6: DISSOCIATIVE GIRL

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"Does she have amnesia?" were the first words out of Gina Davidson's mouth.

I was wondering the same thing too, though that wouldn't have been the first thing I asked -- mostly because of what I had seen and heard, which Gina and Richard hadn't. I was too busy connecting dots in my mind to try and volunteer anything beneficial to Mickey's parents; even the sympathetic look I tried to conjure up fell flat.

When Dr. Larimore cleared his throat and began to speak, I turned my full attention to him. After all, there had to be a logical explanation, right? Something about science discovering things about the brain that the rest of us normal-minded people didn't get--

"I wouldn't call what she has amnesia -- it isn't that straightforward," Larimore began to explain, fixing his sympathetic eyes on Gina and Richard both. His professionalism continued to astound me, especially given the recent turn of events. He continued; "She seems to have dissociative amnesia . . . though I can't say I've ever seen a case like this."

That certainly didn't bode well.

"What do you mean?" Richard asked suspiciously, one arm still looped around his wife as he watched Larimore carefully.

"It would appear she believes herself to be an individual who goes by the name Risk," Larimore said carefully, his light eyes skipping to me for a moment, "and she seems to believe Mr. Thomas is someone known as Rebel. Mr. Thomas," he proceeded, regarding me with open curiosity, "have you any idea where she got those names from? Perhaps a favorite book or television show . . . a game from her childhood?"

I shifted slightly when all three adults turned their full attention to me. "I, ah," I sighed heavily. "Yeah. I have an idea." I glanced at the Davidsons, my own concern for the situation now plain on my face. "Mickey . . . she writes all the time, you know?"

Richard nodded in encouragement, while Larimore merely watched me.

"And, um, usually no one reads her stuff," I sighed again, offering a pathetic shrug. "She's just kind of private about it -- I figured maybe she was embarrassed, or something."

"We've never read her stories," Richard volunteered in confirmation.

I nodded slowly. "I hadn't, either . . . until Thursday. She emailed me a blurb. It was," I paused and took a deep breath, "it was about these characters . . . Risk and Rebel. I don't know if you'd call them spies," I shrugged open-armed. "They worked for this unaffiliated agency, they were partners . . . they each had an ability, and they were-- well, they were pretty kick butt." I licked my lips and glanced at Dr. Larimore. "I guess . . . she thinks she's Risk."

Dr. Larimore nodded slowly as Gina and Richard seemed to process through what I had just said. It was Larimore who spoke first. "In the case of the considerably traumatic event she experienced," he began, "I cannot say I'm completely surprised. Though most people's minds, after experiencing such a situation, might fall back to a blank slate, if Mickey has been mentally living in this fantasy world . . . it's feasible it could be her mind's way of trying to cope. Hence, dissociative amnesia." He turned back to me then. "Is there any more information you could provide about this story? It may be beneficial with helping Mickey along until her memory comes back."

Before I could answer, Gina was speaking up. "So her memory, it will come back?"

"It isn't impossible," Larimore nodded. "I couldn't give you a time frame, or any guarantee, but there is always a chance."

Gina nodded slowly at this, and Dr. Larimore turned his attention back to me, arching a brow in a silent prompt that I answer his earlier question.

"Like what?" I asked, instead of launching into a detailed explanation of what I had read.

"For starters, whatever ability she might believe herself to have," Larimore said seriously. "If she's mentally unstable, there's no telling what her response may be in certain situations . . ."

I spoke up before he could 'explain,' further. "Telekinesis. In the story, Risk had telekinesis."

"Ah," Larimore nodded. He turned back to Gina and Richard. "Other than keeping in mind any pertinent information that may cause drastic behavioral changes which could be considered a threat to Mickey, or others, it is going to be best for you not to play along with this fantasy."

They both nodded slowly. "What . . . what do we do?"

Dr. Larimore shrugged. "Be kind. Be her parents. You may find you'll need to give her a little more space than before. I would be more concerned about monitoring her welfare, and keeping tabs on her," his gaze cut back to me, "but I have a feeling her friendship with Mr. Thomas will provide that in ways that otherwise could prove difficult."

I remained silent at that. After all, my looking after Mickey had never been a question -- not in my mind, at least. As we grew up, we each had the other's back.

Now it appeared I would have to make sure I watched hers more than before.

Not just because of what the doctor had said, no; but also because there were things I had left out. Like how Risk and Rebel weren't just spies -- from the excerpt I'd read, the word assassins has been mentioned. Small, but potentially dangerous details like that, I kept to myself. I did it so Gina and Richard wouldn't worry . . . I did it so that, even if she didn't remember me as Jason, as her best friend, maybe she would still trust me.

I did it, I suppose, because a tiny part of me was selfish. All I had wanted was my best friend back. Now, she didn't recognize her parents, didn't even know her own name.

So when her parents regarded me with gratefulness? When they forced sorrowful smiles to their faces, and hope shone in their eyes, because they knew now that my place in Mickey's life had just become all the more important, not just for her, but for them in regards to her?

I forced a distant, grim smile of my own to my lips, and followed them back into Mickey's room.

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