Adam Ash

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Thursday, May 25, 2006



She took to walking the streets. Aimlessly. Sometimes she found herself in the middle of traffic, the object of outraged honks. Curses. She looked at her accusers blindly, then stumbled to the safety of the sidewalk, blinking there, jostled by passersby, a ball bouncing off trees in the forest.

Other times she’d be going somewhere, and then she’d forget where she was going, and then she’d find herself somewhere in the city she’d never been, suddenly, with a numbing shock. Then she would discover that her face was wet. Crying. Streaming down her face, as though each tear was filled with its own little consciousness, and hell-bent on getting out of her face. Running away from her. Jumping ship under the power of their individual wills. Citizens fleeing a firebombed city, the sound of explosions ripping through their ears. The tears fell out of a hole in her. A crater that broke open wider and wider.

At work she was an automaton, but her patients didn’t notice. Her professional manner was devoid of emotion anyway. She automatically set up her equipment, invited a patient in, set him down, and began. The clicker in her hand clicked, and the man by her side reacted. She didn’t feel the shocks herself anymore, so she detached the electrodes. She went home, and crawled into bed, crying.

She tried cognition therapy on herself. She made lists on her computer. She called the lists up on her computer and then clicked them away. She was clicking everything away. She had liked to look in the mirror and play with the makeup that Esther had given her, but now the bottles and tubes and brushes just sat on the table, unused, unrecognizable. She pulled her hair back. She didn’t feel ripe and wet anymore. She felt strict and rigid and severe. She wondered if her article about her Original Method for the Treatment of Sexually Dysfunctional Patients was dead now. It lay on the page like a stranger in bed. The sentences came briefly to life and then expired: insects who only had a few hours to live their whole lives. Like shy worms they curled in on themselves and died. Her thesis was dead; it had left her for dead.

God was killing her. Slowly and surely. His inexorable wrath for her inexcusable deed.


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