My Soul to Lose Page 12

Nurse Nancy: “Have you had a bowel movement today?”

Me: “No comment.”

Nurse Nancy: “Do you still feel like hurting yourself?”

Me: “I never did. I’m really more of a self-pamperer.”

Next, a therapist named Charity Stevens escorted me into a room with a long window overlooking the nurses’ station to ask me why I’d tried to claw open my own throat, and why I screamed loud enough to wake the dead.

I was virtually certain my screaming would not, in fact, wake the dead, but she seemed unamused when I said so. And unconvinced when I insisted that I hadn’t been trying to hurt myself.

Stevens settled her thin frame into a chair across from me. “Kaylee, do you know why you’re here?”

“Yeah. Because the doors are locked.”

No smile. “Why were you screaming?”

I folded my feet beneath me in the chair, exercising my right to remain silent. There was no way to answer that question without sounding crazy.

“Kaylee…?” Stevens sat with her hands folded in her lap, waiting. I had her undivided attention, whether I wanted it or not.

“I…I thought I saw something. But it was nothing. Just normal shadows.”

“You saw shadows.” But her statement sounded more like a question.

“Yeah. You know, places where light doesn’t shine?” Much like a psychiatric hospital itself…

“What was it about the shadows that made you scream?” Stevens stared into my eyes, and I stared at her crooked part line.

They shouldn’t have been there. They were wrapped around a kid in a wheelchair, but didn’t touch anyone else. They were moving. Take your pick… But too much of the truth would only earn me more time behind locked doors.

I was supposed to be learning how to handle my panic attacks, not spilling my guts about what caused them.

“They were…scary.” There. Vague, but true.

“Hmmm.” She crossed her legs beneath a navy pencil skirt and nodded like I’d said something right. “I see…”

But she didn’t see at all. And I couldn’t explain myself to save my life. Or my sanity, apparently.

After lunch, the doctor came to poke and prod me with an entire checklist of questions about my medical history. According to my aunt and uncle, he was the one who could really help me. But after my session with the therapist, I was skeptical, and the doc’s opening lines did little to help that.

Dr. Nelson: “Are you currently taking any medications?”

Me: “Just whatever you guys shot me full of yesterday.”

Dr. Nelson: “Do you have a family history of diabetes, cancer, or cataracts?”

Me: “I have no idea. My dad isn’t available for questioning. But I can ask my uncle when hegets here tonight.”

Dr. Nelson: “Do you have a medical history of obesity, asthma, seizures, cirrhosis, hepatitis, HIV, migraines, chronic pain, arthritis, or spinal problems?”

Me: “Are you serious?”

Dr. Nelson: “Do you have any family history of mental instability?”

Me: “Yes. My cousin thinks she’s twenty-one. My aunt thinks she’s eighteen. I’d call them both mentally unstable.”

Dr. Nelson: “Do you now, or have you ever, used or abused caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, or opiates?”

Me: “Oh, yeah. All of it. What else am I supposed to do in study hall? In fact, I better get my stash back from your rent-a-cop when I check out of here.”

Finally, he looked up from the file in his lap and met my gaze. “You know, you’re not helping yourself. The fastest way for you to get out of here is to cooperate. To help me help you.”

I sighed, staring at the reflection shining on his sizable bald spot. “I know. But you’re supposed to help me stop having panic attacks, right? But none of that stuff—” I glanced at the file I was secretly desperate to read “—has anything to do with why I’m here.”

The doctor frowned, pressing thin lips even thinner. “Unfortunately, there are always preliminaries. Sometimes recreational drug use can cause symptoms like yours, and I need to rule that out before we continue. So could you please answer the question?”

“Fine.” If he could really help me, I was ready to get cured, then get out. Short and sweet. “I drink Coke, just like every other teenager on the planet.” I hesitated, wondering how much of this he’d tell my aunt and uncle. “And I had half a beer once. Over the summer.” We’d only had one, so Em and I had split it.

“That’s it?”

“Yeah.” I wasn’t sure whether he was happy with my answer, or secretly making fun of my seriously deficient social life.

“Okay…” Dr. Nelson scribbled in the file again, then flipped up the top page, too fast for me to read. “These next questions are more specifically geared toward your problems. If you don’t answer honestly, you’ll be crippling us both. Got it?”

“Sure.” Whatever.

“Have you ever believed you had special powers? Like the ability to control the weather?”

I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it. If that was a symptom of crazy, maybe I was sane, after all. “No, I don’t think I can control the weather. Or fly, or adjust the earth’s orbit around the sun. No superpowers here.”

Dr. Nelson just nodded, then glanced at the file again. “Was there ever a time when people were out to get you?”

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