Okay, next one is here. It is somewhat longer. Warning dipictions of self-harm.
It is five minutes until Hycinthus Katzchen’s second block and I am not entirely sure how I feel about the boy – man. I keep forgetting the fact that he’s eighteen and an adult, he seems nice, gentle even, but… his mannerisms, they tell of severe trauma. Trauma as deep and dangerous as entering the center of a volcano. What happened to this boy – man – and how has he tried to cope with it? Has he tried at all? Or has he locked it away like a dangerous monster?
I know I should not pressure him into telling me things, if I am patient and calm he will tell me and he will come to trust me. If I push him, he will come to dislike and resent me and therapy will be useless to him. I do admit, though, I am very curious… what could make a man seem childlike despite horrific acts done onto said man? Is it a defence mechanism or just how his personality developed?
I am broken from my musing/revelations by a knock on my dark cherry-wood door, and I rest my head on the back of my hand as I call quietly to my interrupter, “Come in.” Slowly, timidly, Hycinthus Katzchen slides through the small opening between the door and the jamb and he turns around to gently close it behind him. His back is facing me and as he slouches I can count his prominent vertebrae and ribs through his loose long-sleeved t-shirt. This worries me deeply.
--Thin enough to show bones, weight loss has become--
“Hello, Hycinthus,” I say softly, not revealing my worry about his lack of body fat and muscle, he is an adult despite the fact he does not seem like one, he needs to learn to take care of himself. “How were your last few days?” I ask in the same soft tone. He turns to face me and I suck air into my lungs rapidly, staving off pain for my session. The area around his eyes is red and inflamed as if he has been crying for quite a while before he came to my office.
“She’s never gunna come back,” he whimpers quietly, then he drops to his knees and places his head in his thin hands. I notice that he is pulling his hair with his long finger, roughly, as if he is trying to hurt himself. There seems to be so much stress pressing in on him from all sides.
I stand and quickly walk around my desk. My stride is long as I walk to the much smaller man, trying not to run and startle him, and as I slide to my knees I gently pull his hands out of his hair. I can easily see that he has already clawed his forehead so it is bleeding sluggishly. “Come here, you don’t need to do that, okay? Let’s talk about this, Hycinthus. I want to help you.” I gently pull him to his feet and as I try to walk him to my squishy leather chair he stumbles over his own feet nearly pulling us both to the floor, tears rolling down his face like a car going down a mountain with broken breaks, not stopping when it reaches the bottom. I ease him into the chair in front of my desk. He starts to rock slowly back and forth, arms wrapping around his thin chest, and I ask him, “What are you thinking about Hycinthus?”
“Cinth,” he says, correcting me.
“Sorry, Cinth,” I tell him quietly, hoping to calm him, placate him by doing as he wishes. “Now, what are you thinking about? Will you tell me?” I watch him carefully, seeing the younger man rock slowly.
He continues to cry, making not a noise except proper speech, “She’s not gunna come back, she hates our parents so she’s never gunna come back. I – I wanna hurt myself.” He looks at me, most likely to see if I think he is crazy, his body shaking with the strength of his sobs. “Are you gunna tell my parents about this?”
I act like I am thinking about what I going to do, but I already know what I am going to say to him. I stand and take one of my business cards off of my filing cabinet. “I’ll make you a deal, ‘kay Cinth?” I tell him and the young man nods eagerly, not wanting his parents to know about his painful and rapid breakdown. “I won’t tell your parents,” I glance at him and see he is wiping his face with the back of his wrist, clearing his tears, the skin around his eyes still red. I write in the back of my business card and continue to speak, “If you promise that if you have an urge to harm yourself again to call me. On the back of this card,” I hold up my business card, waving it slightly. “Is my cell number and my home number. My cell is usually on but if it isn’t call my house. Okay?”
He sniffs lightly and peeks at me from his curtain of hair, wiping his cheeks clean. “But I don’t wanna bother you… I am so useless. Can’t even-” he begins an upset tirade about himself.
“Stop,” I command, firmly and clearly. He stops immediately and looks up at me fully. “Everyone has their place in this world, no one is useless. And it is not a weakness to need help. It is a strength to know you need it. If you want to harm yourself, call me. Even if it is the middle of the night,” I look at him and reach toward him with the card in my fingertips. “Cinth, I want to help you, but I can’t do that if you don’t let me. Now, promise you’ll call, okay?”
Hycinthus laughs a bit, soft and sheepish, rubbing his left eye with the heel of his left hand. He gives me a watery version of his usual crooked grin and takes the card, looking at it with mild interest. “I promise. Thank you.”
I sit down in my own chair cracking my neck loudly and I smile at him. “I like helping people,” I tell him. “I want to help. That’s why I’m doing this job, Cinth. I love my job. Especially when I can help someone who needs it. It’s not wrong to need help. Everybody needs it sometimes.” I pick up my pen and write as I ask, “Can I ask what made you so upset? The whole thing, not the version you tried to tell me earlier.”
