A warm breeze threatened to lift the hem of her dress; to expose her to the world. But she was too preoccupied by the preoccupations of real life and the demise of her privacy to truly care what parts of her the public could see.
They had probably seen it all already, anyhow.
Over the past couple of days, her life had been a whirlwind of press conferences and whispered conversations behind her back. And whenever she had turned to see who was speaking in such hushed tones, it was almost as though they turned with her, so that they were forever out of reach; just on the peripherals of her line of sight. She had always thought the Devil was faceless, but had never held the notion that they’d meet – or rather, not meet – on Earth: He had belonged in the depths of Hell, where she knew she would end up in good time.
What’s the difference of a few years? She thought, her steps beating purposefully against the pavement, head down to ensure she did not step on any broken tiles of cement. Her shoulders were held stiffly, too close to her ears for comfort, causing her arms to tremble and her back to ache. Only three days ago, she had practically run down that very road, feeling the weight atop her shoulders release and her heart beat happily against her chest. She had been travelling to the same place she was now, but the difference in temperament was vast.
Three days’ previous, she had married not out of necessity, but out of love. Her third marriage in the space of five years, the mantra she had continually recited was, third time’s a charm, but whether or not she truly believed it was still undecided. Her husband was CEO of one of the largest conglomerates in the world, so – after their small, unpublicised, wedding had been revealed – the press had dug up every single embarrassing, hurtful and demeaning story they could on her. It had been expected, yet her past was just as broken as the tiles she constantly wished to avoid, perhaps more so. They had spoken to ex-husbands and written about childhood events which even she had come to forget. Or rather, her attempts to forget had staved off memories for longer than a few hours, which was good enough for her.
Three days ago, she had hurtled down that same road to meet with somebody she had seen twice a week for more than half of her life. Bearing the good news of finally being free and happy, she thought it would be the final time they saw or spoke to one another. Breaking this to him – her psychiatrist – had given her a new lease of life, but he had not been as positive. Frowning, he had looked down at his wooden desk while she stood panting above him, before slowly removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes. He had explained how harmful media attention could be; that more celebrities came through those doors than people. But her bare feet were firmly pressed against the foamy texture of a cloud, and did not listen to his worried words. She merely heard the tidings of a money crazed lunatic who had been taking half of her weekly wage for as long as she could remember. And she told him this, leaving only the echo of a slammed door and crashing footsteps in his midst. He had allowed this: prayed she would be as happy and peaceful as she thought she would be; not holding a single thing against her, for he had known her since she was a child; had treated her with the fragility of a father holding his dying daughter in his arms.
And now she returned, pausing at his office door. It was the exact time of the appointment she had held for more than ten years of her life, but she wondered if he had already filled her space with another lost soul. Standing with her hand raised to the buzzer, her eyes glazed over as she contemplated her response to him if this were the case. She would be hurt, of course, and hoped that their relationship was more meaningful than that. Hovering at his nondescript door which merely held his name printed in large, black font, she cleared her throat and knocked. Ten seconds passed; a crease in time which held nothing but a truckload of thoughts, including the idea that those dark creases of time which appeared almost as blank and dull as the door before her were, in actual fact, the most important in life. They held the most potent feelings of anticipation and wild thoughts, something which could not be re-created even in the most realistic films, or descriptive prose. Those ten seconds felt like ten minutes, but she did not move an inch, merely stood there, awaiting her fate.
The door opened slowly and the familiarity of the face peering out from behind the entrance allowed time to unfreeze so that the sounds and smells of the street reached her with a punch of ferocity. As he gestured for her to walk through the door’s frame, she smiled: her first in three days.
She already felt comforted, even though their session had not begun on the clock yet.