Catwalks. That was how they were called, those sliding platforms spread all over Lúnembril’s outer districts, like the twisted tentacles of a giant octosquid.
Thin metal railings for user support sent silvery streaks under the sun as the ‘walk snaked this way and that, covering spans of entire kilometers while hanging some thirty to fifty meters above the ground. Wouldn’t it have been better to call the slammed things something like sliding platforms? Better yet, how about sliding bridges?
After all, that was what all means of transportation did in Akaladia: they slid. There were aerosliders and groundsliders and aquasliders. Heck, even air, ground and marine coaches and freighters slid through the air, above the ground, or over the water. Sliding on a ‘walk could make you feel like a bag of groceries on the hypermarket, though.
At any rate, sliding on Catwalks was Lúnembril City Hall’s latest effort to counter an air and ground traffic so heavy that it was only getting worse by the minute, it seemed. Alas, in a megalopolis where the population fluctuated between one hundred and a hundred and twenty million, finding solutions to the endless issues produced by such unbearable traffic was no easy feat, any which way you wished to look at it.
Earlyan didn’t remember paying much mind to the ‘walks till this morning. Perhaps that was because the polyplastic band he used to slide on his way to school every morning was strangely deserted for a common day in the middle of the week.
Deep down inside, he would have preferred to find a long line of people sliding on the ‘walk ahead of him. Either that or that Green Mound School stood much farther away from home, even if that meant he’d have to catch a public aerocoach to get to school on time. And well, Earlyan had never been much of an early riser.
On second thought, he reflected, best thing that could happen is for a ‘quake to bring down the ‘walk and get this over with.
An entire week had passed since that jerk, Fontanos, tried to set his hair on fire. And now, as Earlyan slid on the ‘walk he couldn’t stop wondering what kind of heavy prank his adorable classmates might have in store for him this morning.
Actually, an earthquake wouldn’t be so bad next to all that he’d been forced to put up with at school this year. Nary had a week gone by during the 1983-84 AR school year that some boy or some girl passed on the chance to mock or bully him . . . And the school year had begun almost seven months ago!
To all this, one thing was clear, though: it would be quite hard for the rest of his peers to outdo Fontanos’ little prank from last week.
How did that bastard manage to get a laserlighter into school without being discovered?
Earlyan had no idea. Yet every morning, as he tried to brush his indomitable chestnut mane, he couldn’t stop thinking about the incident, every time the hairbrush went over the huge chunk of hair missing from his forehead. Why, it was as if a donkey had taken a bite right out of his hair!
More like getting your hair burned by a total ass, he corrected bitterly in his mind.
In all frankness, though, things could have been much worse. Had he not reared back immediately after Fontanos tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention . . .
His eyelids fluttered on instinct and his skin crawled at the thought of what might have happened had his hair not been there to protect his big green eyes.
Oh well, I guess I should be used to all this by now.
Good thing school would be over in three months, just twelve more weeks of putting up with all those snotty, pampered, spoiled brats, their jests and their pranks . . . And all because Earlyan was supposed to be different!
Unlike most of his peers, he was a quiet, shy boy who preferred to keep a low profile and never go looking for trouble . . . though trouble loved to come looking for him, apparently. Well, if truth be told, he was a little absent-minded and oft times, he could even come across as insecure. Perhaps that was why he attracted so much negative attention to himself.
At any rate, save for his first week at middle school, a time when none of his classmates knew him all that well yet, it felt as if the whole world was bent on making him pay for a crime that he’d never committed!
Stop thinking about what kind of unpleasant surprise is waiting for you at school. Just think about . . . well, anything else, really.
Then again that wasn’t such a good idea either. For the first thing that came to mind were the strange dreams he’d been having of late. Who was the strange old man who appeared in his dreams almost every night, from right out of nowhere?
The only person he could relate to the stranger up to a certain point was grandpa. Except that mom’s father still had some hair, whiter and scarcer with each passing day perhaps, but grandpa still had hair. In contrast, the head of the stranger in his dreams was balder than a knee.
Grandpa had a fine goatee that gave him quite the distinguished look, but the beard on the face of the stranger from Earlyan’s dreams, who kept saying “Learn to know, to trust and to believe in yourself” over and over again, was so long and thick that it would have hung all the way down to his chest . . . in case the man had a body in the first place.
