My eyes are closed and I murmur to the boy I have been friends with through his girlfriends and eventually boyfriends. And I think about February and seven days in the sun with him, warm in the sun with my best friend. And for a little while everything is okay and I am loved.
The counselor's office is in a small brick building in the city. From the outside, it could be someone's home. Clearly chosen for the comforting setting, it lacks any air of medical sterility. A flight of stairs leads up to the waiting room, where a variety of seating accommodations are available. I wonder if this is some sort of test; if I sit on the plushy couch does it mean I don't take this seriously? If I sit in the straight backed chair do I need something to hold me up? I select a bench with a surprisingly soft cushion covering and wait.
There is a magazine next to me on the bench, I flip it over to discover Jennifer Hudson's face on People. I think about my mother's words. "I'm not asking you to lie. Just make sure he sees that you're mature. He might testify to the court if we waive the confidentiality."
Celebrity gossip doesn't seem too mature. I flip to the index and find a story about high school quarterbacks pressured into overeating. I am skimming this when the door opens and a small, weedy man walks out. We look at each other like we have each caught the other doing some shared misdeed. He scurries out and I rise to shake the hand of a tall man with a potbelly, his neck one giant jowl from which the round tip of a chin protrudes.
I enter his office with my father and am presented with another seating dilemma. Two couches face each other, an armchair between. There is no clear patient/therapist seating. If I choose the chair does that mean I want to be left alone? I take a seat on one couch and cross my legs. My father sits two feet away from me next to me.
The therapist first reads the letter of questions my mom has answered and put into a sealed envelope for him. He will spend the next half hour questioning both me and my father, mostly my father. He discovers my upcoming birthday and promptly takes my address. He is clearly an earnest man, and it makes me a little sick to hear my father talk to him the way he does. One anecdote shared was that of me calling my dad an asshole, a situation I only barely recall and of which I know he has simply made up the details and convinced himself of their truth.
Finally he is asked to leave the room. I have become less aware of these jowls but they truly are something to see, and I still notice some of their vibrations as he gets a feel for me. I admire his style; he doesn't stay on one mundane subject for a while but jumps around, keeping things moving and meanwhile covering blank sheets of paper with words connected with lines and other words. Some things he underlines, twice. He mentions body issues and I lie, not ready for this hurdle yet. The topic turns to my father's stories.
The episode from last winter is discussed. I am a little surprised to find my voice shaky and I think about standing in that doorway. There's probably something symbolic in me passing through it every day on my way in and out, but I am too wrapped up to ponder it.
We discuss hereditary depression. Horizontal relationships, vertical relationships. Some psychological phrase that means the child ends up acting as the parent. The tall therapist with the jowls recommends that I go to another woman, a psychologist, for individual counseling and that my family come back to him for group sessions.
I leave the room and my father goes in. Twenty minutes later he emerges and I shake the therapist's hand. I spend the car ride home being told that group counseling will wreck my parent's marriage and that if that's what I want then it's my decision. "We won't be a family anymore."
We pull into the driveway. I am told that the fact that I walked to the door faster than him means that I think he's a piece of dirt. I sprint to my room and try and lose myself in a book before I remember that I need to write it, I can't afford to let it go this time.
I picture you in the sun, wondering, what went wrong
And falling down on your knees, asking for sympathy
And being caught in between all you wish for and all you seen
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in.
Every day is a long chain of impulses. I want to dance when it's not appropriate, sleep when it's not allowed, be silent when everyone else is talking and stand on my desk and scream when they're not. An iPod and a vacant stare are my companions more often than not.
In other news, I am contemplating dyeing my hair pink. I go to my first session of therapy on Friday night, and I will be seeing the DA either this Tuesday or the next.
I turn 17 in a few hours more than 18 days. If age is a sign of maturity, I think I deserve to stay 16.
It's like...you know that storyline that they always do on TV or in the movies with the sleep walking serial killer? He has no idea what he's doing, but then the bodies and the circumstantial evidence start piling up and he gets a little suspicious. Maybe he finds dirt on his shoes that wasn't there when he went to bed, or he comes to and has blood all over his hands (it's a little overused as far as blatant symbolism goes, if you ask me). "Could it be me, doing this monstrous things?" he asks. "Surely not!"
