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The Definition of a Crush
[The office is the size of a large bedroom. Shelves line the walls with books on medical subjects as well as some classics and poetry. A low table sits at the center of the room, surrounded by a burgundy couch and an off-white cushioned armchair. On the table is a vase of white roses. White light suffocates the room. Since the storm subsided, liquid rainbows have appeared on the three windows at the back of the room.]
[The PSYCHIATRIST sits in the armchair, a clipboard in his right hand and a pencil in his left. JULIET is on the couch with her legs drawn up to her chest, leaning against a pillow for support. Her highlighted brown/blonde hair is meticulously pulled back in a ponytail, her designer clothing isn’t wrinkled despite her posture, and her makeup and manicured hands are perfect. But despite all of these perfections, her eyes are bloodshot as she stares at the paisley red rug, her face is set blankly, and there is a bandage on her left wrist.]
PSYCHIATRIST: [smiles] So, shall we start?
[JULIET is silent]
PSYCHIATRIST: How about something easy? What’s your name?
JULIET: [doesn’t look up] Juliet.
PSYCHIATRIST: And how old are you, Juliet?
PSYCHIATRIST: [scribbles on the clipboard] You must still be in high school.
PSYCHIATRIST: Do you have a lot of friends at school?
JULIET: [lifts up her left hand to expose her wrist where, with a purple marker, someone had written on the bandage, “Love you, J!!”] Yes.
PSYCHIATRIST: [scribbles again] Do you get good grades?
PSYCHIATRIST: Are you in any extracurricular activities?
JULIET: Band, choir, college courses, a play…
PSYCHIATRIST: I see… [long pause] Do you live with your family?
PSYCHIATRIST: And do you have siblings?
PSYCHIATRIST: [writes something down] Are your parents still married?
PSYCHIATRIST: Do they argue often?
PSYCHIATRIST: [pauses again] Are your parents supportive of you?
JULIET: [lifts her eyes from the floor to the PSYCHIATRIST] Yes.
PSYCHIATRIST: Good, good… [scribbles] And are-
JULIET: [interrupts] When are you going to ask me something meaningful?
PSYCHIATRIST: [smiles carefully] These questions are meant to help me help you, Juliet. They’re meaningful to me.
JULIET: I’m an only child living with parents who argue over me and expect me to be the most popular girl in school with a 4.0 GPA. We’re rich, so I get what I want, when I want, no matter the price. And I think that pretty much sums it up.
PSYCHIATRIST: [nods, still smiling] You’re quite right. [scribbles] Shall we continue?
PSYCHIATRIST: Do you feel satisfied?
JULIET: [blinks] I don’t get it.
PSYCHIATRIST: You wanted me to ask you something meaningful. I’m cutting to the chase, you could say. So, do you feel satisfied?
JULIET: In what way?
PSYCHIATRIST: Some believe that satisfaction is defined in a series of needs, each one dependent on the other. At the base of this hierarchy is the physiological need, such as hunger and thirst. Above that is the safety need, the sense that the world is organized, predictable, and securely stable. Next is the need for belongingness and love, such as acceptance and the avoidance of loneliness and alienation. Then esteem, the need for achievement and competence and the recognition and respect from others. And finally the need for self-actualization, the need to live up to one’s fullest and unique potential. So I’m going to ask you again. Are you satisfied?
JULIET: [long pause] Are they always in that order?
PSYCHIATRIST: No, the order is not necessarily universally fixed. Some motives, it is believed, are more compelling than others in each individual person.
JULIET: Okay… I’m satisfied… I guess…
PSYCHIATRIST: You guess? This isn’t a test, Juliet.
JULIET: [smiles faintly, but it quickly disappears] I’m physiologically satisfied; I’m not anorexic or bulimic or anything… and my world seems pretty predictable and stable… I have respect and achievement in school and stuff, and from a lot of respectable people… I want to be a lawyer… and I know who I am and what I want to do and I have a goal… [pauses] And I have friends… [fingers the bandage on her wrist]
PSYCHIATRIST: So you have achieved Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, correct?
JULIET: [eyes fall back to the carpet] No…
PSYCHIATRIST: Why do you say that?
[JULIET is silent]
PSYCHIATRIST: [scribbles, then looks directly at JULIET] Why are you here, Juliet?
JULIET: I tried to kill myself.
PSYCHIATRIST: Why did you try to kill yourself?
JULIET: I… [stifles a sob] I’m not perfect. I’ve tried and tried, and it’s never enough. He won’t even look at me. It’s like I’m invisible. And now he’s going to the prom with her.
PSYCHIATRIST: Who is “he”?
[JULIET chokes on more sobs, but doesn’t answer]
PSYCHIATRIST: Do you have a crush on him?
PSYCHIATRIST: And he doesn’t notice you?
[JULIET shakes her head]
PSYCHIATRIST: How long have you had a crush on him?
JULIET: A year.
PSYCHIATRIST: Why do you like him?
JULIET: [long pause] Are you questioning love?
PSYCHIATRIST: So you love him?
PSYCHIATRIST: Why do you love him?
[JULIET is silent]
PSYCHIATRIST: What is love to you?
[JULIET is silent]
PSYCHIATRIST: Let me tell you what I think love is. In a scientific sense, love is theoretically sequenced by lust, attraction, and attachment. Categorically, as in Sternberg’s triangular theory, love can be friendship, infatuation, empty, romantic, companionate, fatuous, or consummate. Love is even defined by different cultures and religions. Between a man and a woman, however, love is something completely different. Love is a commitment and a bond that can’t be broken; a sharing of ideas and beliefs; and all shortcomings and faults can be overlooked to see what’s beyond beneath humanity’s mortal skin. Now, you may think very differently from me, so may I hear what your opinion is?
JULIET: [stares unblinking at the carpet] Crush n. A short-lived unrequited love or infatuation.
PSYCHIATRIST: [nods] You are quite right. Is that your definition of love, Juliet?
JULIET: [long pause, then lifts her eyes to the PSYCHIATRIST] No. [smiles slightly and looks down at the bandage on her wrist, reading the words slowly and carefully, “Love you, J!!”] I haven’t yet defined it.