characters: Erica, Dr. Naadiah; mention of Dr. Tom and Dr. Arthur and Ivan.
summary: Dr. Naadiah helps Erica on the end of her first day at work.
spoilers/coda for the s3 finale Erica, Interupted.
If I hadn't been parroting everything Dr. Tom told me when I was new to therapy, I would never have been able to finish today...still surprised I got through it all.
"You look thirsty."
Erica looked up, and standing just a few feet away, was "Dr. Naadiah," Erica said, standing up.
"That wasn't an answer, Dr. Erica. And congratulations."
"Thanks," Erica said. "Though I think I could have used some more training before I got a patient."
"It is through our interaction with other people, that we learn the most. Who we are, our desires, and our ability to solve problems."
"Who said that?"
Dr. Naadiah looked kindly at her. "I did. And so did my therapist, Dr. Hu. Not a joke. And an example that not everything in our profession is a quote."
"Sorry," Erica said.
"Then answer my question."
"But...but you didn't ask one." At least, I don't think you did.
"And I didn't. Though I observed you look thirsty. Is that applicable?"
Dr. Naadiah motioned to the nearest door.
Is there a Dr. bar? Erica wondered. Or some lounge where Dr.s go between patients, to sit and swap stories? Or is that only teachers?
Erica opened the door and stepped through, Naadiah following into -
"This is Goblins," Erica said.
"You sound surprised," Naadiah said.
Too late, Erica recalled what Dr. Tom had told her before sending her off: to think of where she wanted to go, and then use the door.
The two women found a place to sit.
Watching everyone move around with scarcely a glance in their direction, "Do they... Do they still know me?" Erica asked.
Naadiah didn't smile at that. "Given the events of your test, that's a perfectly understandable concern, Erica," she said.
"Which you totally didn't answer."
"Also true." She gave Erica a little while to think before answering, "Your friends know you, Erica. They simply -" Naadiah said, turning her head to watch them for a few seconds, "are very busy today. They have a lot on their minds."
Erica looked at her friends, then back to Dr. Naadiah. "How do you know - Better still, how do you do that? How do you and Dr. Tom do that?"
"Pick someone in this room, Erica. Don't crane your neck. They won't become your patient. This is practice."
"Training," Erica said. "Got it. And I got someone."
"Look at them."
"Oh I'm looking."
Naadiah sighed inwardly. "Look at me."
"Have you ever looked at someone and wondered what made them tick, why they chose to give up their seat or buy drinks for a table? That is the part of the mind we use to focus on people."
Erica glanced over, and the guy she had looked at, had done both of those things for his friends at the table - he's overjoyed he'd going to be a father flooded into her mind. Eyes wide, Erica asked Dr. Naadiah, "How did I just know -?"
"You read it," Naadiah said. "We all do. We look at someone or something, and we see... To read their worries, their concerns, their fears, I uncrinkle a paper, Tom opens a book, I have no idea what Dr. Arthur does."
"Thank you, and I suppose my question now is - Wait, Dr....who?"
Naadiah smiled. "That joke was old long before my therapist was a patient, Erica."
Erica smiled back.
"And in answer," Naadiah said, "Dr. Arthur is who Tom and I answer to."
"And me? Do I answer to Dr. Arthur too?"
"I would suppose so. But it remains to be decided, so far as I know."
"Huh," Erica said. "So, backing up a bit... When you look at me, you see a crumpled-up piece of paper?"
"You may consider it irony, Dr. Erica," Dr. Naadiah said. "Before I began therapy, I was a writer. I kept the imagery from that stage of my life, and carried it into my life as as Dr."
"Paper, notes, character arcs," Erica said, nodding. "I get it. But I didn't get paper or books or anything when I looked at that guy."
Naadiah nodded. "The imagery helps us keep information under control. You are a publisher - imagine a room of people all clamoring for your attention."
"While simaltaneously being assaulted by their unspoken life stories," Erica said. "Yuck. And yay mental images to the rescue. So I pick one out, like I get to do my own office?"
"Are other Dr.s allowed to give advice?" Erica asked.
"On patients," Dr. Naadiah said. "We are also permitted to sit around with other Dr.s and chat about nothing in particular."
"And to Dr.s on their first day."
"Really? What have we talked about here, Erica?"
"How to read people."
"Which is a skill you need with your patients."
Erica took a moment to wonder just how many times Dr. Tom had opened the Book Of Erica. "I stand corrected," Erica said once that thought had come to an end. "Thank you, Dr. N-"
"Naadiah," she told Erica. "Now if you will excuse me, I have a patient -" and she vanished as soon as Erica nodded.
"I guess doors are a lesson for tomorrow," Erica said to herself just before Ivan came over and asked her what she would like to drink. But she did see that Naadiah had left a ten dollar bill on the table.