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Authors: June Gray

The Henry Sessions

BOOK: The Henry Sessions
7.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The Henry Sessions
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, locations and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, and events is entirely coincidental.


Copyright © 2012 by June Gray.
All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from either the author or the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote a brief passage in a review.


First Edition. Cover design by June Gray




To those serving with honor in the United States military.

Thank you.




“So Henry,” Dr. Galicia began on that Tuesday morning. “I’ve decided to try something different with you since we have a short amount of time.”

“What’s that?” Henry asked, looking around the office. The furnishings were no longer the same. Gone were the knick-knacks that Doc Gal kept on every surface, and the furniture was different, more modern. It was as if Doc Gal dropped her bohemian sensibilities and moved to Scandinavia. Even the doc looked different. Back then she wore her hair long and loose, her clothes a little eccentric. Now her black hair was cut into a sharp bob and her clothes were crisp and professional.

It had been fifteen years since Henry last sat in this room. Of course everything about Doc Gal had changed. He had changed too, hadn’t he?

“We will be taping your sessions,” Doc Gal said, placing a voice recorder on the coffee table between them. “So you can go back and listen to everything you’ve said.”

He stared hard at the small device. “Will that help… with everything?”

“I’m hoping so. Somewhere along the way, your stories will reveal a little nugget of truth. I want you to be able to hear it later on.”

“This isn’t how we did this back when I was younger.”

She shook her head with a tiny grin. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Like I said, I wanted to try something different.” She bent over and pressed record. “You can just start talking.”

“About what?”

“About your past.”

He shook his head, not sure if he could do this. “I don’t even know where to begin.”

“How about we start from the beginning and work our way from there?”

Henry tried to avoid looking at the recorder but even though he bore holes into the cream wall behind Doc Gal’s head, he could still feel the recorder’s presence, could swear he could hear its internal mechanisms whirring.

“Talk about your earliest memory,” she suggested.

Henry closed his eyes, thinking hard of his very first memory, and began to talk.




My earliest memory is of going to the park when I was two, maybe three years old. My nanny, Louise, took me to this tiny park down the street and I played with this kid I’d never met before. He kept referring to Louise as my mom and I never corrected him. I figured she was better than my mom, because at least she took care of me.

My parents were busy career-oriented people. My mom was an up and coming lawyer and my dad had his landscaping business. Mom was always working late or dashing off to meet with clients, and Dad, well, when he wasn’t working or drinking with his buddies, he was sitting in his man cave and needing his man space.

I was not allowed to enter the man cave unless he was having a football-watching party and he needed me to get them some more chips or beer.

For some reason I always thought men loved having sons because it meant they had someone to teach baseball or how to build cars. At the very least, they had someone to carry on the family name, but my Dad didn’t seem to care either way. He didn’t do the other things that my classmates’ parents did. We never did little league or boy scouts or any of that.

Why? Fuck if I know. He was a shitty parent is what I finally concluded a long time ago. Too selfish to have a kid, that’s for sure.

My mom would sometimes show some semblance of affection for me. When she had a spare minute, she’d give me a hug or a kiss on the forehead. You know, easy mom stuff. But what I really wanted her to do was stay home and
care of me, be there when I got off the bus like other kids’ moms. I wanted to come home to
cookies and a glass of milk. I thought that’s what moms were supposed to do, not rush off to work every day and come home in time to march me off to bed.

Have I started rebuilding that broken relationship with my parents?

Hell no.

Do I want to?

I don’t know if I should even bother. They are who they are and I hate them and love them regardless.

Just… sometimes I wish they would at least attempt to apologize, you know? Would it hurt them to say, “Henry, we’re sorry we neglected you and allowed you to be raised by a nanny”? I don’t know if that’s the magic salve that will heal all wounds but it’d be nice to hear them acknowledge it.

They never even called me to say goodbye before I deployed.


I was a bit of a wild child when I was younger, as you were well aware. I had my first smoke in fifth grade and tried my first beer in sixth grade. By seventh grade, I’d lost my virginity to this girl—I can’t even remember her name anymore—
was just visiting Monterey for the week. I bragged to my friends at school that I’d had a one-night stand but I remember wanting her to fall in love with me. I’m not sure what that says about
me, that
I wanted love and acceptance from a girl who wasn’t even going to stick around.

Desperate? Stupid? Naïve?
All of the above?

The first time I tried pot was at a party at the beginning of sophomore year. I think if I’d been able to get my hands on it, I probably would have done it more. As it was, I wasn’t inventive enough to find it and not cool enough to have the right connections to the people who could.

My first fight was with a boy in the playground in second grade. He threw sand in my face so I punched him in the balls. That earned me a trip to the principal’s office. Louise was the one to pick me up from the office.

