School For The Mediums
I hurriedly slammed Dr. Satori’s office behind me and sped forwards.
Did I hear her correctly? Or am I hearing things again?
It is the ferryman to the lake of the those living not dead.
That cryptic message…it sounds just like what Fuji-san said. I swallow and gulp, but nothing I can do is keeping my head on straight. My heart is thumping, my face is burning, and I feel every hair on my skin standing up.
‘Then maybe soon you will.’
What does that mean? What does any of this mean? First the voices were saying strange things and now in real life I’m hearing even more stranger things?
What is going on?
“Hadiza?” Mom jumps out of her seat the moment she sees me coming form the hall. “Out so soon already---?”
“---I’m ready to go.” I cut through her speech.
“Huh, what’s wrong---?”
I slam the clinic doors and hurry to the car.
I can’t stand this anymore.
I don’t understand what any of what happening means, and I’m at my limit here. I can’t stand anymore of this.
“Hey! Hadiza?” Mom grabs me tight by the arm, stopping me from going any further. “What is going on?”
I sniffle, trying to hold myself together. “It’s nothing.”
Her brows pinch and her eyes soften. “It doesn’t look like anything. What happened back there? You can’t just go storming out of places like that.”
My lips scrunch up a little as I try get the flood gates back. “I’m sorry.”
“I know you are.” Her grip loosens and her free hand gently rubs my shoulder. “And I know this isn’t like you. You aren’t yourself right now.”
I can’t help but to pull my eyes to the ground.
“We’re going to figure what’s wrong with you. Don’t worry. Everything is going to be fine.” That what she’s telling me, but I don’t hear any amount of conviction in her voice.
With a frown, I give her a weak, “Sure.”
“Alright.” She tries to grow a reassuring smile. But it’s not exactly working, because what I get instead is a lopsided smile. “Now,” Mom continues locking her elbow with mines, “how about we get something sweet before we head home?”
“It’s a school day.” I walk with her towards the car.
“Oh, I already told your school you’d be out for the day…and a few more.” She has her eyes straight ahead.
“Why?” I keep my pace matching hers. I know the answer is because she thinks I’m crazy.
“It’s just while sort things out, Hadiza.”
“Sort out that I’m going crazy?” I bluntly say.
We’re only a few steps to the car, but every foot forward the beat of our feets hit heavy.
“You’re not crazy, Hadiza.” She hugs my elbow a little closer towards her.
AHHHHH! AHHHH! AHHHHH! AHHHHH! AHHHHH!
“…But what do we do if I am?”
Mom stops and drops my elbow.
For a second, her eye lids droop, her lips firm and stiffen, and that disappointed disheartened look I see so many times around me, happens.
My chest stings the instant I see it.
“You’re not crazy, Hadiza,” she says again in a quiet mutter.
I know I hear those words but I don’t think I believe those words.
“Now, come on. I want ice cream.” She turns from me and takes the last few steps to the car.
With a sigh, I follow behind her and slide into the passenger seat.
I slam the door and settle into my seat.
“Ice cream is fine with you?” She puts her keys into the ignition.
“Yeah.” I tug my seatbelt.
“That’s doesn’t sound very excited.” She glances at me from the cut of her eyes before focusing on driving onto the road.
“Yeah.” I lean my head against the car window. The slight and bump and wobble of the car my head vibrate and bob against the glass.
“Want some music?” I can hear Mom fiddling with the radio.
Out. Out. Let me out. Out. Out. Let me out. OUT. OUT. OUT. OUT. OUT.
My shoulders raise up into a natural shrug. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Well, alright Miss Grumpy. I just thought you’d want some judging how much you’ve been listening to music on your earphones.”
“Please don’t call me Miss Grumpy,” I reply.
The name gives me cringing shivers. All I can picture is Dr. Satori in her weird clown get up.
Mom lets out a little chuckle. “Why not, Miss Grumpy?”
“Mom, I’m serious.” I give her a side eye.
She peeks at me. “Oh, you’re not fun these days, Diza.”
“Ugh.” A heavy groan leaps from my throat. “No nicknames please.”
Mom softly laughs. “Why not?”
“Because I just don’t want to hear it.” I position myself a little more comfortable against the car door. “Also, that Dr. Satori in there was a con.”
“Hara Hadiza, do not badmouth people,” she scoldingly says. “Besides you should be more grateful. Dr. Satori is very well known. We were lucky to have been able to fit on her schedule for free. I was speaking to the other nurse from the hospital and she said, most consultations with Dr. Satori cost thousands of dollars. Can you believe that?”
She’s not going to believe me if I say Dr. Satori was dressed as a clown. So, I fold my arms tightly over my chest.
“I can see you’re making a face, Hadiza.”
Momentarily, I feel her eyes swipe past me.
“Did the session not go well?”
“What did you two talk about?”
I shrug again.
“Did you feel like it helped?”
That answer is clear.
“Well, however it went. Dr. Satori has offered to give you a few more sessions.”
I lift my head from the car window. “I don’t ever want to see that woman again.”
Mom stops at a red light and turns to peer at me with wide bulbous eyes. “Those are some strong feelings. Did the session go that bad?”
HEY. CAN I HAVE IT?
“Yeah.” I lean my head back against the window.
CAN I HAVE IT?
“Are you going to explain?”
The light turns green and Mom cruises down the streets.
“Do you really think I need a psychologist?”
“Hadiza, come on,” Mom painfully sighs.
“Who knows? Maybe I have a brain tumor or something?” I keep my voice low and as a weary whisper.
“Maybe I’m missing pieces of brain after my heart stopped.”
“Hadiza, you know the doctors already said you’re healthy. This is not your brain…it’s…” She lingers.
CAN I HAVE YOUR BODY?
Something mental. We both know that.
Mom glances over to me again. “Look, what I’m to say is that whatever’s going on. We’re going to figure it. It can be fixed. I’m sure.”
That’s what she says. But is it convincing?
CAN I HAVE YOUR BODY?
“Sighs.” I rub my forehead. Sometimes I get voices like these that just don’t give up.
“I mean, Hadiza,” Mom tells me.
“I’m not sighing at that.” I adjust my head.
Suddenly, we dip into awkward silence as Mom stops at another red light.
Tick! Tick! Tick!
The clicking of the car’s turning signal echoes in the car.
“Maybe they’ll have you’ll favorite ice cream today.” Mom tries to fill in the silence.
“Sure.” I look out the window.
“I don’t know about you, but I am craving something extra sweet like a banana split.”
Mom knows her small talk isn’t working, but she continues to speak anyway.
“Maybe I’ll get some chocolate bits on top. Switch things up a bit. And I know you’re going to get the Neapolitan.”
YOU DON’T EVEN WANT TO BE HERE. SO LET ME HAVE IT.
“Sighs.” I wince. “Maybe some music would be nice.”
“Yeah, I think so too.” Mom eagerly reaches for the radio. She’s more than happy to fill in my cold boring responses.
A part of me wants to feel bad for responding this way. I know she’s trying. But I am too.
I SAID LET ME HAVE IT.
“I’ll find a good station, while this red light takes forever,” she playfully sighs.
Why do I feel so cold?
A violent trembling is staring in my body. A chilly glacial freeze my skin.
“Ouch, no static!” Mom quickly swaps through the station.
I can’t feel my hands.
“Hm, Hadiza?” Mom looks over to me.
What…am I doing?
Why am I unbuckling my seatbelt?
“Hadiza what are you doing---?”
What am I doing?
My body moves on its own.
I open the car door and step into the road.