--Insecure, believes he is worthless. Likely told this--
--repeatedly. Great dislike of parents.--
Hycinthus’s rocking slows as he refuses to meet my eyes. “Helena called me today,” he says quietly. “She says she can’t visit me anymore.”
--Dependent on Helena. Therapy will take longer than--
“Why’s that?” I ask him, I glance at my alarm clock and see the block will end soon if I don’t do something. “Just a second,” I say easily as I stand. He waits patiently and watches me curiously as I walk to the digital alarm and turn it off. When he looks at me, seeming so confused, I actually laugh aloud, something I refrain from doing in public. “You are my last session today so I wish to extend your block. You won’t be billed for it. Promise.” He nods shyly, a dusting of pink colouring his cheeks, as I sit back down. “I will have to leave at eight, though. I do have to go home sometime.” I smile at the blushing man and ask him, “Why can’t Helena visit you? No money?”
“It’s ‘cause she can’t deal with our parents, Helena has very strong opinions, ‘specially ‘bout how they treat me and they argue all the time. Her and Mother most, though,” he says, starting to rock at his normal speed, becoming more comfortable with me. He laughs quietly, “ I don’t want to deal with our parents either but I don’t have the guts to just leave like Helena did.” He pauses thoughtfully and rubs roughly at the blood on his forehead most likely causing more pain, “She says she’s doing well and she sounds much happier. I am glad for her but… but…”
“You’re jealous of her,” I say calmly, “And you’re angry that she left you here without a thought.” My smile has been sliding off my face with his explanation. I feel anger for him, at his sister who has left him alone with people whom he doesn’t get along with.
--Wishes to escape reality.--
“I’m not angry at her, I’m happy for her. She has escaped. She’s free,” he says wistfully. He starts to rock faster and I hand him my cotton handkerchief. He looks unsure as of why I gave it to him so I walk over slowly and gently start rubbing the blood off his forehead with it. The blood is mostly dried so I lick my handkerchief and gently continue to wipe, kneeling in front of him so I can see the stain.
“It’s alright to be mad at her,” I tell him, rhythmically swiping the cloth against the rivets of blood. “I would be upset, too.” He does not answer so I continue to speak, “Can you tell me what it is like being a twin? Is there even a way to explain it?”
He looks shocked and I realise I am the first to ask him about being a twin. “With Helena near I… I feel protected and safe, shielded from harm. My parent’s jibes do not penetrate the resilient armour her presence provides to my heart and mind. When she is gone, I feel like curling up and dying, any attack on my heart and mind feels like a maiming blow. Like shoving your hand in a garbage disposal and surviving with the mulch that was your arm.” He is quite calm as he says this not at all disgusted and I make a mental note to write down his morbid metaphor. “It actually hurts when she isn’t here with me, a physical ache,” he murmurs, gently rubbing his chest. He looks at me, right into my eyes, something people rarely do. “I’m not angry at her, I love her far too much. It always hurts me when I am really upset with her and it hurt. She’d cry sometimes if I got upset with her. It didn’t happen often. But it happened,” he says, watching me calmly.
I finish wiping blood off his forehead but near his left temple is a stubborn cut that has not yet stopped bleeding. “Stay here,” I tell him, standing slowly. My knees pop loudly as my kneecaps snap back into place and I close my eyes against the pain of the old injury. I walk to my filing cabinet and open the bottom drawer. He tries to peek over my squishy chair to see what I am doing, kneeling on it to see over the high back. I pull a first aid kit out of the bottom drawer and walk back over to him. As I kneel down to put the sterile gauze on his temple, I ask him, “Does it only hurt to be a twin? Is it all so painful?”
“No,” he tells me, looking horrified and shocked at my connection. “Helena is my other half, my champion, my knight in shining armour. She causes me the most joy. When she smiles, my mood instantly lifts. I have never been lonely with her. I’ve always had a playmate and someone that I belong with and to. Someone to comfort me when I’m sad and to lie down and talk to when I’m confused. She made my see sense when I couldn’t understand the world around me. I have always been loved. Not everyone can say that.” He stops rocking so I can more easily attach the gauze with a strip of medical tape. “She means everything to me because she’s doing what you’re doing now.” He looks at me and seems to be content.
“What do you mean?” I ask, tilting my head in my childhood habit, like a small pup does.
“You’re taking care of me,” he explains, smiling softly, his smile still crooked and his teeth slightly chipped. “Only Helena did that, she helped me when Mother cut down me like a recalcitrant slave that needed to be whipped as a reminder to behave. She cuts me with words, not a knife or a tool.”
I look at him calmly and speak softly, so softly that if Hycinthus had not been as close as he was I doubt he would have heard me, “But wounds from instruments heal or give you a relatively quick death. Words penetrate the heart, where the wounds fester and pus and scar in a mangled mess. Words kill you slowly, painfully, like a man who is to be hung but when he is his neck doesn’t snap and he has to suffocate.” I close my eyes and just breathe slowly.
