Written for Prompted: Support | Tipsy Lit.
Elinor sashayed across the room smiling benevolently at the assembled misfits, before taking a seat beside a young man in almost clean jeans. He had looked handsome in a rugged kind of way, and had certainly given her the once over as she approached. Up close she realised that he smelled.
Turning her attention to the ageing, podgy, crumpled woman to her left (this poor creature surely needed all the support she could get) Elinor engaged her most sympathetic face. ‘Have you been coming here for long?’ she purred.
The answer was brusque. ‘You must be Elinor. I am Sandy and I run this group so yes, I have been here every week since we obtained funding.’
Elinor was not quick enough to see who tittered at their exchange. Everything in her was screaming to be released from this ridiculous charade, but to comply would mean going to court, publicity that her normally supportive husband had made clear must be avoided whatever the personal cost. Fighting back tears of anger at the injustice of her situation she straightened her back, smoothed down the non existent wrinkles on her skirt, and focused on the badly painted wall of the cold community centre.
It was all Deborah’s fault. Had she decided to hold her little celebration at a civilised time in the evening rather than over lunch then Elinor would not have been tempted to polish off the delicious champagne that all the other attendees eschewed, citing school pick ups and other irritating considerations. The accident afterwards was a blur; Elinor suspected that she was suffering from PTSD, possibly brain damage, yet few showed any sympathy. The old lady on the crossing had probably died of age related issues as much as injuries from impact.
Her normally reliable husband seemed to consider it a coup that their expensive lawyer had managed to negotiate this as a way of keeping her out of court. Elinor could not deny that she would benefit from therapy to help her recover from the stress and trauma, but she had envisaged sympathetic chats with a private therapist, not these repugnant group sessions.
Elinor realised that she was being addressed. ‘Can you introduce yourself to the group and explain why you are here?’
Clearing her throat she began her soliloquy. ‘My name is Elinor. I was recently involved in an accident and my doctor believes I need help in order to deal with the anguish that this has caused me, as well as the ongoing physical issues. I may look well on the outside, but I have always been sensitive and the shock…’
Sandy interrupted rudely. ‘Thank you Elinor but this is not what it says in your referral. We cannot help you if you will not help yourself. Can you please tell the group why the accident happened?’
Elinor looked around at the ungroomed faces before standing up shakily. ‘This is not the support I need!’ she cried bitterly.
Sandy watched as her kindly mother’s killer left the room. If anyone made the connection then she may lose her job, but it would be worth it to see that self absorbed bitch publicly reviled.