Suicide of a Psychiatrist by Alicia Zuberbier

January 7, 2013 Comments Off on Suicide of a Psychiatrist by Alicia Zuberbier

What the hell? I’m here, one o’clock on Thursday. All set for group session. Your office is vacant, and Rita — with her bug-eye glasses — says you won’t be in for a long, long time. An out to lunch sign is hanging from the doorknob. Everyone knows you’re dangling from a ceiling fan, twisting around the room like a ballerina. 

Jenny is here, along with the tick, tick, ticking of her heels against the floor. She’s always early, and I always talk to her. What about her? You are the incarnation of the frightened bats that fly from the cave of her mouth. You watched as the stars grew out of her gums, as her lips peeled back, revealing the rind of a smile. She’s not smiling now. 

Poor John, poor Johnnydear, with his shaking and sobbing. He sees cats crawling around in his head, clawing up his cortex, shredding sanity. But he knew you were real. Where’s your scribbling pen? Mightier than the sword that cuts like the blade slit across your wrist as you fell asleep in a bathtub. Your organs squeezed all the oil from your veins. 

The office is damp. Rita says the cleaning ladies were just in here, fixing the mess you left before you locked up for the night then headed to your car while the holes in the sky sucked up on you. Keys in the ignition. Tires off a cliff. Rita — such a nice woman at the front desk — with her sagging jowls dragging across the carpet — who will let her in? 

I haven’t had a cigarette in three days, haven’t had a drink in four, but god damn it, the syrup from it still will sit in the sanctuary of my stomach if that sign keeps hanging from the door. I’ve been taking Paroxetine, Xanax, and the little yellow drops of formed powder. One tiny jewel a day like you said, but you swigged the whole bottle, letting the pebbles sink into your gut, followed by a chaser of vodka and guilt with your wife crying in the bedroom because you couldn’t get it up and you haven’t been able to in six months. She said she still loved you. 

The door squeaks. Little pairs of jumping-bean eyes hop and see a ghost enter the room. Left to haunt the office until you finish unsolved business. I know you’re dead as you sit there, making apologies and excuses. I know a pathologist is slitting into your ribcage, poking at your exploded heart valves. You wanna know how the day is going. I wanna know why there’s no hole in your forehead from the bullet wound. You’re munching on a sandwich, so I keep waiting for the bites to fall on the carpet or the chair as they pass through gelatinous soul fluid. Jenny and Johnnydear may tell you how their weekend went, but I’m on to you. I’ll see you at your funeral. 

© 2012 Alicia Zuberbier 

Alicia Zuberbier has been published in Century Magazine and The Fox Cry Review, as well as being chosen as one of Milwaukee’s Best Creative Writing Undergrads. She likes writing and painting. She dances. She laughs. She rambles, and she spends too much time on Facebook.

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