When I woke up the next morning, Binara was nowhere to be seen.
I was quite sure I hadn’t dreamt her (though I had one about my Nana’s kitchen and eating a bowl of beef stew before my mother grabbed it and threw it in the garbage) but I also wasn’t sure why I was seeing things that weren’t there again. Whatever, I didn’t have time that day before class to call my psychiatrist and discuss my dosage. I had an appointment with her the next day anyways, so it would be moot to do anything. I got ready and headed out the door, yelling at David over the dating chat app for abandoning me as I rode the bus to campus.
By the time I had made it to my favorite spot in the windowless place the university called a classroom, I had summarily taken a screenshot of the dudebro’s asinine commentary, blocked him, and put the photo in my asshole album on speedysnap. He had been so promising too. I guess it’s what I get for taking more after my great-grandmother in looks and expecting to get a decent man who isn’t just into me for the “exotic Indian chick” arm candy. Puh-lease, like my family’s from anywhere near the Indian subcontinent.
Class went as smoothly as one could expect with an instructor that loved to lecture. I was taking notes on my laptop when I felt it was important and looking through the news articles of yesterday’s attack when it wasn’t. With all the media coverage of the football game, I thought they would have caught some pics of the carnage outside. Alas, most of it was afterwards shots of the stadium. Figures that the media, who is always abuzz when it comes to superhumans, failed to get a shot of that scoreboard flying back towards the stadium, guided by a spontaneous tornado of all things.
There was one article in one of the tiny local supers’ blogs that had a shot of myself and Binara when she was talking about healers, though. It wasn’t professional from what I could see, but it at least confirmed that her presence there wasn’t just a mass hallucination. The article seemed to focusing on the usual of whenever a new super steps up to the job of protecting the people; who are they, what’s their costume made from, what other powers do they have besides the ones displayed, are they registered with the SRA, would they go out on a date with me, etc. Even the comments were similarly styled, save the date ones were in a lot poorer taste.
The rest of the day flowed quite smoothly, even for my internship afternoon, which almost never is that good. Call me superstitious, but when the boss that normally grumbles about your filing speed is suddenly cheerful, I tend to think the other shoe is going to drop soon.
When I returned home, I felt something chilly as I passed by my neighbor Maria’s door. I chalked it up to the A/C being on and went on to my own place. Binara wasn’t there when I returned, so I went about making dinner.
I was certainly glad I didn’t have class the next day, as a secondary alarm went off on my phone that morning well before I was ready to roll out of bed. I blearily looked at the calendar notification and then mentally kicked myself for not realizing this shoe sooner. I knew I couldn’t cancel my appointment, so I made a reminder to buy some flowers and go down to the reservation that weekend. I knew I had to do something to commemorate the day, so once I was up officially, I drudged around in my stuff drawer for the old silver hair clip my Nana had given me when I was a child. I never had the heart to get rid of it when I left for college, though my mother always chided me for keeping it.
It was going to be my choice of accessory for that day, instead of the pearl solitaire necklace my parents had gifted me upon attaining my undergraduate degree. I played with its feather charm in the lobby of my psychiatrist’s office while awaiting my appointment. I had arrived early, as I am wont to do when I want to make a good impression. It had only earned me a quick call up to the receptionist’s window and a copayment. The magazines had only begun to call to my interest when I was motioned back.
“So, how have you been since we last talked?” Dr. Amanda Hemsworth asked me once the door to her office was shut and I was securely on the couch.
“Pretty good, considering my stress load,” I replied.
She smiled and looked at her notes. “I see that last time we were talking about your family and how you feel they shaped you. Do you want to pick up there? We could talk about another subject though.”
“I’d like to pick up there, but I have a question for when we get to end of session today.”
“Of course. I believe we were on your father last time.”
“Yeah, Dad. He never was as affectionate as he could have been, though he did try to make some effort to see my concerts in high school. Most of his work related stuff kept him from family, though.”
“And you resent him for this?”
“In a way, yes. It did keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, so mom always told me to not complain. She always told me we could have it worse and still be living on the reservation like my grandparents, who were stuck in their ways.”
“I don’t believe we’ve touched on your mother. What can you tell me about her?”
“She was a very religious woman, having grown up Catholic. She was the main force behind me being kept away from my grandmother when I was in high school. She absolutely hated my Nana, though she would put on a veneer of civility during holidays. I just…I just…” My eyes began to well up as I reached for the tissue box on the oak side table.
“Did something happen during those years?”
I nodded, the painful memories flowing back. “I just wish I could have been at my Nana’s side when she passed. She was precious to me, and I didn’t find out she’d gone until my Uncle Joseph called me to see if mom had passed along the day and time of the funeral. That bitch was planning on not having me show up at the funeral! She tried to play it off as me needing to study for my LSATs, but I knew it was because she didn’t want me to see Nana until she was in the ground.”
“It seems like you have a lot of resentment towards both your parents.”
I dabbed my eyes and uncrossed my legs. “I guess you could say that. Mom was genuinely surprised when I came up the aisle of the funeral parlor right before they closed Nana’s casket and placed an owl feather charm in with her. The real fireworks didn’t happen until after the wake was already going. The bitch struck me for siding with Nana and disobeying her. I told her that since I no longer lived under their roof, their damn rules didn’t apply. When she went to slap me again, I got a few in myself before my cousins restrained us both. Part of the reason why I’m studying up here instead of closer to their place is so I don’t have to deal with their bullshit.”
Amanda nodded. “Since you have come to me, you seem to have come out of your shell some.”
“Well, I did have a therapist down there ever since I was in high school. He seemed more enamored with my parents and their way of doing things though. I didn’t want to have to keep on making the trek to see him, so that’s why I looked you up.”
“And it’s always a good thing to be able to find help closer to where you live. I want to reiterate that none of what you tell me goes beyond us, unless it is something that I’m required to report.”
I thought for a moment. The memory had come flooding up along with the funeral, but should I tell her? “Today is Nana’s birthday. I miss her, like really miss her when this day comes around.”
“Are you going to go visit her?”
I nodded. “Not today, but later. Listen, I–I’ve only said one of the many things mom did. I’m not quite ready to bring the other things up, but I’m glad that you won’t report back to them like he did.”
Amanda raised an eyebrow. “Did this happen even after you became an adult?”
I nodded, gripping the leather arm of the couch.
She scrawled in her notebook. “I’m sure the board would want to hear about that.” A beeping sound came from the arm of her chair. “Ah, we’re getting close to time. Now what was the question you wanted to ask?’
“I was wanting to ask if you could adjust my schizophrenia meds. I think I was starting to have some sort of afterimages and seeing a person that wasn’t there.”
She looked through one of her file folders. “When was the last time you were evaluated for it? I see you were diagnosed when you were seventeen, but there’s no mention on your record that Dr. O’Brier went back and updated it at regular intervals.”
“He never did do any sort of tests after I was diagnosed, which was just the way mom wanted it.”
She looked from the file to me. “It’s been long enough that you’re more than overdue for one. I’m going to have you go to the specialist I work with and set up an appointment with them. Until I get the results from them, your meds will remain the same.” She showed me out to the receptionist’s desk and had them hand me the information, setting my next appointment with her for next month and my appointment with the diagnostic clinic in two weeks. I took the appointment cards and left the office behind.