Tales Out Of The Psych Office, A Young Adult Novel
© 2011 Shirley Ann Howard
“Next Tuesday at 3:30?”
“Sure,” Melissa said, biting the last bit of nail on her index finger.
Kathy handed her the small, white appointment card and opened the door. “Have a good week. And practice avoiding the ‘all or nothing’ negative thinking we’ve been discussing.”
“Yeah.” Melissa’s mouth twisted a little, and even tried to form a curve, but not anything close to what could be called a smile.
She walked past the waiting room and—froze—for just a split second, when she recognized a boy from her English class. Without turning her head, she quickened her step and left the office.
He was reading a magazine… I don’t think he saw me.
She sloshed through light slush to the closest bus stop on Mass Ave. Store windows were sprayed with snow and draped with gold garlands. Music invited folks to sing about Santa, but Melissa didn’t sing or look at displays. She felt none of the holiday merriment they tried to induce.
She leaned against a light post
and looked down the busy
How’s it possible not to be negative about missing a bus?
An older man carrying a shopping bag soon joined her and stood a few feet back on the sidewalk. Melissa turned away. His half-gray and scraggly beard reminded her of Jim, her mother’s live-in boyfriend.
Hanging here, waiting for a bus, at least means I’m not home.
Ha! She laughed at the irony. I hope I remember to ask Kathy next week if that’s the right way to think.
Kathy was a licensed mental health counselor and Melissa King had been seeing her for a month now, ever since the school nurse noticed cuts on Melissa’s wrists. They hadn’t been deep cuts, just nicks she’d made with dull scissors, and Melissa had tried to deny it. She said her neighbor’s cat had done it.
But the nurse insisted on making an issue of it, first with the school psychologist and then with Melissa’s mother, and before you knew it, Melissa was required to get screened by a professional.