The first time I stole was at this kid’s house when he invited me over for dinner. That was my MO back then: I’d befriend someone and go to their house for dinner because the only thing waiting for me at home was another frozen burrito or ramen noodles. So I’d go to my classmates’ houses for dinner. One time I was at Tommy Schilling’s house and I saw this really cool lighter inside a hutch in their formal dining room. It was this cool brass lighter shaped like an atomic bomb and I just reached into the cabinet and took it

I was never invited there again. Tommy accused me at school the next week, but they couldn’t prove anything, and being that my mom was a lawyer, they didn’t really want to pursue it.

I gave the lighter back eventually. It took until the end of sophomore year but I finally gave it back to Tommy and told him that I was sorry.

I knew I was heading down the wrong path but it was like an icy slalom; I could see exactly where I was headed but I couldn’t stop. Until the first time I met the Shermans.

Jason first came to school about two months into the school year. I remember him vividly because he was tall even then, with floppy blond hair and an easygoing smile. He walked around the halls with confidence, like he’d been going there since freshman year. Word quickly got around that he was the new kid and by the end of the day, he already had half the female students swooning. One day at school and already he was destined to be the golden boy. For someone who had been trying since junior high to get attention and failing miserably, that was a big boot to the nuts.

I hadn’t had my growth spurt yet so I was only about 5’6” at the time and not much to look at. Jason didn’t know about my history, so I thought maybe he was someone I could befriend and he could elevate my standing at school. At the very least, I’d get a warm dinner or two out of his family. So I did my thing and insinuated myself into their dinner plans. Turned out we lived only a few houses apart, so that was a bonus.

Jason seemed like such a nice kid. He didn’t even look suspicious when I asked if I could see his house and he automatically just invited me to stay for dinner.

That was the first day I met Elsie.

Who is Elsie? The simplest I could put it is that she’s Jason’s little sister. The most complicated is that she’s the love of my life. I’m going to try to be objective when talking about her, try not to let my feelings for her now color how I remembered her in the past.

Elsie was a cute girl. She was this little thing with light brown curly hair and big hazel eyes. When I walked into the Sherman house, she came running down the stairs with an eager smile, but when she saw me, her expression changed like she’d smelled some bad. I couldn’t really blame her. I had braces so I never smiled, and a head of crazy wavy hair that I rarely ever brushed. Turned out that was the thing we’d bond over: our hair.

“Your hair is out of control,” I said just to piss her off.

“Yours is worse,” she said with attitude. I wanted to tease her more, to see how mad I could really make her, but her mom came out to greet me so I bit my tongue.

“Jason, who’s your friend?” she asked, looking me over. But she didn’t look at me with distaste like other parents because she hadn’t heard anything about me. She just looked at me with curiosity and maybe some amusement.

“Henry Logan,” Jason said, clapping me on the back. “Nicest guy in school.”

I didn’t really agree with that appraisal, but who the hell cared. I could pretend to be the nicest guy in school if it got me free food and some company.

Dinner at their house was like a revelation. Until then, I’d never realized how nice it could really feel to sit at the table with mom and dad and talk about your day. The Shermans asked their kids about their day and really listened, but then they asked me about myself and also seemed really interested. It was really sweet and intrusive and made me a little panicked. I think I might have said three words before stuffing my face with mashed potatoes.

I was invited over for dinner twice more that week and I returned, soaking up their normalcy. They were what I’d always wanted in a family but never got.

I don’t know if it’s healthy to both resent and envy the Shermans, but I will tell you one thing: I never stole a thing from their home. It never even occurred to me.




Jason and I became really good friends. At first he hung out with me because I was the only person he knew, and I hung out with him because he was the only one who still would. Eventually though, a real friendship happened.

He was hilarious. He was always telling the nastiest jokes when there were no adults around. He had the largest repertoire of sexual jokes I’d ever heard, and the guy was smart without even trying. The best thing about Jason though was that he was loyal and a true friend. I couldn’t tell you how many times other students came up to him and told him stories about my past. Jason just shrugged them off and told them that I was his friend regardless, that I didn’t steal from him or beat him up so why should he care?

He was so sure of himself, a trait that he definitely got from his dad who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. Jason was one of the best-looking kids in school and his confidence and that laidback smile really drove the ladies crazy. He always had to let the ladies down easy. Ugh, it made me sick.

I was the invisible sidekick for the longest time but then I shot up in height and the braces were taken off and all of a sudden girls were looking at me too. Not in
, aren’t you the guy who steals things?
of way either. I wasn’t used to that kind of positive attention, so I took the cue from Jason and played it cool.

BOOK: The Henry Sessions
7.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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