Do you like your feet or your hands more?
What does it matter? But you can't say that to him.
"Only one more question Ms. Nome.
"Do you think there's a problem?" His voice is strong and confident,
What do you say? You want to speak the truth and answer no but your mind flicks back to their motto. 'Help them to notice the change.' You don't think there's anything wrong but that doesn't mean they won't. If you answer yes then you think you'll be dooming yourself. It's a hard choice, something which you wish you could go away for and spend hours thinking about. However you don't have hours, you have seconds, and as your mind trails in cluelessness you know that you can't win.