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“Writing becoming a weapon against your demons rather than anything else?” Dr Wakeley said, letting his tone droop.

His pen wearing down on his fingers, he stared at his messages to himself, interspersed with the same tired observations about Max, a stocky man in his 30’s. Max was the Tuesday morning punishment.

“Yes. I think in words and I daily hear in my mind responses or quips or one-liners that I will one day throw back at someone, yet I won’t write them down,” Max drawled to the floor. He looked up at the psychologist’s desk. Papers, whole files stacked. “I have directories on my computers and hard drives, full of them. But yet, I write so little.”

“Ava used to lament that she didn’t inspire me enough.”

Wakeley let his eyes gander at his daughter’s portrait on his desk, stuck in between patient reports and consultation notes. “She never understood that the bulk of my writing has come from my depression,” Max continued.

“What specific feelings drove you to write?” Wakeley replied. He stopped dead his thoughts. He was officially a banal therapist, speaking from an Internet meme.

“The, the, feeling destroyed! depressed, destroyed, fucked over, marginalized, hard done by. Those things have always fuelled my writing.”

It was Tuesday morning, so it meant another long tirade by Max about Ava, and his writings, and his feelings, but never why he’s still in therapy after years of torturing Dr Wakeley, and himself by not wanting to change his life. Wakeley let the words fill the cosy office like unavoidable exhaust from the douche truck driver in front of you. The words grew thicker and darker, as he saw his daughter Elise in the cloud staring at him, her face sullen.

Then, a tear fell from her eye, and ended up as a crater in his middle-class composure. He felt his temples shake. The tremors focused his sight on Max.

“Your work has fossilized over the past 4 years into a codification of the past: how you felt, what you went through, what you did, why you did, what you felt or felt what you did. You never captured you in the here-and-now.”

Max froze. He looked at Dr Wakeley as if he was naked and his body had become his naked mother’s. “Wait, how — how did you know that?”

“I, I picked it up from your train of thought, just working the trail, you know,” Wakeley said, to try to divert Max away from his sudden Freudian slip. The cloud was still there and Elise didn’t drop her stare.

“Could you give me a moment?”

“Is my hour up?”

“No… I just need to adjust the painting behind you.”

Max turned to check which one. “There isn’t one…”

Wakeley kept his gaze fixed on the cloud.


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