I’m always waiting for someone or something. I was born twenty one days late so it started a long time ago. There will always be people waiting for me and I will always be waiting for people.
I stare at the door, my body pulses like a homing device its beacon still searching for him. Still looking for his signal because I will always look for him.
It doesn’t come. I wait and wait and it doesn’t come. Even though I pray for him to find me here among the ashes. To stop this. All he had to do was listen.
It is like that when my feelings take hold. It’s almost as if I step into someone else’s skin. Wanting him all the time, not just the hour a day I get to writhe under him and show him my truest smiles. That’s when I am most alive. When the moment takes hold and I look into his eyes and believe he loves me.
But when I leave I feel a certain way. Empty. Broken. Sad.
Waiting for someone to rescue me. For him to rescue me. He knows it. He just won’t. So I wait for another door to open or another role to play whatever he feeds me, I eat.
I sit in front of him and uncross my legs, my red lace panties peek out from under the soft cotton of my skirt. It’s my favorite skirt, soft and worn with frays that tickle just the right places. He sighs, smiles, then licks his lips. I lean forward, my nipples tighten and I don’t have to strain for him to see. His eyes roam my body as if he needs no permission.
"How was your day Miss Roberts?"
I look at him coyly, a smile snakes across my mouth. I know he is watching me, his eyes hover at the base of my throat and my pulse quickens. It’s almost instinctual. I can’t help my reaction to this man and the effect he has on me.
"Uneventful. Until now of course. You’re always the highlight of my day. Not much happens that doesn’t find its way back to you."
He shifts in his seat.
"I would like to think you have other highlights in your day, other things that make you smile like that. There must be other things must make you happy that have nothing to do with me. Tell me what does it for you…."
I lean forward and open my legs, my elbows rest on my knees. He raises his eyes to mine, attempting to stay focused on the task at hand. I lean back, cross my legs and prepare for our spar.
"The word highlight is indicative of something major. You, Charlie, are major. But it’s hard to say what does it for me anymore since you, nothing really. I thoroughly enjoy your company. If that’s what you mean. Do you find me pleasurable?"
His face flushes, he shifts his tie and stares slightly off to my left.
"What do you think you can accomplish with your behavior? Do you think it will erase the things you’ve done?"
I stand up and adjust my skirt. My thighs touch ever so gently as I walk to him. The anticipation of his lips on mine is too much to handle. I lean my hands on his legs and bow my head. My breasts heave with the exertion it takes not to kiss him. I struggle not to place my legs on either side of him and bury him inside of me.
I lean in to speak into his ear. My hair drapes down my face and rests on his jacket.
"Everything you will allow, Good Doctor…"
As I touch him I hear the sound of the locks opening on the door behind me. I am jolted back to this sterile space, this office that has none of his characteristics pouring through the art or pictures on his desk. This cold, empty space that is suddenly smaller with the press of four more bodies. He has reported me before for being too close to him so when the orderlies appeared to carry me away kicking and screaming, it was almost expected. I crossed the line in the little game he has decided to play with my life.
Dr. Novak raises his eyes to mine.
"Until tomorrow, Hope."
Profanity laden sentences dribble from my lips. My hospital gown wrenches up in the struggle to reveal standard issue white briefs. My hair hangs around my face in jagged spikes like blades of unkempt grass. My real face, not the face I have imagined or remember, appears in the mirror on the wall of this office.
Dr. Novak leans into me, so close I am sure only I can hear and asks, “Were they red today?”
"Let me out of here Charlie! Let me out!! I have had enough! I want to go home, I will say what you want, I just want to leave."
The nurses watch me with the same wide eyes daily. I struggle as they carry me away and I hear one of them ask him why I call him Charlie since his name is Will.
But his name isn’t Will. Not to me. He’s my Charlie. My savior. The love of my life. William Charles Novak. The man who changed it all.
I scream out into the hall and the sounds echoes off the corridor floors, the slow ding of the elevator signals his departure. He gets to leave and go home to her, while everyday he has made it his life’s work to keep me here, locked up and medicated. To keep me silent. He wants to erase what happened between him and I but something inside of me can’t let go, I can’t let him forget.
I am thrown into my room, the hiss of the airlock slides into place and opens a flood gate of emotions. I lay in a heap on the floor for what feels like days but is only minutes. In here time almost stands still. For people like me, for the craziest of crazies, there is no reason to count the time because there is no getting out.
The fantasy replays in my head. How sexy I felt knowing he wanted me again. How I felt thinking and believing he might still want me.
I was resigned to play his game. But maybe he was right.
A stream of clarity runs through my mind. The first time I walked into his private office, a place where I was safe with no judgmental eyes or thoughts. I remembered how I opened under his guidance, how he took me to place I had never been and will probably never go again.
