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Viewing Single Post From: The Neverending Story
Rorick Skyve
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The room was brightly lit, too brightly for his taste. It was almost dazzling, especially with the walls being white, as well as the desk he was sitting at. Even the skin of the man before him was palish, his bald head yet another one of countless sources of reflection for the light. Maxim felt like he had just walked into a mirror chamber. Maybe that was the intention here, creating a situation where he gazed upon his own self everywhere he'd look or upon his own reflection, at least. Create another incentive to reflect on himself, some sort of subconscious trickery. Well, if that was the intention, it wasn't working, especially now that he had pondered about it that much. Just one more reason for him to feel like he was at the wrong place.

The man before him cleared his throat, adjusting his glasses with his right hand. That was a spectacle--- 'something' he was wearing, he didn't know the English term for it. String maybe, or cord. Spectacle string, was that it? Either way, it looked silly. Usually, Maxim could have appreciated such a rare piece of accessory, for its uniqueness alone, but with this person, each and everything related to him just served for him to be put off even further. A psychologist, someone who made a living by looking into other people's heads and then conceiving an image of his own, like he was dissecting that person's brain. It was just so...grotesque, that's how he felt about it.

"So, Mister, uh...Keylenbrank? Is that how your name is pronounced? Or should I simply call you Maxim, what do you prefer?"

The man smiled at him, showing off a set of straight white teeth. Of course. Had to demonstrate how he was a perfect human being, superior in every way. This person had it all figured out, how life worked, what one had to do to master it. Goddamn ridiculous. And to top it off, he didn't even know how to pronounce his name, his own client's name correctly. Not like him calling him Maxim helped much, he had managed to pronounce that incorrectly as well. Again, this did not bode well for any hope he had regarding the man's competence.

"Just refer to me as 'you', that should do. In Germany, even this would be a problem, we have different terms for a formal and informal 'you.' It is more convenient in your language, I will admit as much."

Maxim stroked his chin for a second, letting his gaze wander through the room. It was just so empty, so devoid of anything he could distract himself with. Again, maybe that was the point. Probably not, though. He was in no way ready to accept or even consider the possibility that this man was in possession of that much foresight. "And by the way, no, that is not how my name is pronounced. Neither of them."

The doctors reaction was different than he had expected. His smile did not fade, not even an irritated blink or a frown came from him, nothing. He simply kept up the same facial expression, it was almost eerie to witness. In fact, his smile only seemed to get wider. Was he amused by him? Thinking something along the lines of 'How amusing, this little foreigner trying to act all grown-up et cetera.' Probably not, realistically speaking. A man like that should have known better, after all. Then again, he had no idea of who this man was, what he was like, what he thought, anything at all. Really, why did people bother coming to these people in the first place? Getting lectures on their life from men and women they didn't even know a thing about.

"Very well then. You may do the same with me then, unless you prefer referring to me in a different way. Choose whatever you are comfortable with."

Well, there was a statement. Had he done, had he really made the choice to do what he was most comfortable with, he would have simply stood up and left. But that was no option, of course. For one, because he had been taught the basic rules of human interaction by his parents - and that was more than an understatement - and then there also was the fact that his father had paid for him being here, spent a good deal of money for him to sit here and talk to a stranger for an hour. Again, if that wasn't pure nonsense, then what was?

"Shall I start by asking you a question then? Or would you like to start, tell me something about yourself?"

'Well technically, you did already ask me a question.' Oh, how much he wanted to say this, show how little he cared for that doctor's feigned attitude, that whole spiel. Again, he was prudent enough not to. Only an unbelievably rude or simply moronic person would have done so and he did not consider himself to be either of those. Though again, he could not repeat this in his head enough times, he had been a moron for agreeing to come here.

"You may go ahead. I couldn't think of anything if I tried, I'm sure. It will be better if you lead this conversation."

Though wasn't he being a hypocrite, accusing the man of displaying a faked attitude? After all, he himself was doing exactly the same, playing polite and docile, when in reality, he couldn't have cared less about what the other person had to say. Yes, he was probably being hypocritical. But really, he didn't mind, it was a mere fact to him, but nothing else. Not like he was going to feel guilty over this at any later point in time.

