Dr. Patel now paced outside the circle. “Three weeks ago Monday, you reported to work — ” Dr. Patel nodded in the direction of Gary and Arjie — “and claimed the world had suddenly changed. You claimed that you didn’t recognize mobile phones or personal computers, and did not remember owning a car.” Jane nodded, despite realizing that Dr. Patel was not asking her to corroborate her case history. “You also claimed that there was some kind of mass transit system — something resembling trolley cars — ”
“Unirail.” Jane suddenly realized it had been a week since she had even thought about it. “There’s this electrical grid under the city streets, and — ”
She stopped upon seeing Dr. Patel raise a polite hand. “Perhaps some other time, Jane. What’s important for now, is the fact that you claim that there are important things missing in this world — ” Dr. Patel was now pointing down — “and there are other things that are in this world, that you claim did not exist until that Monday.”
Jane sensed from Dr. Patel’s motionless pause that he was now actually waiting for corroboration. She nodded. “Yes, that’s what happened. I woke up one day, and poof.” She spread her hands up and out from her lap.
Dr. Patel smiled, and turned to the rotund man sitting in the chair opposite the circle from Jane. “Gary, when you heard Jane tell this story — of the world going poof — what was your reaction?”
Gary’s eyes widened, his head snapping back. “I was — confused. Worried. Which is why I asked her to see you.”
Dr. Patel turned back to Jane, sitting between her mother and Wings. “Yes, this is where I come into the story. And I must admit that when Jane came to my office that Wednesday afternoon, I fully expected to refer her to a clinical therapist — I had even contacted someone I work with frequently, who works regularly with women of Jane’s generation.” Dr. Patel blinked, shook his head. “But then I heard your story — not only your story, but the calm conviction with which you told it. And before our first session was over, I came to a hypothesis that I confirmed in our subsequent meetings.”
He had stopped his pacing, was now standing directly in front of her, staring down in cold calculation. “You are delusional, Jane. I’m sorry, but that is my diagnosis. You insist on facts that can easily be dismissed as fantasy, and dismiss other facts that are just as easily verified. Furthermore, I don’t believe any talking therapy can help your condition. Your delusion is too deep, too entrenched, for even the best clinical therapist to eradicate. I did not refer you, Jane, because I knew that, as a psychiatrist who works with severe mental disorders — ” he placed a hand on her shoulder — “I was the only person who could help you.”