Phase Four: Yellow Peru Hypnotism

Posted: December 11, 2009 in Chapters of "In the Gray"
“I fucking hate doing this. Can we please not?,” I plopped my whole body back on the giant couch in Tyler’s office, kind of like I was free-falling onto one of those stunt-man blobs. It just caught me and the cushions sucked me in, my eyes blankly focusing on a ceiling tile that looked like someone spilled coffee all over it.

I hate going under hypnosis. It feels like my mind is being molested. Like when you’re the first one to pass out at a party, and you wake up, having no idea what occurred in the past three hours. I have no control over what I do or say when I’m under.

Tyler straightened his posture and scratched at his stubble; he was visibly aggravated, “It’s part of your therapy, Leta. You’ve been doing so well, and I’d just like you to be abl-”

“No. I’m not really able to do anything, Tyler. There’s a blur. A BLUR. Between reality and my imagination, now. I can’t tell the difference! Did my dad build a domino house with me last night? I don’t know. Did we cause a fiery car accident and crash into the Dairy Queen on Delson? I don’t know.” I sat up, frustrated. He inhaled slowly and tucked in his bottom lip.

“You… obviously did not crash into the Dairy Queen… Leta. That didn’t happen.”

“Well, how would you know?”

“I saw your father’s car. It’s completely intact. And you are alive, injury free. It didn’t happen.”

“Yeah, well, I saw it.”

“Leta… you’ve got to make the call. It’s up to you to get this stuff out of your brain and out in the open so you can move on with your life.”

My body teetered over dramatically onto the couch where my back was met by floral cushion. I let out my signature annoyed sigh and shut my eyes, “Let’s just get this over with. Best Week Ever is on in a couple hours.” I kept my eyes shut and focused on the whirring of the air conditioner lacing through the vents. Tyler’s voice was soothing when I didn’t have to remember that it belonged to some dorky, fresh-out-of-doctorate-program, awkward guy who wore ties that didn’t go with his shirts and cleared his throat an obscene amount of times. I often debated whether he had some weird nervous tick or a bug in his throat. And then I wish he would choke on said hypothetical bug, because he was so adamant about digging out my brains and exposing my feelings as if i were some rare specimen to be put on display for scientific purposes.

“Your mind is filling up more and more with peaceful, empty space. Let your mind get bigger. Let your body sink into the sofa. Limb by limb… just let your body feel heavy. You are getting heavier… heavier… heavier… and heavier.” Don’t hold back, tell me how you really feel… God. Yeah, I’ve gained a couple pounds, but you really lay it on thick.

“So heavy… you feel your weight sink deeper and deeper into the sofa…” I start to imagine myself with a muffin top, just expanding with every word he says. Like Violet Beauregarde from the Chocolate Factory. Every time he says the words ‘weight’ and ‘heavy’, I feel like a big blueberry and the buttons on my jeans pop off and ricochet around the room like a pinball machine… and I get so self conscious. Just a big, mother-fucking blueberry.

“Okay, I’m sorry,” I suddenly sat up, shaking my head.

“Leta, we’re in the middle of the exercise. Is there a problem? Do you need to go to the bathroom, or…?”

“This is just… weird.”

“It’s procedure.”

“Well, you’re making me feel like a lard ass. Don’t you have any other techniques? Less… awkward ones?”

“This is the hypnosis technique I use for all my patients, Leta.”

“Yeah, well maybe it’s not such a good idea. They probably all walk out of here with an eating disorder.”

“Can we get back to the procedure?,” his patience was waning, and he was caught off-guard by my wake. I laid back down and folded my hands together, pretending nothing happened. I was focusing on his voice now – trying to see if I could pretend it was the movie trailer guy talking to me. That booming, overly-dramatic, husky, ogre voice… “Coming soon to a theatre near you… your body is sinking and your troubles are floating away. 10… 9… 8… 7… 6…”

And then I was out.