All that Earlyan could see clearly in those bizarre dreams of his was a colossal head that appeared suddenly, hovering in the midst of an impenetrable blackness. Besides, whereas grandpa was already pushing seventy—and he was beginning to look his age, too—Earlyan couldn’t place an age on that giant head with the great beard and no body to speak of.
Just forget it, will you? He thought, giving his head a slow shake as he let a sigh escape from his lips. It’s only dreams, after all.
Yes, that was all they were, simple dreams and nothing more. Moreover, Earlyan knew himself well enough, as it were–Oh, and he believed in himself, thank you very much! He also trusted himself implicitly . . . Well, as much as any boy of thirteen could know, trust and believe in himself, as it were.
If only his peers at school took the time to know, to trust and to believe in him . . .
That was what his heart desired more than anything in the world, to be a normal teen and to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the crowd. Alas, how could he do that, when none of his peers were willing to give him the slightest of chances?
They are the problem, my peers in school, and not me.
At the end of the day being so different was definitely not his fault. He didn’t choose to stick out like a sore thumb, yet half the people around him seemed to resent him for being so smart—or that was what some folk said about him, at any rate—and the other half found more boring than a clam because his interests were deep and far too unusual for a thirteen-year old boy, born and raised in the big city.
Although his interests were unusual for folk of all ages, from all over the world, it would appear. At least based on what he’d been discovering of late. At any rate, that was Earlyan Marnes in a nutshell. And being so different was certainly no slamming crime.
He didn’t choose to stand out any more than he chose to be deemed special by some experts in the mind. Furthermore, he certainly didn’t choose to be deemed a freak and a loser by folk that were experts in well, nothing other than making life miserable for others, perhaps.
So it’s definitely they who are the problem, not me, insisted the little voice in his head. It’s my peers at school who should learn to know, to trust and to believe in themselves—
His reflection ended abruptly, as his nose hit something soft and warm that smelled of daisies.
He gave a start and let go of the railing, his feet trampling on the polyplastic band underneath. He slipped clumsily and for a second the world went upside down before his back hit the ‘walk with a resounding thud.
To add more salt to the wound, he must have forgotten to zip up his backpack before leaving home. So his books, his technopad and other school supplies that he carried on his back were now spread on the rubbery band, all around his fallen frame.
At least the young lady he bumped so clumsily didn’t lose her balance. She just staggered forward slightly, wrapping her fingers firmly around the railing before turning around to identify the projectile that had shoved into her so unexpectedly.
The young woman gave a squeeze to the hand of the little girl sliding next to her on the ‘walk, Earlyan saw, sending fleeting glances in every which way till her eyes finally fell on the tall, skinny boy who was sprawled on the sliding pad, next to her feet.
“I–I’m sorry,” he babbled. “I . . . I didn’t realize the ‘walk had come so close to school already.”
The rubbery band’s constant movement had slowed down somewhat, but it kept making things hard, driving his belongings away as he stretched out his long, wiry arms right and left, in a desperate attempt to retrieve his school supplies.
“Don’t worry,” said the young woman, much more interested in getting her daughter to school on time than on the little accident on the ‘walk, it seemed. “Just pay more attention to the ‘walk the next time, aright?”
Without as much as another word or glance in Earlyan’s direction the young mother gave her daughter’s arm a gentle tug to lead the little girl towards the Green Mound School’s main gate: a black monster of reinforced steel, surrounded by tall walls of thick cemecrete that made the school look more like a juvenile detention center than a respectable educational institution . . . At least from Earlyan’s point of view.
Try as he might, he couldn’t pick up all of his belongings.
Color rose steadily on his cheeks as he twisted his body around, trying to pick up his school supplies. Immediately he realized that the ‘walk was now teeming with parents and students alike, all waiting for that clumsy boy to spring to his feet so they could resume their march towards the school.
Slam it! Yelped the little voice in his head, whilst sudden angst took hold of him. At what time did so many people decide to show up on the bastard ‘walk?
“Hey you!” someone hollered behind his back. “Why don’t you watch were you’re going?” That protest was followed by another angry bellow. “Hurry up, will you? My son will be late for class!” And another heated voice added, “Get out of the way, you clumsy boy!”
Earlyan pulled in a good chunk of air, picked up what he could of his belongings, sprang to his feet and bolted for the black gate, doing his best to hide his reddened face under the pile of school supplies in his arms. By then, he was certain that his cheeks must look like a couple of ripe tomatoes! Though that was more due to anger than embarrassment.
