He was sitting in the chair next to my bed when I walked into the room. I groaned and chucked my book bag at his head, aiming for that ridiculous stovepipe hat that he always wore.
He blocked the throw, of course, batting my bag down. Those long arms gave him a reach far beyond my own. “Ready to talk about it?” he asked, bringing one leg up over the other.
I glared at him briefly, and then flopped down on the bed. “It’s nothing. Really,” I insisted, refusing to turn around.
“Well, I see why they call me Honest Abe, and not you,” the man quipped in tones dripping with sarcasm. “Come on, we both know that you’re lying. You might as well just open up and start pouring out all those feelings bottled up inside your little brain.”
Still holding the pillow on which I had been laying in my arm, I sat up and turned around. “You know, you’re a pretty crappy conscience,” I griped. “What sort of conscience just insults the mind it comes from? Aren’t you supposed to be encouraging me, building me up?”
“Hey, I’m a figment of your imagination,” Abe shot back. “Besides, maybe the reason you’re always picturing me as the sixteenth president.” He reached up and pretended to straighten the stovepipe hat balanced on top of his head. “Or maybe you just like talking to a bona fide badass.”
I thought about pushing him further, but it really wasn’t of any use. I’d never get anywhere arguing against myself. “It’s a stupid thing,” I said instead, squeezing the pillow in my arms.
“It often is,” Lincoln agreed. “But you might as well just say it anyway. The sooner we’re done here, the faster I can be back inside your head, frolicking around without all this focus on me.”
“Look, it’s too much of a good thing!” I protested. “She loves me, right? And that’s totally fine with me!”
Lincoln tilted his head slightly, peering at me with those scrutinizing eyes. “So what’s the problem?” he prodded.
I let go of the pillow and gestured with my arms, trying to communicate what I was feeling. “It’s just so… so strong!” I finally managed to get out. “And she’s just so convinced of it! It kind of scares me a little, you know? Like what if I mess it up?”
“Are you going to mess it up?” Abe asked.
This time, he wasn’t quite as quick with his reactions, and the pillow clipped the hat off of his head before he managed to get his arms up in time to catch it. “Come on!” he yelled at me, his voice slightly muffled by the cotton covering his mouth.
“Don’t just throw psychology 101 questions back at me, then!” I retorted. “Of course I don’t want to mess it up! But it’s just so strong, so sure! How does she just know like that?”
Lincoln managed to get the cotton out of his mouth, and then made a spitting noise. “Ugh, a cat has been on this,” he complained. “I always hated those damn things. Shedding everywhere, and they don’t even show any affection like a dog. And now I’ve got cat hair in my mouth.”
“I’m sorry,” I broke in. “Can we get back to me?”
“Oh, yes. Always back onto you. Like I don’t even matter. I’m the one who keeps you on the straight and narrow path, you know – you ought to be a lot nicer to me!”
“I listen to you,” I said. “And that’s effort enough. Now, how about some advice?”
The president sitting in my bedroom chair finally stopped picking at his tongue. “I’m in your head,” he told me. “And that means that I know this isn’t the real problem. So why don’t we cut the bull and you just tell me what you’re really scared of. Deal?”
I sighed, but the irritating personification was right. “Fine,” I said…
To be continued!