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A Reconnection Session

A Short Story

By M.N. NegusPublished 11 months ago 9 min read
1

“Dr. Richards, Ms. Sanchez is here to see you.”

The woman looks up from the printer towards the secretary.

“Did she bring anyone with her?”

The young woman nodded, “yes, her sisters, I believe.”

“Excellent!” the woman exclaims, “go ahead and sit them in my office, and I’ll be there shortly.”

The secretary turns with the click of heels around a corner. With a light beep, Dr. Richards quickly collects the pages from the printer tray and makes her way back to her office.

Today was an important session for her current client. Her sessions began one year ago, and today, she would be taking the next steps in her healing process.

She knocked her knuckle against the door before turning the handle. As she entered her office, her eyes fell on her client, Hailey, sitting in the middle of the leather couch. She was twenty years old with wavy, ebony colored hair and amber eyes. Today, she was adorned in a simple orange blouse and jeans. Her lips turned up into a welcoming smile as Dr. Richards entered the office.

Beside her was an older woman, maybe in her early thirties with long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. Soft wrinkles appeared on her face like rigid brushstrokes on a canvas. Her clothes were simple, yet clean. She wore a green jacket unzipped to reveal a plain white shirt paired with jeans and tennis shoes.

Across from her, another woman was sitting in the armchair. Her appearance was similar to Hailey and the other woman, except her hair cascaded in messy pools along her shoulders. She was most likely in her late twenties by the way she was dressed, wearing a black T-shirt with a band logo and dark jeans. Her eyes were dark, expression cold as she folded her arms across her chest. She swung one leg over the other and slouched in her seat.

“Good morning, Dr. Richards!” Hailey greeted, rising from her seat. The young woman flashed her a nervous smile.

“Good morning, Hailey,” she replied, reaching her hand out to touch her shoulder. She gave her a reassuring squeeze, hoping to ease the young lady’s nerves. She opened her mouth, ready to introduce herself, but Hailey stepped to the side, gesturing at the doctor.

“This is Dr. Richards. She’s been helping me through a lot of stuff,” Hailey began, “Dr. Richards, these are my sisters, Risa and Olivia.”

The woman in the green jacket stood up, extending a hand towards her, “It’s nice to meet you, I’m Risa.”

“Nice to finally meet you, Risa. Hailey has told me all about the two of you,” the therapist smiles at both the women.

“Oh, hopefully nothing too embarrassing,” Risa chuckled, flashing Hailey a playful smile.

Finally, the three of them sit back down in their seats. Dr. Richards adjusts herself in her chair and fishes out her notes.

“No, nothing too embarrassing,” she confirms, “but your names do come up in a lot of conversations we’ve had, so I’m finally glad to have the opportunity to finally talk with both of you.”

“I’ve been seeing Dr. Richards for almost a year now,” Hailey added. Her voice wavered a bit, shaking like a rustling leaf as she continued, “but we’ve… I’ve… been wanting to have this session for a while, but I couldn’t figure out how to, um, get you all together.”

There was a moment of silence before the therapist began with a click of her pen.

“Hailey has been tackling some tough issues and confronting some past traumas, but she’s been making a lot of progress towards some healthy healing.”

In the armchair across from her, Olivia let out a long sigh that didn’t go quite unnoticed by Dr. Richards. She continued to speak.

“I’m not sure if she’s told you, but Hailey has been one year sober.”

Risa turned to her sister, “She didn’t! Congratulations, Hails! I’m so proud of you!”

Hailey shifted in her seat, “Thank you.”

“I could talk forever about the progress she’s made, but that’s not why she brought you in for this session today. Hailey has some things she would like to say to the two of you that we thought would be better said in a controlled and moderated environment,” the therapist explained. She turns to Hailey with a subtle nod.

“Okay…” Hailey takes a deep breath, “so, I know we’ve had a lot of issues in the past with each other and with mom and dad. I know we’ve been distant because of the issues that I had, but now I’m ready to move forward in my life, and that means having you, both of you,” she pauses and turns to Olivia, “in my life again.”

For a moment, the doctor’s eyes fall on the woman in the chair. Olivia shakes her head, curling her lip together in hard sneer.

“Is there something you would like to say to your sister, Olivia?”

She continues to shake her head, “This is ridiculous! We shouldn’t have to hash this out in front of a complete stranger, Hailey!”

“She’s not a stranger!”

“Well, she’s a stranger to me! And to make it worse, she’s enabling this whole saga you’ve insisted on putting us through!” Olivia exclaims, her once slouching frame sat up at attention, hands in her lap.

