Scene 1 - Therapist’s Office
Jason was back in my office for his next appointment. He had been an attentive and respectful host at the game, making sure that he followed Greg’s instructions to the letter.
“Are you ready to talk about the fight?”
His body stiffened. “I suppose.” His answer wasn’t as encouraging as I’d hoped.
“Did you know the young man who was injured?”
He kept his eyes trained on his feet, a barely audible no followed.
“Jason,” my tone willed him to look up at me. “Jason!” my tone turned more demanding when he didn’t. Finally, he cast his eyes upward, his head still partially bent in shame.
“I need you to talk to me about what happened and we can start wherever you want to.” I softened my tone, eager to get him to trust me enough to share what he was clearly bottling up inside. My fear was that it was held so tight that it would eventually erupt and Jason would find himself in jail for a long time if not for good.
“I didn’t want to do it.” His head hung down but I saw the tears.
I reached for the tissues and placed the box closer to him. “You know it’s okay to cry.” He hung his head even lower. “Especially in here. You’ll always be safe in here.”
Wiping his face with his hand, the tears now streamed down.
“Jason, tell me what happened that day.”
“I had to do it.”
“Why?” I lowered my voice.
“Because,” choking back his tears.
“Because?” I prodded as gently as I could.
“I didn’t want the team thinking I was one of them.”
Scene 2 - Therapist’s Home
“That’s wonderful, sweetheart!” I sounded convincing, even to myself. “I’m so glad you’re having such a wonderful time.”
“I am Mom.” Her voice radiated across the wireless connection as she described all the fun she was having going places she’d never been and meeting her half-brothers. She relished being a big sister and had clearly bonded with her newly found younger siblings.
I flashed back to a familiar call when she went away one summer for camp. I missed her then and I missed her now, only this time I knew she was definitely growing up and soon would be heading out on her own. Loss is hard even if it’s for the better.
I listened attentively, trying to keep my mind from flashing through the past, like flipping through an old photo album. I was actually afraid – afraid that I’d been set aside. I silently chastised myself for going to that place and letting my fears get in the way.
“And, Mom –“ her voice brought be back to the conversation.
“I love you.”
The tears trickled down my face – tears of happiness.
“I love you too, sweetheart – I love you too.” I paused to wipe my hand across my face just as Jason had done earlier in my office but I held my head high. “I’ll see you Sunday.”
Scene 3 - Therapist’s Office
Regina was standing by the window as I sat in her chair. We had reversed positions and roles.
“Charlie was such a happy baby and young boy.” Her voice broke just saying his name. “He never hurt anyone, even when someone was picking on him, he just wouldn’t hurt them. He was a loving and caring human being.” She turned to face me. “And I miss him. I miss him so much.”
I couldn’t imagine losing my only child. I had this intense urge to rush home and hug Dana. I’d have to wait until Sunday when I picked her up from the airport to satisfy my need to hug her and hold her tight – something she’d probably reject saying she was too old.
I got up and went to the window and hugged my dear, dear friend.
“Regina, I can’t even begin to know what it’s like to lose a child the way you lost Charlie, but I do know that for the time he was in this world, he had the best mother on the planet.”
She hugged me back and for now that was enough – more than enough.