I can’t find the building.
No matter what the directions say; no matter what the siren song sings; no matter what stone like fingers point the way.
Every time. I can’t find the building.
When i do finally find it, I’m greeted with general disinterest and forms, always forms. Grey ones, blue ones, plaid ones, colours and designs that would put the most versatile of train-spotters to shame.
They ask you simple questions like, name, address, date of birth until your mind relaxes… then they pummel you with questions like “HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU BREATHE LAST YEAR” or “WHEN DID YOU BUY YOUR FIRST PEN” or “HOW MANY HORSES ARE THERE???”
I do what i can and after handing in my grossly scribbled and corrected form i sit in line with the mewling herd.
I always wonder what kind of butcher parading as specialist i’m going to get. What over educated druid with the hands of a blacksmith and the breath of a pedophile will be handling me this time. I wait for the aniseed and alcohol stench of his office to hit me and i sit, cock eared as they mumble; garble and fart through their words, a glazed look in their eyes creating a country of distance between us.
Under his armpits two tattoos of sweat make themselves known through the cheap fabric of his shirt. His tie is pulled too tight and is too cheaply bought. His personality is unironed. His wife goes unsatisfied nightly.
How can this man help me?
On his wall is a painting done by a child. His nephew, i imagine. He couldn’t possibly have children of his own. He put it up to bring some comfort to the room, to portray himself as warmer than he actually is. On his desk is a picture. It is of a field, drenched in the dye of the suns passing, the green acre made distant by the image of the small country house in the foreground. Perhaps it was where he was born. Perhaps it is where he will die. Or perhaps it was where he lost his mind and shuddered along the path that lead him to here.
Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.
Regardless, his diagnosis is dictated by his mood.
And he’s tired.
“I don’t WANT to see anything wrong with you!” His tight, drawn lips seem to say in a smile that is already driving home and seeing pillars of salt over its shoulder. Then he sighs, deeply, remorsefully as i draw my shirt off and he feels at my back, fingers searching my spine, my neck for feelings of tearing, ruptures, damage and a general sense of interest on his part.
Whatever he discovers, good or bad, i will add it to my ever growing tower of papers. I am so well documented now i fear i may be the definitive edition of myself.
Then he says we’re done and without looking up from his computer screen, without a grunt or a goodbye, i dress, rejected, spurned and leave.
In the doorway i pause and look back, buttoning the last hole of my shirt like a guilty lover in the first, brilliant shards of a new day.
I feel i should say something.
Thank you. Good Bye.
But i don’t. I just close the door silently behind me as i walk away. Our time is over. Our moment is done.
He doesn’t have kids.
If he did, they wouldn’t remain children for long. They’d be little adults by the age of three.
Their paintings would be of fields of madness.
They would not hang on his wall.