The doctor nodded, noting something down on his scratchpad. Even the sound of the pen scribbling on that paper felt worse like nails on a chalkboard to him, just for what it was representing; the other man judging him, trying to read him on the basis of two sentences he had uttered. God, it made him angry. It was an unique experience and thus an unique sort of anger he was feeling. He wasn't fond of changes and completely new experiences, not in PRGs, not in books, not in real life, so obviously not now either.

"What is it you're writing down?" A bold question, yes, but he just felt too much like asking it. It would not leave him be in peace if he didn't, would roam his head for the entirety of the remaining hour. He had to ask it.

The doctor looked up from his notepad, with an expression that indicated genuine surprise to Maxim. Somehow, this created a strange satisfaction within him. No, not strange, he could actually understand why it made him feel the way it did. He had caught that man off-guard, destroyed his little illusion of him, Maxim, just being one more patient like all the others, just another nutcase to pigeonhole. No, he was something else and that man now knew it. Yes, it did feel quite nice. Like the first victory he had achieved in this otherwise depressing session.

"Well, I could tell you, of course, but I think that would defeat the purpose of me noting it down here, right now. I may bring this up at a later time, should I consider it necessary or helpful to you. Unless of course, you insist I tell you now."

That man was still smiling. It was just purely unnerving; why was he smiling with every sentence he said, even when there was no reason to do so? Maybe, just maybe he was smiling because he knew he had just backed Maxim against a corner. Forced him into a position where further impudence on his part was required, where he had to act against the assertion of the man, against his judgment, just to get what he wanted. In other words, this was a test, a test of how desperate he was getting. Not a bad idea, he had to admit, the first somewhat astute move the man had made. Granted of course, he had figured him out correctly and wasn't just imagining things, coming up with wild conspiracy theories out of the blue. But no, the look in the doctor's eye, that smile, with those goddamn perfect teeth, it just told a very specific tale, one of cunning and guile. Maybe he had been wrong about the man earlier. Maybe he was smarter than he had given him credit for. Just in a different way, a way that was in no way suited to convince Maxim that he had made the right choice coming here. In any case, he was not falling for all of this.

"No, I'm sorry to have interrupted you, please go on. I'm sure you haven't been asked this before, it must have been a little surprising to you."

The doctor's smile changed somewhat. Showed more teeth, yes, it was getting wider, again. What was it he had said this time?

"Oh, you'd be surprised. A lot of people have asked me this, I assure you. So no, you're not unique or even strange in that regard, don't worry."

Maxim bit his lip. He did so instinctively and he hated that he did. He hated not having absolute control over himself, displaying signs of his own weakness that easily. The doctor had completely duped him, rendered his earlier triumph meaningless. It was almost like he had read his mind and made it his personal quest to smite that little joy Maxim had felt. In short, he had done everything a psychologist was not supposed to do, made him feel awkward, stupid, uncomfortable. And from the looks of it, he was either completely oblivious to it or just a sadistic bastard. Either option was just as unwelcome.

"I see."

Not much else he could say. He had to accept it, for now. Maybe there would be another opportunity, one for him to show that he was not going to let himself be characterized that way. Just a little patience, that was all it took.

The doctor scratched his chin now, creating that peculiar sound that was heard when stubble that was just a tad too thick to be considered well kempt was scratched. Either that, or he was off imagining things again. Even with his own father sharing the doctor's current level of facial hair most of the time, Maxim decided for himself that he did not like it.

"So, let me ask you this then: What do you think you are here for?"

That...that was actually not a bad question, not bad at all. Though he was initially much inclined to see it as yet another psychological trick on the doctor's part, he was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. While it was obvious that he had asked everybody who had ever sat in the same chair as Maxim that question, he still felt like answering it. Because now, now was the opportunity for him to truly prove himself to be unique; didn't matter in what way. He just was and he wanted this man to know.

Maxim ruffled his hair, massaged the top of his head a bit, to exterminate a pesky itch that had just set in. "Well, I suppose you already know the answer. My father probably told you that over the phone. I didn't overhear him make the call to your office, but still, it appears to be logical that he would have told you. I mean-"

"Let me interrupt you right there, please." The doctor had raised one hand, not in a reprimanding way, not even admonitory, it was almost casual. So much in fact, that Maxim couldn't help but take immediate offense to it. It had the same effect like someone telling him to calm down whenever he got agitated. If anything, it only made the situation worse for him; it was idiotic of people to even make use of that flawed approach.

