Summers 13R

“But your father isn’t here.” There was a coldness to Dr. Patel’s voice that Jane hadn’t ever felt, not that evening, not during any of their meetings. “You can’t ask him whether you’re delusional, can’t get his opinion about Brad. If you’re looking for help, you have many resources available to you — ” he swept his arm across the circle — “so my question to you is, how can we help you?”

Jane rose from her chair. “You can help me by continuing to do what you’ve all been doing.” She scanned the faces sitting in the circle of chairs — her mother, Wings, Arjie and Gary, Dr. Patel. “Keep asking me questions. Keep listening to my stories, no matter how bizarre they seem. Even if you don’t believe me, just listen to me.”

She ran her hand back through her scalp. First the right hand, then the left. “I don’t care if you think I’m crazy. So long as you still treat me like a human being, not like I’ve been turned into a giant bug or anything. Because I’d rather be a crazy person, than an insane bug.”

Hilda Summers rose from her chair, and approached her daughter with eyes filled with compassion. Their embrace was warm, as was the conversation in the room for the remainder of that evening. And several hours later, as she left in the front passenger seat of her mother’s car, Jane silently thanked whatever force had been behind the sudden transformation of her world, for not leaving her stranded in this strange new world.

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