Clumsy boy? Me? Nah, you don’t say!
Why did he have to be so absent-minded, so clumsy and useless? Great assets all those traits of his, no doubt. Great, yes, but at getting him in trouble whether he sought it or no.
Forget all that nonsense about getting to know, to trust and blah, blah, blah . . . Focus on where you are and what you’re supposed to be doing, aright?
Those slamming Lúnembrili authorities and their brilliant ideas. Slam them and slam their bastard Catwalks!
On second thought, perhaps the little accident on the ‘walk was the worst thing that would happen today . . . No, that was just wishful thinking. For if there was something akin to human magnet for bad luck that had got to be Earlyan Slamming Marnes.
* * *
The strange device for brain studies stood in a therapy room no different to any other neuropsychiatric facility that Earlyan had visited in his short life.
The walls were made of chalk, it seemed, all white and impersonal as they were. And the waiting room outside wasn’t any better: an antechamber decorated with three large, navy blue polyplastic couches that were soft but colder than midnight in winter.
The three couches leaned against dark mahogany walls that had as little personality to them as everything else in the slamming clinic. Oh well, whatever. Things could be worse . . . In fact, things had been much worse earlier today.
“What happened?” asked Doctor Neissa’s assistant. “Oh, please don’t tell me you tried to cut your hair yourself—”
“No, no, no!” interrupted Earlyan at once, his embarrassment growing with every word he uttered. “My peers at school . . . I mean, you know how we all are, right? Thing’s that one of my classmates thought it’d be fun to set my hair on fire . . . ”
“Oh no, he didn’t!” groaned the nurse, shaking her head in clear disapproval as she turned around to pick up the pincers she was using to extract electrodes from a silver platter filled with a thick, yellowish goo that had a very unpleasant scent to it.
Earlyan was stretched on a cold, hard pallet, anxious to see the upcoming procedure finished as soon as possible. The look of confusion he saw etched on the young nurse’s face made him feel even more awkward, as she kept placing sticky electrodes all over her patient’s wild mane . . . or what was left of it, at any rate.
The reaction of Doctor Neissa’s assistant was a refreshing surprise, however. For if Earlyan had learned something in his thirteen years of life, it was that most folk were extremely inconsiderate to their peers. And that was only when they weren’t openly rude for starters.
Perhaps the problem was more common in the big cities of the world such as Lúnembril. People were always so busy in the megalopolis that they barely had time to take care of their own issues, let alone concern themselves with the problems of others.
The pincers picked up another electrode and the neurologist’s assistant gave her head another shake. Her expression changed radically, though, as she turned around to offer her patient another warm smile.
The nurse’s attention went back to her work in flash, as she finished placing the electrodes around Earlyan’s head as part of the preparations for the brain . . . mapping . . . scanning . . . or whatever the name of the bastard procedure scheduled for today.
This afternoon’s brain study would be just one more in an endless collection of studies, tests and procedures that he’d undergone over the last eleven years and change, to help bring down his unusually high brain energy levels.
Though you’d think getting used to all this would be easier with time . . .
“In that case, I’d say you were very lucky, sweetheart,” said the nurse. “Didn’t that silly boy realize he could’ve seriously hurt you? Oh! And–what about this?” she asked, as she found another missing chunk of hair, this time on the back of her patient’s head.
“Oh, yeah . . . that.” This is getting really embarrassing. Earlyan cleared his throat. “Well, that was this morning. You see, another of my . . . friends at school thought he could outdo last week’s prank. So he decided to throw a piece of chewgum from afar to see if he could hit me square on the head. And . . . well, as you can see, my friend’s got a turbocannon for an arm.”
“Children can be so mean at times,” sighed the nurse with a frown, before giving her patient another encouraging smile. “But don’t worry, Early. Once your treatment’s over, things will get much better for you, I promise!”
His reply was limited to a brief, reluctant nod.
He forced himself to return the smile, fervently wishing that the young nurse’s words turned out to be prophetic. After being in therapy since before he could walk or talk proper, Earlyan wouldn’t dare say things had improved in the very least.
Consultations with doctors and therapists in clinics and hospitals, twice a week, every week of the year. Since he could remember therapy was as indispensable a part of life as eating, sleeping or breathing.
