152.02

by Hamzah Khan

Tom made his way to the library one cold evening to find a book on psychology. A subject, which he yearned to understand, but never found the time for. He picked up a few introductory textbooks on psychology and would spend a little more than an hour every other day just reading. Tom's desire for general knowledge exceeded his expectation. Soon, Tom would finish whole textbooks in a week and had a firm grasp on the chapters; he never read a chapter twice under any circumstance. He read the books on the library's desks, in the main floor. Under the desk was an envelope, for Tom, by The Big One. Tom never identified him, or opened the letter.

Tom's fascination with psychology never ceased. Every book, textbook, and article known to man on the subject had passed through Tom's observant eyes. Weeks in the library turned into months. Afraid of The Big One, He would lock himself in a room he found in the college library's basement. A small table, a lamp, and a foldable metal chair resided in the far corner of the room. Tom rested his elbow on the table and held his head with his palm, perusing through every detail the textbook could offer. Abnormal and Clinical Psychology's Chapter 24 discussed various diagnostic procedures and symptoms of numerous psychologically related diseases and aberrations. A passage in the textbook read as follows:

1. Most people with severe mental illness aren't treated.

2. Therapists often disagree about diagnosis.

3. Patients often deny that they have mental illness.

4. Poor record keeping obscures treatment response.

Tom sat up, staring the bare concrete wall thinking to himself. The sealed envelope never left Tom's sight as he laid it down next to the lamp. He slowly turned the page, almost afraid to see what the textbook held for him next. It held the title Psychosis. Tom read personal accounts as well as expert opinions on the matter. He soon found himself closely identifying with the characters, as he would call them in the textbook. He closed the book and stuffed the unopened enveloped into his jacket pocket. Tom cautiously opened the door to find the library empty, except for a man leaning against the bookshelf. He was dressed in a golf shirt and jeans, and his face tucked behind the newspapers he read. Tom quickly turned away from the man and headed for the exit. The man made his way to the front of Tom and handed him a letter opener. The man grinned and sat himself on a nearby table.

"You'd figure we'd meet sometime soon." The man said in his stern voice. Tom pulled the letter and held the letter opener and quickly ripped the sealant. The man revealed his face to Tom. Shocked by the striking identically face Tom now stared at, he jumped back. "Alright" the man said, giving no regard to the fact that he himself and Tom had the same exactness in appearance. "Read the paper." Tom, still in a confused state, hesitantly read, "152.02." The man, noticed by Tom's distress, said, "Whaaat?" He folded the newspaper and set it down. "C'mon, do I gotta spell it out? The Big One. Now Let's go Thomas. Go up there and grab that book." Tom, still dazed, ran upstairs and quickly grabbed 152.02. He rushed back to the man. The man waiting anxiously, pointed down the stairwell. Tom walked down and the man followed. Tom set the books down on the table. The man grinned again, and pointed to the concrete wall. "Let me put it this way, I am like one of your books, the more you want to forget, the more I'll be. So here's some advice, keep trying to forget."

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