The Therapy7 mins 835 7 mins 835
“Today is going to be the last session of your psychotherapy,” you hear a calm, soothing, male voice inside your head. “I hope you feel comfortable lying on the recliner.”
“Yes, Dr. Flynn,” you reply, your eyes closed.
“Have you been feeling better since we began?”
You do not. You try to decide if you should just say “Yes” or be honest and say “No”. But the doctor sighs before you can respond. “It’s alright. Memories like these take time to heal.”
You don’t know whether Dr. Flynn is saying this to make you feel better or to make himself feel better.
“Have you been doing anything to ease the feeling of guilt?” you hear the doctor’s voice after a short pause.
The feeling of guilt. Immediately, the face of a teenage boy appears in front of you. “Yes, doctor. I gave away a donation to an orphanage in the name of Matthew.”
“Mere donations may not help. It would be better if you personally meet some of those boys. Get to know them. You can compensate for their loss, and they can compensate for yours.”
You contemplate over the advice. Those boys can not take the place of your son, but they definitely can help ease the feeling of guilt. Besides, they themselves need a parental figure, and you will be doing a good deed. “I will,” you reply.
“Alright. So now, you will replay the entire incident in your head and give me a play-by-play of what transpired.”
You open your eyes and see the doctor sitting on his revolving chair with an expressionless face. You are angry, but are not sure whether that anger is towards Dr. Flynn or towards your own self. “It would be better if we don’t talk about it.”
“It would be better if we do talk about it. The longer you keep it welling inside, the more it will eat you from inside. You don’t want it to become a memory that resurfaces every now and then to lead you towards depression, do you?”
You don’t. You close your eyes back and grip the leather of the recliner tightly. After drawing a deep breath, you nod your head in affirmation.
“Good,” you hear the appraisal. “Start with the argument.”
“It was a Saturday night. Late night. Probably after one. Matthew came into the house intoxicated. He was trying to enter unnoticed but I heard his footsteps. I went into the hall to confront him. This wasn’t the first time he had done drugs; this wasn’t the first time I had caught him, and this wasn’t the first time he promised that he would never get high again.
“I don’t know why, but for some reason, I was extremely annoyed that day. Maybe it was because I finally realised that my parenting had failed; that Matthew would never really give up on his bad habits. Also, Matthew was more inebriated than he had ever been, and hence, he wasn’t even trying to be apologetic. Two grown men arguing is always a recipe for disaster, and this was a time bomb waiting to explode. And explode it did.
“We said things to each other that we never meant to say, at least, not out loud. I was probably more hurt than Matthew since unlike him, there were no chemicals in my body to subdue the emotions. Eventually, he said something that broke the barriers of my restraint.”
“What did he say?”
You take a long pause. You don’t want to repeat it, but you know you have to. “He said, ‘If Mom was alive, she would have understood me.’” You ball up your fist and punch the recliner, fighting the tears inside your eyes.
“It’s okay if you cry,” Dr. Flynn’s voice breaks the silence.
“I have never cried from the moment I stepped into adulthood, and I would like to keep it that way,” you roar back.
“Ever since Evelyn’s demise, I have left no stone unturned in giving my children a secure and happy household. I worked twice as hard, juggled between office and home to play the role of both a father and a mother. After everything I went through, I did not expect my own son to argue with me about ‘understanding’ him for abusing drugs.
“To say that I was angry would be an understatement. I was livid. I was irate. I was engulfed in rage. And in that rage, I picked up a flower vase and threw it towards the wall. The glass vase shattered into pieces and…”
“And… you know the rest.”
“You’re damn right I do. But it is important for you to say it out loud. For your own sake.” Dr. Flynn’s voice is louder now.
You hear your heartbeat rise to a crescendo. You take a deep breath and tighten your grip on the seat of the recliner.
“One of the pieces of the vase ricocheted off the wall and sliced Matthew’s throat.” You say as your voice starts to choke.
“Take your time.”
You clasp your eyes shut and hold back a sob. “Matthew was dead before I could even reach him. I stayed glued to his body for what felt like an eternity but were only a few minutes. I picked up my cell phone to call the police, but stopped before I could press the dial button.”
“You did not give yourself up to the police.”
“I didn’t. I couldn’t.”
“Because of May. If I had gotten myself locked, my eight-year-old daughter would have been left without a parent. I couldn’t let that happen. I would have to be proved innocent for the sake of May.”
“So, what did you do?”
“Try as you might, you can not explain a cut on the neck as a self-inflicted wound or an accident involving vases. I had to hide Matthew’s body and make sure that it would never be found. I dug a grave in my backyard and buried him the proper way. The next morning, I went to the local police station to file a missing person’s report.
“The cops began their investigation and found out that Matthew had come back into our house through his friends’ testimonies. But I denied seeing him that night. Fortunately, they believed me and hypothesized that he might have left early in the morning.
“For the last two months, I have been visited by several of the cops and my relatives, all expressing their condolences over Matthew’s disappearance. None of them know the truth, and none ever will.”
You hear Dr. Flynn let out a sigh, then say, “Alright, I think we are done here. Do visit the orphanage as soon as you get time.”
You finally open your eyes and get into a sitting position on the recliner. “Just one final question, doctor,” you say, keeping your eyes glued to the ground below.
“Do you think I am a criminal?”
You wait for an answer, but all you get is silence. Maybe Dr. Flynn is contemplating on your actions. You put yourself in his shoes to make a judgement on yourself. If you were a psychologist and a patient had told you the same story, would you have considered him a criminal?
You don’t know. You cannot decide.
You stop staring at the ground and train your eyes in the direction of Dr. Flynn to see his facial expressions, which may give away the answer to your question.
But there is no Dr. Flynn. The room is empty.
Somehow, you are not surprised. You get up from the recliner and make way towards the revolving chair where you had seen Dr. Flynn sitting moments ago. You take the seat as your eyes dart towards a photo frame kept on the table. It is a slightly old picture of a familiar-looking man holding a familiar-looking boy and a familiar-looking baby girl in each arm.
You take the photo frame in your hands and clasp it tightly to your chest. “What have I done?” you ask yourself as tears well up inside your eyes.
Your thoughts are interrupted by a knock at the door.
“Dr. Flynn, there is a client waiting outside to meet you. I had given him today’s appointment.”
“Send him in five minutes,” you reply, as a single, solitary drop of tear falls on the photo frame.