First Session. September Seventh.
“Do you believe in ghosts?” These were the first words out of the kid’s mouth immediately after taking his seat.
Eric made the mistake of hesitating long enough in considering his reply. The kid noticed and gripped the arms of his chair. Eric sensed the boy preparing for a confrontation.
“I bet you don’t.” The kid answered his own question, smirked disgustedly, and turned his head away from Eric. “You don’t know what it is like having everyone telling you all the time that you’re just imagining everything.”
“I get the sense you’re pretty frustrated having people doubt you most of the time.”
Greg shifted his head slightly so their eyes met, but he wouldn’t look squarely at Eric. Still, Eric noted a lessening of the edge in the boy’s expression.
Greg sat back into his chair, folding his arms in front of his chest. He waited.
Only seconds into the session, and Eric felt it spiraling out of control. Plus, his tone was on the verge of sounding defensive, with a thirteen-year-old, no less.
“Do you or don’t you?” Greg wasn’t going to let it go.
Eric sighed inwardly and leaned forward ever so slightly. “The short answer to your question is ‘no’.”
This was an automatic response, and he had to wonder—really wonder—if he was lying or just kidding himself. If you came right down to it, was there a difference between the two?
Greg grunted and closed his eyes. Eric saw the kid deflate.
“I said that was the short answer. The long answer is more complex.” It was time to cloud the situation with therapeutic bullshit. Eric fleetingly hated himself. “Before I draw any conclusions about what is going on, I need to learn more about you. I will not dismiss your concerns out of hand. I want to learn about them…and I want to learn about them from you.”
Eric paused to assess the kid’s reaction. For a few seconds, there wasn’t any. Greg’s brown eyes glared at him. Then, he brushed a lock of thick dark hair off his forehead and muttered, “shit” under his breath.
The information Eric had on Greg was limited. The mother called to set up the appointment and said something about her son being afraid about certain things. She wouldn’t elaborate beyond this. Eric had anticipated some kind of anxiety disorder—not hauntings.
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