Friday: Therapy Session
Note: This short story was inspired by a particular petpet, can you figure out which one before you finish the tale?
Every single inch of the beige wall was covered with bookcases almost as tall as the ceiling. Within each bookcase were five shelves, with books jammed in every nook and cranny. Not only that, but books upon books are stacked up across the parquet floor, used as paperweights, or even used as a makeshift window stand to allow the cool summer breeze into the (claustrophobic) room.
“You only have 5 minutes left,” The Psychologist advised his client as he looked at the ticking clock on the wall. “Do you have anything else you’d like to say?”
His Client was sprawled atop a red lounge chair while he regarded his therapist’s counselling office. He was reviewing the events that led up to his current predicament. Shrugging his shoulders, he revealed, “I’m unattached again.”
The Psychologist released heavy sigh and quickly notified his assistant that he would have to cancel his next appointment. This therapy session would be much longer than he had anticipated.
This Client had been a bit of a doozy for him. Through the grapevine, he heard that this patient had a long history with the Defenders of Neopia even as a youngin’. It wasn’t until he had gone to the NeoHospital after feeling particularly gray one day that he heard of him.
His colleague mentioned how this particular patient would wound up at the Neopian Hospital complaining of feeling blue. However, after many years of simply diagnosing him the case of the NeoBlues and prescribing him a Tasty Pie or cup of Steaming Green Tea, he was referred to him, the best and most sought-after Psychologist of all of Neopia.
After carefully reviewing his history, the Psychologist realized that his socioemotional and behavioural problems stems much more deeply than what a Tasty Pie do - he needed a psychological assessment and profile so as to explore the behavioural and psychological processes that underlie his issues with attachment and abandonment.
“It isn’t fair,” The Client stubbornly said. “Why can’t people just take a joke?”
“This isn’t even the first time you did this on people - they didn’t do anything to you. Why would you rain on their parade?” The Psychologist asked.
Turning away from his counsellor, he quietly murmured “Why should they get all the fun?”
The Psychologist pinched the bridge of his nose with his index finger and thumb. ’This is going to be another tough session.’
“Plus, I never even soaked my owner! Why he would un-attach me continues to bewilder me! It was just a prank… a simple prank!”
The Psychologist felt a migraine approaching. He grinded his teeth and shut his eyes, hoping that it’ll go away yet he knew it was a futile attempt. ‘Yes, I’ll definitely need some Black Cherry Tea after this.’
“They were sitting in the Neopian Central Park, eating some Left-over Turkey Steak Sandwiches and I thought I’d have some fun. Like I said, harmless fun!”
“Harmless fun? You soaked them from head to toe!”
He quickly interrupted him by saying, “They were all laughing and giggling amongst themselves. Happily eating their picnic at the park with no care in the world! I should get a laugh too!”
The Psychologist froze on spot. Picnic. Park.
The Client continued on remarking the events that transpired that led up to his unattachment, yet all that was processing across The Psychologist’s mind was: Picnic. Park. Picnic. Park.
The Psychologist quickly delved into the depths of his long-term memory and realization dawned on him. The Psychologist faintly recalled where The Client was the day his brothers abandoned him he had stood underneath The Money Tree for days hoping and praying for his brothers’ return, but alas that never occurred. It wasn’t until weeks later that a Neo-citizen found him shivering in the cold and almost to the point of NeoMonia that he was picked up and attached. However, that attachment did not last long as he was unattached a few days later. What followed ever since that incident was a series of never-ending attachment-and-unattachment that led up to his current one-week therapy session with him.
“Plus my owner and I were getting close! Our relationship was top notch, even better than my previous ones too! Longest relationship I’ve ever had...”
Coming back to reality, The Psychologist said, “Where’s the Money Tree located?”
Snorting at the rude interruption, The Client merely rolled his eyes and answered, “In Neopian Central Park. Why?”
Yes, that’s why I’m ranked one of the top Psychologist of all of Neopia in the Neopian Times. Stretching his arms and cracking his neck, he grabbed a box of tissue papers and proceeded, “It wouldn’t have happened.”
The Client simply smirked at him - perhaps he wasn’t listening to him at all. “What’s up doc? What are you talking about?”
“You and your owner. It wouldn’t have happened.”
“What are you...”
And in for the kill, “Your owner isn’t Cumulo and Nimbus.”
During the Psychologist’s study at Brightvale University, his major thesis revolved around the four stages of acceptances. Denial, depression, anger, and finally acceptance. By gazing at the Client’s face, his condescending, better-than-you smirk on his face had vanished. Inferencing his facade, the Psychologist deduced that his client was already on track to the first stage.
“What are you talking about? My owner unattached himself from me! It wasn’t my fault - I just pulled a simple prank and my owner took it the wrong way. He’s the one with the problem, not me!” he agitatedly retorted.
“You said were doing so well with your owner - you ever raved about him earlier so why did you jeopardize your relationship in the first place?” the Psychologist calmly asked as his patient proceeded onto the second stage: depression.
“Because he deserves better! I was abandoned when I was young, all alone and scared! Why would anyone want me if my own family didn’t want me?”
The Client threw the box of tissues on the floor. Red in the face, he bellowed out, “I was left alone so I’ll die alone! No one is worth it anyway.”
“Perhaps you feel you’re not worthy enough for anyone?” the Psychologist inquired.
With tears beginning to drip down his cheeks, he finally realized why he had segued into this path. “I was underneath the Money Tree enjoying a picnic at the Neopian Central Park when my brothers deserted me.”
The Psychologist simply nodded his head and waited for him to continue. “Its how I protect myself, why I act out and like to ruin people’s day. Why every time I get close to someone I give them reasons to unattach me. I hurt them first before they even get a chance to hurt me.”
Picking up the box of tissues on the floor, the Psychologist handed the Rainy Day Ruining Your Picnic Cirrus a tissue. He had just experienced his first epiphany, but that was just the start. He needed validation. He needed assurance. And more importantly, he needed to be needed. He needed to be loved.
It was a good session after all.
Rainy Day Ruining Your Picnic Cirrus Trivia: Its older brothers Cumulo and Nimbus abandoned it as a child, so now it’s up to your Neopet to look after it!