Had I imagined our connection? Had I dreamt up the very real feelings I had? Maybe it never happened. Maybe his hands never touched me, maybe his taste was never on my tongue.
Dread fills my thoughts. It was all muddled when the medicine was delivered and I laid in bed, slipping softly into medicated dreams.
His voice filled my head, racing through my dreams.
"Were they red today?"
Night turned into day then night again before I left my bed. I missed my appointment with Dr. Novak and quickly realized I was medicated to do so. The stupor of a hangover envelopes me and I struggle to focus. Dizziness and nausea set in and I heave into the air, I wretch as tears run down my face.
When I can stand, I walk to the sink and wash the sleep from my face. The airlock hisses and I turn to see him standing in my room, holding a tray of food and my nightly dosage of sleep in a little plastic cup.
"I got this for you. Thought you might be hungry."
He places the tray on my bed gingerly, balancing it on the mountain of crisp blankets we are allowed to have. My hospital gown itches across my skin, his voice raises goose pimples down my arms.
My heart betrays me and his gaze heats me still. I want to touch him, tell him I understand. I want to ask him to make all this go away.
"I’m not hungry. But thank you Dr. Novak."
My voice drips with sarcasm. A part of me doesn’t mean it to, I know that my inability to let things go has landed me here. But I can’t help it. My eyes drop, their color deepening when he walks toward me.
"I would let you leave, Hope. Don’t you want to leave?"
"So let me leave Charlie. Let me go. I can’t promise I will stay away from you or her. But I don’t think you want me to. I think you like this. You like this control you have over me in here. You keep me away from her while having your way with me in here."
He closes the space between us and I am suddenly embarrassed by my appearance. I tug at my hospital gown and attempt to smooth my hair. The fingers on my left hand drum a beat that I don’t really know. His hand reaches out and I step into his touch. He rests his hand on my neck and applies the slightest of pressure, sweet enough to sting but not really hurt. My breath catches and he moves away from me. His voice pulls me from that place. I am sad to leave. I want him to touch me again in a way that means more than any words could express.
"Hope? Are you listening to me? I need you to listen to me. I absolutely do not like this. How am I having my way with you exactly? Nothing happened between us because I am your therapist. That’s all I am. Your fantasy are vivid, your imagination runs wild sometimes. But the truth is, you stalked me. You stalked my wife. But I still continue to treat you. What does that say about how much I care about you? I chose you, your care, over my wife’s wishes."
I stare at him incredulously. As if he just doesn’t get it. Maybe he never will.
"Why would you do that Charlie? If nothing happened why did you ask about the panties? Why do you rev me up only to report me or push me away? Why did you leave me? Why? Why do you antagonize me? It’s because it’s not a fantasy, it’s not some alternate world. It’s a fucking memory, Charlie. These are my fucking memories."
I spit the only name I know for him from my mouth like some sour taste.
He stares at me, his mouth in a grim line. He is serious and his eyes are cold as ice. Darkness hoods his stare and when he opens his mouth he speaks in almost a sneer. Nothing good can come of this expression and I begin to steel myself for the worst. More medicine to dull my memories, to shatter the one thing I believe in.
"I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about but stop it now. Stop all of this because I won’t be able to control what happens to you if you don’t. I know you need help and I want to help you but I can’t if you are acting like we had some great love affair. For fucks sake it was 3 weeks after years of therapy, it was 3 damn weeks."
"Are you threatening me? What the fuck could be worse than this? What could be worse than people looking at me like I’m crazy? They are right. You are right. I am crazy and I should be here."
He turns to storm out of the room and I crumble into a sobbing heap. He flips the tray from my bed and dishes and utensils clatter to the concrete floor.
"No Charlie please. Don’t leave again. Stay with me and tell me what I have to do, you always tell me what I have to do. How can I make you happy?"
I crawl to where he stands. I grab his legs hugging them tightly and slide up onto my knees.
I feel his breath hitch as I sit in a familiar position. The position I take when I am waiting for him to instruct me. His eyes are steel and cold when they meet mine and his voice is almost unrecognizable.
"Hope. I will get you food. Take your meds. We will discuss punishment tomorrow at your session. We can maybe discuss conditions for release, for the both of us. We need it."
“What kind of release? What do you mean release?”
“Whatever kind of release I need. Whatever I feel will benefit you. We need to understand things about each other and you need to know that I will not be tested.”
I stand and lower my head.
"Tell me it happened Dr. Novak. Please. Admit that you loved me. That all these years, you loved me too.”
“You know I won’t ever admit it again, Hope. You know I won’t lie to you. But you have to stop lying to yourself.”
And the cycle of days begins again. Days where I wait for him to free me. Days where I wait for him to love me. Days in which I let him do whatever he chooses. Days upon days so I don’t count the time. I just hold onto the memories of the man I loved, not the monster that imprisons me still.