A short story written for a writing group I'm on in another site. Word this week was blob
| "It looks like you're not very good at drawing," Chaz smiled, his long brown ears twisting backwards just a bit as a sarcastic grin spread across his muzzle. He was laying across the sofa in Mrs. Craig's office. She did say take a seat, so he took all of them. A small plant sat on a shelf behind her head. A vine of some kind, that had been meticulously trimmed until it became puffy instead of long and branching. It had been gently, yet meticulously tamed. Various books of psychology and psychiatry lined the shelves, some titles sounded very academic, with names like "The Big Encyclopedia of Psychological Symptoms and Conditions". Other books, such as "Becoming The Best Version of You" sounded as if she had picked it up in a Starbucks on her way into work one day.|
The psychologist's ears and muzzle slid into an easy smile, that looked quite at home on her. Her fur was a chestnut brown with a splash of white on her chest and abdomen, white the was hidden by the very professional and somewhat expensive looking silk blouse she was wearing. This was a routine she was very familiar with. Chaz wasn't the first patient who tried that old joke. The doe tapped the picture. "Now come on Chaz. You know as well as I do that you pulled that from Animaniacs." She replied. "Tell me what it reminds you of."
"It reminds me that you need drawing lessons." He said again, slipping into the routine. As he spoke, he sat upright, then looked downward and folded his paws, interlacing each digit and squeezed his fist tight. A movement that wasn't lost on Mrs. Katherine.
"I didn't draw it." She replied.
"You can say that again." Chaz rolled his eyes, then looked down again.
"I didn't draw it." She said again, the smile growing a little bit on her face.
Chaz gave her a look that said 'really?' His eyebrow and ear arching a bit. The lupine looked back down when Mrs. Katherine replied "Well, you did say I could say it again."
"It doesn't look like anything though. It's just a blob on a page." He growled, rolling his eyes skyward.
She tapped the image gently. "Then why won't you look at it? It's just a blob."
"Cause it's stupid." Chaz growled. "This whole damn thing. Stare at this. Stare at that. Tell me what you see. What you want. Tell, me, what YOU see, why don't you, doc?" He tapped his foot as he spoke. Gentle thumps of sneaker on carpet filled the room.
The Doe blinked for a moment, then pulled the image back. It really didn't look like much. "To me, it looks like a wad of gum someone stuck on the underside of a table."
Silence grew between them for a moment. Then two. Mrs. Katherine continued to watch Chaz, waiting for an answer who kept studying his shoes, looking at the laces. At the blue carpeting, that some study somewhere must have said was the most relaxing. The fine oak desk. At anything but that damn blob. "Okay, why is it on the underside of the table." He growled finally.
"Cause, some kid was chewing gum in recess and couldn't keep it. So, he stuck it there before heading into class." She said matter-of-factly.
Chaz growled, then looked skyward. His long ears twisted back onto the back of his skull. His plain white T-shirt, his black leather studded jacket. His jeans. His snarky, angry attitude couldn't save him. Not this time. The carefully maintained wall of growl, attitude and snarl was starting to be breached. That thick wall of ice that Chaz had carefully built around his heart so he could avoid feeling anything from anyone had just received the tiniest of microfractures.
As that ice cracked, water began to leak out, dribbling from his eyes and leaking down his cheeks. "It's a dumb photo." He growled. "Stupid. Dumb. I hate this test. I hate this. Why am I here?"
"Well, you called me. Remember? This is how we start. These are just tests after all. There's no wrong answer here." She said, assuring him. "This isn't to see if you pass or fail anything."
"Then, can we skip this?" Chaz said.
She nodded. "We can." She said.
The Psychologist began to set the inkblots down one at a time, preparing the cards to be filed away again in her desk. As she arranged them, one of them, the one that was the closest to a Jackson Pollack painting caught Chaz's eye. "oh my God," he whispered, emotion tilting his voice just a little.
"What?" She asked, holding it up.
The ice around his heart cracked just a bit more. More water leaked out. Out his eyes, down his cheeks, wetting the fur there. Tracing twin paths around his muzzle onto his shirt. "Blood."
"Blood?" She said, looking at the photo.
Chaz nodded. "Blood. On pavement. Cause." He choked a moment, burying muzzle into his paws. He took a long moment. An extra-long pause of slow and steady breathing. In. Out. Slow. Calm. "Cause the son was," his voice wavered. He swallowed, then tried again. "The son was out. With his parents. Then A drunk driver. He Jumped the curb. And."
Mrs. Katherine listened patiently. She knew the story. Chaz was coming home with his parents from a movie. They were walking to their car when an equine, who had been drinking most of the day, fell asleep and jumped the curb, killing both of them in front of him. That was more than four years ago.
The ice around Chaz's heart didn't shatter, but it did begin to melt. The water flowed as it should. Out his eyes, down his cheeks, and into the world. The pain he had spent so long trying to protect himself from was finally being felt. And Chaz wasn't sure how to feel about it. It was confusing, frightening, aggravating. It was a twisted ball of string that he didn't want to touch, to just go on pretending it didn't exist. An irritation he had spent so long covering up, like an oyster coating a grain of sand. So, why couldn't he?
"It's okay," Mrs. Katherine said. She got up from her chair, and held Chaz gently as he cried. "Pain is meant to be felt. Feeling the pain is the only way we can heal it." She whispered, holding him as he cried. Much of the rest of the session was spent in half phrases, whispers, and more crying.
It was a breakthrough. However, this wasn't the movies. There would be no montage moments quickly assembled together with a cheap pop song to highlight the moment and emotion for the audience. The doe knew that when Chaz came back for his next session, it would be more. More snark. More sarcasm. More covering up the one thing he didn't want to do: to feel.
But it was the beginning. Right there in that room, those first tears that began the most painful journey that someone in Chaz's position would ever take: the journey back to themselves.