Monday, April 4, 2011

April 1991

Larry looks serious.
I'm scared.
Something is wrong.

I sit in my chair in his office, the one closest to the door, and wait for him to speak. Already the urge to run is powerful. I want to run out the door and go home. But it's been like this for weeks.

I glance at Larry. He sits back, further back that usual. He crosses his leg over his knee. The body language barrier.

My heart does flips in my chest.

He speaks but his words seem jumbled. I realize the sudden rushing in my ears is making it hard to understand him, like he's talking to me under water. He says he's been talking to Dr. B, who oversees his internship.

"... Borderline Personality Disorder..."

Immediately, everything comes into crystal clear focus.

Dr. B says Borderlines are demanding and manipulative. He told Larry he needs to stop letting me control sessions and make him go over time. I am abusing Larry's time and playing games.

Oh my God. I tried to tell him. I told him what would happen. I shouldn't have told him about the teenager and the little girl. I shouldn't have let it happen. Oh, God. What now?

Last week, Larry leaned in closer and spoke kindly. I can see that is gone now and there is an edge to his voice. He doesn't say it but I know he feels used... and I've screwed up again.

I'm trapped in place by the shivering. It's so complete I've turned to stone. All I can see is my knees. The rest of the office is gone. Just my knees and Larry's accusing voice as he lays down the new rules.

"This inner child nonsense needs to stop. I will not talk to anyone but you from now on. You need to stay in your seat and control yourself during sessions."


I'm driving down I-40, heading back to Durham. I can't breathe. I'm going to wreck. Oh please, God. I'm pregnant. Don't let me hurt this baby. I want to swerve and hit the trees.


Pull over carefully. Stop the car.

I'm going to die. This pain is going to kill me. I TRUSTED HIM!

Every time.
Every time I took a chance.
I trusted him.
He doesn't believe me.
I thought he would be different. He was different. He seemed to care when no other person I've tried to talk to has seemed to care.
I manipulate.
I just want attention.

I'm sobbing uncontrollably. The last time I cried like this was in the hospital back in January. For over a week, I cried non-stop. Even when I wasn't sobbing, the tears fell all the time. I couldn't stop it.
Until they told me to stop attention seeking.
I hid in my room to cry.
I sat alone to cry.
I stayed away from others so they wouldn't be upset by my distress.
But that's isolating yourself.
Just another way to seek attention.
I can't win.

A driver on the interstate slows and looks at me with concern. I wave him on and try to smile.

I have to stop this. I'm making a scene. I can't pull back onto the road. I'll never make it home. Oh God, I want to die!

Five months pregnant. This child will not be harmed. How she's stayed healthy so far, I don't know but I will not let her be hurt. I will not kill myself and murder this child. I will not cut. I will not hurt this child.

The cigarette lighter. Push in the knob. Wait. It pops out and I pick it up and look at the red hot circles of metal inside. Hot enough to light a cigarette.

Roll up my left sleeve. Hunch down in the seat. Place the lighter on my arm... high enough up to be hidden by my shirt sleeves.
Deep breath.
The tears stop.
Focused only on the lighter as I roll it on my skin.
Push in the knob.
Take it out.
Roll it on my skin.

Each time it gets easier to breathe. Each time, I can feel my heart relax a little more.

"No more."
I'm speaking aloud.
"No more."
I roll the lighter on my arm.
"No more."
I will never let it happen again.
"No more inner child nonsense."

I repeat the words, feeling a steely resolve build. I will lock it up. Shove it away so it can never happen again. I'll die before I think about pretending again.

No one will ever believe it is real.

I have to have made it all up. I've lied to Charlie. To every pastor we've gone to for help. Every doctor. Every hospital. Stein at Dominion called it for what it is. Bullshit.

No more bullshit.

No Stephanie.
No Roo.
No teenager trying to hurt herself.
It's all me and a lie.
I'm a lie.
No more.

I put the lighter back in place.

I'm calm now.

Charlie is going to be upset about the burn. I hope he understands. I had to do something that wouldn't hurt the baby. I had to find away to get home.

It is worth it.
They are gone now.
Charlie will never find me curled in a ball in the shower again.
Kristen will never find Mommy banging her head against the wall again.
No one will ever hear those eerie little voices I've known so long.
It's over now.
No more inner child bullshit.
I'll die before I let it happen again.