“You’ve missed a few sessions, Eve.” Dr. Woodrow glanced up at me, and I noted the slight disapproval.
“Sorry about that. I am a busy woman.” I’m not used to feeling guilty about having to work. However, not only do I have to worry about Dr. Woodrow’s disappointment, but Adam has also been hounding me about missing appointments. Damn it.
“Have you been able to paint?”
“No.” I can’t help the sheepish grimace. “I’m not avoiding this. I want to paint. But I do have galleries to fill and run.”
Dr. Woodrow scribbled a few notes in her ever present leather bound notebook, then focused on me again. Her face gentled, and I find myself apprehensive about where we’re about to go. That apprehension is justified when I hear the question.
“Would you like to talk about the day you found you mother?”
I fought back the bile that is my automatic reaction when I think about that day. My head screams NO!, but if I’m ever going to get past whatever it is blocking my creativity I’m going to have to go through all of this shit. Man, Adam and Lainey better be glad I love them so much.
“What about it?”
“What do you remember about that day?”
“Coming home and finding my mother dead,” I answer flatly.
Dr. Woodrow sighed quietly. “Eve. In order for this to work, you’re going to have to let go of the attitude. I realize you use it as a defense mechanism, but it has no place here.” In a display of unusual affection, Dr. Woodrow leaned forward and touched my hand briefly. “There’s nothing to be afraid of in here.”
I take a deep breath, closing my eyes and feeling completely raw as I think back to that day.
“What do I remember about that day?” I repeat. “I remember my life coming to an abrupt end. I remember losing the one person in this world that loved me.” Tears brimmed, but just like that day, they don’t fall.
Dr. Woodrow looked at me sympathetically, writing a couple of notes before continuing.
“You knew right away that it wasn’t suicide, didn’t you?”
“Yes.” There were no doubts, even in my fourteen year old mind, that my father killed my mother. No doubts that the “suicide note” was forced. Momma would never have left me with Tony if she had a choice. Never.
“You were the one that brought your father to justice?”
I felt the gun in my hands, the struggle to gain control, the squeeze of the trigger and the warmth of blood flowing through my fingers. His and mine. Yes, I brought him to justice. But I know that’s not what she is talking about.
“I turned him in, yes.”
“How did you feel about that?”
“Like I was too late.”
Dr. Woodrow looked up sharply. “You didn’t feel as though you got revenge?”
“My mother was dead. Tony was alive. Even in jail he was able to make my life hell. He killed my soul that day. So, no, I didn’t feel vengeful. I just felt . . . late.”
“Did that change after Tony died?”
“From my hands, you mean?” I ask, the huskiness of my voice making it almost unrecognizable even to me.
“Well, since you brought that up, did you feel remorse for Tony’s death?”
There was no surprise in Dr. Woodrow’s eyes, just understanding. With a slight nod of the head, she makes a couple of notes.
“Okay.” Dr. Woodrow glances at my hands, and I grip them tightly together to try and stop the shaking. “I think that’s enough for today. Next session, we’ll talk about what happened after you ran away from the authorities.”
Fantastic, I think sarcastically, something to look forward to. My only hope for getting through today and my next session is knowing that Adam and our baby girl, Bella, are at home waiting for me. That, and the fact that Lainey is picking me up from here. On shaky legs, I stand, smoothing my black skirt free of wrinkles.
“You should have wine for these sessions, Doctor.” I give her a wry grin. “Or perhaps some brandy.”
Dr. Woodrow chuckled. “I’ll keep that in mind. Eve.” Her voice stopped me as my hand reached for the door. “For what it’s worth, I think your lack of remorse for your father’s death is natural. You were defending yourself and someone you love dearly. You did for Lainey what you felt you couldn’t do for your mother. You weren’t too late.”
I felt the faint flush creep up my neck, and a lightness settle over me that I haven’t felt in years. Maybe ever.