As God Is My Author

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17


Carol took out the folders and placed them across the table in a well-practiced manner, establishing an adequate distance between the two of them.

‘So Dorsett: did you return to your book?’

‘Yes.’

‘And?’

‘And now it’s finished.’

‘That’s good news. Did it end happily?’

‘For my character? I think so. For me, I’m not sure.’

‘What do you mean?’

The way she rested her folded hands across the table told Dorsett that the session had started.

‘He’s rich. I gave him some money.’

She spoke without thinking.

‘I wish someone would leave me lots of money.’

She meant it humorously and Dorsett gambled that continuing the joke might lighten the mood.

‘Well, you never know. Whoever’s writing our story might do that for you.’

‘And you mentioned that you’ve also finished the poem you’d been working on.’

‘Yes.’

She hesitated and he knew why.

‘Now. You said Steve helped you. Do you still believe that?’

‘No. Steve didn’t help me, I made that up. I don’t know why I did. Maybe the wine had something to do with it, maybe I thought it was a good idea. I’m sorry if I put Steve in an awkward position.’

‘Steve understands. He wants you to get better, the same as we all do.’

‘Get better? So I’m still ill?’

‘That was probably the wrong word to use. Improve I think might be more suitable. You’ve already moved forward because you’ve finished your story and your poem.’

‘Is dyslexia curable?’ he asked her without warning.

‘Unfortunately, no. It’s a disorder from birth. But it can be managed.’

‘The reason I ask is because he seemed to be knowledgeable about books. I thought dyslexics couldn’t read.’

‘It’s a common misconception. Steve is a good reader but his condition means that he has problems with the structure of letters and language and as a result, his spelling suffers. But he can read.’

He could tell she wanted to say something further but she hesitated. He felt it was his turn to encourage her to talk for a change.

‘Go on. You were going to say something.’

‘It’s why we knew he couldn’t have written those lines in your poem.’ she said.

‘Why didn’t you mention it at the time?’

‘I thought it tactful not to, and we were leaving anyway. Besides, I had an idea that Sam would tell you.’

‘She did. I felt such an idiot. I still don’t know why I did it.’

‘Well,’ she said, ‘That’s why I’m here. Admitting you have a problem is halfway to solving it.’

‘Don’t they say that at Alcoholics Anonymous?’

‘I don’t know, Dorsett.’

She didn’t take it as the joke it was meant and he had to remind himself she was still working.

‘If this was all related to drinking it would be easier, wouldn’t it?’ he asked her. Carol remained serious.

‘Dorsett. Saying something that you know isn’t true can be the wrong thing to do. If you believe Mason or Steve helped you with your writing, then you should say so.’

The advice surprised him.

‘So if I’m honest and claim that my creator helped me in my work then it would be a positive move, whereas if I excuse it by saying I made it up, that would be worse?’

‘All I’m saying is that you have to say what you believe is the truth. Then we can start trying to understand why it is you feel that way.’

‘OK Carol. I’ll tell you the truth. I’m not sure what to believe. That is the most honest confession I can give you. And saying that doesn’t make my life unbearable, or cause me distress. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I have an open mind. But I’m more certain that I didn’t write those lines in my poem than I am that I did. But the difference is negligible. I have become a sceptic and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.’

Carol wrote something down in her notebook.

‘There’s nothing wrong with being sceptical, Dorsett. But when that negligible line is crossed will you feel the need to self-harm again?’

The scissors again. It was only a slight cut, nothing life-threatening. Yet it seemed to come up with every mention of his so-called recovery. If he’d broken his finger trying to punch Mason there wouldn’t have been the fuss made. But because he was determined enough to injure himself, it appeared to confirm the need for treatment.

‘Look Carol. That scissors drama was only a one-off. Maybe I was overworked; maybe it was a sign of depression. But if everything we talk about is going to end up on the subject of self-harming, then forget it. I’ve already said that I won’t do it again. If these meetings are about who did or didn’t alter my poems then fine, but if they’re about me not cutting myself again, could we please stop these sessions? I like your company, but I can’t see what good continuing them will do.’

‘I promised Sam I would help you, Dorsett. But I can’t help you unless you’re honest with me.’

‘I am being totally honest. I do not want to take part in a recovery programme if the intention of it is to prevent me from harming myself or Sam. It was a one-off incident that happened unexpectedly and something that, on reflection, achieved little. I made a mistake and I’ll learn from it. I can readjust.’

Carol considered his words.

‘Alright Dorsett, if that’s what you want. But you will have to tell Sam that this was your decision.’

‘I will. And I am grateful to you for trying to help.’

She collected her papers and closed them shut in her bag. As she was about to open the front door to leave she turned to him.

‘I was thinking. Now that you’ve finished your work, have you considered taking a break from writing? I’ve never known a rest from work to be anything but helpful in these kinds of situations. Think about it.’

‘I’ll do that.’

‘What; you mean you’ll think about it or you’ll do it?’

‘I’ll do it. I promise.’

Dorsett was tempted to mention what Sam said referring to his comment about psychologists never switching off, just like writers. But he chose not to and closed the door behind her.

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