Shadow, Sunlight, and Diagnosis

[First Draft]

As Shadow races through the woods the world around me becomes a blur pierced only by the transient sunlight. The sunlight reminded me of the doctor’s office: the way the afternoon sun cut through the blinds, sending shards of light across the psychiatrist’s desk. I was mesmerized by the little rainbows of refracted light divided by the crystal paper weight. Perhaps I had gone into shock. I just sat there staring at the paper weight, the exhausted image of Atlas etched into it. I felt like that man, straining under the weight of the world.

There wasn’t anyone waiting in the lobby when we arrived twenty minutes earlier. The office assistant was a mousy brunette. She worked quietly and quickly. We signed in and took a seat. Neither of us spoke as mom flipped through the latest edition of Glamour magazine. I gave an involuntary sigh as I wiggled in my chair.

“Amber!” my mother snapped in a hushed tone.

“What?” The question came out in a confused, almost inaudible squeak.

My mother gave me a sharp glance over the pages of her magazine, but before she could say anything else, an older women came down the hall with a file in her hand.

She was frightening. Her bleach blond hair stood on end like Albert Einstein and she wore a large grey muumuu that made her look like a giant flying squirrel. She carried herself with indisputable authority as she led a woman and her young son back to her assistant.

“Give them some samples and set an appointment for next month.” She had a thick German accent, but her tone was dull, as though bored with the entire transaction. She exchanged the file in her hand for a new one. She retrieved the glasses that hung on a chain around her neck and peered through them as she opened the file.

“Amber?” she said looking up at me. It sounded more like an accusation than a question.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Come with me.” As I rose, so did my mother.

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