“God, that was annoying.” Toby blurted.
“Thanks?” Declan furrowed his brow. Toby’s incorrigible behavior was beginning to wear on the last of Declan’s nerves, but he had learned, through therapy, to let it go.
“Toby, I’m not going to tell you again,” Dr. Anderson, reprimanded him, “There’s no need for negative comments. This is a circle of trust, and as such, we’ve got to keep a supportive and open atmosphere. Apologize.”
“It’s not necessary, Dr. Anderson,” Declan forced a smile, “I don’t mind.”
Truth be told, he didn’t particularly enjoy rehashing that memory either. It made him abhor the person Gable had become. Since they’d broken up, he’d grown to associate him with everything that was rotten in the world.
It wasn’t that he didn’t want to portray Gable in good light; it was the fact that he couldn’t bring himself to cope with the fact that Gable had left him with nothing. Similar to an alien that had used him for all his resources, destroyed him, and moved onto the next habitable planet.
“I’m sorry about Toby, Decs,” Dr. Anderson frowned, “you know how he can be. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“It’s really not a big deal.” His eyes darted out the window.
Throughout his stay, he’d learned to cope with some of the darkest memories in his subconscious. From his lack of self confidence to his obsession with making Gable happy… Nothing had been left off the table, he’d been transparent… Except for one memory. A memory he’d protected vigilantly, because of the implications he feared it might have imposed on his life.
“Declan,” he removed his glasses, “today, I’d like to ask you something outside of gymnastics... Just to gain further insight of what makes you... Well, you.”
Declan’s gaze shifted to his knee. It pulsated ever so lightly, yet constantly. The heave of bandages dug into his skin, but he knew them to be a necessary evil.
Before Declan could acknowledge the shift in conversation, Dr. Anderson proceeded with his probing, “Okay, well, would you say you were born homosexual?”
The inquiry stole his gaze. His stream of thought came to a halt, and he sat upright. It bothered him that he dare ask something so insidious.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” His nostrils flared, brow furrowed.
“No need to be angry, it’s merely a question. I just want to know if you think you, in particular, were born gay, or if you chose to be gay.”
His jaw tensed at the intrusion. Who in their right mind would willingly dare choose a lifestyle filled with constant ostracism and discrimination? It was almost as if due to having been slapped by the question’s ignorance that he began to rise from his seat.
“That’s none of your fucking business.”
“Declan, sit down,” Dr. Anderson rose, “I’m not trying to make you uncomfortable. Like I said the first day; you don’t have to answer anything you don’t want to. I, for one, don’t care. You can walk out that door and go on feeling bad about yourself and the choices you made that eventually landed you here,” his steel blue eyes pierced through him like daggers.
“Or?” Declan settled back down into the seat.
“Or, you can cooperate, so you can return to your life.” He, too, sat back down.
He mulled his options over, and took in a deep breath, “I was born gay... I guess.”
“Okay, so... You enjoy sex with men, correct?”
Declan shook his head in disbelief, but eventually muttered a response, “Yeah.”
“When did you become sexually active?”
It all happened far too fast for him to contain his tears. Images of what he’d been through manifested themselves before him; The church. The pastor. Then a few years later again… This time with his father’s boss’ son. Both times being warned to never tell anyone, lest they both suffer severe consequences.
“Declan?” Dr. Anderson shook him out of his mental abyss, pulled his head from his hands, and handed him a kleenex.
He continued to cry, it was the first time he’d been able to face what had happened instead of dismissing it as just a random thought.
“I was sexually molested,” he cried in between dry heaves, “that’s the truth. That’s the truth. That’s the fucking truth.”
Each and every time he repeated those words they stung his entire being. It charred him from his stomach to his throat and beyond. Admitting to these events exorcised him of the hell his subconscious subjected him to every time he thought of a sexual encounter.
“Oh, Declan…” Dr. Anderson embraced him, but Declan pushed him away.
“No. NO,” he screamed, “I can’t. I can’t keep running away from this fucking demon. I never intended for it to happen. I didn’t realize what was going on. I just…” He broke down again.
“How old were you?”
He looked up straight into Dr. Anderson’s eyes, though his gaze looked further than his façade, they looked straight into his soul and saw the sincerity in his concern.
“Which time?” He finally answered.
Dr. Anderson’s eyes filled with tears, he grasped his hand and squeezed tightly, reassuring Declan of the safety he could expect in this office. He broke their gaze and looked out the window, as he had many times before.
“Do your parents know?” He broke their silence.
Declan looked back towards him and began to weep once more. The memory had been vigilantly repressed for a reason, and perhaps it was time that he finally part with it. It would only hinder his recovery more if he didn’t let go of that demon, and so he did.
For the rest of the session, they cried, they laughed, and they worked through his experiences leaving no stone unturned. That very night, Declan had the first peaceful sleep of his entire life.