There is a new girl in group therapy. Her name is Mandy, and she’s probably around ten or eleven years old. Her eyes are sunken, big and round that stick out in comparison to her slender face. Her hair is ultra short as if it is growing in for the first time, like a soldier just beginning basic training. You can tell just by looking at her that she is not well. Cancer I would guess, terminal by the looks of her shrunken body and sucked in appearance. It looks like something has been squeezing the life out of her, like the juice out of a lemon, for quite some time.
I don’t know why Dr. Colton brought her in our group, but then I’ve been working with him long enough not to question his methods. Some things are beyond me and I’m learning to accept that and carry on.
The thing about Mandy is she loves jokes, or rather one in particular. Get her alone and she will immediately rattle off her routine.
She will go on like this endlessly, never delivering the punch line. Most people placate, continue along with the game until they grow tired and then filter off onto something, or someone else.
I’ve watched her go from one person to another delivering her lines, always with a smile on her face, always happy to be connecting with another soul. She never gets tired or disappointed when they stop playing their part, pick up a book, or with greed seek out another person to save them from the turmoil they have found themselves. She just moves on. Telling it, over and over.
It’s tedious, yes. But I understand her. There are places we get to in life where the comfort is just enough to make us want to stay; the elation of where we are is so sweet we cling to every minute. We do this because we know it won’t last, it never does. There is a fear in as much as there is a joy, because of what tomorrow holds.
And with a future like hers, I wouldn’t be in any hurry to get to the ending either.