"Um, I guess I'd like to stay here," you sort of mumble, wondering just as soon as the words are out, why you've decided to stay here.

"Good, I think that's a good decision. Come on, I'll walk you there."

You follow Dr. Fay down a back staircase you'd never noticed before. It opens up onto a very institutional-looking white corridor with heavy wooden doors on both sides. Dr. Fay checks with a nurse standing at the entrance to an office, then leads you to a door at the end of the hallway. Opening the door, she reveals a pleasant enough room, with a hospital bed, a desk, a chair and a large window with thick blinds.

"I didn't even know this was here," you say.

"Well, this school is very well known for its psychiatry program. I'm glad we can have this available for you tonight. This envelope is for you. In it are your plane tickets and a receipt from the cab company that will be picking you up tomorrow morning. It's all arranged already. Someone here will wake you up in time to go back and pack some things in your apartment, unless you'd like for someone here to do that for you?"

"No. I'll manage in the morning."

"Anna, is there anything else I can do for you? Anything at all?"

"No, thank you, Dr. Fay, you've been more than kind."

"All right. Godspeed, my dear, and if you do find that you need someone to talk to, there is a full staff working here around the clock."


The door closes and suddenly you are alone. Your exhaustion wins over and you doze off, your chin drooping onto your chest.

The door opens.

That same nurse from earlier comes in, smiling too broadly.

"Hey," she says. "I brought you some dinner."

She is in the process of wheeling the little hospital tray over to your bed when a piercing scream fills the air all around you. You instinctively press your forearms against your ears. The little cartoon nurse dashes out of the room. Slowly letting your arms down, you are surprised to find yourself on your feet, following her to the bathroom, where the horrible sound seems to be coming from.

A girl about your age is lying on the floor, hitting her head repeatedly against the toilet bowl, crying out with the repetitive bleating of a baby animal. She struggles to squeeze tears out of her eyes as she arches herself this way and that in a demonstration of the utmost pain.

"He doesn't love me!" she wails. "He doesn't love me anymore! There's another girl, I'm sure of it!"

Your first impulse is to laugh, which you do.

But then something else fills you: a cold, brutal anger demanding immediate expression.

"You little brat," you hiss. Something in your voice instantly silences her. "Do you know why I'm here? I'm here because my mother died yesterday. That's right, my mother. You waste the school's funds on your fucking highschool problems. Do you even know what a real problem is, you ridiculous little cunt?" Your voice begins to break. The nurse looks up at you with a mixture of shock and disapproval. You continue. "They just told me this morning. They just called me to tell me this. I don't have anyone now. No one who matters. A child without a mother is basically an orphan. And here you are with your stupid theatrics cracking your head against a toilet bowl? Do you have any idea how stupid you look!"

"Okay, Anna, that's enoughÂ…" begins the nurse.

"Your whole discipline is horseshit. Your whitewashed little corridors, your pandering to any asshole with any joke for a problem! Is this really what modern psychology is all about? Do you think that chilling out in your clean little room and eating institutional shit has really made me feel better? Do you think it does jack shit to erase the cold, hard facts? Is this really all you people have to offer, pussyfooting around and pretending like real life isn't a fucking tragedy? Fuck you!"

Your eyes have filled with tears, you barely know what you're saying, but you are aware that you've gathered up your few belongings from your room at the end of the hall in preparation to return to your apartment.

"Anna, I respect what has happened to you, but you can't just do this to another patient."

"The only reason I ever came here in the past was to feed my sense of humor. But that has run out now. The only way to ever get me back in one of these pointless dumps would be to drag me in kicking and screaming!"

"Oh, that often happens," the nurse says quietly, her face obscured in the shade of the dark corridor. You storm out into the night and back to your small apartment.

Your few angry tears have not yet dried on your face as you collapse onto your bed, falling instantly asleep.

You have 1 choice: