I thought about it.
“Okay,” Dr. Maillard said, moving on. The answer must have been written all over my face. “How about your relationship with your best friend? You saw her since she died too, right?”
I shook my head. “That was Claire. She only moved to Laurelton last year. She was Jude—my boyfriend’s—sister. She was close with Rachel.”
Dr. Maillard’s eyes narrowed. “Rachel. Your best friend?”
“But she wasn’t close with you?”
“Not so much.”
“And you haven’t seen Rachel.”
I shook my head.
“Is there anything else? Anything you’ve seen that you shouldn’t have? Anything you’ve heard that you shouldn’t have?”
My eyes narrowed. “Like voices?” She definitely thought I was crazy.
She shrugged. “Like anything.”
I looked at my lap and tried to stifle a yawn. I failed. “Sometimes. Sometimes I hear my name being called.”
Dr. Maillard nodded. “How do you sleep?”
“Not so great,” I admitted.
You could call them that. “Yes.”
“Do you remember any of them?”
I rubbed the back of my neck. “Sometimes. Sometimes I dream about that night.”
“I think you’re pretty brave to be telling me all of this.” She didn’t sound patronizing when she said it.
“I don’t want to be crazy,” I told her. Truthfully.
“I don’t think you’re crazy.”
“So it’s normal to see things that aren’t there?”
“When someone’s been through a traumatic event, yes.” “Even though I don’t remember it?”
Dr. Maillard raised an eyebrow. “Any of it?”
I rubbed my forehead, then pulled the hair off the back of my neck into a knot. I said nothing.
“I think you are starting to remember it,” she said. “Slowly, and in a way that it doesn’t hurt your mind too much to process. And even though I want to explore this more if you decide to see me again, I think it’s possible that you seeing Jude and Claire could be your mind’s way of expressing the unresolved feelings you have about them.”
“So what do I do? To make it stop?” I asked her.
“Well, if you think you’d like to see me again, we can talk about making a plan for therapy.”
“No drugs?” I figured my mother had taken me to a psychiatrist for a reason. Probably figured she needed to bring out the big guns. And after last night, I couldn’t exactly argue with her.
“Well, I do usually prescribe medication to be used in conjunction with therapy. But it’s your choice. I can recommend you to a psychologist if you don’t want to pursue medication just yet, or we can give it a try. See how you do.”
The things that had been happening since we moved—the dreams, the hallucinations—I wondered if a pill could really make it go away. “Do you think it will help?”
“On its own? Maybe. But with cognitive behavioral therapy, chances are higher that you’d feel better sooner, although it’s definitely a long-term process.”
“Cognitive behavioral therapy?”
Dr. Maillard nodded. “It changes your way of thinking about things. How to deal with what you’ve been seeing. What you’re feeling. It will also help with the nightmares you’ve been having.”
“The memories,” I corrected her. And then a thought materialized. “What if—what if I just need to remember?”
She leaned forward in her chair slightly. “That could be part of it, Mara. But it’s not something you can force. Your mind is already working on it, in its own way.”
A smile tugged at the corner of my mouth. “So, we won’t be doing any hypnotherapy or anything here?”
Dr. Maillard grinned. “I’m afraid not,” she said.
I nodded. “My mother doesn’t believe in it either.”
Dr. Maillard took a pad off of her desk and wrote something on it. She tore a piece of paper off and handed it to me. “Have your mother fill this. If you want to take it, great. If not, that’s okay too. It might not kick in for a few weeks, though. Or it might kick in a few days after you start. Everyone’s different.”
I couldn’t read Dr. Maillard’s handwriting. “Zoloft?”
She shook her head. “I don’t like to prescribe SSRIs for teenagers.”
Dr. Maillard’s eyes scanned the calendar on her desk. “There have been some studies that show a link between SSRIs and suicide in adolescents. Can you meet next Thursday?”
The dates flew by in my mind. “Actually, I have exams coming up. Huge chunk of my grade.”
“That’s a lot of pressure.”
I barked out a laugh. “Yeah. I guess so.”
She picked up her glasses and put them back on. “Mara, have you ever thought about taking some time off from school?”
I stood up. “So I can sit around and think about how much I miss Rachel all day? Screw up my chance to graduate on time? Ruin my transcripts?”
“Point taken.” Dr. Maillard smiled and stood. She extended her hand, and I shook it but couldn’t meet her eyes. I was too embarrassed by my impromptu pity party.
“Try to watch the stress, though,” she said, then shrugged. “As much as you can. PTSD episodes tend to be triggered by moments of it. And call me when exams are over, especially if you decide to start taking the medication. Or before, if you need me.” She handed me her card. “It was nice to meet you, Mara. I’m glad you came in.”
“Thanks,” I said, and meant it.
My mother was waiting for me outside when the appointment ended. Surprisingly, she didn’t pry. I handed her the prescription and her face tensed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“Nothing,” she said, and faced the road. We stopped at a pharmacy on the way home. She placed the bag in the center console.
I opened it and looked at the pill bottle. “Zyprexa,” I read out loud. “What is it?”
“It should help make things a little easier to deal with,” my mother said, still staring ahead. A non-answer. She said nothing else on the way home.
My mother took the bag in the house with her, and I went to my room. I turned on my computer and typed “Zyprexa” into Google. I clicked on the first website I found, and my mouth went dry.