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Those Damn Giants
I laughed. Why shouldn’t I? I found it funny, but I guess she didn’t. Or maybe her way of laughing was by boring her eyes into my skin, her lips pressed in a tight line.
“I think you know why you’re here, Jess.” Oh, so her humor was the sarcastic type. I can play that game.
“My dad already gave me the sex talk a while back, Marissa.” I shifted my weight in the chair and watched Marissa write something down on her legal pad.
“How many times have I asked you to not call me by my first name? It’s Dr. Hanson to you, Jess.”
“Then it’s Mr. Canfield to you. Hey, do you have any of those awesome mints here in your office? The kind that melt in your mouth?”
I love watching her saggy face turn red, looking like a week-old tomato. Damn, I wish I could leave already. Why do these sessions have to last so long? If Marissa’s looking for a breakthrough with me, all she needs to do is hand me an ice cold Redbull and let me watch the damn Giants game I’m missing and I’ll tell her anything she wants to hear.
“How were things with your dad this week? Any disagreements?”
She looks at me in such an eager way that I almost want to say “no” and get her hopes up.
“There was one…” She eyes me, writes something on her pad, and continues.
“Did you reach a consensus?”
What the hell does that mean? “Uh, no.”
“Jess, you can tell me, I’m here to listen.”
Good to know she gets paid to use her ears. I really don’t want to answer her question.
“Excuse me, Jess?
“I said I pass. Next question.”
She doesn’t push it anymore, but takes about five minutes writing in her pad. I stare at her plaques of achievement that hang around her office, as if it’s supposed to make her a better person with that type of proof.
I search the room in an attempt to find an open space for my trophy. Everything is so cluttered. I hear Dad walking towards my room so I just shove the trophy under my bed covers. He opens the door in boxers and a wife beater. He definitely had ransacked the liquor cabinet, even though he said he was “done with that drinking s***.” With his bloodshot, unfocused eyes on fire, I need to be careful with my words.
“Dammit, get your football gear out of the living room for the thousandth time.”
“Sure thing, I’ll get my stuff outta there, Dad.” That seems to be a safe enough answer, so I walk to the living room. Dad is watching me with his arms crossed as I pick up my things and I kind of wish he would stop because it created a lot of tension.
“Your mother called today. Says you been begging to let you move in with her. What, you don’t like living with me, kid?”
His voice is reeking with angry, slurred sarcasm. I’m on thin ice. He’s drunk and mad and I don’t know what to say that won’t set him off.
“No, I do. I just thought maybe I was getting in your way too often, and could just live with mom for a bit to you know, stay out of the way.”
I hold my breath and see his face get red and his eyes lock on me with such determination that I could have sworn he sobered up in that split second and I know what’s coming because I’ve seen this happen tons of times. He moves towards me, chest forward and fists clenched.
“You ungrateful piece of ---”
I back up and fall onto the couch. He swings at me. His fists repeatedly slam into me and he’s yelling insults and I have no where to go; nothing to say, so I let my body bounce up and down on the couch as I take his punches. I count by five’s, starting at fifteen just because it’s my age and going up to ninety-five until the doorbell rings and Dad stops hitting me to curse while making his way to the front door. I open my eyes and slowly take my hands away from my head with that empty pain beginning to bond with my body. I hear Dad talking to our neighbor on the front porch and he’s making crazy hand motions at me from behind his back, pointing this way and that. He wants me to move away and remain unseen from the front porch. He’s trying to hide it again. I slowly get up and go into the bathroom to wash away the blood from my nose.
“I’m sorry that things aren’t improving with your father. Did you try any of the techniques we practiced last Tuesday? ” Marissa expectantly stared at me, uncrossed her legs and leaned towards me in her seat.
“My Dad isn’t exactly the singing type, so no, I didn’t try any of your freaking techniques.”
“How do you expect this to get better if you don’t put in a little effort? You’re a good kid, Jess, and I know we can get through this.”
I don’t want to deal with this anymore. If I leave now, I bet I can catch the last half of the Giant’s game.
“You’re right, Mar-…er, Dr. Hanson. I’m just not letting my Dad in. I mean maybe I’m just stressed with school and football. I think what I really need is to bond with my dad; you know, play a some golf or go fishing or something. I feel much better. If you don’t mind, actually, I think I’ll go home now and talk to him and see if we could go down to the lake this weekend. The sooner the better, right? Dr. Hanson, consider me a new person.” I put on my best, mature smile. I think she’s buying it.
“You know what, Jess? Our session is almost done anyways. You go home and talk to your father and we’ll schedule an appointment for next Tuesday to talk about how things went.”
“No problem, Dr. Hanson.” I walked out of the office and caught the bus home. I ran up the stairs to my apartment and turned on the T.V. to the game. The Giant’s were winning, Dad wasn’t home, and I got rid of Marissa. I clearly remember thinking it was going to be a good day, for once.