My mother died when I was six years old. My father and others labeled it “the accident,” but my life and his were never quite the same after. Today I’m looking into the eyes of my newest psychiatrist, retelling the same old story of the accident. Although in truth, that’s not even the reason I’m stuck talking to a shrink. Not this time.
It’s different talking to him instead of Dr. Bauche. She transferred me to him—something about a specialty and trying something new before the court- appointed therapy ended. His dark blue eyes are kind and thoughtful; he prefers I use his first name. Trying to be relatable to a teenager, I suppose.
“You’ve become disconnected in retelling your accident. Is this all your memory or what others have told you, Willow?” he asks.
“Well, it happened a long time ago. Part is from what my father and others told me, and part is what I pieced together.” I gauge his reaction, which reveals nothing. Then he writes something on his notepad. I hate the writing in the notebook part; it feels judgmental.
“Have you ever undergone regressive therapy, to learn more about the accident?”
“No! Why would I want to do that?” I move further back into the chaise lounge and hug my arms tight. I guess we’re going to be on the “accident” topic for the next sessions. Why do I always end up back there?
“That isn’t why I have to come here,” I stammer.
“I’m aware of the incident with the boy.”
“You mean the potential rapist.” I shiver at the thought of being pulled into that dark alley with his breath on the nape of my neck, he hands are grabbing and touching me, asking if I was scared, taunting me.
“Let’s not call it rape, it was an assault. Willow, I don’t fault you, but it is a mystery about how he got hurt. Did that boy simply get what was coming to him? That’s not for me to decide. I’m here to address the anger issue the judge perceived you couldn’t control during the trial.”
The boy attacked me and pushed me to push back, and I did. Granted, I don’t remember the outcome of his arm breaking and the fact he caught fire,—too damn bad his victim turned it on him, and he was injured. Serves him right! That boy’s lawyer berated me, the victim, for their gain. We won the case, but it didn’t feel like winning. My outburst when that boy said I wanted it and asked for it—set me off, it felt appropriate when I hit that lawyer. He got up in my face and wouldn’t back down. The judge disagreed and although Daddy Dearest gave a payout in closed court proceedings, counseling for the trauma was part of the court appointed deal.
“It’s been almost two years from the assault and I haven’t had any issues. Anger is appropriate for a teenager,” I snap.
Closing his notebook, Dr. Evan put it on the side table next to his chair. Leaning forward, he clasped his hands on his crossed leg.
“Addressing the accident where your mother died would help with your last year in high school, Willow. There are a lot of pressures. The accident is impor- tant for you to understand, in order to face your future.”
A burst of air leaves my lungs in a short, sarcastic huff.
My response takes him by surprise. Apparently he hasn’t met or talked to my father to know my future is mapped out. Did he read the previous notes from Dr. Bauche? A prestigious business school is awaiting me —most likely Harvard, my father being an alumnus and financial contributor. I can smell the old dusty hypocrisy waft in the air.
“Something funny?” Dr. Evan raises his eyebrow and smirks.
“I just . . . my future is an expectation.” I grin without joy. “The legacy of a Warrington, you know?” It would be a tough one to live up too, with a grandfather and father who took the world financial market of acquisitions and mergers by storm.
I look around the office distractedly. Dr. Evan’s bare, modern, steel-and-glass desk sits in the opposite corner, a red light blinking on the desk phone. The bookcase behind the desk is too far to focus on the books displayed. No pictures or diplomas hang on the light gray walls. The only fixture to pay attention to is Dr. Evan.
“Your father has agreed to my treatment plan and is aware of this approach,” he says. “Talk with him, and let’s plan on scheduling the session early next week.”
Did I want to relive the accident? Ah, no thank you. Been there, done that. Before getting into that discussion, a timer signals that the session is over— saved by the bell.
“Goddess,” he mumbles.
“We’ll talk about this more next session. Let’s make our opportunities together count,” he says as he walks me to the door of his office.
I wave goodbye to the familiar receptionist on the phone, who hits the buzzer that allows me out of the office. Security for entering, security for leaving. It is a prison, ironically .
I get into the elevator, push the button for the ground floor, and exhale. Leaving the building, I pass Dr. Bauche. She has a puzzled look on her face.
“Hello, Willow .”
I respond with a polite smile.
Only a few more sessions with Dr. Evan and I’m done. Free!
I walk to my car in the empty parking garage, slip into the driver’s seat, and lock the doors. My own space on my own terms. I open my Coach purse and reach for my phone; I have text messages from Daniel, my boyfriend, and Lucy, my best friend.
Lucy confirms that she is picking me up for school tomorrow, and Daniel is being typical, lovable Daniel with a simple text that says, I love you can’t wait to see you.
I smile to myself and drive into the early evening, toward the Warrington mausoleum of home sweet home.