Matthew has been in another fight. He can’t understand that people don’t just talk with words. It’s his condition. His problem.
“Why?” he demands.
My problem is that I can’t answer his questions.
“Just because. O.K. Let’s try another.”
“Angry,” he guesses.
I raise both eyebrows.
“Alright,” I say, “surprised, like when you won that competition.”
He writes it down.
I raise just my left eyebrow. He stares at me then bangs his small fist on the table.
“It means confused, puzzled, something you don’t understand.”
“Then people should just say, ‘I don’t get it,’. It’s stupid!” he yells.
He slams my door on the way out. Too many of our sessions end like this. I count twenty, open the door to check he’s gone then slam it myself. Better.
Later, more trouble. A broken nose this time. Not Matthew’s. He’s sent to me. He’s my problem but I’m not the solution. He refuses to speak.
The next day I see he has found his own solution – a blank above each eye where something has been deleted.
“I’m not talking to you today,” he says. His eyebrowless face is calm.
I smile. Happy.
Artwork by Lauren Matthews
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