Her clients don't ask about her eye. But there's a smugness to their confessions now. Like there's a grain of salt taken with her advice. Sure lady, we've all got our problems the suicide smirks. That's quite a shiner you got there. She gives him a bottle of valerian root and tells him to get the fuck out. In so many words. I'll see you next week. Keep writing in your journal. Here's some linseed for your stitches.
When she's looking at her knuckles rubbed raw, she thinks about his eyes. And when she looks in the mirror, poking experimentally at the puffed and tender skin around her eye, she thinks about his fists. The horror in his face after the two collided. When he looked down and saw his father-hand shaking, still clenched. He didn't need to tell her about his childhood. It's all the same story anyway. She knew; read it in his wide eyes. "Oh Rose, oh rose..." Why'd you make me do it, no I didn't do it, oh God, etc. She'd treated a case of possession--some poor little girl raised by two ill-educated Fundamentalists. She knew all about ghosts, about your body just doing things and the brain having to play catch-up later. Still doesn't change a thing. She throws the seeds from his latest tearful dispatch in the trash. She doesn't answer his calls. She deletes his messages without listening. A week later ragweed sprouts under her desk wailing "Rose! Sweetie! Rose! Sweetie!" and she has to call pest control to dispose of it. But her hand never trembles, and her eyes don't water, even when the smell assaults her as she grinds the miserable little plants beneath her heel. "-ose! -eetie! -ose!"