I sit in a well-decorated office of a woman. The room is covered in Ph.D. certificates and college degrees. My two “guards” stand outside the room and my psychologist, Reina Bloom, stares at her computer with her legs crossed.
“So, Gianna, I see you have a file already. You’ve been to therapy before?”
“Yes, when I was ten for things that had happened in my past,” I start to pick at my jeans and she nods in response.
“Before we get into your past, I’m going to have to ask you some routine questions. So, you’re 18, work at the restaurant Aqua, and on your stress level, you circled six. Why did you choose that?” She tucks her hair behind her ear and gets ready to write what I have to say.
I shrug, still playing with the thread I pulled out of my jeans, “This whole case and being under house arrest gets to me a lot. Sometimes, my friends come and visit me and they tell me that they’re going somewhere and I forget I can’t go. I get ready and the whole shebang but then I realize I can’t even leave the house.”
“I see how that can take a toll on you, what about the way you view yourself, Gianna, do you like yourself the way you are?” Her blue eyes look at me questioningly, “Or is there anything you’d like to change?”
“I am who I am because of everything that’s gone on in my life. I don’t think if I had a family that loved me when I was little that I’d be as strong-willed and independent as I am today.” Reina nods, jotting down things, “I like myself but of course not always, there are days when I wish that my hair was naturally straight so I could be like those other girls or wish that my facial blemishes would go away and stay away.”
“How do you feel right now? In this moment?”
“I feel fine, I mean I wish I could go a little farther than my apartment’s patio. Surprisingly I’m actually missing school, a lot.”
“Why don’t you do some kind of homeschool?”
I laugh, “I’ve done it before when I was younger and o completely bombed everything. I had A’s and B’s and they dropped to C’s and F’s. I barely passed the seventh grade.”
She smiles a little bit,“I can understand that. Do you feel sad, unmotivated, depressed or burnt out?”
“I’m not sure honestly, have you ever spent a month inside your home, never going outside and literally seeing the same four walls every day? It kind of makes you depressed,” Reina makes small comments as I talk and continues to write, “I’m not unmotivated though, I want to do things. Sometimes I even want to go to court so I can just get out of the house.”
She looks down at her notes and then up at me, “Have you had any thoughts of self-harm or suicide?”
“When I was younger yes,” I tuck my curls behind my ear, “But now, no.”
“Can you tell me what you’re afraid of Gianna?” We make eye contact and my heart sinks a little.
“I don’t know what I’m afraid of. I would say nothing but how can I be afraid of nothing? I think I’m afraid of being afraid. All my life I’ve been the tough girl. I took everything that was thrown at me, I didn’t even take a break to catch my breath. I never cried when I was being mistreated in homes, hell, I didn’t even cry when I was raped,” I can see her grimace at my words through m peripheral vision but I continue talking, “My persona is tough, quiet, and alone. I didn’t talk to anyone and nobody talked to me.”
The room is silent for a moment and then Reina speaks,“Because of your past did you ever mistreat drugs or alcohol?”
I don’t even hesitate to answer, “I mean what teenager hasn’t? I’ve smoked weed a couple times and gotten drunk once or twice. I’ve never abused anything. I even got roofied at a party but my friends saved me from the disaster that could’ve been that night.”
“Sounds like you have some good friends, can you tell me about them?”
“Yeah, there’s Sage, my best friend, or used to be best friend. There were some issues between me and her because she got jealous that the guy she liked and I were close friends. Then there’s Adrian, the guy that she liked, he’s a very close friend of mine, always been there for me. Mason and Madeline, the twins, the smartest in the group by far, they always have some kind of new trick up their sleeve, and Lukas. I mean what can I say about him? I like him, a lot. I’m actually afraid that I like him a little too much,” I bite my lip to distract me from the stinging in my eyes and the burning in my nose, “Lukas has been my number one since the beginning of all of this. Even when everyone thought I was guilty, he’s been here for me, every step of the way,” The tears begin to fall and Reina hums in response. She picks up a box of tissues and offers them to me.
I take a couple and wipe my cheeks, Reina sets her pen down and folds her hands on the desk, “You said you’re afraid you like him too much, do you have abandonment issues?”
“No, yes, maybe? I never had a parental figure in my life. My foster parents? Even the good ones didn’t feel like home. So, getting taken out and put into another home never gave me any issues, I already knew it was going to happen.”
“I understand Gianna, our time is up but I’m interested in seeing you Thursday.” I stand up and shake her hand.
“Thank you, Miss Bloom,” I walk out of the room and am greeted by the two, unnamed guards that have been taking care of me since Saturday.
“Was the session good?” One of them ask and I nod.
“Yeah, it felt nice to let go of things that have been bothering me,” We walk out of the building and surrounding our van is plenty of people with plenty of cameras.
“Who tipped off the paparazzi?” The taller one grumbles. The big guy stands in front of me and the talkative one stands in the back. Fending off all the people who’s cameras won’t stop flashing over and over and over again.
“Gianna! Gianna! Are you crazy? Why did they send you to a psychiatrist?!”
“Gianna! Why did you not confess to killing that young man four years ago? Are you going to take this case to trial?”
I screw my eyes shut and cover my ears with my hands. It didn’t stop the sound of their screaming voices but id like to think it does. I finally get into the van and we escape the grasps of the ‘seagulls’ Carol likes to call them.