The Clay Lion

The Clay Lion by Amalie Jahn

Book: The Clay Lion by Amalie Jahn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Amalie Jahn
there and then he wasn’t, and it feels so random and
unfair.  I’m gonna make it right because I think
I can.  And if I can’t, then at least I tried, you know?  Then I can
keep on living, knowing that I did all I could.  I guess that’s why I’m
going back.  I owe him.”
    I concentrated on a scab on my hand.  I
picked around the edges, gently pulling to see if it was ready to come
off.  I waited for Dr. Richmond.
    “Are you happy, Brooke?”
    I looked up from my scab.  He was
scrutinizing me, waiting and watching.  I scanned my mind for the right answer.  I was here to get my depression diagnosis, and depressed people
were clearly not happy.  But was I happy?  It occurred to me that
happy was a relative term.  My definition of happy could be completely
different from Dr. Richmond’s definition.  Wasn’t it all subjective? 
I chose my words carefully.
    “I am happy that I’ve been given an opportunity
to set things right.  I am not happy that I have to do it.”
    Dr. Richmond’s faced cracked into a smirk and his
eyes had a glint of humor in them.  “You are a bright girl,” he said, “and
resourceful.  I’m beginning to understand why Bill sent you to me.” 
He paused.  “I want you to be honest with me for the remainder of our
sessions.  Know that I will be writing a masterful report detailing your
depressed state and it will include my authorization for treatment to include
another trip to your past.  But you do not have to choose your words so
cautiously.  Nothing you say to me from here on will affect the outcome of
that report, but it may affect your well-being in the end, when all is said and
done.  Do you understand what I am saying?”
    “Yes,” I replied, still partially unconvinced.
    “Good.  Then I assume you took some time to
think about what we discussed last time?”
    “About when I stop…” I confirmed.
    “Yes.”
    “I did.”
    “And?  
What did you decide?”
    “I decided I’ll know when I’m ready.”
    Dr. Richmond’s smile could not be contained and
he laughed aloud.  “My apologies, Miss Wallace.  
You just remind me a lot of myself.”
    “Well,” I ventured, “you turned out okay.”
    He laughed again, “Touché!  I guess I did!”
    Throughout the next four sessions with Dr.
Richmond, I discovered that his brother had died as well, in a car accident at
fourteen.  Dr. Richmond had been behind the wheel.  He had been
sixteen years old.  Like me, he had been convinced that he could go back
and fix the past, however, unlike my parents, his were far less compassionate.
By the time he was eighteen and of legal age to use his trip, he had turned to
drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of his situation and the government had
denied his trip on those grounds.  Luckily, one of the employees along the
application process had been aware of his distress and had enrolled him in a
support group for grieving siblings.  In the end, Timmy Richmond became
Dr. Timothy Richmond, after earning his medical degree in psychiatry.  And
through it all, he had never used his trip.
    True to his word, I was given a manila folder
documenting our time together at the end of our six sessions, detailing my
ongoing treatment for depression to include more time with my deceased sibling.
    The night before my scheduled appointment at the
USDTS, I stayed up all night looking through old photos of Branson and me
growing up.  There were pictures of the two of us in Disney World, beaming
on either side of Mickey Mouse, skiing with our dad on Cook Mountain, roasting
marshmallows around a campfire, playing soccer, fishing with our grandparents,
school concerts… the memories seemed endless.  By morning, the tears I had
shed throughout the night and the exhaustion left me looking like someone
suffering from severe depression.  I was quite pleased with myself.
    Mother accompanied me to my appointment with my
caseworker.  As luck would have it, my previous caseworker was

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