“She’s going through that phase again,” said Mom to Dad, shaking her head.
Mom didn’t know I could eavesdrop on their conversations late at night. She was clueless about many things in life, but that specific thing was the one thing I needed her to believe. However, she didn’t.
Sofia, my younger sister, was the star of the family, with trophies bigger than her head and a natural tendency to the spotlight.
On the other hand, I wasn’t the easiest kid to raise. From an early age, I had been seen by psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and school counselors. I wasn’t able to focus on anything for more than five minutes. So at first, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Then Mom and Dad were told by Ms. Summers in second grade that I was deliberately hurting my own fingers by sticking them into the pencil sharpener. I was then counseled again. I can’t even remember the name of the diagnosis.
And it kept going. Anxiety, depression, ADHD, other weird named diagnoses, and finally, paranoia. I was now an eighteen-year-old high school senior, full of mental baggage.
Last week, I sat in Dr. Walter’s divan for the hundredth time, and I finally gave up.
“Fine,” I said, puffing. “If you think I’m paranoid, just prescribe me something strong enough to hurt my eyes so I can lose my vision and not see him again.”
Dr. Walter removed his glasses again and placed one of the temple tips on his mouth, which is something he did every time I challenged him.
“Amber,” he said in a monotone voice. “It’s not that I don’t believe you. I do. But you — ”
I rolled my eyes and cut him off. “I need to stop, I know.”
“It’s not what I was going to say.”
“I have issues, Mr. Walter. But this is not one of them. It is not paranoia.”
“You once reported your school was giving students human parts as lunch meat in the cafeteria.”
I shook my head. That was another story. That was another part of myself. Not this part.
“Then, Amber, you thought your Dad was having an affair with the neighbor, which was proven to be wrong.”