In truth, the endless procedures had become such a staple in his life that coming to therapy was almost as normal now as going to school, taking a shower or putting his clothes on. Though he was far from knowing the reason why.
At about the time when he was born the UniCon passed a health bill demanding that all children born with brain energy levels above the norm were subjected to therapy, at once and without exception. It didn’t matter that Earlyan had never felt sick in his life.
Other than the occasional ever-present cold, a little headache here or a tummy ache there, he’d never felt sick in his life, indeed. If truth be told, all those minor health issues were so uncommon that he couldn’t remember the last time he’d missed school because of sickness.
So why am I being treated as some terminally ill patient?
Why was he being subjected to all those bastard tests that were only good at making him feel like the loser that all his peers at school made him out to be?
Oh yeah, right! It’s because I’m supposed to be special. Why, I’m a slamming genius, of course!
Well, if he was that smart for real, then how come he couldn’t find a way out of all of his predicaments? After all, that was supposed to be the reason behind the studies. Someday his treatment would help him to develop his huge potential . . . assuming he were healthy enough to use his brain like he was supposed to, of course.
Yeah right, he thought, bitterly. What a crock of—
The door to the therapy room slid abruptly to the side, prompting him to bring his attention back to the here and now.
A woman in her late thirties to early forties entered the room at a brisk trot. Her skin was as smooth and dark as ebony, and her body, skinny as a toothpick, was covered almost in its entirety by a snowy white robe.
Doctor Neissa Elonga’s black eyes fell on Earlyan instantly; one of her typically patronizing grins appearing on her thick lips as she did. The nurse also gave him a smile—a much warmer, genuine gesture in her case—before heading for the door and leaving the room.
I don’t like this one bit, he thought, as he heard the clicking sound made by the door when the nurse locked it shut from the outside. He’d never felt comfortable in reduced, confining spaces or under lock and key, lest he were in control of the situation, which was obviously never the case when in therapy.
I hope Doctor Neissa’s not thinking about shoving me into some machine or something . . .
Without a word the neurologist made her way to a wide console standing below the hologram of a human brain that was hovering idly in the air, some two meters from her patient.
As Doctor Neissa took her seat in front of that silvery control panel filled with buttons and switches in different colors, Earlyan’s eyes went from his therapist to the highly detailed, three-dimensional image floating above the console.
He couldn’t stop wondering if that fluffy, serene, pink oval floating amidst tiny neon green digits was the projection of his own brain. In that case, the hologram looked quite normal to his eyes.
But what do you know about such things?
“And how are we today, Early?” Doctor Neissa inquired suddenly. “Ready for the brain-scanning session, are we?”
Her voice was soft and gentle, though she didn’t even bother to take her eyes off of the dashboard, as her fingers kept pressing switches right and left.
“I guess so . . . ” The reply was not only filled with uncertainty. It sounded very unenthusiastic to his ears, too.
Doctor Neissa finally craned her neck to spare a glance at her patient over her shoulder, another condescending smile plastered on her lips as she did. Her eyes were back on the control panel in a blink, however, her fingers pressing buttons and switches till she was satisfied with her preparations, Earlyan saw.
The neurologist stood from her seat and approached the pallet where her patient lay, motionless on the outside, but quite restless on the inside. Before turning her attention on him Doctor Neissa conducted a brief but thorough scan of the electrodes that her assistant had placed around her patient’s head.
“Good,” she muttered, more to herself than to her patient, pleased with her assistant’s preparations, it would seem. “Now, this shouldn’t take long . . . ten to fifteen minutes, roughly. And you have nothing to worry about, aright? Just close your eyes and relax.”
“Aha . . . sure,” he said in a barely audible whisper, struggling mightily to follow his therapist’s instructions while falling prey to an apprehension bordering on panic.
Well, at least it seems like she won’t be shoving me into a machine, he thought, pulling in a healthy chunk of air as he closed his eyes, with no idea of what to expect next. All he knew was that Doctor Neissa’s words were not as soothing as she’d like to believe.
This certainly wasn’t the first time Earlyan would be subjected to some kind of procedure, but all those previous times were so unpleasant that he felt as antsy as always. The brain-scanning session would be the first of its kind, however. And any new or unknown experience had always put the fear of the world in his heart, especially concerning anything related to his condition.
