Alicia wrung the box in her hands like a towel. She looked at the floor. The doctor across the desk stared at Alicia’s forehead. The blister pack within the box spoke up, singing the mournful song of autumns come and gone, plastic crackling and pills rattling in time with footsteps through a foliage-stricken trail.
“Do you have any questions?” said the doctor. Alicia kept eye contact with the floor. A moment elapsed.
“Are these happy pills?” said Alicia.
“Not quite,” said the doctor. “They’re more like regular pills. They might not make you happy, but they can make it easier for you to not feel sad as often.” Alicia continued playing with the box.
“Regular pills,” she said.
“Usually we don’t prescribe them to young people, but your mother and I agreed that you’re mature enough to try.”
She set the box down and looked at the doctor. “Isn’t regular what happens naturally? I don’t want to change.”
“The brain is a complex organ, you see…”
“I do see. What if this is how I’m supposed to be?”
“No one’s condemned to be a certain way,” said the doctor.
“But what if someone wants to be who they are, for better or worse? What about people who just want to be sad?” said Alicia.