Chapter 9: Ryan

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"Have you thought about what will happen after?" Dr. Burns asked him.

Ryan didn't feel like talking about this today. He didn't feel like talking about this any day, but he also felt a little spark of anger at the question, like there was a possibility Ryan hadn't considered what would happen after his mother died.

If he were Jacky, he probably would have snapped back something sarcastic. "Noooo, I hadn't thought about that at aaaaall."

"Yeah," was what Ryan said.

"Tell me about it."

Ryan sighed. He had memorized the pattern of the carpet by now; it was easy to lose himself in that pattern. "There's my dad," he said flatly. "After my mom first out she had cancer, I tried to call him, but his number was disconnected." That hadn't really been a surprise, seeing as how his father had taken off when Ryan was four and never paid any child support. "I guess if no one can find him then I'll just go to a foster home or something until I'm eighteen." Ryan choked back his worries about turning eighteen in less than a year. Then he'd be on his own.

Dr. Burns shifted forward and opened a file folder. "Can I assume you've spoken with a social worker?"

"Yeah," Ryan said. That had happened last year, when Ryan had missed some school because his mother had been hospitalized. His mom had kind of freaked out then. Got a lawyer, put her affairs in order. Had a social worker come and talk to him. "Her will basically says that my dad gets custody of me, if he wants me."

"How do you feel about that?"

How else could he feel about that? If his own father didn't want him, he couldn't imagine anyone else wanting him, either.

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