Freak, is how Allie believed the counselor would call her as soon as she entered the small room where the counselor resided. The room to Allie seemed like a forbidden chamber that only those with permitted, exclusive access could enter.

“Depression?” Allie could see the counselor asking at first in an attempt to understand why she was there, visiting the therapy clinic on a mild afternoon with blue skies and a faint northern breeze to remind someone outside that winter still existed by technicality.

Allie would give a glum shake of her head.

“Anxiety?”

“No.”

The counselor would scoot up a little in her chair. Allie supposed she herself would be reclining in a Freudian-style leather couch. Well, perhaps faux leather. “Bipolar disorder? Suicide? Thoughts of self-harm?”

“No. No. No. I wish,” she would add to herself. “That’d make me special. More interesting.”

Sighing, the counselor, Allie imagined, would persevere. “Low self-esteem? Problems with self-worth? Anger?”

“I’m sorry–“

“Don’t apologize.”

“Oh. Okay. It’s just, I don’t want to waste your time. I just wanted to talk.”

Now it was the counselor’s turn to say, “Oh.” Her voice was empty. (Allie assumed the counselor would be a woman.) “Okay, well, um, that–that does make things different here–“

“I know,” Allie would say. “I–I don’t know why I’m here. That’s why I apologized.” She rose.

For a few moments, the counselor would look stunned. She would not protest as Allie would leave the room. Under her breath, but somehow still loud enough for Allie to hear, she would say, “I knew you weren’t going to be a regular case.”

With this scene playing in her mind, Allie rose from the chair in the waiting room, swung open the door, and headed outside. The weather wasn’t nearly as nice as she had thought it had been when she had entered earlier.

Allie sighed. “I just wanted to talk,” she said to herself.