“Now,” the neurologist resumed her instruction, “keep your eyes closed all the time and do not open them until I’ve told you to, aright?”
Earlyan gave a slow, reluctant nod.
“Good!” approved Doctor Neissa, while setting a polyplastic mask on her patient’s face, so thick and dark that he couldn’t have seen a thing even if he dared to open his eyes.
The sound of footsteps walking away from the pallet was all he could hear till his ears picked up a low, throbbing hiss coming from a set of headphones built into the mask. Muffled and distant at first, the hiss came accompanied by a dim, small light that grew and took shape inside his head.
The light exploded and the shrill buzz became a loud screech that rattled his senses at once. Earlyan trembled with uncontrollable fear as he realized that, even with his eyes closed, he could see every imaginable shape in his mind with astounding clarity!
They look like . . . geometric shapes?
That was exactly what the images were. First came a square that turned swiftly into a circle surrounded by an aura of a thousand bright colors. Then the circle blew up and became countless dots of light that soon took on the shape of triangles, all as different in shape as they were in size and color.
The triangles also shifted in half a heartbeat and for a nanosecond, they became a shapeless blur, before turning into a rectangle. Suddenly the rectangle became distorted and faded for an instant before morphing into a spiral that went round and round and round like a whirlwind.
It all felt like a whirlwind indeed, of light, sound, color and . . . emotion.
Every imaginable figure appeared and danced wildly in his head, all as different in shape as they were in size and color. The shapes jumped and danced and shifted merrily at the pace set by the drum hammering in his brain.
The throbbing buzz he’d heard at first was such a boisterous thunder by now that he suspected he would end up with a terrible headache before it was all said and done. The shapes kept dancing and twisting and twirling, shifting and transforming at the pace set by the drum that seemed to announce some strange, exotic ceremony to come.
Angst took complete hold of his senses and it kept increasing as steadily as the roar pounding in his brains. Like the images roaming in his mind anxiety shifted and became uncontrollable, sudden panic.
How can that machine send such clear images to my brain, when my eyes are completely shut?
The shapes were fascinating, though. The feelings that they conveyed were the reason behind his restlessness. It was as if his mind were completely naked, exposed to some unseen, alien presence bent on drilling the deepest, most intimate reaches of his Being.
I can’t take this anymore!
Dread took hold of him so fiercely that his mind had no choice but to defend itself the only way it knew how to, when faced with a situation that had quickly become as unpleasant as everything else in life . . .
Earlyan’s mind drifted aimlessly.
Alas the direction his mind chose once it settled offered no respite.
It was funny, in a sort of way, to see how fate seemed determined on playing cruel jests on him all the slamming time. Every time things seemed to be improving something got in the way and made the promise vanish faster than the turboplane flies.
When Earlyan was a mere eighteen-month toddler, mom and dad had their firstborn’s brain-energy levels tested, about a year and a half after Senate passed the health bill demanding that all children were put to the slamming test.
The Marnes were told that their boy’s brain energy levels were so high that his life would be in great peril if not treated immediately. Based on that initial diagnostic—and forced to comply with the new health regulation—mom and dad had no choice but to have their son subjected to a treatment that promised to be as intensive as it would be long.
Mom and dad had no say in the matter, for the Health Ministry took all of their laws and regulations related to Akaladia’s future—its children—very seriously. Besides, the Marnes were a decent, honest folk, of course. And so mom and dad would never do anything that they considered illegal.
So it was that Earlyan’s ordeal had begun.
The funny thing was that all other Ministries attached to the UniCon didn’t seem as interested in watching their own laws and regulations with the same zealousness as the Health Ministry. At least in accordance to what Earlyan heard coming from the lips of grownups around him all the time.
Alas, what could a thirteen-year old brat truly know about such complicated health issues?
I’m sure the Whiterobes know what they’re doing, don’t they?
At the end of the day all that mattered was that spending so much time in the hands of the Whiterobes, in hospitals and such, could only mean one thing: something was very wrong with him. That was why he had all kinds of problems when trying to blend in with his peers at school, and that was also the reason why he was so different.
At any rate, that was how the endless therapy, the studies and the tests became like second nature to Earlyan Marnes. He could suffer from all kinds of brain damage, like epilepsy or seizures or other kinds of conditions that could easily land him in an early grave, at any given time.
