‘The Cure’ by Rahul Mehta
I told the doctor over the phone I needed an appointment fast—tomorrow, if possible. Are you going to hurt yourself, she asked, or someone else? No, I said. I was burning money. She said, Tomorrow at three, and I asked, Do you take check or credit card, because obviously I can’t carry around cash, ha ha, but she didn’t seem to get the joke.
I was at my best friend Yvonne’s house when I called. I had gone over there holding a yellow saucepan with the charred edges of three twenty-dollar bills. Yvonne was having dinner with her ex-girlfriend Juliette and another friend, Serena. When I asked what I should do, all three said, Therapy!, and began bickering over whose therapist was best, offering me their cell-phone numbers. I was surprised their therapists were so forthcoming with their private numbers, though perhaps they had cell phones especially for work. In the end, I chose the one who returned my call first: Juliette’s.
When I met with the therapist and, in the context of a memory, mentioned Yvonne, her eyes lit up and she said, Wait, you know Yvonne, too? I could see her mind working. I suspected that, as Juliette’s therapist for years, she was far more interested in the drama between Yvonne and Juliette than she would ever be in me.
She asked what my job was. I said I wrote brochure copy that tricked welfare recipients into forgoing their government subsidies for an inferior managed-care plan. So you don’t like your job? she asked. No, I said. My boss was impossible: she eschewed compound sentences, preferred sans-serif fonts, and had no respect for the semicolon.