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My Dear Mr. Hemingway
“Would you say that you are uncertain about your goals?” he asked me.
I looked at him with my infamous blank expression on my face. Yet my insides were anything but clear of emotion as my face was. One more question about what I thought I was going to do with my future and I would have a more income with Hemingway than just being a writer.
“Yes, you could say that I’m uncertain about what I’m going to do,” I told him as he sat so coolly in his ugly brown chair across from me.
He nodded and made another mark on his paper, that had to be filled to the brim with either facts about me, or something he had been doodling during my session.
I did want help, I do want help, but the thing is that I want it now. I do not want to go to a billion more therapy meetings, even if my doc is kind of sexy, I want to be helped now. Honestly, I just want someone to tell me what to do with my life, not suggest something but tell me what to be.
“I see that your meeting with your consoler didn’t go so well,” he went on, looking up at me from his all-important clip board. “Why don’t you tell me about that.”
“Well she called me and between her neon pink shirt, fake pearls, and bright orange skin, I just couldn’t focus on picking a college,” I informed him.
He smiled a little at me and added to his notes/drawling. I guessed him to be in his early forties, certainly old enough to be my father. My “type” as my friends would say. If I told him about it he probably blush and then tell me I seek the affections of older men because of my strained relationship with my father.
“The reason you were called down to the office to begin with was because you haven’t so much as applied to a college yet. Why is that?” he questioned.
“Well if I knew what I was going to go to school for, that would help me pick where’d I like to go,” I shared with him.
“And you don’t have any idea what you’d like to attend college for,” he half stated, half asked me.
“No, I don’t,” I replied truthfully.
“Well let’s see if we can’t help you decide,” he said with a smile and a sparkle in his eyes that was meant to show me he really cared. “What did you want to do when you were a child, a lot of times your first passion can be your true passion.”
I thought for a moment, back to the days of nap time and playgrounds. Nothing came to mind, while other kids dreamed of being athletes, teachers, or doctors, I was happy just to be a kid. That’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, to be a kid.
“I didn’t want to be anything,” I informed him after a minute of thought. “I guess I never really thought about being a grown up.”
“Ok, that’s ok. Let’s look at this then,” he said, his smile slipping a notch, and took out a copy of my transcript. “Now, let’s see. You seem to have done well in everything.”
He sounded a bit surprised when he said how well I had done in school, and I couldn’t blame him. Most of my fellow honors students picked their college and career in ninth grade. I was just as intelligent as any of them, but I still look about the class room and question if I belong with them.
“You’ve done exceptional in science, especially in biology, have you given any thought to going into the medical field?” he asked me, hope shinning from his face.
“Sure, going to school for years and years, then becoming a very hard working yet very underappreciated career consumed person,” I told him and he looked down at the transcript, defeated but still intrepid.
“You’ve also achieved very high marks in English and the journalism class you took. What about becoming a journalist?” he suggested.
“No, I couldn’t just right the facts. I could see it now, getting assigned an article about some rapist being let out of prison and writing about how all sexual offenders need to be locked in a room together for the rest of their lives. I’d get a pick slip before you could say newsprint,” I told him and though his hopes were dashed again he still smiled at me.
“Well is there anything you’re interested in? Anything that you might see yourself making a career out of?” he asked me.
“Nope, nothing I can think of at the moment,” I said.
“You’re not interested in anything?” he questioned, sounding very concerned.
“Just nothing I think I could make a living out of,” I told him, wondering if he ever pictured me naked like I pictured him naked. “But there is something that I’m interested in.”
“Is that so?” he said, taking another note to his list or adding another line to his picture.
“Yep,” I said.
“Do you have any idea why you might not be able to decide what you want to do?” he asked me. “Are you just stressed out, worried, scared.”
“I think that I just can’t see myself being happy doing anything. Sure I have to possibility to a lot of different things but I just can’t just go and do some important job like being a doctor or a lawyer and not have my heart in it. If I could I would just like to be a child for the rest of my life. I know I can’t but I just wish I could,” I confessed and he nodded when I was done rambling.
“You seem to know what the problem is,” he said with a smile and winked at me. “Maybe you should be a psychologist. Not that I don’t appreciate your business or your company, if you are so certain about what’s wrong then why’d you come here?”
“I know what’s wrong, but I don’t know what to do about it,” I told him, flustered.
“I see, and you think that I am going to write you some magical proscription that will let you be happy in some job you find mundane,” he replied and scooted to the edge of the chair. “I don’t think that there is a problem that you don’t know what you’re going to do yet. Forget about what others think, forget about salary just do what you want to do. Do what your passionate about. You have to take a chance or live a life that you find monotonies.”
“Maybe you should of become a motivational speaker,” I told him and he chuckled a little.
“Maybe you should be a school counsel,” he told me and I rolled my eyes in disgust at his absurd suggestion.
“Maybe,” I said and got up from the lumpy couch and smiled at him before I exited the office and went back into the waiting room.
Back into the unfriendly waiting room, back into the real world and out of my utopia.
“What did you talk about?” my mother asked me as she lead me quickly out of the building and to the car.
She walked to fast and talked so softly, she was worried that someone we knew might see or hear us at the “crazy” doctor.
“Stuff,” I said, thinking about telling her that if I thought I could talk to her about it I wouldn’t need the shrink.
“Well, what are you going to do with your life?” my mother asked me.
“I still don’t know,” I informed her and I heard her scoff.
“So I’ve wasted my money?” she said annoyed.
I felt in that moment all of my confidence that had just been built up inside me during my appointment. My worry about what I’m going to do has returned, and I think at this point it would be quite nice to meet Mr. Hemingway.
Hackettstown, New Jersey
Bossier City, Louisiana
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