“Let’s walk back to the Red Top, Rick. I want you to drive me home. I think I want to be alone for the rest of the day,” Misty said. She was wiping her eyes with some tissue that Rick gave her.
“Sometimes it helps to talk things out with someone. You can’t let an asshole like Jim wreck your day,” Rick said giving Misty a hug.
“You don’t know the half of it Rick. I still want you to take me home, but let’s just drive around for awhile,” Misty said.
“Where do you want to go?”
“Let’s drive by Memorial Park. I’d like to see how it looks in the winter.”
They got into Rick’s old Ford and headed downtown.
“I don’t want to lose you Rick but there are some things that I need to tell you.”
“Like what? I’m a good listener and I don’t plan on dumping you anytime soon,” Rick said.
This made Misty laugh. “Now you got me laughing and crying at the same time. Are you proud of yourself?”
“It’s good to hear you laugh. I think we’re going to be okay.”
“You have no idea how much I want that to be true,” Misty sighed.
It was starting to get a bit dark and cloudy, so Rick turned on his lights. He kept the windshield wipers going as the snow continued to fall.
“Are you warm enough? I can turn the heat up.”
“No. I feel warm enough.” Misty said.
“Can you handle it if I tell you my true story?”
“I’ve got pretty broad shoulders. Yes, I can handle it. Where would you like to start?”
“I’ll start by telling you that I have a serious medical disorder called schizo-affective disorder. At least that’s how my doctors have diagnosed me.” Misty said.
“I don’t think I’ve heard of that one. What are the symptoms?”
“The most serious symptom is both auditory and visual hallucinations.”
“How often does this happen to you?”
“Fortunately, not as much as it used to. Since my bad trip this summer I’ve started seeing a psychiatrist and he has prescribed medications for me that greatly reduce my positive symptoms,” Misty explained.
“Positive symptoms? How can they be positive?”
“That’s just what the medical profession calls them. Positive means something that is added on that doesn’t usually exist in a normal person. Positive symptoms include both hallucinations and delusions.”
“That sounds scary,”
“Believe me. It is. You have no idea Rick” Misty said.
“How do you cope?”
“Well, you’re the only person I’ve told this to outside of my family.”
“I feel bad for you, but that information is not going to make me run away,” Rick said.
“There’s one other thing Rick. I’ve been with a lot of guys and have had many short-term relationships none of which have really worked out. In that sense, what Jim was telling you was true. I have been around and I probably have a reputation, but I’m not carrying any STDs. I’ve had medical tests done lately that show I don’t have any. What I really want now is a relationship without any sex.”
Rick laughed. “That’s fine with me as long as I can still hold your hand and hug and kiss you.”
“Of course you can,” Misty began to cry.