A Short Story
As soon as she entered the office, Serina was asked to lie down.
Is this some trick?
Sighing, she flopped on the recliner bed.
Hate you, Mom.
“Okay, all aboard. Let’s go!” announced Dr. Preethi like a pretend pilot. She was a middle-aged Indian woman with wild black curls, and a soft yet stern look that spelt business.
“So, what changed your mind to come over?”
Sinking into the fluffy bed, Serina searched her memory.
Best be straight.
Licking her lips, Serina grumbled, “My mother.”
Dr. Preethi twirled her finger rings. “And how do you feel about it?”
Serina rolled her eyes.
You can’t help me, lady. Now, how do I get my hands on that thing and get the hell out of here?
A week ago, Serina’s mother had dragged her to Dr. Preethi’s office. Over tea and banana chips, she’d rambled about Serina’s ‘escalating problems’ while the therapist gave astute nods.
Rolling her eyes at the women — much like she was doing now — Serina had noticed a figurine on the beach-wood desk: a golden tiger. It was tiny — the height of an ordinary paperweight — and crouching, as if about to leap off the papers thrown about the desk. Tied to its tail was a miniature birdcage.
Serina’s pupils exploded.
There’s my carrot. There’s my filthy, delicious carrot.
“My mother” — Serina knit her brows — “is not exactly loving. She acts all friendly ‘n all, but she’s always ready to attack. Crouching and poised, y’know? Like that little tiger over there. What is it, by the way?”
The therapist turned her head back and the black waves swayed. “Oh, that. Those are gifts for new patients. That one’s yours, in fact,” she beamed. “I’m happy you asked.”
Serina exhaled, her mouth hung open like a panting crow.
What- that’s mine?
Dr. Preethi leaned back into the chair and crossed her legs.
“In India, a tiger is the conduit of Durga — the Goddess of courage. So, this little tiger is like a reminder. You place it on your desk or next to your mirror or wherever, and every time you look at it, it will remind you to be Durga: face your fears with courage, and break out of the self-created cage of limiting beliefs.
Serina stared at the therapist for a long moment, her lips parting and closing like a goldfish.
“Are you okay, Serina?”
Serina’s face crumbled into a smile. Nodding, she sank back into the pillow as tears coursed through the ravines of her ears.
“Yeah, I’m good, I’m good. Let’s talk.”