It had been a few hours and Emily was ready to try again with her interesting, but evasive patient. She gave a quick rap on the door before opening it up and walking in. She wanted to see how he reacted to this. She found him still standing and looking out the window. The staring out the window part was normal for most patients, but what wasn’t normal was his calmness. Most were the opposite of calm when placed in a strange and lifeless room against their will. Pacing back and forth and other overt physical gestures were far more common, especially for the serious drug addicts. Nothing about this young man’s demeanor said junky.
“Hello.” Emily said.
Jack didn’t respond verbally, but he walked over to his chair and sat. She followed suit and sat across from him feeling optimistic.
He didn’t look upset, but rather the opposite. He had a rather serene look about him and didn’t appear the least bit agitated as he had before.
“Do you think we can talk now, or are you still thinking about it?” Emily said. Her tone was intentional as she was sure that he would respond better to a more brass tacks method.
“I’ve been contemplating that very question while you were gone.”
“And what conclusion did you come to?”
When Jack hesitated, Emily continued.
“Listen Jack, I would really like to talk to you, but if you are not up to it that’s okay. Keep in mind though that not speaking could delay your release exponentially. Is that what you want? To be stuck in this shitty room for days on end?” She said as she looked around, raising her arms as showcasing the miserable surroundings.
Jack looked Emily in the eyes in an almost hypnotic fashion before he spoke.
“You got it all wrong doc. My reluctance to speak with you comes from a far different place than you might think. I’m not worried about my feelings or well-being; it’s your safety I’m thinking about.”
This was unexpected. Emily was taken aback by this and started to think that she may have missed something in the previous conversation. Something major.
“What do you mean by that? Is that a threat of some sort?” She asked.
Emily was showing no signs of fear, but the statement was troublesome.
“Of course not.” Jack said, smiling at the misunderstanding. “You have nothing to fear from me.”
“Then what do you mean?” She said
“You’ve heard the phrase, some things you can’t unsee yes?”
Jack leaned forward in his chair and spoke the next sentence matter-of-fact like.
“Some stories cannot be unheard as well.”
“And yours is such a story?” Emily pressed.
“It is.” He said as he leaned back in a more relaxing posture.
Emily was excited by this statement for several different reasons simultaneously. First, maybe he is in need of help and that this wasn’t a mistake after all. Second, if there was one thing that the Emily loved, it was a challenge. This patient was so far from the usual that Emily relished the chance to explore him further. He displayed no common signs associated with such patients, which made him a special case. In short, he intrigued her greatly.
“I’ve heard some horrific, terrifying, and extremely disturbing things in the course of my work Jack. I’m sure I will be okay to hear what you have to say.”
“I figured you would say that. That’s because you have no idea what I’m going to say. You’re probably expecting some sob story about a terrible childhood, a drunken abusive father, or something of the like. It is most definitely not one of those stories. You know what they say about truth and fiction.”
“I do.” The doctor said. “Is your story true?”
“It is, but I’m afraid you may not be so quick to agree. Time will tell.” Jack said with a light shrug and raised eyebrows.
She would never let on, but Emily was swelling with anticipation. He had almost convinced her that everything was a huge mistake and he should be released early. Now, only a few hours later, he is risking whatever progress he may have made. Whatever fantastic story he tells could shatter her perception of him entirely and require him to stay for further treatment. So why say anything? He had to know she was contemplating his release. He also seemed to be aware of the system as well as anyone, which only added to the mystery.
This was the very reason Emily got into the field to begin with. The chess game of it all. The mind is an amazing thing and we never know what is really going on inside, but when you get a glimpse from time to time, it can be amazing, and sometimes downright frightening.
“I don’t know what you think you know about me, if anything at all, but I’m not your average therapist. The reason I’m good at what I do is because I don’t follow the strict guidelines of text and old-school philosophies.” Emily said
“You are anything but average doc.” Jack said.
Emily knew that she had a reputation that Jack may have heard of before coming here, but something about his tone said something else.
“What makes you say that?”
“I’m...perceptive. If I do decide to talk to you, would all of this stay between us?”
“Of course, the doc-”
“I know all about the confidential HIPPA laws Doc.” Jack said cutting her off. “I just want to be sure you don’t share our little adventure, even the smallest of details, with supervisors, other shrinks, or your hair stylist.”
“You have my word.” She said, not dwelling on the comment about the hair stylist comment.
“Once we start this journey there may be no turning back. Please take my warning seriously, this is not some ploy story tellers use to raise anticipation and excitement. The risk may be real.”
It had been a sometime since Emily had such a patient. During her intern phase she ran into a very convincing dual personality case that involved a murder and a kidnapping. This intrigued her even more. She felt like a kid again, excited for a new toy. She wanted to hear about this young man in the worst way, but she would not let on.
Emily leaned back comfortably in her chair, turned her hands upward, and then put them down in her lap. Her answer was clear.
Ready and waiting.
“Okay doc. I will try to keep things in order, but much of what I am going to tell you was told to me second hand, as I was not there. If I seem to wonder off track be patient, pardon the pun, as I will get us to where we are going. Remember this day well, for your life may never be the same.”