A Meeting

­– Susanna?

– Hi, yes, Corinne. Come on in.

– Hey, so, thanks for meeting with me today. And sorry about the time mix-ups and all.

– That’s fine, not to worry. You’re here now, so take a seat. Now, you wanted to discuss your assignment?

– Yeah, the one on depression – biological, psychological, socio-cultural—

– Mm-hmm.

– Yeah, oh, here it is. Yeah. Um, so, basically I had a read over your comments and all and…I just thought, I mean, I know I handed it in late and all, but I just, maybe you could have another look at it, ‘cos it was a little harsh, I mean, I got the late form in and…

– Yes, but that was special dispensation for a week’s extension and you handed it in ten days late, not including weekends. That’s still a good three days late, even with the dispensation.

– I know, but—

– And I understand you put work into it, but I have to mark everyone fairly, to the same standard – allowing for special dispensation, which I did – but, basically, from what I can remember, and what’s written here, your argument seemed to skirt around the question, approaching it quite indirectly. The structure was lacking, the referencing inconsistent, so…that’s essentially what I wrote in the comments here. You understand my reasoning, don’t you?

– Well, I do, but I’m not sure that—

– Look, I’ve still given you a pass mark. There’s five more weeks in the semester, you can make up for this—

– But I worked really hard, and I thought you’d understand, being a psych lecturer and ex-psychologist, and, well, you know I’ve got depression and I’ve been on these new meds and all and—

– Corinne, I understand, of course, but the mark is final.

– But Susanna, I tried really, really hard, even though this assignment was really, really close to home. I mean, I covered this in my dispensation form, but I thought you’d understand. I’ve been dizzy, I’ve been sick, I’ve been putting on weight like nothing else, I’ve been getting emotional over nothing. I can’t focus and my, well, anyway, look, it was just really hard to get into this, but between my shitty psychologist and study and trying to stare at the page and not sleep or throw the fucking thing across the room and…then I look at what you’ve put on my assignment paper and I just—

– Look, Corinne, I understand, but—

– No, you don’t seem to fucking understand!

– Corinne, I need you to calm down, and then we can discuss—

– Why the fuck did you—

– Corinne, that’s—

– I want to know why you scribbled all over my fucking assignment! Here, all this!

–  I didn’t…I thought – no, that’s your…

– No, it’s the same pen you wrote your comments with at the end, but right there in the middle of my assignment, you start scribbling around, tracing around all my writing and putting all these little squiggles and shapes and, well, it doesn’t exactly give you confidence that your teacher’s considering your arguments when she doodles all over them!

–  Corinne, I – I’m sorry, I –

–  It really didn’t help to have that, Susanna. I didn’t even want to say anything, at first I thought it was some weird form of corrections. But, the more I looked, the more I thought I was going mad, like my new meds were, I dunno, or you were making fun of me or something.

–  No! Oh god, no. I’m so sorry Corinne. I…I should have given your assignment better consideration. I was…distracted. I’m sorry.

–  Right. Well. It’s okay. I mean, I’m not too worried about the mark actually. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going crazy or you weren’t making fun of me or—

–  No, I would never. I’m…look, this is unacceptable, what I’ve done. I’m truly sorry.

–  It’s fine. I know the assignment wasn’t that terrible, but it wasn’t my best, and it was a bit late, so I’ll just do better next time. It’s good to know these meds aren’t giving me hallucinations or something. I’m still getting used to it. New side-effects every other day, makes me think I’ll…I dunno.

– No, well…look, don’t be too hard on yourself. Medication is a big adjustment, maybe you should discuss your dosage with your doctor and your psych. Get the balance right. I mean, I’m not practising anymore, but I know from experience, from both sides of the couch, there is a way to get medication to work, to work past it, even. You are getting good counselling and all along with this, right?

– Yeah, well, I dunno, my psych is a bit…I dunno.

– Well, here, there’s one I know. She’s a bit of a drive away from the city, but she’s quite good. Her treatment…well, it worked for me. Here. Dr. Kirkpatrick. Give her a try. Hopefully she can help.

– Thanks Susanna. I didn’t realise you – I mean, I knew you worked in psych and all, but…

– What, you think because I was a psychologist and I teach psychology that I’ve got my shit together? Working here for nearly ten years, my husband only just getting back into work, raising a four year old, and all the rest. Didn’t I cover this in my first lecture? We’ve all got our own demons and problems and neuroses to work out. Sanity really is a bit of a myth and I think I’ve proved that with this sketchy response to your assignment here…god…

– It’s fine. Really, I understand. Thanks, Susanna.

– No, thank you for bringing this to my attention, it’s… Look, Corinne. I know it helps to have someone to talk with, when reality’s slipping.

– Right…

– So, any time you want to discuss something, just, you know, my door’s always open. Please, pop in any time.

– Thanks Susanna.

– It’s fine. Well…I guess I’ll see you in class on Thursday. And don’t forget the reading.

– Don’t worry, I won’t. See you later.

– See you.

About Duncan Felton

Duncan Felton: writer, editor, publisher. duncanwritingeditingpublishing.wordpress.com sufaj.wordpress.com twitter.com/duncanfelton View all posts by Duncan Felton

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