The Passed Note Issue 6 February 2018 - Page 24

I first met Dr. Reber when I was five years old. My mom anxiously waited outside while we got to know one another. He was a warm, bearded man at least half a century older than me. We played Connect Four and ate soft pretzels. After our first session, he opened the door and nudged me into the waiting room.

“So… How did you like Dr. Reber?” Mom asked.

I broke out into a big smile. “I want him to be my father!”

The frequency with which I saw Dr. Reber changed depending on the year. Sometimes I went weekly, which I didn’t mind, especially when we made a progressive muscle relaxation cassette tape, or when my mom let me get a highly-caffeinated Mountain Dew with my soft pretzel (which, she didn’t realize at the time, surely counteracted the relaxation techniques Dr. Reber was trying to teach me). Still, I didn’t want anyone other than my parents and sisters to know I was seeing a psychiatrist, which was a problem at school due to one pesky acquaintance.

***

“Hi Applesauce Girl!” my medicine bud yelled from down the hall. He walked toward me, swinging his hall pass around in circles remarkably synchronous with the jiggle of his belly fat. “Why ya sittin’ out here?”

“Shh!” I said, and when he got closer: “Dr. Coyne put me in the hall for calling out in class. I’m supposed to ‘take a walk.’”

Dr. Coyne, my second grade teacher, was an impatient asthmatic who knew I had ADHD but had no idea how to handle me. I was often sent out into the hall, much to my parents’ chagrin.

He stopped at my feet. “That’s not very nice.”