“How are you, Joyce?” A blond haired woman asked as she approached me in the reception area. She held out her hand and I shook it. In her other hand was a yellow notepad, a pen clipped on the end. She was so different than I’ve imagined, no lab coat, just a regular fleece jacket and jeans and heels. That was the first time I been to Counseling Center after completing the brief mental state examination.
I willed a tiny smile, “I’m fine, thank you.”
“Good, excellent, follow me.” She smiled, revealing the dimples on each side of her cheek.
Then she pushed the back door open and led me through a series of stairs into a dark hallway. As we passed room by room, she compared the tiny paper in her hand with the room number. After a few more minutes, we finally stopped outside a room.
She pulled up her jacket, revealing a bundle of keys clipped to one of the belt loop of her jeans and started flipping the keys, searching for the right one to open the door. I looked at the keys, puzzled. They were all unmarked, one looked like the other. How can she tell which one opens this door?
She shoved a key into the key hole and turned. “Come on in and take a seat.” She chimed holding the door open.
The room was already brightly lit and with it greenish-yellow walls and metal table, it looked like one of those interrogations room I’ve seen in crime dramas. I took a seat across from her and immediately noticed a security camera in the upper corner of the room. It stared right at me. My heartbeat sped up slightly as I turned my attention back to the blond woman.
Suddenly, the looked on her face changed and it told me, let’s get down to business. She opened her notepad to a new page, “My name is Shanna and I will help you to get through whatever you need. First, please tell me about yourself so I can understand your situation better.”
I took a quick breath. “As you know, my name is Joyce Davis and I am a Freshman at the University. My dad died when I was little. So I can only remember him so much. Right now, I live with my mom and I go to school here. That’s it.”
“Tell me about your relationship with your mother?” Shanna asked, scribbling on her notepad.
“Um, there isn’t much to tell except my mom has a temper and she gets like angry and frustrated at the slightest irritation.” I said.
Shanna nodded, “Hmm, hmm, and how do you feel about that?”
I blinked at her. How do I feel about it? Nobody has ever asked me this question before even myself. I’ve lived with mom for so many years that I became lost in touch with my feeling after all these years. I dug inside like men searching for gold to find all those feelings I’ve kept hidden all these years. Only two words came to mind, I answered quietly, “sad and angry.”
More scribbling on the notepad. “Hmm, hmm and why does it makes you feel this way?”
Why? “‘Cause she lashes out on me when she gets stress from work. That’s why and I have no one to talk to.” Shanna leaned back in her chair, startled by my sudden rage but this was the closest I’ve been to getting angry. I shook my head slowly, “I’m sorry. It’s just that I have no one to talk and most of time I just want to cry but I can’t.”
“Because crying shows a person’s weakness, makes them vulnerable.”
Shanna nodded thoughtfully, “True but it also shows a person is not emotionless.” She smiled and leaned forward, “You’re a strong person.” She sat back and put the pen to her chin, “Have you considered moving into the dorm?”
I nodded. “The thing is I don’t have any money to pay for it.”
“There are dorm room scholarships that will help you get into the dorm free. Just pay attention to the scholarship bulletin in the spring and apply then.”
My brow arched “Really?”
I knew a little bit about the scholarships but with the chaos at home and my luck, I would have better luck not applying. Besides, my grades were so stellar in high school, just an average A’s and B’s student, big whoop, scholarship people only pay attention to straight A’s. So what’s the point of spending all this time writing essays if I wasn’t going to be granted the scholarships.
It was a moment of quiet for both of us. Shanna checked her watch, “So our hour is almost up, is there anything else you want to add?”
I wanted to scream some more about how mom threats to kick me out every single day but I think I startled this poor psychiatrist student enough today. Next time, I promised myself besides, a seam to my thick wall is crack and I have to seal it before I get home tonight. I shook my head and smiled.
We stood up, “I guess that is it for today, then.” She wrenched open the heavy door and gestured me to walk out. “Let me walk you back upstairs and you can schedule your next appointment.” She reached for that bundle of keys again and locked the door. “Same time next week?” I nodded and we walked back upstairs silently.