Something's Broken In Me
Mom insisted, dad agreed, and so there I was. Something happened. Something I should remember. Until then I was stuck.
“Ingrid,” Morrissette called, the group psychotherapist, expecting me to say something, contribute, claimed it would help with the memories. I looked around, wishing she’d pick somebody else, someone just as eager to share as she was to ask, like Winston over there, opposite me, tapping his foot uncontrollably. Gosh, he could be so annoying. But… nobody. They were waiting on me. Tell us your story their eyes pleaded, permit us to get closer to you. Where do I start? I thought, plotting. Saying nothing meant a few days, a week, possibly another month extension there—
“My dream,” I started, struggling to remember. They never made total sense. “My dream—”
Bensley interrupted, standing by the door in his oversized white coat, oval shaped glasses and ‘I love my dad’ mug in one hand. He ran Pod, that’s what they called the place, P.O.D— Place of Detention— pod. As the head psychoanalyst/ therapist, no one really knew his position, Bensley stormed into any room and no one would say a peep. If they did mind, you’d never catch it. And that day he wasn’t alone, we had a visitor.
“Could you please step outside for a minute?” Bensley said to Morrissette. Reluctantly, she obliged: uncrossing her legs, straightening her pencil skirt and giving me the you’re not off the hook look.
“Bruised lip, definitely a fighter,” Didi remarked, sizing up the boy behind Bensley. She was my only… friend’s not the word but we looked out for each other at Pod’s. “Possible anger issues, check out those knuckles. Ouch!” She continued. “Am I the only one who feels like I should know him?”
I shrugged, observing. Part of me felt the same. He knew we were staring— new guy— his lips twitched slightly but he refused to meet our gaze, tilting his body ever so slightly towards Morrissette. When Bensley put his shoulder over him, he shrugged it off quickly, frowning to say the least: “Doesn’t like being touched,” Didi whispered. Morrissette returned with her dour pageant smile, translation, ‘Gosh not another one’ smile and new guy stood right beside her.
“Everyone please welcome Arter—”
“Art,” he intervened.
“Please welcome Art, Art Damon. Art Damon welcome to Pod.”
Three finger snaps, one clap: “Welcome Art,” we chanted, doing our official salute. It was— no, we looked ridiculous! But tradition was tradition and Pod was big on two things: rules and tradition.
“Make yourself comfortable Art,” Morrisette urged, taking her seat, crossing her legs. Art’s seating options were limited to the two empty chairs beside her, none of us really liked to get close to Morrisette so we avoided them like the plague.
“Right here will be fine.” Art picked one of the chairs, uprooted it and placed it between Didi and I.
“So…” Morrisette spoke, ignoring the move. Weird, I thought, she would’ve never let any of us get away with that. “Art this is what I like to call the dream session,” she voiced, showing no signs of distress, annoyance or ill will towards him— she was performing— “every morning, right after breakfast, we come in here and share our dreams and nightmares, whatever fits the night.”
“Why?” His eyes were dead pan. Pushback was a common amongst us ‘patients’.
“Well it helps disclose where your minds—”
“Why do it in front of the group? My nightmares are my nightmares, no one else should be privy to them.”
“Group therapy helps to know you’re not alone—”
“I know I want to be.” He folded his arms. “Did anyone of you take this?” He pointed to his busted lip. “Did you feel this?” He stretched his shirt, exposing the prints around his neck. “I didn’t think so,” he sighed. “If I went through it alone, I talk about it— everything— alone.”
I used to be the rebel, now we had two, I smiled to myself. Welcome Art Damon. Three finger snaps, one clap.