“A Late Appointment”

Everyone who comes in here changes the molecules just a little. They bring their energies, their problems, their jealousies and their tears – every appointment shifts the molecules and adjusts them to their own shape and weight. And then the next appointment happens and the molecules shift again, to match the form of another set of problems.

But she hardly moved the molecules at all. She was tiny and slight, with mouse-colored hair, dun-colored glasses and a voice so childlike I had to strain to hear her. Everything about her said “please don’t notice me; I’m really hardly here at all.” It turned out her much-older husband was abusive. She couldn’t imagine getting away. He was all she knew, his worldview almost her own – except that she knew it obliterated her. I did all the right things. I asked about her support system, and referred her to the Domestic Violence Center. I assured her of her worth and encouraged her to believe in herself and to make another appointment, but I didn’t think she would do any of that.

When she rose to leave, I was concerned and said so. “Don’t worry,” she softly replied, tiny hand hardly touching the doorknob, “I’ll be fine.”

Hers was the last appointment of the evening. As I turned off the lamps and straightened the room I noticed that the molecules had hardly changed while she was there. It was almost as though she’d never been there at all. I don’t remember her name, and I never heard from her again, but about three weeks later I turned on the TV and learned that her husband had killed her.

About Pamela Correll

Pam Correll retired two years ago after 42 years as a social worker; 27 of those as a psychotherapist.  She has been writing all her life. Since her retirement, she has found herself writing about her career.  Pam is married with one adult son.