Need Feedback

I am bored and need feedback on writing. Here are the first two pages of what I wrote tonight. Have fun and let me know your thoughts good, bad, or otherwise.

~Day 1~

On the day everything went to hell, Catherine Dawson sat across from me, with her chestnut hair pulled back into a loose ponytail that only a high school sophomore who is trying to be cool would wear, and with typical counselor concern in her eyes, asked, “What brings you in today?”

I gripped the arms of the plush maroon chair and swallowed my spit before answering. “I, um, had an impulsive suicide attempt last night. I tried to jump off the roof of Parking Garage F but the wall was too high, so I walked back to my room.”

“Hmm,” she said in that annoying voice that every shrink uses. “How do you feel right now?”

“I feel like getting a chair maybe, or a crate, or something and heading back up to the roof.” My eyes darted across the room, looking everywhere but at her. Neither anxiety nor cerebral palsy are kind mistresses in times of stress. I wrung my hands together and firmly planted my feet on the ground to prevent shaking. Stupid tremors.

“So, you’re still fixated on getting on the roof?”

“Yes.”

In hindsight, that was a trick question; one that, had I known better, I wouldn’t have answered honestly. She pondered this new information for what I thought was a bit too long. Trying to process what I just told her, probably. She didn’t say anything for about thirty seconds, alternating between writing notes on her brown clipboard and chewing on her pen cap. Then she told me she was leaving to talk to Victoria.

“I’ll only be gone for a little while. Hang tight,” she said before closing the door and leaving me in her empty room. “A little while” turned out to be 45 minutes though. I could hear pieces of conversation on the other side, including a deep masculine laugh at one point. I took inventory of the room. On the far wall hung her Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. Go Knights, I thought to myself. On my left was a small table with a lamp on it and behind it, a bookshelf filled with dusty, old-looking books. I didn’t bother to read any of the titles. I just sat on the marron chair waiting for her to return. As I sat there, intrusive memories of him started to float about. I shook my head in a vain attempt to gain control. My grip on that stupid chair got tighter.

I’ll be honest, it’s been a real shit fest to deal with the aftermath of sexual trauma, especially since being diagnosed with PTSD three months ago. Last week, I gave my therapist Victoria my scissors because I can’t trust myself with them. I know I did the right thing, but damn, the withdrawals suck. I’ve been sneaking alcohol, too; drinking it only when my parents are gone or asleep when I visit on the weekends. Not wine bottles, but those mixed drink concoctions you have to freeze for 4-8 hours. Pour them right into my water bottle and hide it under the frozen veggies, let it get cold, and then I guzzle ‘em down. Makes me feel warm inside, slows everything down, and there’s nothing but quiet for once. I miss the quiet, but it’s not worth the hangovers in the morning. All this just because I don’t want to process my trauma. I’m scared it might break me. This morning, before I was sentenced to this Hell hole, I tried to explain that to Catherine, but she didn’t understand.

 

I distinctly knew something was wrong by the way she came in the door. Her gait was stiff, like she was holding her pee and trying not to let it come out. She didn’t look at me right away, she waited until she sat down to do so. She didn’t smile, but her eyes were both sympathetic and serious all at once. I tried unsuccessfully to swallow the lump lodged in my throat. She said I was “a danger to myself” and “needed to be protected.” I thought I heard her say “police” and “nearest hospital or psych ward” but I can’t remember her exact wording. I was there but I wasn’t there. Her words washed over me as if I were underwater. She also said something along of the lines of “If you walked out of this room and did something to yourself, I wouldn’t be able to live with that.” I remember thinking, Geez, lady, give me a break. It’s not like I’m trying to shoot up the entire campus, I just don’t wanna live anymore. I hate people like her. The ones who say that suicide is selfish because loved ones have to deal with the aftermath. Yet, they gloss over the person herself and the deep, deep pain she endures every day so that her family and friends get to see her, never knowing that the image she portrays to the world is not her, not really, just a shell, a broken façade.

She suggested that I let someone know what was going on, so I scrambled around in my bookbag, feeling for my phone to text Jason, my boyfriend. I couldn’t tell my parents, not yet. They’d freak out and I didn’t need to deal with that and the police coming to get me.

While I texted Jason, she said, “I know you probably hate me right now.”

I looked at her, into her eyes, for the first time. “I don’t hate you,” I said. “I’m just scared shitless.”

She nodded in response.

Apparently being in panic mode made me more open and honest. After about two minutes of deafening silence, I saw two campus police in the doorway: a man who looked like a mix of caramel and honey, and a woman with the blended pigment of white-out, vanilla ice-cream, and off-white eggshell wallpaper. Despite the serious, dreadful situation, I saw kindness and compassion in their eyes. What a contrast to the fear I felt that must have been pouring from my eyes like the tears I wanted to shed but couldn’t.

“We’ll lead you out the back way so no one sees you,” they told me as they ushered me out.

I didn’t even know there was a back way. I turned my head to meet Catherine’s eyes one last time before she went completely out of my line of vision. Her eyes seemed to say, “Get better, Nicole” while I wanted to know why she was doing this to me. We went down a hallway and passed by counselors’ closed office doors. Do they know what’s going on? Does Victoria know? How could she do this to me?! Get me Baker Acted? All I felt was betrayal, anger, and confusion as I walked down the hallway, twisting, turning, and going through a place once so familiar, now unfamiliar and foreign. We reached outside and there were three concrete steps leading down to the cop car waiting for me.  The only thoughts in my head were, I hope I don’t fall. I hope my kneecaps don’t dislocate. The male officer drove a separate car while the woman officer opened the door for me.  I got in, terrified. Because of the handcuffs, I had to turn my back to the door and then throw my legs in the car, with no help to balance myself if I did fall. Once in, she came around, buckled me in like I was an incompetent child; the first step to dehumanization.

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4 Comments

  1. Brittney

    Overall, this was a great piece! I hope you write more because I really want to hear the rest! I felt the plot development was solid, and I felt empathy for the characters. Good job!

    In terms of criticisms, sometimes I think you spend time describing things that (as of right now in your story) are unnecessary. They don’t necessarily add to the plot or characterization of the characters, such as explaining the therapist’s hair style.

    I’d love to hear the rest of the story! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Brittney, I’ll keep that in mind. I know I have a tendency to over-explain things instead of trusting my readers 🙂 I’ll comb through it and get rid of superfluous things. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll write more and post it later. Glad you like it so far!

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