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Sway ( Short Story)

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

By, Wendiann Alfieri

I am going into the waiting room, and the reality begins to swirl around my head. It’s the first time I am ever going to meet a therapist. But, my regular doc has “Highly Recommended” it; his beady eyes had stared daring me to not take his suggestion, his hair so slick with gel it looked plastic. So I agreed, in fear that his hair would come back from the dead and attack me if I didn’t.

There is currently no one else in this waiting room, totally desolate except for the rapid typing from the receptionist and the popping of her chewing gum. I am sitting in the seat closest to the door. I am looking around now, twiddling my thumbs. The hotline numbers that are currently posted scream for me to call them, even though I am already getting help. Hotlines are complicated; I never have even thought to call one. Seeing them posted here makes me realize people want me to be heard.

The wall murals are not much comfort though, or rather, lack thereof. Plain beige walls with nothing but hotline numbers. Huh, I was expecting at least a choking hazard sign- oh wait there it is. It looks like it’s in Chinese. I now realize maybe I need to check myself in. God, I’m so nervous. When I walk up to her she looks up. She is smiling, with red lipstick coating her teeth. I am smiling back, awkwardly.

I am speaking as though I am a mouse peeping. “Hi,” I am squeaking out. “My name is Geraldine. I am here to see Dr. Martin for a 4 o’ clock appointment?” She is looking at me, and then checks the time. “Your late,” she is saying sternly. As though there was anyone else in this office. “I know, I’m …five minutes late. I apologize” I am stammering. She is looking at me, now she is motioning me to have a seat. I sit on the nearest couch.

The room is starting to feel, colder. Really cold, and ironically, the lady I presume to be Dr. Martin opens the door and a patient is walking out, looking disgruntled. He sees me and tries to say something, but he doesn’t. Dr. Martin smiles at me as the main door shuts with a bang. She is offering me her hand. She is a tall white woman; it looks like she is snowfall among the coldness. I also notice her eyes are gray, and so is her hair. Other than the gray hair, she looks young enough, 30’s maybe. I don’t realize how long I am sitting there staring at her until I now snap out of it and shake her hands. Her hands are as hot as the devil and I follow her to the office in the back in a stupor.

She is ushering me into the office, and I am first in the room. I hear the door quietly shut behind us. But all I can hear is my breath and I turn around to see Dr. Martin is not in here. Maybe I made a mistake. I go to open the door. Suddenly I am feeling nauseous, why? The floor, it seems like it’s…oh no. I slip as the floor begins to sway and soon I am in a pool of freezing cold water.

I don’t know what to do. I am able to stay afloat but my clothes are weighing me down. Something is pulling me now. The room, the center, I am swirling around the room which is now an odd circle shape. I have to get out; I have to find a way. I try grabbing onto the walls, but there is nothing there.

My eyes are darting back and forth. I see an object, an office phone, just floating there. I don’t know why but I reach for it anyway. The phone, what am I going to do with a stupid phone? I look on the walls, holding the phone close to me. The walls have nothing but hotline numbers. I realize what I have to do. The phone is disconnected and out of service obviously just floating here. But I dial. I dial it anyway. Maybe someone will hear me. I don’t hear a ringing, but I do see a door.

The water is draining away. I am sopping wet and around me are office supplies just lying on the floor. Dr. Martin is opening the door. She is smiling. “So, I’ll see you 4 o’clock next week?” She states. I just am holding my hands to my face. They are burning hot.

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