The woman in the armchair across from him is middle-aged and kind-eyed. She wears a soft sweater and a floral pin with a small clay dove. Her pen hovers over her clipboard.
"How have you been doing this week, Stephen?"
"...yeah. I know I'm not."
He doesn't, really, anymore. But it's good to say. Good to try to remember.
"Please. Reconsider my offer. Your life is wasted here."
He gets his papers signed.
He goes home. The other guy – from last time – calls him from prison, and he declines it. He goes to work the next day. Tattoo artistry isn't exactly in huge demand, right now, but he's good enough to stay employed, barely.
He brings his papers to the mandatory service (not usual, they said, but he's at high risk) and hears about how much God loves him and wants to be happy.
He buys food. He eats. He cleans his apartment.
He goes to one of those groups that the social worker recommended, a rock climbing thing – she said she was working with his preferences, finding things he could really enjoy without harming himself – and he has to leave halfway through because they're all acting like everything is fine.
Everything probably is fine.
He keeps seeing his social worker. He keeps going to work. He keeps going to mandatory services and hearing about how much God loves him.
He gets his second shot.
When he looks in the mirror before he goes to bed he can see his body changing shape.
He wants to die.
It's been months when he pushes all his furniture to the edges of his living room, draws a circle, lights a few candles. Might as well give him a good reception.
"Changed my mind."
And he takes his hand,