09/18/2021

Mileva Anastasiadou ~ Fake Plastic Everything

The rich shrink can’t help him­self when he’s depressed, can’t self-med­icate with pills and stuff, he needs a ther­a­pist to help him out, to sell his house and clean his mess.

You should buy that house, my ther­a­pist says and I trust him, it’s not that I don’t, for he’s old and wise, like the rich shrink, only he’s not rich, like the rich shrink, or like me. I tell him I’d rather go back in time. That’s what ther­a­pists do for god’s sake; they take you back in time to exam­ine caus­es. He says I suf­fer from covert OCD and I shake my head as I don’t seem to mind mess­es, yet he insists I enjoy time trav­el sto­ries for it’s con­trol I long for, over the most uncon­trol­lable mess, that is time. I don’t intend to con­trol time, it’s her I want to con­trol. She’s been ungrate­ful, I say. He says I should buy her the house. You’ll get her back, he adds then croons some­thing like you can’t buy love, cause he likes para­phras­ing songs and I like to pre­tend that I don’t hear him.

 

The rich shrink can’t help him­self, he’s been a total mess, he just wants to get rid of the house, claims that will heal him.

My ther­a­pist knows, for he’s the rich shrink’s ther­a­pist, who’s unap­proach­able but also too messed up. My ther­a­pist needs a ther­a­pist too, for from time to time, he can’t con­trol him­self, I have to remind him I’m the patient here, not him. That house, he says, that house, he repeats, like that house has been his own dream or night­mare, not the rich shrink’s, not my sal­va­tion. He turns my way, unbut­tons his coat, like he’s suf­fo­cat­ing, he coughs once, coughs twice, then fix­es his eyes on the ceil­ing, like the answer is up there. I look up but see no answer, I look back at him and now he smiles, his white teeth shine bright, hid­ing his face, blur­ring the image and I smile too, can’t think of any­thing else to do. He mum­bles some words I don’t hear, his thoughts are too scat­tered to fit into words, but he goes on, rant­i­ng, vent­ing, as if I’m not there, and I already feel stu­pid I hand­ed him the straw to suck my soul out of me, mend it and put it back where it belongs, only he mocks my soul, like I’m a hope­less case, and I’ll have to go on pre­tend­ing I’m not part of the joke, for that’s what peo­ple do with ther­a­pists. I cheat­ed on her and she left. I offered her gifts but she insists you can’t cut a piece of love, how­ev­er tiny, and pre­tend every­thing is fine, because sud­den­ly all love is in that lit­tle miss­ing piece and the gifts don’t count any­more. That fake plas­tic house is what you need, says the ther­a­pist, croon­ing again about a fake plas­tic love, cause that’s what he does, he talks in songs he thinks I don’t know, but I’m famil­iar with pop music, only I feign igno­rance to not hurt his feelings.

 

The rich shrink can’t help him­self, he needs my ther­a­pist to keep him sane, but he has a house that can help itself and clean itself.

That house is too big for me, I say. It needs too much effort. That’s anoth­er prob­lem I have; I love the idea of things but not the actu­al things, the idea of a big house, but not the house itself, or the work it involves. I assume she too liked the idea of me but not the real me. My ther­a­pist smiles like he knows bet­ter, he says it’s a self-help house, like the own­er is a self-help guru, it comes with a maid.

 

The rich shrink is bored with that house and my ther­a­pist is bored with him. He has repeat­ed­ly advised him to keep a low pro­file but the rich shrink can’t help him­self. And I can’t help myself either.

I’ll buy that house like he advised me, that fake plas­tic house, and I’ll buy me love and I’ll be fine and I know my ther­a­pist thinks that pur­chased love doesn’t count, I know for he’s been repeat­ed­ly para­phras­ing songs, sings them to me, think­ing that I don’t hear them. My ther­a­pist rubs his fake plas­tic lies onto my face, longs to be one of us, part of this fake plas­tic every­thing, but he pre­tends that mon­ey is use­less, my mon­ey is use­less, that I don’t count as much as I think I do, he puts me down again and again, for that’s what poor ther­a­pists do to rich peo­ple; they don’t know, they can’t know what mon­ey can do.

~

Mileva Anastasiadou is a neu­rol­o­gist, from Athens, Greece. A Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Microfiction and Best Small Fictions nom­i­nat­ed writer, her work can be found in many jour­nals, such as Litro, Maudlin House, Tiny Molecules, Defenestration and others.