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Stardust, Therapist

It was agreed when that first day of therapy came around my dad would be the one to take me. Mom makes meat domes on the stove for after we get back but she knows we're going to stop at Bagel Bros 'cause that's the only way I'll go up those steps. We get in his ice blue Prius and blast the air. Listening to Carly Simon, my mom's CD, I feel a lot older and better. I sing into the window and watch it fog up. The louder and sweeter I perform, the less likely is it we'll get into a car accident on the way to therapy. Then we pull up to the office, and get out of the car, walking up those fifty mildewed, grey steps. He's waiting there, fat as an arctic seal.

"Want a macademia nut?" Dr. Wolf looks straight at me and reaches into a container glazed with salt, his fingers covered with thick, elaborate rings.

"Sure," my dad says. He's looking at the walls, scanning for photographs that belong to the man who's going to cure his daughter of her high sensitivity.

They ask me to wait for a few minutes with the games and candy while they talk about my "HSP" tantrums. I think, at the age of six, that they're going to cure me, and that the games and candy are my medicine.

I open the cardboard box on the table and pull out a pack of starburst. "Stardust" I read aloud, mistaking some of the letters.

"Dr," I say when he finally walks in, his belly slipping out under his sweater, hairy as my dad's, "Is this stardust going to make me nicer?"

He just looks at me sideways so I toss it.

Story by:

Kiera Shore

21 August 2017