Therapy by Nathan Boole

“Sometimes I still wake up screaming.”

“I see.”

“I’m not sure why that happens. I don’t remember dreaming, and I can’t think of anything that could have caused it.”

“Well… sometimes this kind of thing doesn’t need to be triggered by anything. In fact you can waste a lot of time and effort trying to uncover some kind of event or causation for an episode.”

“Then why? I haven’t thought about my ‘adventures’ in a long time. Hell I haven’t even dreamed about them in a long time.”

“Have you been taking the medication?”

“Of course, every day. Well, almost every day. Sometimes I forget.”

“Did you forget yesterday?”

“No. That’s why I’m worried. I’ve just started to feel like I have a real life again. I don’t need this, doctor!”

“I understand, believe me. Someone who’s been through what you have often just wants to forget, to put it behind them and move on.”

“Yeah! That’s what I want. I want to be able to get a good night’s sleep, for one thing.”

“The problem is that your mind won’t let go of it. You will have to resolve the problem before you can really move on.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“Sure. It’s easy to say and hard to do. But you can do it.”

“I still don’t think I have the problem you think I have.”

“…You don’t have to completely agree with me. The point is that there is a problem.”

“Well, yeah, sure, but it’s not delusions. It’s not ‘false memories’ or ‘fantasy’ or ‘invention’ or any of the other things you like to say about it. I remember what I remember.”

“Okay, fine, even if they are true memories, they are crippling your ability to live a normal life. You’ve said so yourself. You have to work with me so that you can let them go.”

“I met a girl yesterday.”

“That was a quick change of subject.”

“I just remembered.”

“Are you attracted to her?”

“Sure. Well, mostly. I mean. I think I should be attracted to her. I want to be attracted to her…”

“Maybe you’re still attached to the woman in your dreams.”

“She’s not just a dream doc!”

“She’s not here is she?”

“Ugh, look, that’s not the point. I know where she is, I just don’t know how to get there.”

“And you can’t let her go.”

“No, I can’t, okay?! She was perfect for me. She is perfect for me. I just have to find a way to…”

“That world does not exist. Maybe she does, maybe she’s someone you met once, or even someone you fell in love with, but your mind has warped the true memory into something else.”

“Doc, we’ve been over this a thousand times. She’s not some warped memory. She’s a princess. Literally. Not ‘a princess in my heart’ or ‘a woman on a pedestal’ or whatever other bullshit line you feel like feeding me.”

“Did you dream about her last night?”

“No. Maybe. I don’t remember. I don’t think I had dreams.”

“But you woke up screaming. There must have been something.”

“I don’t remember anything. Well, nothing clear anyway. There was darkness, although that could have been after I woke up. And rock, like walls. It was cold rock, and it smelled like damp, kind of like the smell under a sink that’s been leaking for a while.”

“That’s pretty detailed for not remembering.”

“Well it’s coming back a little now, okay?”

“Alright. Tell me about it.”

“I don’t want to. That’s all I remember.”

“Really?”

“…”

“How’s your work going?”

“Okay.”

“What does ‘okay’ mean?”

“It means ‘okay’! What else would it mean? Look, plumbing isn’t exactly exciting, okay? It’s a fucking job. It pays the bills. What the hell else do you want me to say about it?”

“Does it feel good to be working again?”

“Yeah, sure. I guess. I just wish…”

“What?”

“Well I wish I could go back.”

“To the place that you have nightmares about? That gives you anxiety attacks and depressive episodes? To the delusional fantasy you created so you wouldn’t have to deal with whatever stressful circumstance is buried beneath all the false memories? You have to stop this. You have got to dig down and uncover whatever it is your mind is running from. You will never be able to heal and move on if you don’t.”

“Who says I want to move on, doc?”

“You said you did. You’ve said you do many times. You told me that’s all you wanted.”

“Well maybe I lied! Maybe all I really want is to go back and find her again!”

“Back to the fire and the darkness? Back to the long bridge and the thing you know waits at the end of it? That is what we need to dig into. The end of that bridge. You’ve obviously got some memory, some thing your unconscious can’t let go of, that you represent to yourself as the dragon at the end of the bridge.”

“If I could just get past it! I could find…”

“What were you going to say? You could find her?”

“Well… yes damn it! I could find her, and then all of this would make sense!”

“I think, Mario, that what you need to do is not try to bypass the dragon. You need to go into it. Look into it. I think you will find the resources you need for a normal, happy life.”

“…no. No, I don’t think so, doc. I don’t think I can lead a ‘normal,’ ‘happy’ life. That doesn’t exist for me. I can’t even bring myself to call the girl I met yesterday. She’s just a normal girl, and I can’t be attracted to her. Hell, everything in this place seems pointless to me. I’m leaving Doc. I’m sorry I came.”

“No, Mario, wait a minute.”

“See ya Doc. Have a good life.”

10 thoughts on “Therapy by Nathan Boole

  1. I loved it! I don’t know why, but I somehow knew immediately it was going to be… who it was. (I don’t see spoiler tags listed as supported here).

  2. Wondered what on earth this was going to be about, till about third of the way through. Then I got it! (yeah, I’m slow on games. Had to ask my son on some of the entries but not this one!) An intriguing way to bring the game into life. I liked it!

  3. I was thinking all through there about a book J.M. Weiland is writing called Dreamlander. It’s about a guy who actually goes to this other world when he sleeps. I thought, oh! This is sort of like that. Then I read the name Mario and busted out laughing! Very clever.

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