38. glib and snippy

A hiatus due to book reviews, studio visits, translations, a second trip to London. But that isn’t it, exactly. I’m blocked. The hairs on the back of my neck bristle now, as though someone were reading over my shoulder; I hesitate. So kill off my character, you say. Is it that easy?

A month ago I rescheduled my next psychiatrist’s appointment for May. I took the S-Bahn to Botanischer Garten, walked down the street to the doctor’s office, and asked the receptionist for a new prescription to bridge the time. I smiled calmly, which always comes as a relief to the girls behind the desk. Hardened from dealing with the desperate and crazy, they are glib and snippy; imperturbable to the sound of the ringing and unconcerned about the drama unfurling on the other end, they no longer pick up the telephone. I handed over my insurance card and requested a package of 50 at 150 mg. The receptionist didn’t notice the reduced dosage, which just goes to show how dependent the system is on the principle of obedience, of asking permission.

Today, I opened one of the little capsules and removed another third of its contents, and if the coming month goes according to plan, I will decrease it further. I am weaning myself off, and already I’m sweating less, feeling less harried and anxious. Only one episode of tears, in your mother’s kitchen, although I still can’t quite work out why. The two of you quarreling in the pub, on the way home? I am a sponge; I pick up everything, I am tuned into too many frequencies, my own and those of others, in languages I don’t even understand. It creates a cacophony in my head, I tried to explain this to you, but you were too angry to listen. You left, came back, cracked a joke and made me laugh, but then I cried again, because humor is also a way of avoiding things. But I am more stubborn than you know, and I need you to translate these foreign frequencies for me. How else am I supposed to understand?

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