Progress or Pause

“I fail to see your point.”

Dr. Sauvage, in turn, failed to suppress her sigh, “Keeping your eyes closed is just another way of avoiding reality, isn’t it, Mr. Penz?” No reply came. The small office seemed to pulsate with quiet, an oppressive lack of something, most likely lack of progress. The small clock placed strategically past the patient’s shoulder ticked away, seconds as long as moments, moments dragging into lapses.

Mr. Penz blurted out, eyes still shut, “I saw her again.”

Shifting a little in the high back leather chair, the doctor queried, “When did this happen?”

“Yesterday, on the Metro. She got on at Falls Church.”

“Wait, why were you…” She paused. Questioning why he was on the opposite side of the city from his regular route would only derail things. “Same as usual? Same long, flowing white dress?”

Another pause filled the room. Mr. Penz smiled and opened his eyes, though he stared at the opposite wall.

“No,” he said, “she wore jeans and a gray sweater. This time, she was real.”

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