Chapter 19: Jacky (2)

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"Is there anything you'd like to talk about today?" Dr. Greene asked.

Jacky glared at her as she nonchalantly organized her notepad and papers. When his silence had gone on long enough, she finally looked up at him.

"Are we back at this point again?" she asked.

"You said this was confidential," he said, even though he had told himself he wasn't going to say a single word.

"It is." She sounded surprised, and sat back in her chair. "As I told you in the beginning, everything is confidential unless I feel you are a danger to yourself or others."

"So what's so dangerous about me not wanting to learn how to drive?" he demanded.

Finally something clicked in Dr. Greene's brain. "Ah. Your mother did call me about that."

"Yeah, and I had another panic attack thanks to you." Or more like three panic attacks, if you counted the car ride this morning.

"Andrew, I assure you, your mother called me, but I did not divulge any information about our sessions."

Jacky tried to remember exactly what his mother had said. "She said she called you and you said I had to 'face my fears' or something horseshit like that."

"I advised her to discuss the idea of driving with you. And I strongly suggested that she schedule a time when the three of us might sit down and talk about it, if she felt the need for a mediated discussion." Dr. Greene watched his expression so closely he couldn't even look at her. "Did she tell you something else?"

"Yeah, she did." As the words dropped out of his mouth, he felt a stinging behind his eyes.

"Did your mother drive you here today? Is she in the waiting room?"

"No, I walked here," Jacky mumbled.

"Okay. Here's what we can do. We can discuss how this whole incident made you feel, and I can call your mother so the three of us can meet. Or, I can call her right now and see if she can come in for the latter half of this session. What do you want to do?"

His hand was curled into a fist and pressed into his thigh.

"Andrew, it's your choice. How would you like to handle this?"

He sighed and let his hand fall open. "I guess we can schedule another time."

"And would you like to talk about what happened now?"

"Yeah. Well.... yeah."

"You sound hesitant. Is there something else going on you'd rather talk about?"

Jacky sighed again and looked out the window. "Um, my friend Ryan's mom just died."

Dr. Greene settled back in her chair. "I'm sorry to hear that. I'm guessing that brought up some feelings for you."

"Yeah. She had cancer." With every breath Jacky felt how much closer he was to crying. "I wish..." Nope, he couldn't say that. Not without letting loose a torrent of tears he didn't know if he'd be able to hold back. But Dr. Greene waited. And when he was finally able to swallow past the lump in his throat, he said, "I wish I'd had the chance to say good-bye."

***

When he walked out after his session, Jacky felt much better. Sure, he had puffy red eyes and was still sniffling a little bit, but he felt better. He only hoped that Ryan would feel better after his session.

But when Ryan emerged from Dr. Burns's office, he had the same flat look on his face he'd had on the walk to therapy. He definitely hadn't been crying like Jacky had. Now Jacky felt stupid and he ducked his head and rubbed his eyes again.

On the plus side, Ryan didn't look like he noticed.

"Do you mind if we swing by the hospital before we head home?" Jacky asked. He winced on the word home. It wasn't Ryan's home. "I just have to get my bike." He probably shouldn't have mentioned the hospital either, but it was only a ten-minute walk there from here, and if he waited until tomorrow morning, he'd either have to get up early to make the half hour walk, or get a ride from his mom and then go after school.

Ryan didn't answer. He just followed Jacky when Jacky turned in the opposite direction after exiting the building.

"I can give you a ride back," Jacky said. He still remembered the feel of Ryan holding onto him that time. Maybe if Ryan held onto him, it would break through this weird wall of silence.

At least there was a lot of traffic at this hour, so the silence wasn't completely unbearable. Jacky found himself walking faster than normal, so fast that he was feeling winded by the time they headed up the sidewalk that led to the emergency room entrance. It wasn't him trying to outpace the silence, however. Ryan was the one walking fast, with his head down.

As Jacky unlocked his bike, he kept glancing at Ryan. Ryan was standing with his back to the hospital building. That made sense, he didn't want any reminders of his mother. But when Jacky rolled his bike over, Ryan just started walking. "Do you want a ride?" Jacky called. By the time he hopped on, Ryan was already at the main street.

So he kept pace with Ryan's speedwalking, and when they got back to Jacky's house and Ryan went upstairs and shut himself up in the guest room again, Jacky tried to tell himself that none of this meant Ryan didn't like him anymore.

He just wished Ryan would let him in.

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