He was certainly not old or knowledgeable enough yet to understand half of the complicated medical terms that the Whiterobes were always hurling at him and his parents, as if reciting some composition in school, but one thing he did understand all too well were the words death and brain damage.
And needless to say, both were more than enough to scare anyone out of their wits.
So, whilst most other children his age spent their spare time playing sports, learning about the Technolectronic and Cybernetic sciences or taking part in other interesting, exciting activities, he was forced to spend a couple of afternoons a week in a therapy room or lying on some shrink’s couch—
The deafening roar tormenting his head stopped as abruptly as it had come and the countless images dancing and jumping merrily in his brain disappeared as if by magic.
His breathing was jaded and irregular, he noticed, as he struggled desperately to regain his composure. It’s over, whispered the little voice in his head. It’s all over now.
He took a deep breath and tried to calm down, to no avail. Compared to what he’d just experienced, those bizarre dreams he’d been having of late were nothing . . . Why, in fact those dreams felt somewhat comforting now.
Why would he relate his dreams about the bearded stranger with what he’d just been through? That was beyond him. Could it be because both experiences felt as if some foreign presence seemed bent on penetrating the deepest reaches of his psyche?
Yes, that’s exactly how all this feels . . .
Ten long, bony fingers set softly on his temples and the mask covering his face was suddenly gone.
“Don’t open your eyes just yet,” instructed Doctor Neissa, in a sort of memorized singsong. “Take a deep breath first, and when you feel a little steadier, open your eyes and blink slowly until you’ve regained your focus. Otherwise you’ll feel all dizzy and nauseous.”
Earlyan did his therapist’s bidding without complaint. He kept completely still on the pallet, his eyes shut tight as he struggled mightily to steady his breathing. His heart pounded in his chest so fiercely that it felt as if it were about to leap right out of his throat!
Still struggling to regain his composure he tried to convey positive thoughts, remembering as he did that he still had some time left to catch part of the codantarus game scheduled on TV this evening. And nothing would stop him from catching his favorite sport on the technovisor.
The game would offer some respite, albeit a temporary break . . . from the real world and all of the problems and the misery that came along with it. Codantarus was always a great escape, even when life itself felt as if he were losing the game handily before his first chance to step into the white chalk lines where you had to hit the ball had come.
He opened his eyes and blinked slowly as his therapist suggested, till focus came back to him.
“Interesting . . . ” said Doctor Neissa, more to herself than to her patient as she was often wont to do.
Earlyan spared a quick glance at his neurologist, who was now seated back in front of the brain scanner’s console, her head rearing back and her eyes gobbling up the three-dimensional data floating above the control panel. Not surprisingly, the therapist didn’t deign to spare a single bastard glance at her patient, as she went over the information.
He wondered if he should say something to Doctor Neissa, itching to know what she’d meant when she said interesting. Before he could think of something to say, though, his therapist finally rose from her seat and walked briskly to the pallet, ready to remove the sticky electrodes from her patient’s head, he figured.
It was about slamming time too, he thought, with great relief. Those slamming little bastards were starting to itch something fierce!
“There we go.” Doctor Neissa’s voice was a little more cheerful this time, though it didn’t take long for her lips to curve into yet one more of those typically patronizing smiles of hers. “You can get up now, Early–Oh, and could you be a darling and tell your mother I’d like to have a word with her?”
He gave a silent nod and stood from the pallet, still wondering what Doctor Neissa meant when she’d uttered interesting. Plus, why did she want to speak alone with mom?
Why can’t I hear what she’s got to say when it concerns my health?
No treatment, no procedure—much less the bastard pills that Earlyan refused to swallow every night—that made you feel as wretched as he felt then and there could be a good thing. And that was far more troubling than his slammed condition itself.
What’s the big deal with having a little more energy in the brain than most? Earlyan had never felt different, despite what everyone else might have to say about him. Oh, well. When it comes down to complicated stuff, such as health and medicine, the truth is you know nothing at all.
Yet somehow it felt as if the voice in his head were screaming like crazy. It told him over and over again that his condition was far from being as serious as all the Whiterobes in charge of his case for over a decade now claimed.
He gave a long sigh, shook his head reluctantly and left the therapy room. He was still unable to shake Doctor Neissa’s interesting from his mind by the time he reached the waiting room.
Well, if you can’t be in there when she talks to mom, guess that means you definitely do not want to hear what Doctor Neissa’s got to say.