The steady ticking from the Wal-Mart brand round clock was the only sound heard as I sat across from Dr. Faulk in his vintage, cream colored chaise lounge chair. He glanced up at me from his thick black notebook and rest his silver pen at the corner of his mouth. I had given him that pen for Christmas…three years ago.
Yeah, we have known each other that long.
His icy blue eyes stared at me; he was reading me as I looked up at the eggshell white stucco ceiling. I noted the natural wear and tear of the ceiling, along with the rest of his office space many times before but it was starting to appear that this place was falling apart. “Any plans to redecorate?” I asked without looking at him.
“Why? Do I need to?”
“You’ve been here for over a decade, right? Don’t you think it’s time to upgrade?”
“What’s wrong with my décor?” This was the doctor’s M.O. When you ask a question, he answers with a question. This was his way of creating small talk. I looked at him, waiting for an answer about the upgrade suggestion. Nothing. This was a lost cause. I exhaled hard, feeling defeated that I had barely managed to weasel my way through another session; we still had thirty minutes left, I guess I could make an attempt to open up.
“So what’s on the agenda today?” I asked, finally making some sort of eye contact. Dr. Faulk looked up from his notebook again and smiled.
“Let’s talk about your mother.”
“What about her?” I closed my eyes, feeling the migraine over my left eye setting in. And me without my Vicodin.
“What’s your last memory of her?” My last memory of my mother. What an open ended question. I looked at him for a second to verify that he had asked that question. He nodded, confirming that I had heard the question correctly.
“It’s kind of bittersweet.”
“Oh?” He replied with a curl of his lips.
“Yeah. But you know that all the memories that I do have of her are either alcohol fused or drug laced. Recalling even the slightest inhabitant free memory was a blindfolded shot in the dark. They never end with a happy ending.”
“I don’t want to hear a happy ending, Dale. I want to hear the truth.”
The truth. Dr. David Faulk wanted the truth. That’s all that I had ever given him but there was one memory that I never spoke about.
I guess this was the perfect time.
“I remember…” I started with a deep sigh, “my mom decided to make me blueberry muffins. I had been hounding her about making me some after I watched an old episode of Julia Childs on Channel Eleven. I guess she got sick of my begging and finally gave in.”
“Nice.” Dr. Faulk’s silver pen went to work in his notebook as I continued on.
“I sat with her on the counter, in the kitchen. I was so excited. She had all the ingredients laid out, had the oven preheating and her hand mixer ready. You would have thought I was on my way to Disney World, I mean I was bouncing on the countertop and watched her mix all the ingredients together and she pretended to be Julia Childs. I had never felt so special.” I stopped. That was the end of the happiness in that memory. Dr. Faulk noticed my sudden pause too.
“So how did the muffins turn out?” The doctor’s eyes were intense flames as he looked at me; they contrasted against his chestnut brown skin as he stared at me. I suddenly wondered if Michael Ealy had a long lost twin, because Dr. Faulk was the perfect match. “Did you and your mother enjoy the blueberry muffins?”
Here is where the shit hit the fan.
“I never found out.” I huffed. “After my mother put the muffins in the oven, she went to her room and closed the door. I guess she set the oven to high and while she was getting high, the oven caught fire.”
“My God…” Dr. Faulk breathed. “What happened?”
“I dragged my mother from the fire while one of our neighbors called 9-1-1. Another neighbor tried to sober my mom up before the police came but by the time the EMTs arrived, they noticed her drugged state immediately. My mother was out of her mind; she was screaming and fighting the air. She had bite marks on her arms and she even tried to attack one of the paramedics.”
“Is that the day that you were taken away from your mother?” I nodded my head and bit my lip; it was the only way that I knew how to secure my pride and keep from crying. I watched Dr. Faulk add to his notebook; he was probably writing about my inability to cry in front of him. He finished his thought on paper while I redirected my eyes back to the outdated ceiling. “Dale, you don’t have to hold it in…”
“I know, I know.” I mumbled, cutting him off. “I’m not holding anything in, Doc.”
“You said that you were excited that your mother was baking, right?”
“Yeah.” I nodded, “But she ruined the entire moment all because of that damn addiction.”
“So you were angry?”
“You were disappointed?”
“What child wouldn’t be? Your mother’s addiction controlled her.”
“No, that shit consumed her!” I sat upright and looked at Dr. Faulk, “My mother didn’t care about me. It was just a matter of time before she sold me for her next fix.” Dr. Faulk’s mouth opened and his eyes swelled to the size of saucers.
“Dale, listen you….” The shrill beeping of his time interrupted him. He silenced the small timed as I grabbed my jacket and purse.
“Until next time, Doc.” I started for the door but Dr. Faulk ran interference.
“Dale, wait. I think that you should try and find your mother.” I stared at him blankly, waiting for him to elaborate. “You need to confront your mother, Dale. Tell her how you feel about what she did and all that she put you through.”
“If I wanted to, Doc, I wouldn’t know where to start to try and find her.” I replied. Dr. Faulk nodded as he reached into his blazer pocket and withdrew a card.
“I have some connections that can help you out. This man right here, he’s my right hand man. He’s currently working as a private eye but he’s a former detective for the Rockford Police. Give him a call, he’s waiting.” I plucked the card from Dr. Faulk’s fingers then inspected the text:
MARSHALL SHANE III
A list of credentials followed his title, along with a cell phone and office number where he could be reached. I looked at Dr. Faulk. “Thanks, I will give him a call.”
“Please do, Dale. He wants to help you too.” I nodded then slipped pass him and out the door.
Standing outside the door, I took a deep breath and pushed it out. I stared at the card again before tossing it into the abyss that was my purse then walking out into the spring sunshine. I had never thought about looking for my mother and neither had Dr. Faulk. This was first and rather brave attempt at suggesting such a ridiculous idea.
Find my mother. Why? What would I say? What could I say that would repair the last twenty-five years?
And furthermore, did Dr. Faulk really believe that it would be that easy? That I would find my mother, we would reconnect at I spilled my guts to her and his three year reign as my psychiatrist would end?
He wasn’t that damn delusional.
I pushed the session out of my mind as I climbed into my car, closed the door then stared at myself in the rearview mirror. “What?” I asked myself. “You know that you can’t find her. You wouldn’t know where to start and…” The child in me wanted to begin the search but the emotionally unstable adult in me, refused to believe anything that the child was trying to say.
Shit. The child was winning.
“Damn blueberry muffins.” I hissed before starting my car and pulling off.