“Why worry about the past when it doesn’t worry about you …?”

Jamison twiddles his thumbs, raking his canine teeth over the swollen flesh of his bottom lip; the pads of his fingers taking nimble turns to drag across his freshly stained skin. “And how did that happen?” The woman asks, turning her eyes upwards toward him as he shifts ever so barely. The cherry wood bench seems to swallow him whole, a scrawny boy of eleven with his arms tucked between his thighs; the leather cushions squeaking as he turns his head slowly to look out through the blinds on the window. He knows what’s about to come next even before the woman clears her throat, indicating that she is, in fact, still waiting on an answer from him. “I fell,” he states very matter-of-factly in response, never matching her gaze.

It’s not the first time he’s lied to her, but it is by far the worst lie he’s given – even though he’s figured she’s caught on to his other lies by now. Professional as she is, she does not admit to that fact, sliding one leg over the other as she shifts uneasily in the presence of the eleven-year-old boy with bloodied knuckles and blackened eyes. How does someone so young have so much trauma? There are scribbles that come in seemingly never-ending waves as she ponders her thoughts and translates them onto paper, though Jamison reverts his attention elsewhere. He could care less about what scientific terms she jots down on her rather large notepad to identify his problems. He could care less about what pills he’ll seemingly have to take to make him “happy.” He doubts any of them will seriously ever work. Happiness is not something that lasts very long with him in the end.

But the woman is persistent, and it fits her job description well. She feigns a smile and presses on, “Fell on what?” The way she asks as if she cares is enough to render annoyance from him. When he goes to answer, knowing he’ll be very well forced to if he doesn’t say at least something soon, his expression is completely lacking; there is emptiness behind his eyes. Adults have never looked this broken, so how could a child? She jots down some more things while he waits. It takes her two minutes and a world of fleeting silence for Jamison before she looks up at him again. “I fell off my bike. It was dark. A car was speeding and didn’t see me, and I tried to get out of the way but lost my balance in the shuffle.” The words ooze out seamlessly, almost like he’s used this excuse before. He very well could have when his mum would ask about the constant bruises and cuts — at least on the very off chance where she was sober enough to realize it and bother to ask in the first place. In the end, she found her own distractions; tapping the needle against her forearms like it was no big deal.

Jamison still doesn’t care if the good doctor knows he’s lying. He believes that he doesn’t owe the world a damn thing when the world hasn’t given him a damn thing in return. He’s young and angry, and bitter so early in age that the woman who evaluates him doesn’t exactly know what to say in response. She writes instead, and just when she finally comes up with a decent reply to try to get him to come around to the idea of therapy, the alarm sounds off — indicating that their session has finally come to an end.