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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

Blogtober 2021: Jail


The therapist sits across from me in her comfy-looking chair. Her legs are crossed and she sips from a cup of coffee she just poured for herself.

"Sure you don't want something to drink?" she asks, clutching her cup with two hands like a cherished relic. I shake my head.

"So, then," she continues, "what would you like to talk about?"


She raises her eyebrows and sets her coffee on the table next to her. This seems like an important gesture. She put her coffee down when she was so clearly eager to enjoy it. She does not, however, pick up the notepad and pen next to the coffee cup. Is she not going to take notes?

"What about them?"

"I have one," I tell her. "Upstairs in my house. I don't know what it wants. I don't why it's there. My research says it is likely attached to me for some reason."

I would think my confession would prompt some note-taking, but, no. Her expression is kind and interested. No judgment. No concern.

"When did this start happening?"

"A couple of weeks ago, when I first started working from home full time."

"Do you like working from home?" She picks up her coffee and sips. The notebook stays put.

"I did at first. Now, it kind of feels like being in jail." "How so?"

"I dunno," I shrug. "That was a dumb thing to say. I have no idea what prison is like. I'm not thinking straight."

"This has you disturbed." She sighs and sets the coffee down again, this time on the pad itself. Does she own no coasters? "I'm not really into the paranormal, though I don't discount the experiences you're having."

"Why not? It sounds crazy."

"I don't like that word," she say in a matter-of-fact tone. "One reason you might be experiencing perceived paranormal phenomenon is mental or emotional distress. Have you experienced a trauma lately? High levels of stress? What about your wife?"

"What about her?" I ask.

"Has she experienced this poltergeist?"

"Not that I'm aware of. I haven't told her about it, either."

She seems genuinely puzzled by this. She scowls and leans back in her chair. "Why not?"

"I don't want to worry her."

The therapist picks up her cup again sips. We don't speak for several seconds. The silence grows unnerving and suffocating. She picks up the notepad and the pen, jots something down, and then returns both to the table.

"I wouldn't even know where to begin," I tell her.

"Just tell her the way you told me."

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