“Honey, are you okay?” my mother reached for me.
I motioned her away, “I’m fine.” I turned to Emily as she entered the living room. “What did the note say?”
“Perhaps it would be better if we all sat down and Dr. Miles told you,” Emily replied.
I gritted my teeth. “Tell me now,” I growled.
She looked into my eyes and I saw pity mixed with sympathy, “Maybe you’d better read it for yourself.” She pulled a piece of paper from her jacket, “It’s a copy.”
Haven’t you realized by now what’s happening to you? The blackouts, the hallucinations, everyone out to get you. You’re messed up in the head, Liz.
I dropped the paper as if I’d been burned. “So you’re going to believe the kidnappers over me? Can’t you see they’re trying to discredit me for some reason?” I shot Emily a hard look. She looked extremely uncomfortable.
“I believe you, Liz, but you told me yourself you were having some problems,” she replied.
Dr. Miles moved toward me, “Why don’t you sit down and we can talk over our next steps?”
I glared at her, “You are no longer my doctor. Get out of here.”
My mother gasped, “Elizabeth, don’t. I think Dr. Miles can help you. She’s suggested a stay at her clinic.”
I wanted to scream and smash the lamp sitting next to Dr. Miles. I held in the impulse with difficulty. If Dr. Miles thought I was dangerous, I’d be locked away in a flash. She stood next to my mother putting on a show of sympathy. I wondered if she showed this kind of ‘caring’ to all her unfortunate patients or whether I’d be singled out. She had no business practicing psychiatry. “I had a bad interaction with some of the meds. There’s not a thing wrong with my mind,” I said calmly at last.
Dr Miles spoke up, “Then let’s get you checked out.” She looked at me, the reflection of the overhead lighting fixture hiding her eyes behind her oversized glasses. “Please tell me exactly what you experienced after taking them,” she prompted.
“Listen, I’m not going anywhere with you and you’re no longer my doctor.” I turned to my mother and father, “Please take her and go.”
My father, silent until now, interjected, “Are you sure you shouldn’t listen to her? You’ve been under an enormous strain.”
He was usually the last one to go to any doctor. My mother practically forced him to go to check-ups. I looked at him in surprise.
“Dr. Miles explained some things to us,” he said quietly. He turned to Dr. Miles. “Can you tell her what you told us?”
Dr. Miles came closer to me. “The symptoms you’ve been experiencing-inability to focus, hallucinations, a belief someone is out to get you-”
I glared at her. It was not a belief. Were we back to me imagining being attacked?
“Many times schizophrenia doesn’t show up until the late twenties,” she added.
Schizophrenia? Was she kidding? “Mom, you don’t really believe this, do you?”
My mother shifted nervously from foot to foot, “Liz, it could explain so much.”
I felt like I’d been sucker punched in the gut. Everyone in the room thought I was crazy. “Where did the note come from then?” I asked. “Have you all forgotten that Chris and Daniel have been kidnapped?”
Emily cleared her throat to gain my attention. I turned back to her.
“We reviewed the footage on the security camera. It appears the suspect had a key. We think the perpetrator was a woman based on her build. She would be about 5′ 9” and weigh around 130 pounds.” Emily finished and waited for my reaction.
5′ 9”, 130 lb. woman with a key. I knew at once what she was saying. She thought I’d written the notes myself. “I suppose I kidnapped them too?” I asked in disgust.
“Of course not,” Emily said. “When we didn’t hear anything back from the real kidnappers, maybe it was too much.”
“And I snapped and became a schizo overnight?” I asked sarcastically.
Dr. Miles stepped in, “There may have been small signs before now, but the condition often doesn’t develop until the late twenties. The stress may have exasperated your symptoms at a rapid pace.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I turned back to Emily, “So you think the kidnappers have never made contact?”
Emily said sympathetically, “We think Chris took Daniel to avoid having a custody battle.”
“He might have begun to guess you suffered from mental illness,” Dr. Miles added.
Emily continued, “He may have not wanted to be forced to bring that up in a custody hearing. We think he left in a misguided attempt to shield you.”
“That’s an awful lot of speculation,” I said. “Have you stopped investigating actual evidence these days?” I spat out in disgust.
“We found a letter inside Chris’ desk at his office,” Emily replied.
I sank to the couch. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. “Can I read it?” I asked.
Emily nodded. She produced a sheet of paper. “It’s a copy. A cleaning lady found the original trapped in a corner under Chris’ desk. I got the call it had been found after I hung up with you this morning.”
I scanned through the letter. It confirmed what Emily had said. Chris wrote that he didn’t want to cause me pain but he thought our son was better off with him. “Why didn’t he leave it then? Why put me through all this?”
No one seemed to have an answer.
“Come with us and Dr. Miles,” my mother said at last.
“No, I’m leaving. I need to think,” I said.