JACOB BUSH

JACOB BUSH

JACOB BUSH

Medicine

The Italic House is my favorite place to meet people for appointments. There's something about warm, earthy tones and overpriced coffee to make people feel good and unaware of anything outside of themselves. Everyone comes here for midday, romantic ambiance or they're here to show off their Instagram-worthy writing setups.


Window tables are the best to watch for whomever I'm supposed to meet, but I have to get there before the light gets too inspirational. There's enough space to set up my pad and sprawls out while I wait. This window table is an easy escape after a disappointing prognosis.


Italic isn't busy today, so I should get a drink while I set up. I sling my olive colored messenger bag over the side of the mahogany chair and hope Lacey's not late or blows me off.


"Hi there, I am Cara and I'll be your waitress today, can I start you off with something to drink?" the waitress asks. I order two cappuccinos and a glass of water while trying to avoid eye contact with her. Watching the Amazon waitress walk away is difficult for me to avoid. She's the kind of rare kind of beautiful creature in the wild, you should make a move, but I don't because I'm not here to flirt. In the meantime, I pull out a pen, my prescription pad, and my tablet for the day's news and gossip on detestable social networks.


"So and so got his degree in chemical engineering," I murmur. "They got a puppy...got a Coke Zero...new car...intellectual meme...stupid meme."


Cara breaks my concentration with the drinks. I fixate on her sandy blonde, ponytail and chiseled face. There's something faintly European about her, but I won't mention it. "Anything else from the menu?" she asks.


"Come back in a little bit," I say. Someone would wink here, but I keep it casual and leave my attraction implied.


"Okay, take your time," she says flashing her perfect, white teeth.


I reach into the inner pocket of my denim jacket for my flask. This cappuccino looks like it could use some Irish influence. Next, I lean into my bag for an orange, phosphorescent bottle reading "Bitter Pills/Jackson Walsh/Take two pills whenever needed./Drink with alcohol to get full effect./Keep at even ratio." I pop two orange capsules with a chaser from the flask.


I clicked and twirled my pen like Alan Cumming in Goldeneye. It takes a special kind annoyed and dexterity to recreate this scene; I was impressed. Scrolling through the feed of humblebrag: "4.0 GPA...internship with father's company...grandma out of the hospital...mixtape is 'fiyah'...oh, a deal on jeans. Where the hell are you Lacey?"


The bell over the door rang and Lacey walks in wearing a white sundress and an oversized hat she thinks is "chic." Her ebony hair is like a cloud underneath and is probably the reason why she's late. This will be an interesting appointment.


"Jackson, how are you?" she says in her excited inflection. "Did you hear that (blah, blah) ..."


"Got a Coke Zero," I answer.


"Graduated with their chemical engineering degree," Lacey drones on. "(Whatever) got the Coke Zero."


"I'm great, Lacey, stellar, really," I say.


"I'm sorry, Jack," she says taking her place. "It's great they're doing so well. I know I wouldn't be able to do that."


"Listen, we need to talk about our exchange before (Whatshername's) engagement party?"


Lacey pokes through her text messages while fiddling with her hair. I popped a couple of more pills with a whiskey back to brace myself for her. "What about it?"


"Well, you ditched me for one thing," I say. "I'm lucky I was called into work then. You know how embarrassing it would be to be the only single person at that thing?"


"But you might not have been the only single person there," she says, furrowing her manicured eyebrows. "You know I was going out of town with Patrick and you could have benefited from going stag."


"I knew the night before," I deadpan. "You told me the night before and I had no chance to find another date. You made me sound like I was crazy or obsessed with you or something. I felt like I needed Lithium. Like crazy."


"I'm sorry, Jack, but I wouldn't have known anyone, either," Lacey says. "I didn't think you wanted to go."


I pull out my flask for another dose and chase it down with some cappuccino. My dose helps me give others the necessary dosage to fix their mistakes, so it's best to keep my meds and alcohol intake at a one to one ratio.


With a couple more Goldeneye pen clicks, I fill out Lacey's prescription. My chicken scratch is barely legible, but the blue ink drives the point home. The best possible remedy is a bit of a cold shoulder. The paper rips off the pad in one swift light-as-air, satisfying motion


"What's going on?" Lacey asks. Her brown eyes were wide and bewildered.


"You can go now," I order with a blank stare. "You will feel it almost immediately and will have to keep taking it for a few months or until I check for any change."


Lacey's upper cheekbones twitch as she reads the prescription, like a product of anger, sadness, and relief on her face. The shock value hit her hard but felt normal to me because I inoculated myself. She rubbed her tem