Short Story: The Session

Note: Part Two from “The Sketch”

One painting. One painting is the only thing colorful in this tiny space, as it hangs in the middle of two college certificates. It displays a purple flower in bloom and health with its freshly green stem and violet petals stealing attention away from the blue background the artist called a sky. The painting hung on the blank, white wall, kind of alone. Alone like Eddy, despite his father sitting directly next to him.

Father and son were sitting in a small blank room in black chairs, waiting for the therapist to walk through the black door, and sit on the empty black rolling chair in front of them and the frames.

All looks new, except for the dark carpet under their feet. The walls appear smooth and freshly painted. The masterpiece of the flower even looks new. Unfortunately, I piece of the carpet moving up and down, revealing and hiding the old wooden tile under Eddy’s foot didn’t help the room’s masquerade.

Hopefully the therapist sees through Dad’s masquerade, Eddy thinks to himself. It took a lot of convincing to get him here. How much will it take to convince him to tell the truth?

“We don’t have to be here,” Dad whispers.

Eddy turns to him and scoffs. “Yes, we do, Dad,” he states at a normal tone. “It’s time.”

“Eddy, you are twenty-four years old. You sent me here to cry with you about how I threw a sh**** drawing you made about fifteen years ago?”

He always does this.

“You did a lot more than what you did fifteen years ago, and you know it.”

“You just need to quit whining like a little b****,” Dad declares, higher than a whisper, but still lower than normal, crossing his arms.

Eddy raises one eyebrow and sits up straighter to say, “Oh? Says the one who’s being a total child about counseling once a month. Be glad it’s not once a week, we need more than what we’re getting.”

“Look, son, I’m doing this for your mother, not for you.”

Eddy sighs and shakes his head. “It’s amazing she’s stayed with you for this long,” he points out under his breath.

“Now you wanna whisper, Eddy?” Dad shifts in his seat and places a fist on his chin, pretending to be inquisitive. “What was that? C’mon.” He gestures his fingers in and out to play this up some more. “You’re speaking more than you did with your silly sketches, so what was that?”

“It’sss amaaaazzinggg,” Eddy returns to normal voice level, articulating every word as hard as he can,” howwww she’ssss stttayeddd withh youuu ffforrr thissss looong.”

Dad’s facial expression gets softer as he turns to face the empty chair again.

“You’ve become a real prick since college,” Dad attempts to hide his emotional defeat.

Eddy emphatically shrugs, “I learned from the best.”

Finally, both men look up upon hearing the doorknob twist. The silver doorknob twists to the right to have Dr. Dunbar enter.

Funny, no suit and tie like your usual therapist. He has on a brown button up with blue stripes and corduroys; to put the cherry on top of his whole look, he has a goatee that can dance in the wind if it were to blow in here, or if a fan would blow in here. Dad snickers to himself until he glances Dr. Dunbar’s credentials again: Bachelor’s at Duke University and a Master’s at Princeton University, all in cognitive psychology. Pretty legit, pretty top-notch.

Eddy smirks; he is doing something right.

“Good afternoon, gentleman,” Dr. Dunbar greets, reaching his left arm out for a handshake before sitting down. “I’m Dr. Dunbar, thank you for meeting with me today.”

Eddy shakes his hand, “Oh no, thank you,” he responds.

Dad shakes Dr. Dunbar’s hand limply. If you aren’t from the business world, don’t expect a respectful handshake from Dad.

Maybe it wasn’t the stress that made him lose his hair. Maybe it was karma kicking him all throughout the top of his head instead of in the balls where it should have been for being so rude to people.

Dr. Dunbar sits down in front of them and asks, “So, shall we get started?”

Dad nods, shrugging. God, why does he always do that, Eddy shouts in his mind.

“Yes, please,” Eddy confirms, placing emphasis on the word “please.” Dad sits up straighter after groaning at Eddy, more subtly than when the therapist wasn’t in the room.

“All right then,” Dr. Dunbar says, rubbing his hands together to fold in front of him in his lap.

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