tapped Ethan on the knee before standing. “I can’t even begin to imagine what
you’ve been through and what you’re going through now,” he told Ethan gently. “You inspire me to want to be a better
man. I’m your best friend and I’m here for you 24/7/365. When you’re
ready to talk, I’m here to listen, anytime day or night. I love you, bro.” No
response from Ethan.
Walking into the
kitchen Jordan said, “it’s almost like he’s not in there, his body just an
empty shell. I’ve never seen him like this. It scares me a little. I don’t know
how to get through to him. I feel so helpless.”
“I hope so. It
hurts me to see him like this. I know he’s hurting, but I just…”
over to sit next to Jordan and pulled him into a sideways hug. “We all want to
help him and that’s the problem. Ethan is the first one to jump and come
running whenever anyone needs help, but he won’t let anyone help him when he
needs it. He’s so damned stubborn when it comes to accepting help from others.”
“Amen to that,”
Chris and Troy stated, almost simultaneously.
recommended he talk to a counselor,” Alicia continued.
Chris huffed. “Good
luck with that one. It falls under the category of Ethan accepting help from
“We can’t just
sit here and do nothing!” Jordan exclaimed, frustration very much evident in
“What would you
suggest we do?” Troy wanted to know.
“I wish I knew.
I guess it can’t hurt to try. Ethan? Ethan, look at me please.” Jordan recoiled
at the haunted expression in Ethan’s eyes. “I’m your best friend, right?” After
a few seconds Ethan nodded, almost imperceptibly. “You know that all of us love
you unconditionally and we only want the very best for you, right?” Again, an
almost imperceptible nod.
“Do you remember
4 years ago when my sister was caught in a police cross-fire and died? Remember
how torn up I was? In a way I was just like you are now, although what you went
through was more heinous because it was deliberate, not accidental.”
Yes! Finally a response from him! “Do you
remember what I did afterward?” Ethan shook his head. “I went and talked to a
counselor. My brother dragged me kicking and screaming. There was no way I was
going to talk to a shrink. You know what? I didn’t talk to a shrink. I talked
to a wonderful woman.
“There was no couch,
no psycho-babble, no judgement, none of that shit. We just sat and talked just
like you and I have. I could tell she really cared about me. We didn’t talk
about the accident in the beginning. She just wanted to get to know me. I didn’t
have to answer any of her questions if I didn’t want to, but she put me at ease
from the very beginning.
realized it, I was telling her everything, and I mean everything! When we talked about the accident I cried like a baby.
You know what her reaction was? She handed me a box of Kleenex. No judgement,
no ‘you’re too old to be crying like a baby’ or anything like that. She just
sat back and waited for me to get my shit together.
“She helped me more
that I believed possible.”
Troy came over
and kneeled down in front of Ethan. “You’re my little brother and I love you. I
really wish you’d give it a try. It can only help. It can’t hurt.”
The haunted look
in Ethan’s eyes faded just a bit. “Even if I wanted to, I can’t afford it.”
insurance, right?” Ethan nodded. “She takes all insurances, and if you can’t
afford the co-pay, which for me was $20, she’ll probably waive it. Helping
people is more important to her than money. Please, Ethan, I beg you, go talk
to her. If you don’t feel comfortable with her, you don’t have to go back. She’ll
deeply. “I’ll think about it. Right now I just want to get some sleep.”
“That’s all any
of us can ask. Let me help you upstairs.” Jordan supported Ethan up the stairs.
By the time they reached his room he was barely awake. Having had gym class
together, they’d seen each other naked many times. Ethan didn’t fight him when
he pulled the covers back, stripped Ethan down to his boxer-briefs and put him
to bed. He was totally out before his head hit the pillow.
downstairs he made a show of crossing his fingers as he left, wishing as hard
as he could that Ethan would go see the therapist. Chris, Alicia and Troy
wished the same.
ready to bolt at the slightest provocation, Ethan timidly knocked on the
therapist’s door. The door opened and Ethan was face-to-face with the
counselor. “Hi,” he said quietly, “I’m Ethan Evans and I have an appointment
for 1:15. I’m a little early.”
She held out her
hand, giving him a warm, welcoming smile. “Hi, Ethan, I’m Dorothy. Please come
in and have a seat. As he entered the office he looked around to discover that
the office was nothing like what he expected from the entertainment videos.
There were no wall-to-wall bookcases crammed to overflowing with books, no
couch or huge file cabinets.
was nice artwork on the walls, a desk, several comfortable-looking chairs, a
mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, computer and printer. He was only slightly
reassured. He remained standing until Dorothy was seated at her desk.
“So Ethan, why
don’t we begin with you telling me a little about yourself.