Not Always Like This

I sat on the coach as other passengers ambled on. A woman boarded, dressed entirely in purple. She stood at the front, and announced,

“Ladies and gentlemen, I need your help – I am casting a spell for world peace.”

She reminded me of a teacher on a school trip, but mad.

*

A week or so earlier, my doctor called me into his office.

My words tumbled out in a monotone jumble: I felt unable to cope, I’d banged my head against a wall on purpose.

*

The woman continued her monologue.

“You see, ladies and gentlemen, there are lines connecting all of us: green lines, orange lines and white lines…”

A bus station staff member boarded the coach.

“Can you step off the coach for a minute, love? We want to have a word with you.”

*

“You need to find a healthy way of dealing with frustration – hurting yourself isn’t going to help.”

An anger swelled inside me.

“I know that, don’t fucking patronise me.”

“I’m not used to being sworn at whilst I do my job,” he responded calmly. “I’m trying to help you.”

*

The woman in purple got back on.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very sorry to have caused such a disturbance,” she said coyly, before returning to her seat, collecting her things and leaving the coach.

*

“I’m sorry,” I said, ashamed. “I’m not always like this.”

I took the pale green prescription slip and left the doctor’s office.

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