"What you just said may be correct. Yes, your father has indeed told me about what he hoped you'd be able to experience here and why. However, that was not the reason for why I asked you this. You are quite a smart young man, that much is evident, so you will have figured that out yourself, I have no doubt. So please, tell me what I - and maybe you as well - are interested in hearing. What do you think you are here for? Why are you here, if that helps you with the answer."

Of course. What had he been thinking, of course the other would have asked this in return. And somehow, that compliment, him being so 'smart', it just didn't feel rewarding at all, coming out of that man's mouth. With that quiet, patient tone and that raspy voice of his. It was as if anything, every single little thing about the doctor was just continuously going to drive him up a wall, until he'd hit the ceiling, inevitably. Still, he had to keep his cool, couldn't let it come to that. Exploding would only give the doctor another reason to declare that he needed help, medication, therapy - the mere thought only made it even more mad. Had to answer the doctor's question, quickly so.

"I suppose-" He stopped, only for less than a second. He could have said 'I suppose you could have asked me that last question the first time, since you left me much room for interpretation with the first.' Only for a short moment, then he dropped the thought. Again, he was not going to let himself be provoked.

"I suppose I am here because I am considered anti-social, by society's standards. I usually stay by myself, in my own room. I don't deal with other people a lot, or rather, my peers. I stay by myself, as I said and I don't particularly mind it. And apparently, that means something is wrong with me. That is why I'm here, why I was sent here."

There, he had said it. That had been what that shrink wanted to hear, right? Make him open up, confess, admit to his own shortcomings, his weakness. Now that man had what he wanted and he could go to hell, for all Maxim cared.

The doctor just...nodded. Nodded like it was completely normal, like he had to deal with this on a regular, even daily basis. He felt like crying. He was trying his best to hide it, biting down on his lip even further. He would chew all the way down to the bone if he had to.

"Alright, thank you for being honest here." The man leaned back in his own chair, folded his hands. This was so clichéd, the most stereotypical a psychologist could get. All that was missing was that his face suddenly turned into that of Freud.
"When you just said all that - how did it make you feel? I'd like you to be as honest as with your last answer here."

He hadn't even changed his expression, hadn't smiled, nothing. Just stared at him with that blank expression, those damnable eyes hiding behind their thick glasses. That doctor, what was he trying to do? Had he not humiliated him enough already, made him express his bitterness? What more did he want of him?

"I- I'm sorry, do I have to-?"

"Yes, I would prefer it if you could answer this for me. Trust me, it will be insightful to you as well."

He didn't even mention another option this time. No 'but you don't have to, if you insist', nothing like it. Just that glare, like he was trying to burn out Maxim's eyes with his own. He felt like he was beginning to sweat. He wanted to shift around in his chair, but he didn't, didn't want to show even more weakness. Only now did he notice that small set of small figurines hidden away behind a potted plant, right there on the desk in front of him.

"Those three - those are the three wise monkeys right? 'See no evil, hear no evil, say no evil.' A representation of your doctor-patient confidentiality, right?"

A desperate attempt. It wasn't going to work, of course it wasn't. As if he could manage to distract the doctor with cheap methods like that. He didn't know why even tried.

"Yes, you are correct, on both counts. You are a bright boy indeed."

He smiled again. Somehow, that only made it worse. Again.

"But you still haven't answered my question. I know this probably isn't all that pleasant to you, but I really think you should answer this, if not for my sake, then for yours. What did you feel when you said those words before?"

As expected. Well, it seemed there was no use in trying to play dumb, play curious, whichever. He was cornered, as much as he didn't want to have to admit it. That shrink had him where he wanted him, once more. The itch in Maxim's eyes only got stronger.

"Angry."

He almost hissed the word, pressed it out between clenched teeth and plenty of saliva.

"I was feeling angry, damnit. Is that enough of an answer?"

He felt worse than he ever had before, it had to be so. Such humiliation, such anger and loss of control all at the same time, it was too much to bear. Too much for anyone to bear. He just wanted this to stop, to be able to go home, lock himself up in his room and sleep until the next morning or so. Maybe just forever, as long as he wouldn't dream about this awful man. Maybe just not dream at all.

