18. Dr. Schadenfreude

It was time for my bi-weekly appointment with my shrink.

We sat down on opposite couches. He looked me in the eye; I stared at his shoes. It’s not that he wasn’t a nice guy. I was just uncomfortable with someone who knows so much about me.

For a change, Dr. Schadenfreude was the first to speak. “I got a phone call from your wife.”

“Fuck!” And just like that, I came out of my shell.

“She says you’ve been drinking too much, and possibly hallucinating.”

“First of all, I consider her my ex-wife. The divorce may not be final, but you can’t get much more ex than we are.” It hurt just to say the D-word.

“What do you have to say about the things your EX-wife told me.”

“I have the odd drink, but ‘too much’ is a gross exaggeration.”

Dr. Schadenfreude waited for me to say more. I’ve always thought that these long pauses are him giving me the chance to let down my guard and spew some true crazy. It puts me on edge. I mean, I interview people for a living, and I find it hard to trust someone who allows such long pauses. It’s just a prick move of someone trying to learn stuff that isn’t their business.

And finally, “What about the hallucinations?”

I gritted my teeth. “I don’t know what she’s talking about. I’m just writing a story.”

“So you don’t really believe you’re talking to God?”

“He prefers ‘Jeff’.” I smiled as though this were all a big joke.

“Does JEFF ever tell you to harm yourself or others?”

“Honestly, it’s just a story. Brenda is overreacting, as she often does.”

Another long, long pause. “Tell me about the last two weeks.”

I looked at my watch. 35 minutes left. God damn it!