I don't know what show you're watching, maybe he's possessed, or schizo, or just plain fucking crazy. But I'm sure you've seen, read, or heard of some variation of it. Anyways, that's what it's like. Only you're just convincing yourself that it's not going on, that you don't remember. That little part of your brain with any reason left just shuts down and you block it out, just like you taught yourself to block out the unpleasant things a long time ago.
The night was like a moment from a really good movie, or like the feeling you get when a certain song compels you to just close your eyes and let it take over your senses. The particular quality of the light caught my eye as I walked past the door on my way to the garage. When I came back I paused, looking through screen and glass at the outside world. My parents had gone out to dinner; restaurants are of no interest to me. I wavered, then stepped out onto the driveway, paying no mind to the oil spilled there. It's hard to describe exactly how I felt at that moment, but something about the pale summer light, the air that my lungs couldn't seem to get enough of, the complete absence of any other soul, and the fleetingness of this night collided in me and won me over. Barefoot, in sweatpants and a t-shirt, I turned to walk into my backyard. I took care to take deep breaths as to not waste any of this air and made my way down to the dock.
I dangled my feet over the edge and took it all in until the last traces of pink faded from the gray sky. The feeling swelled in me and I felt something close to tears. Like standing on a cliff with one foot suspended in thin air and my entire body willing me to jump.
It's hot and stuffy in my room. I sit here in the pajama pants and giant tshirt I have worn all day, since walking home at 10 this morning after spending an awkward night sharing a couch with a monumental douchebag who tried to grope me in my sleep. Next to me is a bag containing 10 beers I stole from said douchebag as revenge. My best friend has his bottle of lemon vodka. We're looking forward to drinking both. I've become fairly sure that she is the only person I can respect in this world, if not the only one then part of a very small group.
When did I cease being interesting? Every cell in my body feels apathetic and sluggish. I lose myself in thought too often to engage in most normal conversations, and when I do feel the need to talk, no one talks back. The simple truth is I have no idea what I want. Everyone else seems to have some goal, some idea of what they want out of life. Mostly I just want to be left alone, and then I get upset that no one has noticed that I am alone.
It's too hot. I strip down to a sports bra and the shorts I wear to dance. Maybe this would be attractive if there were someone here to see it, but if a tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, does anyone give a fuck?
I can't handle the responsibility of having another human emotionally dependent on me when I can't even pull myself together. I can't lose the feeling of being young and unready, and the fact that you are so attached to me and have made me the center of your world makes me uneasy. I know that it bothers you that I am quiet a little too much. I know you want to know what I am thinking but the truth is that I can't translate what goes on in my head to you.
"You know, everyone dies some time. And if you had happy times then it's sadder but if you didn't... I cried all my tears years ago... I think having a dysfunctional family, it makes it easier to say goodbye."
My grandfather died a little under 24 hours ago.
I am not sad, I don't need consolation. He was a man that I barely knew, who I encountered at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The most he ever said to me was to tell me that I was getting prettier every year.
He hated both of my brothers.
He was a mean man and he was a selfish man. But at one point he must have been dashing, charming even. My grandmother was disowned by her family for marrying the rogue young soldier from the wrong side of the tracks. And she moved to his side of the tracks and was treated like dirt for the rest of their marriage.
He was an unhappy man born of a childhood competing with two other brothers. The three of them all hated each other by the time they were adults. He was a strict, blue collar, Italian man.
The only birth he was there for was that of my oldest brother. Upon seeing the blonde haired, blue eyed baby, his first words were, "He doesn't look like a DePasquale." My mother cried for hours.
Sam became a joke in our house. His moccasins, patched with duct tape. The complete disregard for opening our presents one by one. Opening presents that weren't his, mumbling to himself. Wearing his hat indoors. Sitting in his car every morning but never going anywhere.
This is the man who made my father the way he is, and he is dead.