Chapter 2: Eyes Wide Shut

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The home office was a lot different then the office Dave used at the school.
There was a statue of a Buddha on the book shelf, and rows upon rows of books. There were two comfortable chairs, a small couch and a heavy looking oak desk.
My eyes were fixated on golden Buddha. Mouth opened in laughter, belly protruding outwards as if unable to contain his joy.

“'Your mother tells me you had another episode”'.
I blush remembering where we had left off yesterday. When I had said something foolish.
I look down at my bandaged arms.
“It stings.”
“I bet it does. What would you like to talk about?”
“I like this office better.”
“Me too.”
“Are you a Buddhist?” I ask.
“I try to be” he says with a quirky smile.
“He makes me happy” I say motioning at the statue.
Dave gets up, taking the Buddha down from the shelf and setting it on the desk.
“The laughing Buddha symbolizes happiness, having plenty and good fortune. Do you want to rub his belly?”
I look up at Dave with serious eyes. “I would.”
I rub his belly trying to get the happiness to rub off on me. I'm not sure if it's working.
“Are you happy Dave?” I ask.
He looks surprised for a moment.
“Yes, I would say I am quite content. That's the first time I've been asked that in a session” he looks bemused.
“Are you happy?” He asks me.
“Sometimes... I mean I think I usually am.”
“'Where did you go Bay? During this episode?”
“Mouse... everyone calls me Mouse.”
“'You prefer Mouse?”
“I don't know, that's what everyone calls me...”
“Do you remember anything from the episode you had earlier today?”
“It was loud... all of the sudden. Then it was really really quiet. Someone was screaming”.
“Do you remember anything else?”
“Like what?”
“Like for instance, who was screaming?”
“No. I don't want to think about it anymore.”
“And after?”
“Mama was crying.”
“Do you remember hurting yourself?”
“No.”
“How often do you have these episodes?”
“Not often. Almost never.”
“What do you think triggered it?”
“Everyone was upset. I was upset too, and I knocked over the glass... I felt glass on my feet.”
“How do you feel now?”
“Tired....”
There was a moment of silence.
“What's wrong with me?” I ask.
“Nothing Ba-- Mouse. This is an unfortunate but common response to something that happened in your past.”
“What happened?”
“A Trauma.”
“Trauma? You mean like a bad memory?”
“Yes.”
“I can't remember.”
“Can't or don't want to?”
“Both...”
“That's alright.”
I look back over to the Buddha statue. “Why would I want to remember something bad?”
“Because it can help you to understand what's going on inside, and can help you to identify your triggers.”
“I feel better now, can we talk about something else?”
“Would you like to pick up where we left off Friday morning?”
I feel my hands clench.
“About what?” I ask even while knowing the answer.
“About the revelation you shared with me. You said that you think you are a girl?”
I feel tired, and still a bit shaky. I don't think I want to do this right now.
“Do you think it's cause of this trauma?”
“Maybe... maybe not. When did you first feel this way?”
“A long time. Years, maybe my entire life.”
“What makes you feel that your a girl?”
“Nothing specific... I don't know.”
“Do you like being a boy?”
“I don't know... I guess. I try not to think about it. It makes me sad.”
“What in particular makes you sad about being a boy?”
“Being seen by others as a boy. Being treated like a boy.”
“Is there anything else?” Dave asks.
I shake my head no.
“Your mother says your becoming close with a neighbourhood boy.”'
I don't think I can tell him about some of the confusing thought's I've had about Gary. It could be just nothing. Or it could be something. Maybe I'm just embarrassed. Maybe it's cause I think Gary must just see me as a boy. I mean even if he's into me and not just teasing me.
“Is it weird, or not normal to like a boy?” I ask.
“No, I wouldn’t say that. People of the same gender often develop romantic feeling for each other just like those of opposite genders.”
“Does that make me a girl?”
“No, not at all.”
“What if I don't want him to like me as a boy?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don't know.... am I weird?”
“Boy or girl your an amazing kid.”
“'I want to stop here. Okay?” I feel my face burning red. Strangely I can feel my heart pounding in my throat, even in my finger tips. Like I've been in a hot bath too long. “I'm tired.”
“That's fine with me. I think we've covered a lot of ground here today.”
Dave gives me a reassuring smile. “I'll see you Monday.”
Mama didn't ask what we talked about, and I fell asleep on the way home.

* * *

I woke up in my own bed. The sun was set, and through the closed curtains was the blackness of twilight. Derek was sitting in my desk chair that he had pulled up to the bed.
“Hey sleepy head.”
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
“You looked peaceful.”
“Yeah, I was asleep.”
“I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stress you out earlier.”
“It's okay.”
He rests his hand on my forehead.
“Your doing alright kid... your alright.” He says, then gets up and leaves the room.
I'm wide awake having slept the afternoon away. I look over at the alarm clock. It says 11:00 pm.
“Now what?” I ask the dark and empty room. I doubt I can get back to sleep and I am both thirsty and have to pee.
I get out of bed, use the washroom and walk out into the backyard with a glass of water. Sitting on the grass beneath the tall old birch tree, the only tree in our yard, I cross my legs and meditate. I focus on what is immediately happen in this moment of time... before it can pass me by. It is a warm summers breeze, just beginning to cool, that tickles my face with a stray hair. The smell of flowers in bloom, is overwhelmed by freshly cut grass. Crickets are chirping all around me and I think that I can hear each and every one of their songs. Beneath it all, somewhere in the darkness, I can hear the distant shattering of glass.



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