“Do you remember rain before you understood it?” she asked.
The doctor followed her glance to the rain-wet window. “No.”
“Well, I do. And I’m feeling that feeling again now.” Her brown eyes were hard and shiny.
“What feeling, Jennifer?”
The chair squeaked as she fidgeted. “Well, you know. You’re a child. You walk outside and wet falls from the sky. It drips down your eyes, you pretend you’re crying. It slicks your hair, you pretend you’re taking a shower. You’re trying to make it fit the pictures you already understand, but it won’t, not exactly, so you just run in circles with your tongue out. The dirt melts into mud, the trees smell strong. The next day, worms are dead on the sidewalks. It’s insane. You ask questions and are told about clouds, but there are deeper wonderings that you can’t even begin to share. You have a taste for magic now. You start to learn science, and you’re told you’re hurtling through space with billions of other universes. That the world is lit by a blazing sphere of fire. That gravity sticks you to the ground, and that on the other side of the world people are walking upside down, their feet to yours, stuck just like you are. Anything seems possible.”
“What are you saying?”
“Well, maybe anything is possible.” She searched the doctor’s white office with her eyes again, the black and white poster of Maslow’s pyramid above his desk, the latest DSM manual on his bookshelf, his bone-white fingers that signed endless prescriptions. “Why is the cure so cold when the world is so beautiful?”
The doctor nodded. “You’re right, Jennifer. Listen to yourself, you’re talking like a healthy person.”
She was grave. “I think I need to go. I think I need to live now. To touch things. Touch people.”
“I think you’re right.”
She was surprised. “You’ll let me go?”
“Yes. The cure is cold because you’re not supposed to stay here. It’s safe, but it’s not home.”
She stood to leave, but paused. “What is it like out there? I mean, what will happen to me now?”
He smiled. “Anything is possible.”