I wasn't sure what category to put this under, as it is not complete and still needs work. I wanted to post it though to get feedback, see if people thought it was going somewhere or if it seemed like nothing more than flat dialogue. Any comments are greatly appreciated. Thank You!
“I didn’t want to come here.” Ashley said bluntly before Dr. Miller had closed the door of her office. “I’m only doing this for my parents.”
“Of course.” Dr. Miller said politely, motioning for Ashley to take a seat on a hideous overstuffed couch which was the color of a lima-bean. .
Taking in her surroundings, Ashley tried to get a better sense of the woman whom she would be talking with once a week for the next few months. Yet the small office gave nothing extraordinary away about the woman. family photos lined the small shelf below the office window, diplomas and certificates along the left wall, and bookshelves lined from top to bottom with titles Ashley had never heard of.
Dr. Miller sat at her desk, fixing her gaze on Ashley as she readjusted her glasses. She remained silent, waiting for Ashley to start the conversation.
“So how does this work.” Ashley asked awkwardly, crossing her legs.
“You talk, I listen.” Dr. Miller said with a shrug.
“ Okay. What do we talk about?”
“Whatever you want. The next hour is about you, and anything you tell me won’t leave this room.” Dr. Miller sat back in her chair, gently drumming her fingers on the surface of her desk. She was a patient woman, and she was willing to sit in silence for as many sessions as Ashley needed before she was comfortable enough to share.
She was a lovely girl, with wide brown eyes and soft pale skin. If it wasn’t for the scarf which hid her thin blonde hair and the patches of brown skin along her neck and arms, no one would have known that anything was wrong. At twenty-one, Ashley had been through more than most had been through in a lifetime.
Ashley remained silent for several minutes, tugging absently at a piece of thread which hung from the sleeve of her T-Shirt.
“How long have you been a therapist?” Ashley asked finally.
“Twelve years.” Dr. Miller smiled.
“Do you have any kids?” Dr. Miller held Ashley’s gaze before answering. She knew what the girl was up to.
“I have two. Darren is seven, and my daughter Gabby is twenty. You would like her. She’s away at college.”
“Oh really?” Ashley said enthusiastically. “What school?”
“Ashley,” Dr. Miller said, keeping her tone even, “We are here to talk about you. Now I know that you are trying to direct my attention to my own family, hoping to keep the conversation away from yourself, but at some point you will run out of questions to ask me.”
“Sorry.” Ashley said, focusing on the tree branches beyond the window.
“You don’t need to apologize. I just want to keep us on track.” Dr. Miller took a sip from her coffee cup, scrunching her nose as she swallowed. She hated cold coffee.
“I guess this is just, weird for me.” Ashley offered. “I don’t even know you, and they expect me to just come in here and tell you everything about myself. And I --” She broke off, unsure of how to word her feelings.
“go on.” Dr. Miller said gently, hoping that maybe she could break down a few barriers during their first session.
“It’s just that, well, I don’t want you to turn around and tell my parents everything that I tell you.” Ashley shifted uncomfortably on the couch, “They have enough to worry about as it is.” She added softly.
“I would never do that. Like I said, nothing you say leaves this room.”
“So, you won’t tell my parents anything I tell you?” Ashley questioned, skeptical.
“Nope.” Dr. Miller said confidently, giving Ashley no reason to doubt her.
Relieved by this new bit of information, Ashley sat back on the couch, feeling somewhat at ease. Her main concern about talking with dr. Miller was that she would tell her parents anything that she confided. Knowing that she could say whatever was on her mind without worrying about the ramifications gave Ashley a sense of relief.
“Would it make it easier if I ask you some questions?” Dr. Miller asked, pulling a notepad and pen from the top drawer of her desk.
“um, okay.” Ashley nodded, tugging anxiously at her scarf.
“Why don’t you tell me about when you were first diagnosed.”
Ashley was startled by the question, assuming that they would start out by talking about her home life, family, or even her favorite band. She hadn’t expected that they would delve right into her illness right off the bat.
“It was six years ago. I, uh, don’t really remember.” Ashley lied.
Dr. Miller could sense Ashley’s walls going up. She was shutting down, holding in the toxic emotions that she had trained herself to keep inside for more than half a decade. Dr. Miller couldn’t let that happen. She was going to have to push some buttons in order to break down Ashley’s defenses.
“I know that you have been through a lot, and --”
Ashley began to laugh bitterly, holding back tears that screamed for release.
“You know?” Ashley spat, no longer laughing. “ Eight straight days of poison being flushed into my veins, killing without sympathy or discrimination everything inside of me, cancer or not!” She was flushed now, still managing to hold back her tears.
“Your right,” Dr. Miller murmured, “there is no way that I could possibly understand what you went through--are still going through.”
“I’m sorry I snapped at you like that” Ashley muttered, unable to meet Dr. Miller’s stare. “I know you were just trying to be nice.”
“But you don’t need nice right now do you Ashley? You have enough people sympathizing with you, telling you everything is okay. Telling you that they know what you are going through.” Dr. Miller sighed, leaning forward, letting her elbows rest on her desk.
Finally able to peel her eyes away from the carpet which she had focused her attention on, Ashley anticipated seeing thw usually look of pity and sorrow that she had received from so many others when they learned about her situation.
Yet as she looked into the gray-blue eyes of Dr. Miller, she saw only determination. Her eyes never faltered, and the uncomfortable reaction and exaggerated sympathy which she was so used receiving after discussing the leukemia was not there.
“You don’t have to feel ashamed if you lash out at me. Think of my office as a safe place, where you can feel what you need to feel without the fear of judgment.”
“I just feel like if I show any sign of weakness or fear, I will be letting people down.” Ashley explained. “I think that people expect me to be brave no matter how bad it gets.”