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The Redemption of Callie & Kayden, Page 6

Jessica Sorensen

Page 6


  He never said how she died, but after what he just said, I wonder if it was suicide.

  Pressing my palm to the nagging ache in the center of my heart, I turn around toward the cab. “I’m going to try. I just have to figure out how. ” I already know how. The big question is, can I do it? Can I finally say it aloud, confront him, threaten him, make it so that he’s so terrified he’ll walk away from it. Can I tell my mother, father, and brother? Can I trust them to believe me and be on my side?

  Do I have that much power? Do I have that much courage?

  In the end, I know I’m going to have to answer those questions and make a decision that’s frightened me for the last six years of my life, but maybe it’s time to face it.

  Maybe it’s time to quit being so scared.

  Chapter 3

  #46 Transform yourself


  I’ve been here six days, almost a week, but it seems so much longer. It’s just after lunch and I’m in the middle of my daily individual therapy session, which is better than group (I don’t bother talking in that one). I’m sitting in my room in an uncomfortable metal fold-up chair. My side hurts like hell and I can’t stop picking at the wounds underneath the bandage on my wrist. It’s cloudy outside and thunder and lightning keep snapping and booming, lighting up the room with a silver glow.

  “Tell me how you feel,” the therapist says.

  He says it every God damn time.

  And every God damn time I give him the same response.

  “I feel fine,” I reply and flick the rubber band on my wrist over and over again until the skin on the inside of my wrist stings.

  This is what they gave me to help my self-mutilation, like a tiny sting can replace a lifetime of cuts, stabs, broken bones, the raw pain of life.

  My therapist’s name is Dr. Montergrey, but he told me to call him Doug because using his professional name makes him feel old. But he is old, well into his sixties, with gray thinning hair and lots of wrinkles around his eyes.

  Doug puts his finger to the bridge of his nose and adjusts his square-framed glasses as he reads over the notes he has on me. I can only imagine what they say: a threat to himself, angry, irrational, uncooperative, self-damaging. He jots down some notes and then looks up at me. “Look, Kayden, I know sometimes it’s hard to talk about how we feel, especially when we have so much hate and rage going on inside, but you might find it helpful to talk about it. ”

  I flick the rubber band again and the snap is covered up by the deafening clap of thunder. The room lights up and the rubber band breaks, the pieces falling to the floor. I stare at them as I rub my swollen wrist. I still have a bandage on one of them, the one that I made the deepest cuts on. The other one is starting to heal and soon there will only be scars. More scars. One day I wonder if I’ll be one big scar that will own every ounce of my skin.

  Doug reaches into the pocket of his brown tweed jacket and retrieves another rubber band, a thicker one that’s dark red. I take it, slip it onto my wrist, and begin flicking it again. Doug scribbles some notes down, closes the notebook, and then overlaps his hands and places them on top of the notebook. “You know, the longer you stay in denial, the longer they’re going to keep you here. ” He gestures around at the room. “Is that what you want?”

  I stop flicking the rubber band, fold my arms, and lean back in the seat with my legs kicked out in front of me. “Maybe. ” I know I’m being a pain in the ass and I don’t know why. I feel bitter on the inside, unworthy to be here. I feel everything and maybe that’s the problem. I clench my hands into fists and jab my fingernails into my palms, which are tucked to my side so the therapist doesn’t see them.

  “I just don’t want to be here,” I mutter. “But it’s fucking hard, you know?”

  He leans forward with interest. “What’s hard?”

  I have no idea where I’m going with this. “Life. ” I shrug.

  His gray eyebrows dip underneath the frame of his glasses.

  “What’s hard about your life, Kayden?”

  This guy doesn’t get it, which might make it easier. “Feeling everything. ”

  He looks perplexed as he reclines in his chair and slips off his glasses. “Feeling emotions? Or the pain in life?”

  Fuck. Maybe he does get it. “Both I guess. ”

  Rain slashes against the window. It’s weird that it’s raining instead of snowing and by morning the ground is going to be a sloshy mess.

  He cleans the lenses of his glasses with the bottom of his shirt and then slips them back on his nose. “Do you ever let yourself feel what’s inside you?”

  I consider what he said for a very long time. Sirens shriek outside and somewhere in the halls a person is crying. “I’m not sure… maybe… not always. ”

  “And why is that?” he asks.

  I think back to all the kicks, the punches, the screaming, and how eventually I just drowned it all out, shut down, and died inside. “Because it’s too much. ” It’s a simple answer, but each word conveys more meaning than anything I’ve ever said. It’s fucking strange to talk about it aloud. The only person I’ve ever said anything to was Callie and I sugarcoated it for her, to keep her from seeing how ugly and fucked up I am on the inside.

  He removes a pen from the pocket of his jacket and his hand swiftly moves across the paper as he scribbles down some notes.

  “And what do you do when it becomes too much?”

