By: Leddy Harper

“I like the rain,” was all she said. It irritated the fuck out of me because it wasn’t a real answer and nothing bothered me more than deference.

“Why?” I prodded in a harsher voice, hoping it would illicit a real answer from her.

“It drowns out the noises. It makes me not feel so alone. I don’t know; I just like it.” She looked down at her shaking hands and nowhere else.

What in the hell was wrong with this girl? I needed to know. More so than normal. I didn’t only want to fix her sexual issues; I wanted to know what went on in that head of hers. I needed to know what she meant by noises and feeling alone. I could only explain that need by relating. I found myself connecting to her and I wanted to know why. I, too, hated silence and it seemed to haunt me. I hated the thoughts and sounds that ran though my head when things were too quiet. Did she experience the same things I had? Or was it worse? Whatever it was, it made her who she is, and I had an unnerving need to explore what it was.

“Are you often alone? Don’t you have friends?” Like I was one to talk. Aside from the contacts in my phone, which I only used when I had a need to get laid or see my own therapist, I didn’t talk to anyone, either. But I wouldn’t say I felt lonely. I wanted it that way. After all, I chose to be that way. I didn’t think Ivy chose to be the way she was.

“I have friends. In fact, one of my best friends is Ben. We met in high school.”

“Tell me about him.” I felt ecstatic at her small offering of information. Then, the need I had for her to help fill the silence that was threatening to suffocate me trumped that small victory.

“We were sitting at a table outside in the courtyard during lunch. It was him and his friends, and me and mine. But our friends were mutual friends, which is why we were at the same table. Anyway, he was sorting M&Ms, pulling out all of the red ones. I had never spoken to him before, but decided to ask why he did that. He said the red ones tasted different. I argued with him that they all tasted the same. So he pulled out a brown one and I ate it. Then he gave me a red one; I just knew I was about to prove him wrong. But as soon as the red candy coating began to melt on my tongue, he knew he won. We became instant friends after that.”

“That’s a good story,” I said, knowing she had more to say and hoped she would continue. She had barely spoken since she walked into my office, and suddenly, it was as if she could talk for hours. It made me wonder who this Ben guy was and what had happened to him.

“We ended up going to a party together at my friend’s house. We spent the whole night talking and realized we had so many things in common. Like… our dads both cheated on our moms, we both loved pickles, and we hated Halloween. Neither one of us liked to wear shoes and our favorite kind of foods to eat were spicy foods. We were best friends from then on out.”

“And it never turned into anything else?”

“Well, he was the one that took my virginity. We flipped a coin for it. Sounds lame now, but at the time, I was ready to see what it was like. He was the only one I trusted to give it to. So we let fate handle it and flipped a coin.”

It seemed like an odd story. One that didn’t really match the kind of person I had met. It started to make me even more curious about her past and what she had been through. I was convinced that she had been abused at one point in her life, but I couldn’t even begin to guess when or how. Maybe she wasn’t molested as a small child like I had initially thought. Maybe it was something that happened to her in her late teens. It was certainly possible.

We got to her apartment and she got out of the car, saying she’d see me the next day.

“Ivy,” I said, stopping her from closing the door all the way. “Do you drive?”

“No. I don’t have a car.”

“Then let me pick you up tomorrow for our session. It’s a late time slot and I would feel much better if you’d let me drive you. I don’t feel comfortable with you walking.”

“Nah, that’s okay. Thanks, though.”

“Ivy,” I called out again, but in a stern tone to make her halt her movements. “I’ll be here at six forty-five. Really, I insist.”

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