“Look, I’m glad to hear you’re sober, I really am,” Olivia continues, “but do we have to go through this whole charade of telling each other our feelings when just seven months ago, I could barely get an explanation from you? Does this whole thing suddenly make you feel better about yourself?”

“Olivia, you’re not being fair!” Risa intervenes.

Olivia scoffs, mouth agape, “Fair?! Why do I have to be fair?! Hailey’s probably dragged our names through the mud to this therapist, meanwhile, she isn’t exactly talkative towards us, nor have we gotten a single apology for the way she acted!” Olivia directs her attention from Risa to Hailey.

“And you still owe me a thousand dollars from when you crashed my truck because you were drunk! And you tried to lie to me about it!”

Hailey stared down at her hands, tears forming in the corners of her eyes.

“I got a job as a cashier at the grocery store down the street, Liv…” she murmured, “I’m gonna start paying you back! What more do you want from me?!”

“Okay, okay, let’s all settle down for a moment,” Dr. Richards said, “Hailey, let’s take a deep breath.”

Hailey closed her eyes and began taking some deep breaths. Risa placed a gentle hand along her back while Olivia sat back in her seat. Despite the interception, the air within the office still felt tense. She quickly scribbled some notes onto the page:

Patient has brought her sisters in for this session. Oldest seems to be in a very supportive state while her other sister remains hostile and defensive around her.

“I understand that there are a lot of emotions going on between the three of you, and it’s understandable. The goal of this session isn’t to bring each other down, but to express our feelings in a civil manner,” the therapist explained, setting her notebook in her lap, “everything that occurred between the three of you happened when Hailey wasn’t in the right headspace. Mistakes were made and lessons were learned. No matter how much either of you wish you could go back and change things, you can’t. The only thing we can do is pick ourselves up and move forward towards making things better. That starts with self improvement, and then healing relationships, which is something Hailey wants to do.”

“And I’m trying!” Hailey sobs, “It was so hard to get sober, but I did, and I plan on staying that way! I realized how awful I was whenever I drank, and that’s not the person I want to be anymore! I’m so ashamed of how I treated you guys!”

Hailey peers up at Olivia through glassy eyes, “Liv, I’m so sorry I wrecked your truck! You let me borrow it to get to school, but I used it to go to parties! You saved up so much money to get it, and I promise you, I’ll pay you back for the damages I caused! But I need you to trust me and give me a chance to prove to you that I’m worth being back in your life.”

Silence creeped through the room for what seemed like ages before Olivia took a deep breath. She rises from her seat to sit on the other side of the couch next to her.

“I want to trust you, I really do,” Olivia begins, her voice much softer than it was at the beginning of the session, “but, I need time. I need to see actual progress this time. So, I’m giving you a chance to show me, but I’m not at the point of trusting you yet.”

Hailey nods her head, “I understand, that’s all I ask. And Risa,” she turns to look at her other sister. The woman looks down at her. At that moment, Dr. Richards could see the way her eyes glistened with forced back tears.

“I know you don’t want to say anything bad about me,” Hailey whimpered, “even though you should. I took advantage of your hospitality when you let me live with you and your family, and I’m so sorry for that! You’ve always been there for me, and I think one of the biggest things keeping me from reaching out to you was the shame I felt whenever I thought about you. I look up to you, both of you, because you two practically raised me. I never wanted to let either of you down. I’ve been working on myself for a while so that I could make you two proud of me and fix the damage I caused. If you could stick around so I can do that, it would mean the world to me.”

Risa leans across the couch, arms enveloping both Hailey and Olivia in a hug.

“Of course, Hailey. I love you, and I always will. I’m so proud of you!”

Dr Richards turned to the eldest sister.

“Risa, you seem to be very supportive of Hailey’s treatment-”

“Of course I am!” Risa agreed, “She’s my sister. I’d do the same if it were Olivia in her shoes. I’m the oldest, so I need to look out for them.”

“We’re not kids anymore, Risa,” Olivia pointed out, “we’re semi-functioning adults, we’ll be okay.”

Not long after, Olivia wraps her arms around her sisters, too.

Dr. Richards watches as Hailey begins to cry, releasing all of her emotions within the comfort of her sisters’ arms. She’s had many clients in her thirty years as a therapist, but she never got used to scenes like this, when progress was made.

Moments like this was why she loved her job. Not only was she helping patients through difficult times, but she was reconnecting families during those hard times and reminding them of those tight family bonds they had formed over the years.

Short Story
1

About the Creator

M.N. Negus

M.N is a mother, cosplayer, nerd, and writer for CBR. She loves Marvel Comics and creating fiction. She hopes to inspire others with her stories and success.

Check out her work on CBR!

https://www.cbr.com/author/megan-negus/

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