Trans·Fer·Ence: A Novel(6)

By: Ava Harrison

I’m waiting for my discharge papers when Sydney walks into the room and peers over at me. “So now what?” she asks as she rubs the back of her neck.

“We wait for me to be discharged.” I try to smile, but I doubt it reaches my eyes.

“Are you going to talk to that therapist? Will you make an appointment with him?” Her left brow quirks up when I shake my head.

“What? Why the hell not?”

“Are you kidding me right now, Sydney? Did you see him? I would have to be all types of desperate to let a man that gorgeous see my crazy.”

“Well, you better find someone else, then, and fast. You didn’t see yourself, Eve. You were basically catatonic. I have never been so scared in my life. You have to talk to someone. If not him, then someone else.”

“Fine, I choose option two . . . someone else.”

“Are you sure? I wouldn’t mind talking to him, seeing him, being over him, being under him.” She winks “He was pretty freaking gorgeous.”

I can’t help but laugh. Sydney makes things feel better, even if it’s short lived.

MUCH LATER IN THE DAY, I’m finally discharged from the hospital. Sydney stayed with me the whole time, holding my hand and reassuring me that everything would be okay.

As we exit the hospital, she steps forward and hails a cab. Thank God for that, because I’m too physically and emotionally drained to lift my arms. I swear I could sleep for days. My entire body is weak and fragile. Our cab speeds off into the flow of traffic. It only takes a few minutes to arrive at our apartment building. Sydney pays the driver and we both step out.

The sidewalk is crowded and I find myself having to avoid bumping into bystanders. My steps are slow and unsteady, and crossing the short distance to the lobby door feels like completing a marathon. The wind whips mercilessly against me, causing me to feel chills and tremors.

Finally, we make it into the high-rise and into my apartment. I see a picture of Richard and me at my college graduation on the side table. Suddenly, I can’t breathe again. The walls close in as every muscle tightens in my chest, inflicting unbearable pain. Each beat of my heart is a thunderous pounding that threatens to be my last. My oxygen level dwindles to near nothingness as each pull of breath comes faster and faster. Why won’t it stop? The memories are so vivid, they play out as if it was only yesterday.


My eyes scanned the crowd, searching for her, searching for him. It was no small feat, getting my mother to come today. So with excitement, I looked out amongst the mass of smiling faces to find her. I finally did, but it wasn’t a look of pride I saw. Her eyes were void of emotion, a blank canvas. She fanned herself and checked her pulse against her neck. There she went again, feigning some imaginary illness. A deep-rooted sadness engulfed me. She couldn’t find it in her to pretend to be normal even for a day.

My shoulders slumped forward.

Richard’s gaze locked on mine. He squared his shoulders and lifted his chin. I understood what he was conveying to me all the way from across the room.

Stand tall.

Be proud.

And with that, I smiled at him and felt satisfaction swell up within for what I had accomplished.

“HERE, DRINK THIS,” Sydney says while thrusting a glass in front of me. I take a swig, swallowing the water, but the room continues to spin as I breathe frantically.

Sydney’s hand rubs circles on my back. “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

My body rocks in place, the movements growing faster and faster as I wait for the impending calm that doesn’t come soon enough.

“Shh, you’re okay. You’re okay.”

I lean back and close my eyes. I don’t know how much time passes, but when I reopen them, I realize I’m back to normal. I’m calm. The fear is once again dormant, but the fuse is now lit. I feel it in every breath. The flame is slowly burning away, and it’s only a matter of time before I explode again.

With slow movements, I turn my attention back to Sydney. Seated at the edge of the couch, her face is ashen as she nibbles on her bottom lip while she watches me.

“Are you okay? Do I need to call the doctor?”

“I’m okay. I promise I’m fine. I’m just tired. Really, really tired.” I slump back into the couch and sigh.

“That’s totally understandable. You’ve been through so much in the last few days. I swear I’ve never seen anything like the attacks you’ve had today. You must be exhausted.”

“I am,” I mumble as I force myself to answer her inquiry. As the words tumble out, my vision is blurry and it’s hard to focus on her.

“Does anything else hurt? You look like you might puke.”