Sarah William stared at the salt and pepper haired man, who sat in the chair across from hers.
With his right leg crossed over his left, he took long, slow puffs from his pipe.
“Are you allowed to smoke in here?” She asked, frowning.
The doctor didn’t say anything for a moment; instead, he simply stared at her as he exhaled, a cloud of smoke spilling out of his nose.
“Did you happen to catch the name on the door?” He asked.
Well shit, message received, loud and clear.
Sitting back in her seat, Sarah stared down at the letter from the court. She was being declared unfit to get a divorce. Was that even legal?
“Tell me something. Why’d you get married?” He asked.
Was he fucking serious? It took him all that time to come up with that simple fucking question?
“Because I wanted to make Maddie my wife.” She said.
The doctor laughed, another puff of smoke rushing out of his nose as he did so.
“A smart ass. I like it.” He laughed.
The room fell silent, and the doctor rolled his wrist, urging her on.
What, was this some bullshit exercise to make her want to reconsider divorcing her wife? All the reasons were selfish; because Maddie was a constant in an ever-changing world.
For years, decades, Sarah’s world was black and white, and like the clumsy shit she is, Maddie waltzed in, eyes shining like stars, her smile that of the sun, and spilled a can of happy sunshine all over Sarah’s world. She brought the warmth of the sun, calm, and stability; all the things Sarah never had. Sarah was drawn to it all; like a moth to a flame.
“Because daddy never told me no as a child.” Sarah said.
The doctor’s brows bunched together, and Sarah felt like smirking.
Like a dead mouse in front of a cat, Sarah dangled the bait. Come on doc, come and get it.
“Say more.” He said.
Say more? What the hell, he was supposed to ask about her dad and she’d take him down some bullshit path in her childhood and… You know what? Fuck it, she’d do it herself.
“I’ve always gotten what I wanted. I wanted Maddie, so I got her. Plain and simple.” She said with a cocky grin.
“And now that you have her, you don’t want her anymore.” He said, holding up the divorce papers.
For reasons Sarah didn’t want to think too much about, those words cut deep. Of course she WANTED Maddie, but she was no good. They never should have gotten married; never should have even started dating. Sarah was beneath her, but not in some ‘woe is me’ or ‘i’m too broken to love’ kind of way; that shit was narcissism dressed up in a way that made the folks who said it seem like the victims. No, Sarah wasn’t like that; what she meant was her and Maddie’s marriage was a grossly unfair trade. Sarah got the world, and then some, while Maddie only got shards of glass, that cut her when all she wanted to do was help. Sarah was a virus, and Maddie was the host.
“Look doc, I’m a speeding train, traveling at a million miles, going nowhere. My wife’s a hostage with Stockholm syndrome.” Sarah said.
The doctor nodded before writing something on that stupid pad he always wrote on.
“So she’s crazy.” He said, pointing his pen at Sarah.
This fucking…. Wasn’t he supposed to be a professional?
“Doc, using the C word? How unprofessional of you?” She said, her tone screaming ‘ooouuu, I’m telling.’
“Hey, of course I would never call anyone crazy. I’m just trying to make sure I’m hearing you.” He said.
This mother… This back and forth between them felt like such a childish game.
“Wanna know why I declared you clinically unwell?” He asked.
No, she didn’t want to know; why would she, when she already knew. The man was a sick fuck who enjoyed seeing people suffer.
“I already know. So that I wouldn’t be able to get divorced.” She said, her eyes rolling on their own.
“Because you remind me of me. Now, before you roll your eyes again and tune me out, hear me out. I see you, thinking you can burn the city you and your wife built, and skip town. Thinking you’re saving Maddie, doing her a favor, but you’re not. You’re patronizing her, treating the woman you claim to love like a child. The two of you sat down and decided to get married together, so if you wanna leave, you’ve gotta go to her, woman to woman, and tell her. Tell her it’s over, that you don’t love her, that it’s not worth it to you, that…”
“SHUT UP! SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH! YOU DON’T KNOW A DAMN THING! NOT ABOUT ME, NOT ABOUT MY WIFE, AND NOT ABOUT MY MARRIAGE!” Sarah shouted, hot in the face.
“You don’t hurt the people you love like this! You don’t abuse the people you love like this! YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT! You don’t know what it’s like to be the source of someone’s pain, to hold their hand and burn them time and time again. I’m not patronizing her! I’m setting her free, because THAT, THAT’S FUCKING LOVE! No more sorrys, no more hurting her, just freedom! It’s the LEAST I could do.” Said Sarah.
By now she was huffing and puffing. Her face was so hot, her tears nearly evaporated the moment they hit her cheeks.
Her wife wouldn’t do it, she wouldn’t cut the cord, so Sarah had to do it for her; for them both.
The doctor shook his head, his own tears rising; but he managed to keep them at bay.
Rising from his seat, the doctor made his way over to his shredder and dropped the papers. As the machine ate the documents, Sarah felt like strangling him.
“One day you’ll thank me.” He said slowly.
Sarah doubted that, but she said nothing, only sitting there as the doctor drew up a recommendation that she go in-patient.
Sarah simply sat quietly, this would be her fifth stay in the last three and a half years.
If you were Maddie, could you thank the doctor, or would you be upset? Leave a comment and let me know.