Ashley Noel
3 min readAug 20, 2021


Focus, I scolded myself, focus, or you’ll screw it up. In my imagination, I saw two books floating towards me, the author’s names flashing like neon lights, bright and impossible to miss, Enid Blyton and D. H. Laurence, Enid Blyton and D. H. Laurence, Enid Blyton and D. H. Laurence. Stop, stop, the vision deteriorated, and I snapped back to the present.

Dr. Carrol Sims, my practitioner, sat opposite me, smiling. “How can I help you?” She asked.

I cleared my throat, “Life is getting to me,” I said, jumping right in. “I feel old and tired, and, and…”

“Yes,” Dr. Simms leaned forwards.

Unlike me, she was a neat woman, small and compact, her shoulder-length hair perfectly groomed, her teeth pearly white, and her complexion clear. A picture of perfect health. “Everything is difficult,” I wrung my hands together. “My husband works long hours, so I’m alone with the kids, a lot. The older two constantly fight, and the younger one is clingy.”

Dr. Simms nodded.

“My job is another issue. I work four days a week in an advertising agency. I don’t mind my duties but can’t stand half the staff. Basically, I spend my days collaborating with idiots who behave like they should be back in the school playground rather than professionals in their field of expertise. Then in my downtime, I’m always cleaning, cooking, shopping, or running the kids to their various after-school activities. To top it off, it’s been a cold winter. The heater in our house doesn’t warm the place up properly, and by the time I get into bed at night, I’m icy from head to toe. Also, my husband is a snorer, I swear to God, he’s louder than a freight plane. I can’t sleep with him next to me.”

Again, Dr. Simms nodded her head. “You poor thing.”

“Yes indeed,” I said. “When I was younger, I thought if I had a career, marriage, and children, I’d have it all. Well, I’ve achieved all that, and guess what,” I punched the air with my fist, “all I feel is tired, depressed, and worn out. I wish I could just disappear somewhere.”

A glimmer of concern crossed Dr. Simms face, and fearing she might think I was suicidal, I said, “What I mean is I want to go on a holiday by myself, somewhere sunny, for about six to eight weeks. With a bit of space, I know I could return home to my children, my husband, and my job, in much better spirits.”

I shifted in my chair. “What I need from you is a letter I can give my husband and employer, informing them I’m physically exhausted and that a solo holiday will help with my recovery.” I smiled at Dr. Simms, my expression hopeful.

Twenty minutes later, I left the surgery with a referral to see a phycologist and an antidepressant prescription in my handbag. Dr. Sims had refused to write my letter.

I begged her to rethink my idea. I pointed out that I’d read books by both Enid Blyton and D. H. Laurence, where the female characters had taken time out to sunny locations in order to feel better about their personal lives. I said that although the stories were fictional, doctors back in the day really did prescribe such treatment, and if it happened then, why couldn’t it happen now. Again, she shook her head, saying my problems would only be waiting for me when I returned.

Wiping the tears from my cheeks, I got in my car, drove to the bottom of the exit ramp, and stopped. I could turn left and head home, or I could turn right and be in a different state by nightfall, escape, freedom at my fingertips… Enid Blyton and D. H. Laurence had put false hope in my head, my holiday scheme dead in its tracks. Nothing would please me more than to bring both authors back to life and smash a big pile of books over their heads. On the verge of screaming, I looked to the left, then the right. Which way should I turn, freedom, or home, freedom or home? Which way, which way?