Never Mind Plato

Hôpital des Acacias had an excellent reputation for treating mental disorders in French and in Flemish, which is exceptional enough for a country like Belgium to be mentioned. It delivered on its promises. I learned there to see life in pink again and became more accommodating. I had opted for the let’s-get-better package, mainly consisting of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anxiolytics. No trace of an old jukebox in the cafeteria, though, and the only cup that I was ever offered was an old promotional mug dating from the US presidential elections of 2008. A confident Obama appeared to say a faded Yes We Can! when pouring hot water. I nonetheless took this as a personal message emanating from David Copperfield: “You can do it too, Benedetta!” As far as bed sheets were concerned, they were plain white. Penelope Eagle-Eye was a liar.

The intuition that I could do it was confirmed upon meeting with my Les Acacias psychiatrist, Dr Frank N. Stein. When I entered his office for the first time, he was sitting on an old olive chesterfield sofa skimming through an anniversary edition of National Geographic. He was attractive in his trendy blue jeans and open-collar shirt. Most likely in his late forties, I thought. His office reeked of cigarettes blended with an invigorating male fragrance. When the good doctor welcomed me with a smile, I instantly knew that he would be my own guarantee on the road to recovery. I confessed to Dr Stein my occasional participation in fraudulent actions in the art market and how I had met my husband. Having pondered this, he proposed a non-verbal treatment based on biweekly sexual intercourse on his comfortable sofa, because we are all mad here. It did not escape me that this was technically malpractice, because we are all felons here, but his boldness delighted and impressed me. Whatever the cost, I would be brought back to the path of reason. I could live with these terms and accepted his proposal. He would teach me the concept of contemplation over and over again. Never mind Plato.

From Shaman Express , Beretta Rousseau, 2018, Chapter 1 "Alive"

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash