“Good morning Liz,” a whispering, voice awakens me.
It is Linnea. She is back and here to get me through the day.
“How did you sleep?” She asks.
“I slept great,” I lie.
There is breakfast on the table. After my stay in Huntington, I have grown accustom to eating a little something for breakfast now. I pick at the eggs and hash-browns, briefly. The quality of food, does not compare to the gourmet preparations that Tom cooked up every morning.
“Well, let’s get started with our day,” Linnea suggests.
She invites me to come sit on the couch in the living room. She has a paper and a pen in hand. I can see it is the paperwork the WD Specialists in Huntington had to fill out, only, because we are not walking, she can fill it out as we go.
“Look around here and tell me what is really, real to you?” She asks.
“Oh, I already realized it’s everything,” I say, smugly.
Linnea pauses for a brief moment, “I understand you had to run light objectives already, but we have to run them again,” she explains.
“Well, not to sound like a bitch, but if I have already realized what I am meant to realize by an objective, what is the point of my running this objective again, other than, killing time, of course?” I ask.
“Let’s run a different one,” she responds.
“Look around here and tell me what you could have?” She asks.
“Uh, I don’t know, that table,” I guess.
She repeats the command several times and I randomly answer with the couch, the chair, the window and so on.
“There is nothing in this room that I want,” I admit. “Like, seriously, dude, there is nothing in this house that I can notice, or touch, or want, or let go of, or any other silly command that you may instruct of me,” I continue.
“I really am not trying to be a bitch, but look around. The walls are white and bare. There is nothing on any of the tables. We can’t walk anywhere here. Why are we running these? I have been doing them all week. I have nothing left to realize,” I insist.
She responds, similarly to that of a telemarketer who has just been told that you are not interested in their sales pitch, with a redirecting statement, in an attempt to refocus my attention on the objective, “I understand that you don’t want to run these, if you just give me 15 minutes of session time, we can take a break,” she replies.
“Fine,” I roll my eyes in response.
So far, out of all of the WD Specialists I have encountered, she takes her job the most seriously. I hate her a little for it. It’s not her fault, but I resent her commitment, just the same.
“End of session,” she states.
“Finally,” I respond.
I race to my room to collect a framed photo of my daughter.
“The room is so bare here. Let’s add some warmth to the room,” I suggest, as I place my daughter’s picture on the shelf behind the couch.
“I really want to call my daughter,” I admit. “I was told I was going to the center today and that I would be allowed to call her. Johnny had some legal thing that delayed us getting up here until late, as you know, and I just want to make sure that I am going to the center today.”
“You should be moving up there,” she affirms.
“Notice that,” she says, while she points at the coffee table.
Oh my gawd! That wasn’t a break. That wasn’t a break at all! She is already running another freaking objective. Get me out of here!
Begrudgingly, I notice the damn table.
“Notice that,” she continues. This time she is pointing to an IKEA lamp hanging from the ceiling.
Suddenly, I find myself overcome with emotion. In an attempt to conceal my tears, I cover my face with my hands. I uncontrollably sob and am near hyperventilation.
“What’s going on with you?” Linnea asks.
“I don’t know!” I exclaim. “The lamp is obviously from IKEA, but it reminded me of the lanterns in the Disney movie, Tangled.”
“My daughter and I watched that movie everyday. We have the sing along CD in my car. The lantern scene is one of our favorite scenes and songs to sing along with,” I explain.
“I guess I just really miss her. How could I abandon her? She depends on me to be, both her mother and her father,” I continue.
“Her dad is a complete fucking deadbeat, piece of shit, asshole, who deserves to die a slow and torturous death,” I express, angrily. “He doesn’t deserve her, and now, I don’t deserve her either. I have let her down completely,” I weep.
“I wish that I could put my arms around you Liz,” Linnea expresses. “I am sorry that you are upset, but we are not allowed to coddle and comfort tears. It is best that we allow for you to feel them, express your feelings and then return to the light objective. This exercise will help pull you out of your head and bring you back to present time,” she elaborates.
“By being here now, you are doing what is best for your daughter.”
What the fuck? They are not allowed to coddle my tears? I wasn’t even crying, until I was forced to run this stupid objective! I can feel my overwhelming sorrow convert to anger and hostility.
“I need a minute,” I say, while wiping tears from my face.
I say a quiet prayer to myself,
I am trusting you God. I’ve decided that you have sent me here for a reason. It is not up to me, to question your reasoning. For you are the almighty and it is you, that knows what’s best for me. Help me to get through this Lord. Please let me call Natalia tonight. I need to hear her voice. -Amen.
We continue to run the objective. The door opens and another short, petite framed, female enters the room. She has glasses and a tatted sleeve (her arm is covered with a sleeve tattoo). She has mousy brown hair, but has bleached the underneath with a white, shade of blond. Her ears are gauged and her persona emanates, “Don’t fuck with me. I’m badass.”
“Hi, I’m Madison, I am from the center and here to check on you,” she mumbles, almost sarcastically, while approaching me with a handshake. She kind of drags her feet when she walks and she has her head cocked to the side.
I really, don’t know what to make of her, just yet. Her face is frumpy. Not frumpy, as in unattractive. She is an attractive female, but she looks like she wears a constant glare on her face. It distracts away from her beauty.
“Hi, I am Liz,” I greet her in return.
Her and Linnea excuse themselves for a minute. I can hear that Madison has noticed I am upset and I cringe when she instructs Linnea,
“Get her out of her head and keep running light objectives.”
Yup. It’s official. As of now, I do not like this Madison. She has sealed my fate with these damn exercises and if I am unwilling to comply, I am afraid she will mandate another night at this ranch house for me.
I smile in her direction, but inside I want to punch her in her frumpy face! Why is she making me run these? Why can’t I go to the center?
