Sometimes They Hide in the Bush
When Ezra meets the psychotherapist she wears black pleather pants and pilly white socks and elevated Birkenstocks and a purple Nike sweatshirt. Her hair is gray like mouse hair and she has one silver tooth. She brings Ezra to a room with a small trampoline and two puzzles and a dirty-looking GÅSER and a tattered ORGEL VRETEN. She asks Ezra for his insurance card and tells him to please go have a seat in the POÄNG. The POÄNG wobbles and has bits of crayon mashed into the cushion. It is next to a drafty window.
The psychotherapist crosses the GÅSER and sits in a big cushy VRETA and looks at Ezra. She asks Ezra for his billing address and makes him spell everything two times. Then she asks if he brought his list of physical and mental symptoms. Ezra says he didnt know he was supposed to bring a list of physical and mental symptoms and the psychotherapist flares her nostrils ever so slightly. Ezra tells the psychotherapist hes not sure what his symptoms are but he can tell her some things and maybe she can figure out which ones are symptoms seeing as shes the psychotherapist.
The psychotherapist nods and says OK BEGIN.
Ezra tells the psychotherapist he walks around all day buying bottles of water and cups of coffee and anise candies and occasionally dish soap. He tells her he invented an alias called Zhang Chun-ying II which he uses to make scathing comments beneath articles he reads on the Internet. He tells her he mails pornographic magazines to the woman at the dry cleaners because of something she did to his peacoat. He tells her he once threw a grapefruit at a junkie from his bedroom window and that he sometimes spends whole afternoons thinking of slow-swimming schools of squid. He tells her deep sea squid have the greatest penis length relative to body size in the entire animal kingdom.
The psychotherapist does not write anything down.
The psychotherapist asks Ezra if he has any friends. Ezra says yes, he does. She says HOW MANY FRIENDS DO YOU HAVE? Ezra tells her he has ten friends. The psychotherapist writes down that Ezra has ten friends.
The psychotherapist says DONT YOU HAVE SOME PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? LIKE FOR EXAMPLE START SOME BUSINESS?
Ezra tells the psychotherapist he owes the federal government $70,000 (plus interest) which means if a truck drives over him and then he gets hit by a motorcycle and catches on fire and someone puts the fire out with acid and Ezra survives but is one of those people with no legs and no arms just a head and a torso and a motorized wheelchair, he still has to pay the federal government $70,000 (plus interest) and it could be hard to make a business with only a torso and a head. Ezra tells the psychotherapist two of his pubic hairs recently turned white and that this is a VERY BAD SIGN. He tells the psychotherapist hed like to be in a music video. Not necessarily now, but in the future.
The psychotherapist takes her gray mouse hair out of its ponytail and scratches her head with her fingernails and makes a new ponytail. She says AND WHAT ABOUT THE FAMILY? DONT YOU HAVE SOME FAMILY?
Ezra says yes, he has some family.
Ezra tells her at Christmas he watched his grandmother walk down her driveway and it took forever and her pants hung loose from her body like elephant skin and Ezras heart exploded and now hes got this popped balloon flapping about behind his sternum. He tells her at Christmas he drove around in his moms Toyota and looked at rotten houses and puked into trashcans and cried a lot. He tells her at Christmas he stole a pair of headphones from Radio Shack. He tells her at Christmas he went to church and prayed to Jesus and asked for a sinkhole.
The psychotherapist sucks in her lips and puffs them back out. She says DO YOU HAVE CHILDREN? She says this slowly and narrows one eyelid. Ezra says no, he does not have children. The psychotherapist says WHAT IS YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION? Ezra says he doesnt really care and the psychotherapist says OKIE DOKIE THEN.
Ezra tells the psychotherapist there was this girl in his French class called Natalie or Pam and Ezra didnt like her because girls called Natalie or Pam are usually tattletales or personal assistants or former ice-skaters and theyre always blabbing about TV and blowjobs. One day the girl wore her hair tied back in a scarf and Ezra saw that one of her ears was mangled and withered like a dried fig. Now he cant stop thinking about her and when he thinks of that mangled piece of her ear his insides twist into a knot and if Ezra ever heard anyone make fun of that girl for the way her ear looked hed beat them straight to fucking death. Hed beat them straight to black and blue and red and white and swollen broken dead.
The psychotherapist asks if Ezra gets enough exercise. She says THOUGHTS INFLUENCE THE BODY AND THE BODY INFLUENCES THE THOUGHTS and that Ezra should try jogging. Ezra says hes training for a marathon and he bought special shoes for running and he ran 15 kilometers already today and the psychotherapist says WELL WHAT ABOUT ZUMBA and Ezra says no.
Ezra tells the psychotherapist every moment of every day he misses someone but he doesnt know who it is. Ezra tells her his best dreams are dreams where people give him compliments about his hair. He tells her he needs something to bleed into, like a cup or a hat or a person.
The psychotherapist says OK SO YOURE SAYING YOUR ANXIETIES ARE EXISTENTIAL and she asks him some questions he doesnt understand or cant answer and then she says WHY DONT YOU NAME SOME OF YOUR FEARS and Ezra tells her hes not afraid of anything and she says WELL SOMETIMES FEARS CAN HIDE IN THE BUSH and Ezra asks her what bush she means and she says OK IM GOING TO STOP YOU RIGHT THERE.
The psychotherapist leans forward in the VRETA and explains that this was only an opportunity for her and Ezra to get to know each other and not an actual true therapy session. She says while she certainly believes everyone deserves psychotherapy and everyone is entitled to psychotherapy she doesnt feel as though shed be the right person to treat Ezra because shes having trouble understanding him and if she cant understand him it will be difficult to fix whats wrong with Ezra.
The psychotherapist asks Ezra to please confirm his billing address with his insurance company because it is still very important to do that. She gets out of the VRETA and crosses the GÅSER to Ezras end of the room where she shakes his hand but tries not to touch him and says DONT TAKE IT PERSONALLY and Ezra is crying but she pretends hes not. She gives him a half-wink and doesnt look in his eyes and says SHUT THE DOOR ON YOUR WAY OUT and Ezra can see her silver tooth shining inside her mouth even though hes trying to not look at any one specific thing.
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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 41 | Summer 2013