It was always going to be a tetchy issue, Lucas or not. Mental health was a difficult conversation topic to raise to anyone who had never questioned their treatment. And this was Lucas: the great evader of health questions. On her drive home, Andrea had pondered ways to attack the tender issue, and as she reversed into the driveway, she fidgeted, almost slipping into the wrong gear. The car wobbled and Andrea wobbled with it. Alexia was probably right in her two-pronged attack, but Andrea couldn’t find the time in her mind for Christmas. It was weeks away. Insignificant.
She parked up and opened the house door, not surprised to smell the preparation of a dish in the kitchen. Andrea put her nose to the air; the blend of herbs and meat was neither exotic nor inventive, but it was certainly tantalising her nostrils.
A round, boyish face appeared at the kitchen doorway. This was Lucas, Andrea reiterated to herself. She was just going to have to go for it.
“Hi. Lucas….” They exchanged kisses as well as greetings.
“What? I’ve almost got the first round of preparations for dinner done, so don’t ask me to stop now.”
Andrea giggled, but then cut herself off. “No, Lucas, sit down.”
“I’d rather be able to deal with the veggies when the pot comes to boil.”
“You know what this is about –”
“I am fine!”
“You’re not. Dr. Morrison told me that you’re still repressing what happened in your childhood.”
He pulled a face, trying to act the joker. “Nothing ‘happened’ in my childhood.”
“Lucas…” Andrea cleared her throat. “You might not want my opinion as a Psychiatrist – and thank goodness you’re not at my clinic –”
“That’s it! You can get a transfer. I’d much rather talk to you.”
“And then you can get my treatment of drugs easy-peasy, because I’m not keen on this analytic CBT.”
“Lucas!” Andrea cried and her love did become quiet. He blinked at her. She hated to have cut off those sparkling eyes, but the situation could not be harried any longer. “You’re being ridiculous. You can’t take the drugs anyway, so don’t pull the wool over my eyes here. I’m not trained in the psychiatry of universaldisorders, but age-related ailments. Alexia isn’t in that field at all, so you cannot forget that option. Taking the sessions at Swinford clinic will do you the world of good.”
“But their methods are flawed!”
She grabbed his arm, shaking it, for he had turned and was about to steal away into the kitchen again. “You’re being ridiculous! And stubborn. Lucas, darling…I’m so worried about you. If talking to me first will help, but…we need to delve into the hurt of your childhood.”
“No,” Lucas remarked quickly, turning away the second he had said it. Andrea knew it was so that she wouldn't be able to read any of the expressions crossing his face.
“Please don’t do this, darling. I only want what’s best for you –”
“It’s a cliché argument, but they all say that.”
“Yes,” Andrea tersely replied.
She followed his second gander into the kitchen. Three pots bubbled on the stove. Andrea tended to the one with laces of pasta deep within it, whilst her boyfriend drained the vegetables in the sink. Neither said a crucial word.
Andrea had twitched the heat down on the pasta pot when Lucas returned to the stove, evidently heading to do the same thing. Their hands crossed, touched tenderly.
Andrea caught his hand with her own. “I’m not going to judge you,” she muttered.
Lucas shook his head without saying more, but Andrea didn’t let go. Alexia had been right; Lucas needed to see the sense behind the behavioural therapy.
“It’s good for you. Give me one reason why you won’t.”
He was beginning to stammer. “No – I can’t – I won’t. Please don’t make me, Andrea.”
“Lucas! Don’t make me give you an ultimatum. Why won’t you talk to me? Is it what I do?”
“No, not at all. It’s not you, it’s me.” He frantically gestured. “I mean…it’s opening up old wounds, bound to hurt me. Of course I’m not going to talk about such things.”
Andrea let go off his hand, only to cross her arms. She tilted her head, too, hoping he would get the meaning of her movements. “So, you are saying it has affected your life.”
Lucas cursed and walked away.
“Lucas! I know I can say nothing more, because it’s up to you.”
As if she had placed a hand to pause him, Lucas stopped, shortly before he reached the backdoor. Wherever he had thought to go, Andrea must have sparked something to make him change his mind. Lucas rotated very gradually, stopping when he faced her and could scour Andrea’s eyes as he did, pupils jumping between her own over the distance.
“It’s up to me, remember that.” He wiped a hand across his face. “I’m only struggling when I say I am. I…am struggling. I wish I could help you understand how bloody difficult it is to go through life trying to curb the OCD urges as I am, even this minute. Maybe then you’d see why I act the way I do.” He closed his eyes, chin on his chest now. “I’m so sorry. You’re a tireless woman sometimes, putting up with the amount of rubbish I throw in your direction. Look, what I need to do is clear my head and cleanse my soul. I’ll eat dinner, but I hope you understand if I leave straight afterwards. I can think of somewhere that will help me.”
She didn’t know where, but she wasn’t going to ask. Instead, Andrea whispered:
Although she didn’t, she wasn’t keen on upsetting Lucas’ plan, either. It was, in the end, his decision. Andrea wasn’t going to forget that.