“I’ll be back,” Madison informs us, as she walks towards the door.
“Wait!” I exclaim. “When do I get to go to the center? I was told that I was for sure calling my daughter today. It’s not my fault that we were delayed getting up here yesterday. I am not in withdrawals and I want to talk to my daughter now!” I demand, fighting back tears.
Madison’s face does not hide how annoyed she is by my bitchy demand. “We are trying to get you up to the center tonight. I will tell them that you were promised a phone call to your daughter,” she reassures me, before walking out the door.
It slams closed behind her. Minutes later, the door opens again. It is another Ethics Officer. I can tell because he is wearing a gray Narconon shirt, like the one Aiden was wearing.
“Hi, I am John Tiger,” he introduces himself. “I am here to talk to you a little bit and see how you are feeling,” he explains.
John Tiger is a shorter man, with short, dirty, blond hair. It borders on brown and he wears it spiked up a little. He is around 5’7″ and wears his clothes baggy. I wonder why he introduced himself using his full name. Later I will learn, that everyone refers to him by his full name at the center.
He asks me questions concerning my well being, emotional state and withdrawal concerns. I assure him that I am feeling great, but eager to get to the center. I elaborate that I have broken several promises to my daughter and that I need to call her tonight, as I was promised a phone call.
“I am going to get you to the center tonight,” he promises. “The first thing you will do when you get there, is call your daughter. I’ll make sure of it.”
This affirmation, relaxes all of my stress and worry. The tension releases from my shoulders and I am confident that this John Tiger fellow, is going to make sure that I talk to Natalia.
It is nearing dinner time and I am anxiously, staring at the door. While there isn’t a clock in the room, I can somehow hear one ticking. Minutes feel like hours. Linnea has backed off a little with the light objectives, but we have run several more.
The door swings open. It is Aiden.
“Well, don’t just stand there. Let’s grab your things and get you to the center,” he says, through a shit eating grin.
“That is music to my ears!” I exclaim, excitedly. It takes everything in me, not to run over and give him a hug. This is the best news I have had in a long time!
It turns out, the center is less than a three minute drive from the ranch house. We are there in no time. There are students all over the place, and I am ecstatic to be surrounded by people.
Firstly, I am directed towards room one and instructed to leave my suitcases there. It turns out, we do not have private rooms. I will be bunking with two others, although they are not in the room at this time.
“No offense, but, I just had all of my possessions stolen from me from drug addicts. I am not saying that my roommates are thieves, but they are drug addicts. Are you sure it is alright for me to leave my things here?” I ask.
Aiden laughs, “Yes. Your suitcases will be fine. Now I believe you wanted to call your daughter?” He asks, still wearing that smirk.
“Yes! Oh thank you.” I can hardly contain myself.
Aiden takes me down to the office, where I meet my counselor, Sadie Dell. Sadie is beautiful. She has long, auburn hair and adorable freckles covering her face. The first thing I notice, however, is her bright, white smile. It forces me to smile back at her.
“I am going to show you around. It is dinner time and I don’t want you to miss eating, but first, let’s call your daughter,” she expresses, while handing me the phone.
I dial the number to my father’s house. My heart is racing with anticipation and I can feel emotions bubbling to the surface.
“Yellllow,” my father answers. He always replaces hello, with yellow, when he answers, as do I, when I answer his phone calls.
“Hi dad,” I say excitedly. “I want to talk to you but can I talk to Natty right now?” I ask. I hope that doesn’t sound as though I don’t miss him too. I do, but I need to hear her voice.
“Natty, there is somebody on the phone for you,” I hear my father say.
“Is it my mama?” Natty’s precious voice asks.
Instantly my eyes well up, hearing the sound of her soft, childlike voice.
“Hi, mama. How are you?” She asks.
“Hi baby!” I exclaim. “I am good, but I have missed you so much. I am sorry I didn’t call before. I thought I would be able to, but the doctor’s office has a lot of rules that I didn’t know about honey,” I inform her.
“That’s okay mama. You are the best mama in the whole, wide world. Are you getting all better?” She asks. I can sense the hope in her tone.
“Mommy just started getting some help, but I am working on it honey,” I promise. It is difficult, but I fight back the sounds of my crying. I have to pull the phone away a couple of times, to conceal my sobbing.
We talk back and forth a little while longer. I’ve been placed on speaker phone and am able to speak with my father and Colleen, as well.
It is time to wrap up the call and eat dinner.
“I will call tomorrow. I am allowed to use the phone, once a day for 15 minutes,” I inform them.
Before we hang up, I ask Natty to stretch out her arms, while extending my arms to stretch out too.
“Are your arms out?” I ask.
“Yup,” she giggles.
“I love you this much,” I say, stretching the word this, to thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis, as you do when you extend your arms out with little kids.
“I’m closing them and hugging and kissing you right now,” I say, while closing my arms around myself, as if to embrace myself in a hug. I blow several kisses, making, “Muah muah” sounds.
Natty repeats what I have said to her. Assuring me that she loves me just as much, before hanging up the phone.
“Wow, you did really well Liz,” Sadie says.
Another counselor in the office, Sally, agrees with her. Sally is the lead counselor, I think. She is tan, in her late 30’s, maybe early 40’s and has long, blond hair. Her makeup is beautiful, and she too, has an infectious smile.
“I didn’t want her to hear me crying,” I say, as I wipe tears from my cheeks.
“Oh honey, you did so well. I am impressed and it is obvious how much you love your daughter,” Sally elaborates.
Sadie Dell leads me to the kitchen to get dinner. There is still another class after dinner, but because I am late getting here, she informs me I can unpack and get situated. Another class? Am I going back to school, I wonder? What exactly is this Narconon place going to have me doing….