I was in a completely yellow room. No noise, not even white noise. It was the first time I was clear on what peace actually sounded like – and it was incredible. There were no doors, just windows that looked into other rooms of other colors. This room was a light, pastel yellow. Sunshine walls, yellow chairs, a yellow coffee table, and a lone daisy in a clear, cubic vase. I was sitting in one of the chairs, not even observing the room because I felt so satisfied. I realized Tyler wasn’t there. I couldn’t hear his voice, or even remember what his face looked like. I didn’t remember therapy. This was my life. This is what I understood.

“Hey, honey.”

“Hi mom.”

She walked out from behind me and sat down on the other chair by the coffee table. Something deep in the back of my mind desperately wanted to come through me and fling my arms around her, sobbing. But I didn’t. She crossed her legs and my eyes grazed over to meet hers, as if it were any other day in the perfect world where my mother wasn’t gone forever. It was her. The light crows feet tracing away from her honey-brown eyes, her soft hair that tinted in the light as some kind of chestnut, her gentle, feminine hands – still wearing her wedding band. She was wearing the lavender blouse and black slacks with black pumps; it was the outfit she wore to my high school gradation back in ’06, and I remember seeing her then, thinking she looked so pretty. Same subtle shade of lip stain. Same warm smile. Same mom.

“You’re being difficult again?,” she grinned over at me, tilting her head a little.

“I guess. He annoys me,” I said bluntly. I was afraid to look her in the eye at first; not because I was nervous, but because I was afraid I was underdressed, for some reason.

“Well… you’re doing great. I’m really proud of you,” she warmly smiled and nodded, though my expression was every bit of blank. I played with my sleeves, still looking down at my feet.


“What’s the matter? You don’t look as happy as you were last time. Where’s the sunshine?”

“Last time?,” I finally looked up, only to see her smile slowly fade.

“Last Tuesday, sweetheart.” I paused for a while, crinkling my face, racing through my mind but completely incapable of understanding sequence, reality, or even my own thoughts. I was disabled from my own memory. I faintly frowned, blinked downward, and spoke with a hushed voice.

“…I don’t remember that,” mom placed her hand over mine, and I felt a light energy run through my body. She slightly drew my chin upward to make eye contact with me, and the tone of her voice now matched mine.

“I know.”

After a long pause, I looked up and smiled, squeezing her hand and crossing my legs the other way.

“So… what do you do? Now…?,” and a big shining grin crept up on her face as she explained to me the details of her life.

“The transfer went nicely. I can’t complain, honey. It’s great.”

“Where are you now?”

“Transferred to a little boy in Lima. I’m one of the lucky ones. Papa is pretty loaded, so we’ve got it a little easier than some of my friends from school and their families. My best friend, Adelmo, doesn’t have any new books like I do, so… It hurts me a little bit to see my friends living they way that they do, but I can’t deny that I’m blessed. You should visit Peru one day. I know you’d love it.”

Both relieved and devastated, I forced a smile and tried to communicate that I was happy for her without saying anything. I desperately wanted to be happy for her. She was safe and alive somewhere and had a life of joy. I wanted to be glad. But mom always knew me. I couldn’t force anything. She could see through every lie I told and every facade I had.

“What’s wrong?”

“Do you remember me?,” I asked without looking her in the face. She took a very long time to collect herself; pursing her lips and looking away, she found strength to look her daughter back in the eye out of love, and love alone. Just to tell the truth as softly as she could.

“…No…. I really, really wish I did. Because you’re so special, Leta,” she gently put her hand on my shoulder and squeezed lightly. I put my hand over hers and closed my eyes.

“I remember you. All the time.”

“4… 3… 2… 1,” and I woke up to Tyler’s hand on my shoulder, gripping me the way my mother did. I shoved his hand off me and abruptly sat up, feeling violated without reason as my memory was being subconsciously diluted by reality.

“Is everything alright?,” he looked at me from over the rim of his glasses. I squinted and rubbed my eye that was dry from a stationary contact lens.

“Yeah,” I half-yawned and looked around his office.

“You look a little tired… Remember anything?”

And without missing a beat came the sad truth: “No.”


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