By Carmella Dileonardi
Photo courtesy of favim.com
Grace’s jaw tightened in frustration as she placed her fingers against the desk and pressed down, trying to pop some air bubbles that were keeping her muscles tight. She felt as stiff as a rod. She hadn’t even thought about bringing the salt water that her doctor had recommended her to drink.
“Not such a steady hand for a writer.” Grace looked up, seeing Ms. Henderson. Grace sent a silent prayer that she wouldn’t make a scene. “Winters wants to see you,” the teacher murmured, giving the girl a small smile before returning to the front of the class.
Grace exhaled, her unclenched hands causing her to almost laugh in instant relief. Giving herself a moment, she soon got up and stealthily exited before walking to the counseling office.
She had been meeting with Mrs. Hermione Winters in weekly sessions for the past three years. Mrs. Winters was a slightly tall woman, quite young. Her style was very suitable with modern-day society. She had a bob, three earlobe piercings, plus one cartilage piercing. She was quite “hip.” The sessions centered around talking about how Grace felt, yet they ended up just making her feel pathetic.
Passing Mrs. Call on her way to Mrs. Winters’ office, she waved to Grace, offering a small smile. Grace tried to give one back.
She sat down in the plush chair in front of the counselor’s desk, not bothering to knock on the door frame to make sure if it was alright to enter. Mrs. Winters looked up from the paper on her desk before smiling in a manner that wasn’t too exaggerated—bearable enough for Grace.
Mrs. Winters leaned back in her chair. “How has the week been so far?” she asked curiously, flipping her notebook open.
Grace waited a moment to respond, as if looking for the right word. “Ghastly,” she smiled, while Mrs. Winters frowned. “And why is that?” she asked further.
Grace sighed, shuffling in her seat in an effort to get comfortable. “Well, lets see…Heath asked me if I was a zombie, which, I mean, he’s pretty daft so honestly no surprise there. Uhh…Trevor was just being Trevor, so I’m used to the daily dosage. I might hopefully obtain a tolerance. And did I mention my brother is on the dark side with them? Oh, oh, can’t forget that my hands cramped up because I forgot my gloves,” she said, giving an airy laugh while raising her hands.
Hermione glanced down at her notebook, scribbling a note before looking back up. “How does that make you feel?” Grace dropped her hands, knowing that watching paint dry would be more interesting than these textbook questions. “How clinical of you to ask,” she said flatly, her face deadpanning.
“I can’t help unless you meet me half way,” Mrs. Winters responded. Grace felt herself falter. She didn’t know why she was always so crabby towards Winters; the poor woman just wanted to help. “I’m sorry…half way just seems too far,” she responded, looking sideways with a frown.
“I know you don’t like these sessions. Why do you stay?” Mrs. Winters asked. Grace straightened her shoulders and sat forward in her chair. “My mother. She thinks I need them, and I’m definitely not going to tell her no right now.”
Winters raised her eyebrows. “You told me when we first met that you hated being appeased. Now here we are, and you are doing it to your own mother,” she pointed out to Grace.
“It’s different. You know that,” the teenager responded, feeling bothered. “I know…doesn’t make it right,” Mrs. Winters said while tilting her head. “But I do it anyway,” Grace responded.