1992 Janice sat nervously in her doctor's office, waiting for him to call her in with the results of the hypnotherapy that had been done the day before. She had been on pins and needles ever since leaving his office.
She remembered the therapist talking gently to her, asking her to close her eyes and relax. He had said some other things to her, but she couldn't remember them now, even though it was barely twenty-four hours later. All she remembered after that was waking up in a cold sweat, with both doctor's trying to calm her down and the receptionist handing her a paper cup of water. Something had definitely happened while she was 'under', but the doctor had insisted on her going home and getting a 'good night's sleep' before he would talk to her about it. She had argued the point with him, but the best she could get was an appointment for the next day, a taxi ride home, and a few sleeping pills.
He had instructed her to call in sick, which she would have done anyway, and take the sleeping pills an hour or so before retiring to bed. She had taken them along with a bottle of wine, and had passed out on the sofa by six that evening. She awakened at three in the morning, and hadn't been back to sleep since. Between the drugs, the anxiousness, and her normal third shift sleep schedule being broken up, she was a mess.
Finally the receptionist told her the doctor would see her. She quickly dropped the Time magazine she was flipping through on the seat next to hers and went inside. The doctor told her to have a seat, closed the door and returned to his desk. He opened a file in front of him, she assumed it was hers, and then looked up to speak to her. His lips opened, but no words came out, and then he ran his hand through his remaining hair and leaned back in his chair, letting the file fall closed. She could sense he wasn't doing a lot better than she was at the moment, which only made her feel more uptight.
"How did you sleep last night, Janice? Did the pills help?" he said, opening the session.
She looked into his eyes, which had dark shadows under them, and seemed puffier than usual.
"Okay, I guess. How'd you sleep last night, Doc?" she replied.
"It shows, does it?"
"Well, sometimes in my line of work, a person runs across a situation that is, let's say, unique," he returned, trying to sound professional and regain the status of 'me doctor, you patient'.
"Yeah, right Doc. I feel unique. I blip out yesterday, and wake up on the floor. You send me home with some mystery pills and tell me to get some rest. I show up today and you look like you saw the ghost of Sigmund Freud dancing on your desk naked all night! Can we skip the psycho-babble and get down to brass tacks, or do I have to pay for a couple of dozen more sessions?"
"Calm down Janice, everything in due time, and I mean today, so just try and relax," he said, not sounding too relaxed either.
"Look Doc, if I'm Loony Tunes, I can live with that. It wouldn't even come as much of a surprise. But I can't stand having to live with not knowing what went on yesterday any longer. Can you relate to that?"
He looked at his patient, and appreciated the worry in her face and voice. What really concerned him most, was his professional responsibility to her, and how the next half hour would change her life forever.
He reached across his desk and rubbed his index finger over the row of buttons that protruded from the front of a small portable cassette player. It was obvious to Janice that the doctor wasn't quite ready to get the show on the road, so she sat back in her chair with her arms folded across her chest, and quickly tapped her foot on the hand woven carpet.
"Janice, before I start the tape, you should know a couple of things."
"What kind of things, Doc?"
"Well, for one, you've definitely had a worse childhood than you seem to remember," he said, giving her that fatherly look that usually meant 'you haven't been telling me everything, have you Janice?' Today she thought it probably meant something else.
"That's totally understandable, and quite common in situations like yours," he continued, "where remembering is just too much to handle. Let's just say it's nature's way of saving you from having a complete mental collapse."
"That bad, huh?" Janice replied, not sure if she still wanted to go on, but too curious to stop.
"I'm afraid it's going to be very painful, but definitely nothing that can't be dealt with in time."
"So let's get this over with," she said.
"Just one more thing before we start. There were parts of the hypnosis that didn't seem to make a sense. Perhaps it was just because things were coming back to you in pieces, I don't know. Be prepared for that."
"Anything else, Doc?"
"No, I guess not." He pressed the button marked play.
Forty-five minutes later Janice left the doctors office, with another prescription in her hands and an appointment for the next morning. She threw the prescription in the trashcan by the elevator doors on her way out and never walked back into that building again. The doctor would try and get in touch with her many times in the future, but she would eventually change her phone to an unlisted number. She paid off the half the bill that her insurance didn't cover, and sent him a certified letter thanking him for his help and notifying him that she would no longer require his services.
After taking the winding back-roads home, which gave her plenty of time to smoke up the gram of pot she had in her stash container, she proceeded to drain the first of two bottles of tequila that she had bought the day before. The good doctor had opened the door to the past, and now she and Jose' were going to put the rest of the puzzle together by themselves, or die trying.
It was if she lived in a valley twenty-five miles downstream of a dam, and that dam had suddenly been blown apart. The dam held back a reservoir of unacknowledged memories, not water, and it wasn't twenty-five miles between her and the flood, but twenty-five years. She found it amazing how quickly those years washed away before the oncoming torrent of reality. As she opened the second bottle of tequila, she found herself back in Nebraska, fourteen years old and scared beyond her wildest imagination.