DOC HAD LISTENED for twenty minutes as I reeled off my symptoms, interrupting none times.
“Ok. I’m going to prescribe you a holiday in the Caribbean. Let me print off the tickets…You have a valid passport?”
“Yes! How did you know? It’s in my pocket! You’re incredible. Really! That’s exactly what I need.”
“I’ll also give you some spending money of course. I think two thousand should do. Dollars that is.” A swivel of the chair and a click of the mouse; the tickets printed off, while she reached into a cabinet and plucked a couple of stacks out, bundles of thousands with the paper wrapped around like a fat Cohiba. She tore the tickets off and placed them on top of the money, handing them into my grateful shaking hands, smiling, lipstick expanding, reassuring, white teeth. “Is that all?”
“I think that’s it! Thank you once again Dr. Koren, really.” I couldn’t thank her enough. Finally someone with sense.
One day later.
“You’re back! How was the holiday?” asked Dr. Koren.
“Incredible. You should have been there. The sea, the sun, the sand…” I closed my eyes and imagined, picturing it all in glorious mental HD, feeling the warm Caribbean waters lapping at my ankles…
I felt a hand on my knee, shaking it. Opening my eyes, there she was, Dr. Koren, the only one I could trust.
“Yes..” I smiled, at least a thousand miles away.
“Where would you like to go today?”
I couldn’t say back to her place. “Where do you recommend?”
“I think you should try somewhere different. Rio De Janeiro? I’ve heard it’s wonderful.”
I nodded, still smiling, eyes half shut, half open, depending on your slant.
She repeated the process. Print tickets. Stacks of money. Magic.
One day later.
“So where would you recommend Jason? The Caribbean or Rio?”
“Both have their charms doctor. Flip a coin. A grain of sand in Brazil is much the same as one in the Virgin Islands. And people are people. All out to get me. Someone tried to kill me – 37 times in Rio. Then I lost count. The Virgin Islanders were much more passive. Only five attempts on my life there.”
“I see..” A look of concern took hold of Dr. Koren. “Stay right there.”
Dr.Koren addressed her bearded colleague on the other side of the safety glass in the office door. “I’m really concerned that the new medication isn’t working..” Was all I heard as the door shut.
Whose medication!? I pondered.
Over an hour later she hadn’t returned.
I looked across at Dr. Koren’s desk in a rare moment of clarity. At the prescription printer that printed airline tickets. I squatted down and looked into the opening of the cabinet, that contained bundles of leaflets on Mental Health. I looked inside – myself – and I felt, very, very angry. Dr. Koren had been lying to me. Then I remembered my tattoo. I pulled up my sleeve – Trust No One.