“Alright everyone for the last thirty minutes of class you can work on your group projects. I’ll be walking around answering questions if you need me and don’t forget your first draft is due next Friday !” Dr. Nafawitz is old as fuck. It’s all I think about every time he speaks. Like damn, that might actually be the last thing he ever says. He’s 87 but he looks 210 honestly. He teaches psychology here at the University of Goddard Williams where I’m earning my PhD. People hear that and tell me how smart I am or sometimes how sophisticated or noble it is but honestly I just keep enrolling in more school because I have no idea what to do with my life once it’s over. Be a psychologist you may say because after all I’ve been learning psychology for the past 7 years but my heart isn’t in it. I entered college in 2008 with an undecided major. The second year they told me I HAD to pick one so I did a little eenie meenie minnie mo between a handful of majors that required little human contact. I landed on psychology and just stuck with it because I’ve never been able to decide. So now here we are. In PSY 4310 listening to old ass Dr. Nafawitz cough out dust every time he speaks.
“In the case study they said that people with schizophrenia have the lowest compliance rates and the highest rates of drug abuse.” Here goes Sarah with the facts. I only half listen when she or either of the other two speaks. If I listen too hard they’ll spark a brilliant idea, I’ll try to share it, they’ll ignore me and I’ll get disappointed and question what kind of God would let me be placed in a group such as this. In a life such as this really.
“So then should we still pick that or should we make our own case for people on the bipolar spectrum ?” Emily has always has good questions. Horrible answers.
“Well if we just wanted to go for easy we could just pick regular depression but we’re going for innovation.” Sarah is also a condescending bitch and every time she proves it I wonder how she’s gotten through life without getting punched in the mouth.
“I’m not suggesting we do something easier, Sarah.” Emily smiles but cuts her eyes. Purple people shit. Teal people like me tend to let you know without ambiguity when you have us totally fucked up. “I’m just saying there’s hardly any wiggle room when come up with a treatment plan for a group of people where 90% of them refuse treatment. We’d never be able to prove whether or not it works.
Uh-oh there it goes again. The urge to give my two cents. Must. Resist. Sarah gets this dumb smug look on her face when she feels like someone is trying to out bitch her. It would make a great meme if I can just snap a perfect pic without her noticing. “How do you know we’d never be able to prove it ? Difficult to prove doesn’t mean impossible.” Fuck, here it goes. My brain says “don’t do it, bro. Just stfu,” but my mouth and voice box move way faster and I say. “Emily has a point. I mean we’re not even actually inventing anything. We’re just trying to get an A so why not go with an easier disease to treat.”
Silence. My hands and upper lip and spicy per usual and the three of them look at me like a French speaking three titty lumberjack. 7 seconds that feel like 7 years go by until Tamia breaks the tension, “Yeah I remember reading that fact about schizophrenia.” Bitch. I press my eyelids tight, tilt my head in a downward motion, set my elbow on the table and rub my third eye region. I start smoking an imaginary cigarette. Like were you buffering this whole time ? We’ve already moved on. What you said had nothing to do with what I just said. Still the three of them amongst themselves discuss how 90% of schizo’s be schizo’n. God I fucking hate my life.
After class I decide to take advantage of Dr. Nafs office hours. I plan to beg for mercy as I often do when placed in group projects. Usually to no avail but you never know if you don’t ask right ? I linger in the hallway around the vending machines. I don’t want us to walk in at the same time or practically the same time or I’ll feel like a stalker. I get real self-conscious about little things like that. He walks in and I walk in right behind him, on his heels. “Fuck” I think to myself. I also have a habit of doing little things I really hate doing like that because I know they’ll make me self-conscious. My hands and forehead get spicy as fuck. He must’ve noticed because with his really old hands he gives me a Kleenex. An actual Kleenex, not just a facial tissue. Important distinction.
“So hey Dr. Nafawitz I don’t wanna take up too much of your time I just was hoping, y’know, that maybe I could work on the project solo ? I mean I know you said that there’ no exceptions because this is a group project, I just-“ He cuts me off. He’s been rustling through papers since I’ve started talking as if he’s looking for something. “Could you pass me that stack of papers, dear would ya ?”
“Yeah sure, so as I was saying. I know you said no exceptions-“
“I can’t find this damned article anywhere !”
“I just am having a really hard time-“
“This is why I told them I didn’t need an assistant. I’m my own organized. I can’t find anything now.”
“Connecting with the girls in my group and it’s aff-“
“Jacob get in here ! I can’t find my damned article !”
“Okay you know what, maybe it’s not a great time so I’ll ju-“
A boy who looks exactly like a Jacob comes running in, sweaty, face flushed. Odd. “My name is Cassen,” he sort of whispers. The expression on his face reveals a redundancy I can only imagine to be torturous. Not my clown though, not my circus. Or however the saying goes. It’s none of my concern so I waltz my ass out of there before I become designated paper pile passer. I feel like every day has been going like this and it’s getting to me. I’m exhausted. I don’t feel heard anywhere. Is it that what I have to say isn’t important ? Am I not important ? Are my thoughts not as noteworthy as I think they are ? Like what’s my problem ? I wish I could figure out what was wrong with me.
I get home around 6pm. After leaving the Dr. Naf’s office I decide to go to the library and knock out homework. Walking down the hallway to my apartment door I can already smell what Sasha is cooking up. Sasha went to school for culinary art. Unlike me, she knew exactly what she wanted to do for a living upon exiting high school. She’s had a passion for cooking since was 3 her mom says. She did more than just play store or play house. She set up restaurants and cooked for audiences right from the beginning. Now she’s personal chef for both the rich and famous and for me, her very picky but otherwise perfect girlfriend. As I unlock the front door it sounds like she’s in some heated discussion. “Pero, no ! Escuchame por favor ! Pero, mama !” Of course. Arguing with her mom. I make my way to the kitchen to find her back towards me as she faces the stove, neck rolling, ponytail slinging, arms flailing. My day wasn’t especially rough but it’s part of the snowball that has me feeling rough and I just want a nice calm, loving night so badly. I walk around the island and wrap my arms around her waist, laying my chin on shoulders and give her earlobe a kiss, trying to de-escalate her. She mutes the phone briefly, “hey dinner will be done soon, talking to my mom”. She unmutes it and back to yelling she goes.
So much for a peaceful night. I go to the bedroom and text Kerf. We’ve been best friends ever since he and I shared a cot in preschool. I often, as an adult, wonder why the hell they had us sharing those tiny fucking cots but I’m glad it was a thing. I can usually rely on him to give a pep talk that motivates me to, at the very least, keep on existing on days like this where I wish I didn’t exist. “Hey, super shitty day. Whatcha got for me McNinnerton ?” I call him by his last name when I’m in distress so he knows I mean it. I flip my phone over on the bed so that I don’t watch the clock while I wait for the desperately needed reply. I get undressed and pick up some randomly shit we have laying around, a pack of bobby pins from the floor, a crumbled receipt from the vanity, two mismatched socks from the corner. I get the itch and check my phone, no reply. I flip it back over and decide to hop in the shower and bathe in existentialism. I also say the shower is the best place to cry because people can’t tell your tears from the water but honestly no-one is looking at you in shower anyway…hopefully. So it really doesn’t matter. I cry my heart out, step out and dry off. Half an hour later I check my phone again. No reply. I don’t feel like eating anymore. I don’t feel like ANYTHING anymore.