"You're late," I told her.
She sat across from me in a computer desk chair, and began leaning over her notes. Notes about me. Theories and suspicions, observations and misconceptions. I always wonder what she's thinking, what she's writing.
"I'm sorry. The last patient canceled, and my son called from school so I went to pick him up. He's been having girl troubles."
"I see," I lie. "Why did Miranda cancel?"
My therapist gave me a strong look, and it made the room feel smaller. Then she chides me, "Regardless of whether the previous patient is named Miranda, you know I can't tell you anything."
"I met her in the waiting room last time. Real nice lady, talks a lot about her son, Fabian. Says she sees you for PTSD of some sort."
"Let's talk about you, Onley," she tells me. "How has your mood been lately?"
"Improving, I suppose. I'm not ignoring my hygiene so much anymore. I only had just the one day this week of wanting to hurt myself. And I've recovered from the dermabrasion quite well, and that makes me happy."
I was telling the truth, wasn't I? It made me happy, though it may not have made her happy. She still wants to inflict pain, even if there's nobody to shed any attention on it.
My eyes wander to the clock. It's been done before, and she knows where they wander. Counting the minutes. 4:15 PM.
"Out of ten?" she asked.
"Five and a half."
"Your sense of joy, Onley?"
"Mmmm... a... se-s-six."
"Yes, it's a six," I tell her. I had almost said 'sex'. I can't afford Freudian slips in front of this woman. Except by now, my eyes spot the picture of Pierre beside her computer monitor. It had taken me five visits to notice! He's looking back at me with a sly grin. Bizzaro-Eff.
I black out. I lose control. I lose memory. I lose body.
* * *
And in an instant, I come to. It's nothing like waking up. I'm already upright, in the chair, awake. My eyes are already open and looking up. Her clock reads 4:32 PM.
"W-wh-what just happened?" I stutter.
"Are you still there, Leone?" Doctor Jill West asks me.
I purse my brow, "Who's Leone, doctor? Umm... I think something is wrong with your clock. It just skipped ahead."
"Leone was what you were calling yourself just now, Onley. Do you remember?"
"No..." I feel like she's playing a crude practical joke on me. I suddenly wish the clock would jump ahead thirty minutes so that I can leave.
"Onley, is Leone in there?" It just sounds so condescending. "Please, I want to talk to Leone again."
"No!" I scream, with surprise at how loud my reaction comes out. I begin to sob, "No... no.... never. Never again."
"Well, you've done well so far this session. I think we've made a breakthrough."
She thinks I'm faking. I wish I'm faking. I'm used to faking.
But this is real, isn't it?
"The social worker is still looking for foster parents for me, isn't she?"
"No, Onley, I'm afraid not. It's very difficult to find foster parents willing to take in a sixteen year old boy and a seventeen and a half year old girl. You and your brother will be best living on your own, on welfare, until things pan out. We have to keep your father institutionalized."
"And they haven't found my Mom yet?" As I ask this, I know the answer. I feel the anger welling up, ready to erupt.
"Your case-file says nothing on the issue, but I assume the police are doing their best. Now, I need to ask you about your sleeping patterns."
I have to accept that this is real. I have to. Have to! Need to!
. . .
"Onley, are you listening? How well did you sleep? Did you sleep at all? -- Did you sleep?"
Again, I'm gone. I'm some place dark and senseless. I feel numb. No, no, I don't even feel. This darkness, it's some corner of my mind I do not know. Am I scared? Am I calm? Am I alone? Am I anything?
. . .