  I slide my finger under the rubber band and give it a flick, then do it again harder. It breaks again and I shake my head as I catch the pieces in my hand. “I think you know what I do, which is why I keep breaking these damn rubber bands. ”

  He chews on the end of his pen as he evaluates me. “Let’s talk about the night you got in a fight. ”

  “I already told you about that night a thousand times. ”

  “No, you told me what happened that night in your own words, but you’ve never explained to me how you felt when you were making your decision. And emotions always play a large part in the things we do. ”

  “I’m not a fan of them,” I admit, slouching back in the chair.

  “I know that,” he responds confidently. “And I’d like to get to the bottom of why. ”

  “No, you wouldn’t,” I tell him, dragging my nail up the inside of my palm to soothe the accelerating beat of my heart. “No one wants to hear about that. Trust me. ”

  He drops the pen on top of the notebook that’s on his lap.

  “Why would you think that?”

  “Because it’s true. ” I stab my nails deeper into my skin until I feel the warmth and comfort of blood. “I’m nineteen years old and everything that’s done is done. There’s no point in trying to save me. Who I am and what I do is always going to be. ”

  “I’m not trying to save you,” he promises. “I’m trying to heal you. ”

  I run my finger along a thin scar on the palm of my hand that was put there when my dad cut me with a shard of glass. “What?

  Heal these? I’m pretty fucking sure they’re not going anywhere. ”

  He positions his hand over his heart. “I want to heal what’s in here. ”

  Usually I bail on these situations. Otherwise I’ll end up feeling things I don’t want to, and then I have to take it out on my body just to cope. But I can’t here. They won’t let me anywhere near anything sharp, especially razors. My jawline and chin are extremely scruffy because I haven’t shaved in a week.

  “This is getting way too heart-to-heart for me,” I say and grab onto the sides of the chair to push myself up.

  He holds up his hand, signaling for me to sit back down.

  “Okay, we don’t have to talk about your feelings, but I want you to answer one thing for me. ”

  I stare blankly at him as I lower myself back into the chair.

  “That depends on what that one thing is. ”

  He taps the pen against the notebooks as he deliberates.

  “Why did you go to the party that night?”

  “It’s always the same question with you. ”

  “Because it’s an important question. ”

  I shake my head as my pulse speeds up with either anger or fear—I can’t tell. “I went there to beat Caleb Miller up. You know that. ”

  “Yes, but why?”

  “Why what?” I’m getting annoyed, frustrated, and pissed off, and the anger snakes through my veins underneath my skin.

  “Why did you beat him up?” It’s like he’s stuck on repeat and I want him to shut the hell up.

  My heart knocks inside my chest like a damn jackhammer and all I want is something sharp or rough—anything that can calm my pulse down. I’m glancing around in a panic, searching for something, but the room is bare. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.

  Fuck! “Because he hurt someone. ” My voice comes out piercing and uneven and makes me sound weak and pathetic.

  He sits forward in the chair. “Someone you care about?”

  “Obviously. ” I shake my head, annoyed. My heart is still beating too loud and I can barely think straight.

  He raises his eyebrows. “Someone you love?”

  My pulse speeds even more, erratic and without a distinct beat. I feel it pulsating underneath every wound and scar on my body. Love? Do I love Callie? Can I? “I don’t think I even know what love is. ”

  He looks like he’s struck gold and found an insight into what’s locked away in my soul. “Can you answer just one more question for me?”

  I throw my hands in the air exasperatedly. “Do whatever the hell you want. You’re already on a roll. ”

  He asks, “Do you think you deserve love?”

  “I already told you I don’t even know what it is,” I mutter and he waits for me to divulge more information. What does he want from me? To tell him that my dad beats the shit out of me? That my mom’s a drug-addicted zombie? That the only exchange of love I’ve ever gotten is from Daisy and that felt about as plastic and as fake as things can get.

  He writes down a few notes, then clicks his pen and tucks it away in his pocket before shutting his notebook again. “I think we might have made some progress today. ” He checks his watch and then gets to his feet, retrieving his trench coat from off the back of the chair. “Keep it up, and maybe you can have visitors who are not family. ”

  I slump back into the chair. “I’m not sure if I want visitors,” I mumble.

  He doesn’t seem to hear me. When he reaches the door, he slips his arm through the sleeve of his jacket, secures the belt around his waist, and sticks his hand into his pocket. “And Kayden, keep using this, no matter how many times it breaks. We can always get you a new one. ” He throws a rubber band at me and I catch it effortlessly. For a second I’m back on the field, running and catching the ball, free from life.

  I wish I were back there, fixed and mended. But unlike the rubber band, I’m not sure I can be fixed so easily.

  Callie “I can’t believe your truck doesn’t have a CD player,” Seth says with his arm extended across the front of me as he fiddles with the volume on the stereo. He has on a jacket, with the sleeves pushed up, and skinny jeans. “Or an iPod hookup. I swear I’m having flashbacks of mullets, spandex pants, and crimped hair. ”