“Me in Therapy, Part 1” by David Alexander Craig

“It was a terribly depressing time in my life, last summer was. And I would do strange things while depressed, drive strange places.”

This I told my therapist, part of a longer exchange–a whole 55 minutes worth.

“That’s how I ended up at the rest stop along I-84, and that’s how I came to write this.”

I handed her a slip of paper with black cursive scrawl all across it. It had once been a rest stop comment card. Now it was a piece of “written work.”

She read to herself what was written there. It said:

Three Jack Russells–alert, necks erect. Man leashed behind them. Free coffee here. Go to the concessions trailer to find it. Easily available, right before the entrance to the bathrooms. This rest area is constantly peopled, by the old man who runs the trailer restocking its giveaways and tidying up its signage with dutiful purpose. Old people, young people (children),  poor, less poor (none so rich (and yet, there are some terribly, horribly poor people here, and so those less poor (say, with intact automobile fenders and uncracked windshields) seem rich by comparison, automatically)). The sun’s bright and inescapable here. Though it is 6pm, it is still well above the horizon. Mixed people. Here they are mixed–crucibled. A native woman asleep in the passenger seat of an empty car. A colored man peering below his parked jalopy–off to the side. You wonder if you can still speak the language of these mixed people–and whether you’d like to.

The therapist looked up, smiling the half-smile (equal parts comforting and patronizing) so usual for therapists.

“After writing that,” I said, “whatever depressed feeling had brought me there–had caused me to drive so far from home–suddenly went away. I got in my car and drove back the way I’d came.”

The therapist pensively nodded her head, in order (I thought) to test whether I was finished with my story.

“What do you thing it could mean?” I asked. “What does it say about me?”

The therapist paused, glanced at something on the wall behind me and began to chew on her pen.

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