Dr West comes into my room and sits in the chair next to my bed.
“How are you feeling? I heard you couldn’t attend our meeting this morning, are you okay now?”
I nod. “Sort of, bit weak but awake.”
“Are you okay with a session now?”
“Yeah, that is fine.”
Dr Wes smiles and puts his notepad in front of him, making a few notes on it. “First things first, on a scale from one to ten how likely are you to have a breakdown today?”
I think for a moment. I’m feeling fine other from some of the side effects of my illness. “Two.”
“Okay, and before next session tomorrow?”
Dr West looks up from the pad. “So, more?”
I nod. “Yes.”
Dr West makes some notes. “Why?”
“Because I can’t predict what will happen between now and then. How much sleep I will get. If I’ll have bad dreams. Stuff like that. So to say four is safer because I don’t know yet.”
Dr West nods. “Makes sense. So the higher number is purely because you don’t know?”
“Yes. If I would know everything would be fine and boring it would be a two. But I can’t see into the future to know for sure.”
“Okay. So how have you been mentally?”
I am quiet for a while, trying to figure out how to phrase this. “I don’t think everybody is trying to lie to me all the time.”
“That is good isn’t it?”
“Yes, I think.” I move around a bit, stying to make myself more comfortable on the bed.
“Do you still think you’re a bad person?”
I sit still, nervous.
Dr West looks at me. “Do you?”
I nod but am quick to add “But not for the same reasons. It’s because I should have been there with him! I should have never let him go outside on his own like that.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I knew they hated gays. I knew he might get in trouble because of me. It is my fault he died.” I sit still, looking away from Dr West.
“Vic.” Dr West falls quiet for a bit. “Jack’s death didn’t have anything to do with you.”
“Yes it has.” I’m still looking away, at the window, talking to the beautiful April sunshine. “If I didn’t go there he would have never fallen in love with me and he would have been safe.”
“You don’t know that, maybe some other guy would have moved there and he might have fallen in love with him.” Dr West tries to reason with me.
I think about that for a moment and feel a stab in my heart. Jack falling in love with some other guy? No. Not possible. He was mine. Jack was mine.
“You can’t keep blaming yourself for it, Vic. You can’t.”
“Then what should I do? He was alone there because I was here, because I fucked up my own life so much that it imposed on his.”
“Do you feel like that? That you fucked up your life?”
“What else can it be? I’m not here because my life is so wonderful.”
“Why you are here is not all your fault. You can’t help what Dave did, or the depression you were in.”
“If I had more of a backbone I would have killed myself the first time. I’m a failure. I fail at staying alive and I fail at killing myself.” I almost scream out the last words and Dr West stays quiet behind me.
After a few minutes he stands up and leaves, closing the door behind him softly.
“I’ve got the results from the doctor in. Do you want to know?” Dr West is standing in the doorway.
I sit at my table, trying to draw but the muscles in my hand are too eased to grip a pencil properly. I sigh and roll the wheelchair back a bit, turning to Dr West. They’ve given me a wheelchair because I got tired of sitting in my bed and liked to move around the place. I’m not letting the attacks dictate what I do during the day, as little as possible anyway.
“Do I want to?”
“Do you?” Dr West steps into the room and closes the door behind him.
“You coming here with them means that they aren’t good.” I lean back slightly. “How bad are they?”
“Bad enough.” Dr West sits down in a chair, he looks at me intently. “You never told them that he drugged you when he abused you.”
My breath catches, how did he know? How did he find out? No-one knew, I never told anyone.
“They tested you when you lost consciousness after Jack’s death, before I picked you up. They could see you’d been abused, but they wanted to make sure that your fainting didn’t have anything to do with that.”
I raise my hand to my face, slowly opening my mouth, and bite down on the knuckle of my thumb. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I fight against my tears. No-one was ever supposed to know that, never.
“Don’t ever do it again.”
I look up at Dr West, confused.
“Your results have mostly stayed the same for the past year. Even though the attacks seemed to have gotten worse, the rate at which they happened didn’t increase. After you tried to kill yourself the rate seems to have gone up slightly, but not worryingly so.”
“But you’re worried now?”
“Yes. You’ve been here for four days and you’ve had three attacks. That is not good. The last results also show that something must have happened over the weekend that triggered this. They think it might have been the drugs.”
“Fuck.” How could I have been so stupid? We already lost Jack, was I going to be gone soon too?
“Don’t curse please.”
“Sorry. But how could…” How could I be this stupid? How could it mess up this fast?
I hide my face in my hands, tears flowing freely. I can’t leave them behind like this, I can’t. I can’t leave them after what everybody has gone through with Jack.