“Well, you made a mistake.
No doubt about that.”
Said the shrink.
“I know.” I said.
I had imagined he’d burst in laughter
A champagne bottle, a bubble, or a dam
Bursting inside the beatings of his heart.
I thought he’d burst forth – for eternity
But he was quiet and maintained his stern visage
All the way.
“So, a mistake …,” babbled the shrink,
Still searching for an answer.
“A mistake, a mistake, a mistake.”
He repeated it like some transcendental mantra.
The roundness of his shelled head shined
In the overhead light and radiated outwards
I thought it would crack open
& an answer would pop out.
But the shrink kept staring at the wall,
Meditating upon an answer,
Trying to stimulate what lay slumberous
On the mind’s clayey floor.
He stretched his arms, or was it a yoga position?
An impulse, a revelation, exploring the mind’s
Bleak surface with a candle
& wandering off into queer alleys, tempting streets,
Coming with an answer as a bouquet of flowers?
“Did you try calling her?”
Duh! Was that all you could think?
“Did you not try?” He asked again,
His voice cracked for the first time.
His face glowed with sweat
As if he’d just come out of the sauna.
“She wouldn’t pick up.”
“Did you not go to her place?”
“She wouldn’t open the door.”
“But, you must have apologized.”
“Over a hundredth time.”
Silence permeated the room
& filled it like a hydrogen balloon.
“I’m an idiot.” I said to myself.
“No, you’re not,” the shrink replied promptly.
“An idiot does not know that he’s an idiot.”
“Like a tree does not know that it’s a tree
Until it is told that it is a tree.”
“I mean, a tree grows, it gives shade,
It’s split into wood, and people love it
For that. You see, even a dumb tree has got
Some purpose. So —!”
His sermon trailed away.
I remained silent, motionless, as if
Congealed by one cold thought.
Resting my head on my palms
I said in an incorrigible peevish undertone –
“Blathering like the nincompoop that you are?”
Silence filled the room –
I could hear the expanding balloon
& the supersonic sound it produced –
A loud, one-note wail, long and deafening.
Enough of this!
I shut my eyes and pressed my ears hard
I banged my head on the flimsy table
& looked up.
“You’re in tears!”
The shrink shrieked, aghast.