"I see. I'm sorry I had to force you to get that out, but you will see, that it might have been necessary."

He was scribbling on his notebook again. Stop. He had to stop that, stop it or he'd personally tear that thing apart, page for page.

"Now, if I may ask one final question related to that line of thought: When you say you were angry, who were you angry at? Society? Me? Maybe yourself?"

The doctor's face still didn't budge an inch. Except for his mouth, every other part of him just seemed to be frozen in time, in eternity. Eternal, that was how this torture felt. Why was he insisting on prolonging this? He had to have noticed how much grief he was causing him by now. This had to be deliberate, it had to be!

"I don't want to answer that question. Can we please move on?"

His voice sounded like he was choking. The doctor didn't move, wait, no, he did, he blinked, shifted slightly in his position, repositioned his feet. A reaction, an actual reaction, he was not ignoring him. Maybe he'd give in to his plea. He'd get to his knees and beg him to stop at this point. He just wanted it to be over. The verge of tears was reached now, he had never felt so close to breaking down before in his life, except for all the times he had actually broken down. This was different though. Worse. So much more fucking worse.

"Very well. I am sorry, it was not my intention to get you upset like this. If you need a moment-"

Maxim got up from his chair. He couldn't take it. Couldn't, wouldn't, couldn't. He had to leave, call his father to pick him up early. There was no other way, he was at his limit.
"I...I'm sorry, this is just..."

His vocal cords felt like someone was holding a million tiny knives against hem, his lips were quivering, as were his jowls, his face, his whole being. A single tear escaped his eye and rolled down his cheek. He closed the other eye shut, forcefully. He did not want to shed another tear. Under no circumstances at all.

"This isn't working for me. Not at all."

He shook his head, furiously at first, then slower and slower. He inhaled sharply, put his hand on his chest, then started breathing in a more steady peace. His heart was going renegade in his chest, like it was trying to escape his body, be freed of the torment it had been put through.

The doctor stood up as well, as soon as the last word had escaped Maxim's lips. Maxim did see his eyes, they were different now, looking almost tired, filled with actual regret. Or maybe he was imagining it. Like he always was.

"I'm sorry, I really am. I did not mean to do this to you. Maybe you should go home, have a talk with your father. If you can bring yourself, somehow, to try this again some time in the future - I will be ready to have you here once more. And frankly, I feel it would be for the best that way." He stretched out his hand towards him.

Maxim stared at him. His mouth moved, but no sound escaped it, so he just stared. No. No no no no, he wasn't falling for this, not again. He had made a mistake, one simple mistake in coming here. That was all there was. There wouldn't be another meeting between the two of them. There never should have been a first one.

He turned around halfway, his eyes still wet, but mostly under control now. He wasn't going to cry anymore, that was dealt with. Still. The doctor had offered a final handshake. If anything, he had to take the invitation, show him this final sign of respect, even though he had none, not for that man. He'd shake his hands for convention's sake. He wasn't a freak. He was normal. Normal enough to know that you had to shake another person's hand if they offered it.

"I'm sorry too."

He tried not to make it sound resentful, but he probably had. He reached out his own hand, gingerly, then shook the doctor's hand with as much enthusiasm as if he was touching a rat's rotting corpse. It was cold. Of course, what else did he expect?
He let go of the man's hand, almost as soon as he had touched it.

"Goodbye."

With that, he turned around, walked towards the exit. He didn't risk another look back, didn't dare look at the damning gaze of his tormentor. This was over. Once and for all, dealt with, finished.

Maxim inhaled once more, staring at the doorhandle in front of him. This was it, his final barrier between him and his freedom. And yet, he was almost scared to touch it. Like he was afraid it was just going to crumble away as soon as his hand came near it, leaving him trapped here, alone with that man. No, he was being ridiculous. Time for him to leave.

His hand shivered at first, but then he clenched it to a fist and opened it again. Better now. It was all better. Determined and yet politely, he pushed down the handle, which was as cold as the doctor's grasp mere moments ago, opened the door and slipped out of Dr. Woolsey's office as soon as he could fit through the gap between door and frame.
Edited by Rorick Skyve, Aug 12 2016, 08:41 AM.
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