BY: Nicci Vincente
Doctor MacDonald sat back on his chair and fixed Kayliegh with an intense stare. He wet his lips, smiled his queer smile and started the examination.
“Now Kayliegh, how have you been getting on this week then?”
She was used to his routine by now, he commenced every session with the same words. She had come to quite like her ‘shrink’ as she thought of him. At first, when she started seeing him over a year ago, she was unsure of him. Now though, he felt like an old friend, and she felt that she could really open up to him.
“Not too bad. I’ve not cried at all this week!”
Last year had been a terrible year for Kayliegh. After losing her job, her life seemed to go downhill and she had thought that she was losing her mind. She finally sought help after a shocking episode when she had overdosed on prescription drugs. Since then she had gradually got better although there was still some residual anxiety and she was still prone to tears.
“What about the nightmares?” The doctor asked. “Are they still as bad?”
Even though a lot of things had been getting better for her, Kayliegh still suffered from terrible nightmares, in which she re-lived traumatic events from her past.
Until the age of fourteen Kayliegh lived with her parents and her older brother – the perfect little family. If only! Most of her childhood was spent wetting the bed and crying herself to sleep. Trying to block out the sound of the atrocities being carried out in the next room. The agonised screams of her mother tormented her during this time and, as she got older ‘he’ turned his attention towards her. Her mothers’ cries of pain were now mixed with her own. And now, she was being forced, unconsciously, to endure it over again through the power of nightmares.
“Yeah they’re still the same. Every night. It’s getting so that I dread the night now as much as I did then.” Her pallor, combined with the dark circles underneath her eyes showed just how badly this was affecting her sleep.
“When did you last see him?” He asked. “Your father I mean.”
Kayliegh visibly recoiled at the mention of the word ‘father’. She didn’t think of him as a father anymore, she referred to him only as ‘Vinnie’ or ‘him’.
“Ages ago.” She replied dully. “I stay at the other end of town from him.”
It was a lie and she knew it! She had been avoiding him for months. Kayliegh had decided, after years of being a passive receptor of her father’s abuse, that if she wasn’t strong enough to stand up to him or at least ask him for an explantion or apology, she would simply cut all ties with him. So, when he knocked on her door she ignored it, she even quit going to her local pub because it was his local too.
“Kayliegh,” the doctor began, “You have been my patient for quite a while now, and I have come to the conclusion that you need to confront your father about your feelings. Up ’til now you have kept all your feelings bottled up, and when you have met with your father, you have wanted to tell him how much he hurt you, but instead you have bitten your tongue. I think that it is now time to vent those feelings, time to let it all out. Time for closure.”
The rest of the examination passed in a blur. Kayliegh was now consumed with terror at the thought of meeting with ‘him’, and for the rest of the afternoon she could think of little else.