Isabella was still in bed when she heard the phone ringing. As usual, she didn’t want to reach for it. Though it was just on her bedside chest. She was not in a mood to talk, not even to anyone who might be calling to know her condition.

It was pathetic, and she got tired of these so-called “well-wishers” who are supposed to care for her. Honestly, she knew that no one cared. But they still check on you – to check if you are still alive. Just because once she tried to take her own life.

She hated it. To be a burden to those plastic smiled people whose job is to check on mentally disturbed people like her. Oh! B the way as per the documents she is already a mentally disturbed person, who can be a threat to the people who live with her.

When the ringing got persistent, and she couldn’t stand it anymore, she reached for it.

Kate – the name appeared on the phone “oh not again” – she moaned. She never wanted to take the call.

Kate has been behind her for past 3 years. To change her lifestyle, to make her a better person, to control her emotions, to be less sensitive, to be mindful…. at least that is what she says.

She never understood …why doesn’t she leave me alone. She told her directly and indirectly that she can’t commit to the program – whatever therapy Kate calls it.

She was tired of telling the numerous psychiatrists, and counsellors answers to their question of “what you felt when such and such happened to you?”

At that point, she stopped almost ten of her counselling sessions. She didn’t want to tell cos she very well knew that these people, who sit in front of her charges eighty dollars for an hr just for listening and maybe say the usual things her mom used to tell.

You must think like this. You must be less impulsive. You can’t go on throwing things when you feel angry, try to verbalise your thoughts. Huh! Verbalise. Only if she could have ever verbalised what was going thru her mind now.

As the sound of the phone was getting on her nerves, she took the phone. Kate was on the other end, pushing, coaxing and doing whatever she can to make her come to the therapy. She was racking her brain to find 100 excuses not to go. She said I can’t commit to this one-year-long session. I can’t do homework (as they call it). I had done more than enough in my college. What I need is peace, loneliness – and can you please leave me alone.

No Kate won’t. Such a stubborn woman. Every Wednesday she has one hr session with her. Who is supposed to make her “control” her over-impulsiveness? Ha! Where was she when I was such a miss goody two shoes in my teens.

When I made everyone say “what a wonderful girl, she is” . No, I am not to be good anymore. I want to be bad… Let me enjoy the badness in me.

It is my body that I destroy with drugs and alcohol. It is my body that I mutilate with a knife and sharp equipment. Then why… what’s the problem with her.

She told her “err… Kate I won’t be able to come today. I have unexpected visitors here” – visitors who never came to her house.

But Kate was persistent. It’s ok. They can wait. It will take only an hour. Isabella, you have to stick to this program. Or else it’s going to harm you more and more.

Isabella wanted to kill her. She always tried to dissociate everything from her mind. And this lady will try to dig as many things from her past, and she hated it.

Maybe she will have a bottle of wine and go to her so that whatever she says won’t affect her. But she had been thru too many experiences to know that alcohol increases her depression. It happened first when she had alcohol poisoning.

She got epilepsy and got admitted to the hospital. When the doctor asked her why did you drink so much alcohol , she smiled at him and told: “I wanted to- I really wanted to”. The doctor didn’t respond, and Isabella didn’t understand why.

Years passed till she found out that alcohol changed her character. She tried to stop. Still, she fell for it on and off again.

Finally, in her pyjamas, she went to the primary care centre and knocked the willow room where Kate was waiting for her.  At that moment she hated her more  than she ever hated Kate for bringing her there.

-Swathi Sasidharan


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