I tell my therapist that her milkshake brings all the depressives to the yard. She laughs. I laugh. I don’t tell her I spent hours the night before trying to think of something funny to say to her. I also think: I love you. I think: you plus me equals happiness. I think: when does this session end? I think: I want to sleep with you to help murder the pain. She goes on about reframing or something. I’m still focusing on my joke. Time’s up. Fuck.


A murder case on Dateline. A beautiful wife is found dead in the snow in Ohio. I know it’s the husband. It’s always the husband. Plus he had a girlfriend on the side. Fast forward to the end. Guess what? It was the husband. I think: I knew it. I think: what do I do now? I think: I really want to die because I’m so depressed. I think: just do it, coward. But I don’t do it. Instead, I watch more true crime. Men doing terrible things to women all day long. It’s revolting. I don’t leave the couch. I smoke a shit ton of cigarettes. I don’t eat. I don’t sleep. I miss my therapist.

Wednesday and Thursday 

Nothing. 48 hours of blue death. I can’t move. I don’t want to move. Though I want to fly with birds, maybe a sparrow or a crow, just soar far away from the darkness inside me. I want to stare at the sun and let it melt my sadness. I want to stop breathing. I want my therapist. I feel lonely. No, worse than that. I feel completely devoid of life. I am nothing. I take my pills. Candy for the mentally ill. I think: please work your magic. I think: will I ever feel normal? I think: maybe I should take the whole bottle of pills. I think: goodbye, everyone. At night, I stare at the ceiling. I don’t count sheep, I count things I’ve lost.

The weekend 

I pick up my daughter and her best friend and go to the roller rink. She’s a bit awkward on skates, but she holds her own. I watch and watch her. She doesn’t see me looking at her. I’m glad. She prefers I not stare at her. She prefers I keep my distance. I’m not cool enough for her. She’s at that weird age where adults are not to be seen. I don’t tell her it hurts me a little. I don’t tell her how much I need her love and approval. I don’t tell her about the black days. I look around the place. I think: all the other dads here are better than me. I think: they are kinder and more loving and less sad. I think: I want to disappear. I want to dissolve in my chair. I also want to be them. They seem so content. I buy the girls pizza and drinks before leaving.

The next day I take them to see a horror movie. They debate who has to sit next to me. I don’t tell my daughter that I feel hurt again. I don’t tell her to please sit next time to me, it will make me happy. I don’t say anything. They eat popcorn loudly. The movie is terrible and predictable. On the drive home, I secretly listen to their conversation. They talk about boys. I think: please stop talking about boys. I think: boys only want one thing. I think: boys grow into men who kill their wives and are shown on Dateline. I don’t speak the entire way to my house. I take them home the next morning. I tell my daughter I love you. She mumbles something that sounds nothing like I love you, too. I think: I’m going to miss you. I think: you are so beautiful. I think: don’t go, honey.


I have no funny lines for my therapist. We talk about depression and anxiety and techniques to cope and whatnot. I just stare at anything other than her. I wish I were a poet so I could tell her how gorgeous and special she is using better words than gorgeous and special. I think: I’m not a poet. I think: I want to crawl in her mouth and knock on her heart. I have questions to ask of that muscle. I think: will her heartbeat be a song, a melodic longing for the client sitting in front of her? I think: please cure me, fix me, remake me. Baptize me. Love me. I think: stop being delusional you fool. In a flash, time’s up. Fuck. I think: I survived another week. 


Chris Milam lives in Middletown. Ohio. His stories have appeared in Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis Zine, JMWW, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @Blukris.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

Read Next: LENA by Divya Iyer