A deep breath. Quick look in the mirror. A final adjustment to her hair. Pump-me-up speech. Then she's out the door; walking swiftly down the deserted street. Face turned down to the ground, she tries her best not to be noticed. The clacking of her slightly heeled flats doesn't help her much, but when you only have one dry set of shoes beggers cant be choosers.
Looking up from the ground, she sees her first human contact. Self-consciously adjusting her scarf, she tries to bring her eyes up and away from the ground. 'Confidence' she says quietly. Willing her speech to affect her worried mind. The man walking by her hardly gives her notice, his life busy on the glowing phone in front of him.
Thanking any diety she can think of, she presses on, walking down a few side streets and then reaching the small towns equaly small epicenter. People milling around eating food, shopping, talking, laughing. It all feels so pointless to her. Taking the sidewalk for a brief minute, she skirts the outskirts of the busy streets. Finding her way past it and avoiding eye contact with the groups of people she crosses.
The roads become steeper, and she checks the time again. 5 minutes. Will she be late? Could she be late? What if she's late? Pumping her legs faster, she pushes herself forward up the hill. Keeping her feet away from ice patches on the ground and no longer testing each step in the snow. The grey sky overhead provides a small degree of comfort, less likely for anyone to discover her secret.
Stopping. She stands in front of her destination, the inconspicuous sign welcoming and terrifying at the same time. Another deep breath, another adjustment of the scarf wrapped round her lower face and neck. Her watch beeps, noting a minute until the appointment begins. 'I can't just stand here, someone will see me', she thinks to herself.
She walks down the driveway, glancing anxiously at the houses she can see just beyond a thin veil of shrubbery. The leaves dead and no longer offering the protection they did during the non-winter months. Her feet begin pushing against gravel, the road having turned from concrete to a less maintained parking lot. Not for long, her feet are clunking against the wooden boards of the ramp to the door. Another deep breath and her hand is on the cold metal of the doorknob. Stepping through the doorway, she scans the room for anyone else.
No one today. Sitting down on a chair, she adjusts her hair again, pulls at her scarf and undoes her jacket. No longer worrying, she rests a moment in the warm straw coloured chair. The light piano music of the lobby relaxing her. The place reminds her of her grandmothers house: warm, cozy, and comforting. Continuing to wait, she eyes the doorway and listens for the telltale sign of someone walking down the hallway. Not yet, she still has time to collect herself. Just a little more time before she falls to pieces during her session with the therapist.