The 10 o'clock Appointment - Part 3

We both sat back down in silence for a moment, neither sure how to bridge the gap. Finally, he spoke. “I'm trying, honey. I'm trying to do as you asked, but it's so hard. I need the liquor since I have nothing else in my life. Every day is just so hard. It's so hard being alone. Having nothing, being nothing. I can't-“ I was supposed to play the part of a therapist. He was supposed to be just another client. But seeing him now, seeing him bare his soul, I knew I was fooling myself. Ivy was right, this counsel was beyond my capabilities. “Are you still drinking?” He looked at me with such doleful eyes. “Yes.” “How much?” “Nearly-“he paused. “Nearly same as before.” “Then we're done here.” I said with an air of finality. “No, please! I can change! I-“ “Dad- Henry. You said that last time. And the time before that. You said that when mom died.” I was shaking. “I can't do it. I can't watch you waste away. I've tried to help. I failed.” “No, honey, you didn't! I'm doing so much better because of you!” He was lying. I could see his physical condition deteriorating. If anything, he was doing worse. “Henry Price, I'm sorry, but I can't help you.” I really thought that maybe this time I could. I let myself believe that maybe he could change. I agreed to this meeting knowing full well it was him knocking at my door. I was being a fool, he hadn't changed since last we met. “Please- please don't do this, honey.” “I'm going to have to ask you to leave now. Our time has expired.” I could feel the emptiness in my chest, a total disconnect from my own emotions. I was operating on auto-pilot. “Furthermore, I will no longer be able to take you in as a client. I can refer you to other therapists if need be. But effective immediately, your patronage has been terminated.” The naked grief on his face said so much. But, just as it normally goes, his grief transformed to anger. He stared at me in open contempt one final time. “Fine. So be it. It seems I've lost both a wife and a daughter then.” I watched him leave, staring at his back the entire time. He never turned back once. Never tried to speak nor argue. Henry Price walked with a purposeful stride. He had found his resolve. THE END

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Jane Doe

Aspiring writer, budding linguist.

Cape Town, South Africa