When I open my eyes I see that Hycinthus is looking at me, his head cocked to the left in an unconscious imitation of me. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I raise an eyebrow in response and he asks, “Do you write at all?”
My eyebrows furrow together, showing my confusion. “A bit, why?” I respond to his question with a question.
“It’s the way you talk,” he replies smiling crookedly, showing a tiny gap between his front top two teeth. He laughs quietly, blushing again, pink dusting his thin cheeks making him seem healthier. “Poetic description. I do it too. I… I like to write. One of the few things that I like to do but Helena doesn’t,” he tells me, rocking happily in gentle, fluid motions.
I notice that the gauze on his temple is bleeding in red, but I don’t mention it to him; instead I ask a question, “What do you like to write about?”
“Fantasy,” he murmurs quietly, “I like to create other worlds where my problems and
experiences don’t exist.” He glances over at my digital clock. “Hey, sir?”
“Maddox,” I say, smiling at the younger man, making him feel more at ease.
“Maddox,” he corrects himself. “It’s eight. We both have to go home.” He looks so sad about returning to a place that should be his sanctuary. I anger at that relevetion.
I stand and retrieve the wire-bound notebook from my desk. I close it and calmly walk back to Hycinthus. “Would you like a ride home?” I ask him smiling softly.
He looks up at me, obviously quite suspicious of my intentions, “Yes?” He turns his head left so he is only looking at me with his right eye; piercing, almost searching my soul for blackness and cruelty.
“Then c’mon,” I tell him, grabbing my jacket from the back of my chair and opening the door for him, acting completely unfazed by his suspicion. In truth, it hurts at the most primal level, most people greatly dislike rejection – I am one of said people – and most people trust me; they say I have a ‘kind face’, once they get past my eyes anyway. My eyes have a tendency to scare people.
I walk to my car, Hycinthus in tow, shuffling his feet, as if he thinks I will take back my invitation. As I let him in the back of the small car, I ask him, “Did you have many friends when you were younger?”
He looks at me as I calmly slide into the driver’s seat and answers me as I sit comfortably, “No, but I don’t care. It’s not like I need any friends. I have Helena… Had… Helena.” He looks out the window, his jaw locked stiffly as his hands begin to shake, clenched hard enough to make his knuckles white.
“I didn’t either,” I tell him truthfully, turning right. “The other kids thought my eyes were creepy because they’re almost black. They also thought I was too smart for them, got good marks.”
“Really?” he asks me, his voice slightly hopeful and excited. “They thought you were a freak too? What colour are your eyes?” He looks back up at me, smiling now, catching my eyes in the mirror, tilting his head.
“Brown,” I tell him. “Yours?”
“Blue,” he replies dismissively, “I never learned how to play with other kids because Mother wanted me to stay away from them. She thought I’d get sick and they were a ‘bad-influence.”
“Turn left?” I ask and when I look into the rear-view mirror, he nods his head. “Parents teach children to judge others based on social differences,” I tell him calmly. “Some people realise as they get older that this is the wrong way of thinking, but most don’t.” I stop in front of his house and turn around in my seat to face him. “I still wear sunglasses sometimes, to avoid the stares from people. No one likes to be different, to be the freak, so maybe to avoid social awkwardness I could teach you some things about interacting with other people. If you want me to.”
He smiles brightly at me, making warming my body with contentment. “Would you?” he asks me his face showing the tiny seed of hope that was growing tentatively in his heart.
“Yeah, I will. See you in four days, ‘kay ‘Cinth?” I smile at him, hoping to convey my own happiness at the prospect of spending time with him, such a good-hearted person.
“Sure,” he says, seeming miserable about the idea of leaving my company. He gets out of my car slowly and closes the door gently.
I roll down my window and I call to him, “Phone me if, you know.” I do not mention his self-harm in front of his beautiful house, just in case someone is trying to listen to our conversation.
“I promise,” he calls back, now at his front door. I can tell he appreciates me not talking about why I want him to call me. I drive off to my house as he closes his door. I stop in my little driveway. I pull my notebook onto my lap and I write about the extended session in it.
--Turns to self-harm to release self-loathing. Likely makes--
--him feel as if he is doing something meaningful. Writes to--
--escape. Parental induced lack of self-esteem and social--
--understanding. Does not feel angry at Helena for leaving--
--but envies her for her freedom. Freedom is lacking. Needs to--
--learn how to depend on others besides Helena and how to--
--depend on self. Needs to learn others will not turn on--
--him at the drop of a hat, likely was betrayed. Uses--
--morbid analogies to cope with stress – any attack on--
--me is a maiming blow. Like shoving your hand into a--
--garbage disposal and surviving with the mulch that was--
--your am – Needs someone to take care of him. Admires--
--Helena. Lacks trust.--
I slash the line across the bottom of the writing and I close the book. I get out of my car, lock the door and go inside my house. My house is my sanctuary.
Last edited by Keiran
on Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:49 am, edited 4 times in total.