The trip to the therapist itself is quite uneventful. Will picks me up at ten. We ride silently for a while, then start to make small talk when we get stuck in some serious traffic, to try to ease the air of discomfort silently blooming around us. I personally, still can’t wrap my head around how he suddenly showed up at my house the last time though, considering the crude relationship between us. I mean that was plainly unexpected. But don’t get me wrong, I was however happy to see him finally come around—and for him to ask me to accompany him too, that’s a big deal for me. ‘Finally, maybe a real friendship is starting to develop between us,’ I wonder. Although, it’s still quite difficult to have a natural conversation with him. I feel as though he’s holding back for reasons I honestly may never know.
I decide to lead the conversation as usual. I ask how his parents are doing to which he replies, ‘They are fine’.
‘In fact, I think my mom is overthinking this trip,’ he adds softly, then chuckles.
‘Really?,’ I say sounding pleasantly surprised.
‘Well you know mothers and their drama!’ he says. And we both laugh quietly.
At the hospital, the therapist, a smallish, young woman wearing moderate makeup, with tiny eyes locked away in some big, round glasses, congratulates him on bringing his partner around this time instead of his mom. She proceeds to tell him how I could use a bit of education on how to adjust to his current state.
‘Actually, Dr. Quarshie, Fafa here is my friend,’ he says slowly, feeling acutely embarrassed.
‘Oh, I am so sorry. I thought you guys were together. But either ways, Fafa could still use the advice okay? So don’t hesitate to bring her with you for subsequent sessions,’ she says.
Then while shaking my hand firmly with a smile so warm and friendly, as though I was this long lost friend she’d run into by accident, she signals to Will that she is ready for him.
‘Okay ma’am,’ Will replies, shoving me this awkward grin I have no choice but to reciprocate.
He asks to be excused, then follows the doctor to the consulting room. I sit in the waiting area and fiddle with my phone, as I really have nothing doing in particular. I wander around my social media pages and check out the latest news on Google. I watch other patients troop in and out, and respond to greetings from various strangers who don’t mind sharing one with me. After a while, like about an hour and half later, Will and the doctor emerge from the consulting room, the latter following the former. They exchange words at the door— she shakes his hand, smiling widely as ever, then throws me a hope-to-see-you-again wave, before disappearing back into the consulting room.
‘That was quite a long wait right?. Sorry for putting you through this. I really shouldn’t have asked you to come along.’
‘Oh no, it’s really fine Will. I’m happy to escort you anywhere, anytime.’
A mischievous smile spreads across his lips. ‘I hope you don’t mean that literally though,’ he says.
‘Of course not. I don’t mean anywhere like everywhere. Geez!,’ I exclaim with a roll of my eyes, and we both laugh.
On our way to the car, he asks, ‘Would you mind us grabbing some lunch before going back. It’s almost noontime and I’m afraid I can’t drop you off just like that.’
‘You’re not obligated to, but I wouldn’t mind at all if it’s your treat. Who doesn’t love a good meal?’
That really strikes a chord and for the third time in one day, I see him laugh, a sight as rare to me as it is precious. I mean it’s what I’ve been aiming for all along, but somehow, it still comes as a surprise to me—a pleasant one of course.
‘So, do you like therapy? Your therapist seems like a nice person to me,’ I ask in the car, on our way to a favorite food joint of Will’s.
‘Oh Dr. Quarshie!,’ he exclaims with a slight bubble of excitement in his voice, ‘She’s actually a breath of fresh air; she’s very good. I didn’t think I’d like therapy in any way. You should have seen how reluctant I was coming in, the very first day. I only came so my mom wouldn’t nag me everyday. My initial plan was to come, sit and nod to whatever questions I would be asked, and not give it any attention. But right from the onset, my plans failed totally. I don’t know how she does it but somehow, she seems to know just the right things to say in order to draw me out. I started enjoying my meetings with her and before I’d know it, the session would be over. It didn’t feel like the prim, proper or formal meeting I’d been anticipating. Talking to her felt like talking to the friend I never had. That gave me relief, so I decided to continue coming and here we are.’
‘I can agree with you on that. She definitely has this air of friendly, welcoming personality going on around her. Plus her sense of humour also adds up. Lots of professionals lack that. I liked her at first glance too.’
‘Mmm. So is that your way of saying you would want to come again with me?’ I can sense the mischief in his voice even before that sentence is finished. I nudge him slightly in his side, in the driver’s seat.
‘No! That’s my way of saying, I like her,’ I state in a firm tone.
He giggles, then tilts his head in the opposite direction, looking out the window, persistent on avoiding my gaze, the way he always does.
I take the chance to survey the human being seated right there, beside me, behind the steering wheel. This gentleman of a guy, whom I still have so much to learn about. The bright pink shirt he’s wearing hugs his body firmly, perfectly offsetting his rich, dark complexion. I read somewhere that the brighter the colours of one’s clothes, the happier it shows they are. Well, I can’t tell how true that hypothesis is, but looking at Will now, I can’t help but think to myself, if this pink shirt could mean in any way that he’s finally happy again.
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