“Can you tell me anything about why you can’t leave the house on your own?” she asked.
“No, not really,” I said.
“Nothing at all?”
“Well, I don’t know what you mean,” I said, “What happens to me? When it started? What caused it?”
She paused for a moment, weighing up the options, “Let’s start with what caused it?”
I looked around the room. Municipal grey, furniture by Staples and the desperation of artificial flowers, faded and dusty, attempting to soften the clinical air. Depressing.
“I don’t know. I honestly have no idea.”
She didn’t seem convinced.
“No,” I said, “I can’t think of a single event where my response was to never leave the house again…”
“Well…,” I sighed and said, “I just remember my world getting narrower.”
“Narrower? What do you mean?”
“It’s difficult to… let me…”
I floundered, trying to articulate something I didn’t really have words for.
“Take your time,” she cooed; a voice that was meant to soothe, but instead, put me on edge.
“Okay,” I paused and took some deep breathes, “It’s just… I wasn’t always like this.”
“This,” I snapped, “Trapped. Locked indoors. Scared of my own shadow. I used to be…”
I paused again, swallowing by my anger at this ridiculous situation.
“Once I left the family home,” I said. “I was pretty much a force of nature. I had my finger in every pie and, it appears, used every cliché I could find. I sang, acted, danced, wrote, did street theatre and ‘legitimate’ theatre, I was in god knows how many bands. When I wasn’t doing all that, I was out clubbing or gigging. I never stopped”
“That must have been exhausting.”
“I don’t remember exhaustion and I didn’t know the meaning of ‘relaxation.’ I never really understood why people had to stop. I had so much energy and verve.”
“Dunno,” I said, “but I spotted something that … I had this idea that what I was doing was…um…”
“No. Well, yes. Sort of… I mean, it’s all stuff that put me front and centre…”
“I was never comfortable with it,” I said, shuffling in my seat; a physical representation of my prior discomfort.
“Why did you do it, then?” she asked.
I sighed, “Because I loved it.”
Her brow furrowed, “They don’t… those two statements are…”
“Yes, I know. But that’s the thing. I loved the…” I stopped, knowing something pretentious was about to spew from my lips, “I loved the art of it. I just didn’t like the things that came with it. Acting is great, so is singing. I loved them. I just didn’t like the ‘fame’ of it. “
“Isn’t that what most people do it for? The fame?”
I shrugged, “I guess, but I’m not most people.”
“This is true,” she grinned.