Authors: Tiana Laveen
“There is a clear structure there, away from chaos. When it
become tumultuous, he was put in power to correct it, to make things right again. That is why he was so effective and, in part, respected. As stated, Aaron works with facts and figures and he needs answers. He is solution driven. I purposefully created doubt in his mind by slowly but surely chiseling away at the infrastructure he had built around himself. This was very difficult because he does not allow anyone close enough to do such… but he finally did with me and one other person…
The two glared at one another for a moment or two.
“The problem, Mia, is that when you do not do things in increments with Aaron, and allow him to choose how and when he does things, you run the risk of alienation and reversion. This is why I never forced him to do any exact assignments. Aaron is proactive and will do all of that himself IF and only IF he has the education and curiosity to do such. It was my job to make him curious about it and put the seeds of the desire inside of him. I could not force him, for if you force him, he will simply either resist, or perform and will not have taken the lesson from it. He knows exactly what to do and say to get out of almost any situation as it pertains to things of this nature. If he is not in charge of how and when things occur, he could misunderstand the results and benefits of the experience if something backfires as well. So as you see, he is very complicated, though he appears linear. How anyone deals with him has to be clear and simple, but when dealing with him, the facts of the matter are always more complicated. Additionally, he is secretly attracted to the opposite of what he presents.”
“I… I don’t quite understand the last thing you just said.”
“Mia, Aaron is structure and logic, but he is attracted to art and chaos. He simply doesn’t know it. This ties back into his need to dominate. In other words, he has to feel in control. If he is doing something to make someone else happy, it has to be because he
to make them happy and it was his idea, at least with respect to how the situation is played out and resolved. Aaron has issues with control. It is a struggle for him because it defines part of who he is. Classification and identification are essential to him yet another part of him loves to write from the heart, which is art. Art is not controllable, Ms. Armstrong. It has been an internal source of conflict for him so he found a way to use it, at least temporarily, to his benefit. He hates that he has this problem, I must add.” He paused and regarded her with a narrowed gaze.
“It is of no surprise to me that he would be attracted to a woman such as yourself, who teaches and writes poetry. You have the same duality that he does; only you embrace yours.”
He didn’t miss the smile on the woman’s face as she nodded in complete understanding.
“Control rules him, but sometimes, he doesn’t want it. Sometimes, he just wants to relax, be calm and live without rules and parameters. But then, if he does, his sense of safety is removed. For him, it’s like jumping off a cliff with no parachute. He will not relinquish one without a replacement ready, willing and able. What you’ve done is made him feel an obligation because he realized he was in love with you. Though he stated to you the experience was positive, now that he suspects the person he has been corresponding with lied about her identification, name, ethnicity and appearance, everything you did and said will be examined and given a negative connotation. The reason for this is because Aaron does not have what we call the racial maturity to be better able to handle this. He suffers from acute xenophobia.”
“Oh my God… I see what you are saying now, Dr. Owens.”
She fidgeted in her seat, undoubtedly realizing she could have undone literally months of hardcore therapy. The anger within him soared at the notion, the damn possibility of all of his effort down the drain…
“At this point, there is no way to put the horse back inside of the barn. He pretty much knows it is you, so unfortunately, I will have to back him into a corner—which could also backfire, but I have no other choice.” He sighed as a migraine overcame him.
“Back him into a corner? This is all my fault!” The woman slammed her fist on the desk as angry tears budded in her eyes. “Dr. Owens, I am so sorry about this! I didn’t… I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I am truly not trying to sit here and pretend to be innocent. I know what I did was wrong; I just had no idea I’d actually have feelings for the man… I promise you that!”
“…I know that you believe what you’re telling me. Ms. Armstrong, motives change over time, even from day to day. We don’t have time to get into all of that; I have to focus on talking to you about Aaron so we can address this, together, as a team.”
She nodded in understanding.
“Now look, Aaron is in flight mode. He is still emotionally attached to you, though. He is able to get himself detached from people by a series of antisocial processes he goes through in order to protect his core. I believe he is able to do this quite quickly, and in this situation, he will get it done as swiftly as possible because of the emotional aspect, which makes him highly uncomfortable. This has
happened, so we have to strike while the iron is hot.”
“What do you suggest?”
“Mia… let me ask you something.”
“Of course.” She leaned slightly forward.
“You said it several times, but I need to be completely certain for my own peace of mind. Do you
love Aaron to the point that you wish to be with him?”
“Yes. Yes I do, Dr. Owens!”
“So, if he were released from prison right this moment, and wanted to be with you, would you do so?”
“Yes, I most certainly would. I
this man, Dr. Owens! Nothing you’ve shared with me just now comes as a surprise. I knew almost all of this; I just could not articulate it the way you have, in a psychological way, I suppose, but I know he is hurt and damaged, I know it… But, he is still very capable of giving and receiving love.”
…You are hurt and damaged too, Mia… Your need to try to alter the ‘bad child’ and ‘bad boy’s’ reality could send you to an early grave, but you desire it nevertheless. You were probably raised in a very religious home, smiled to their faces but behaved sneakily behind closed doors. The true you is a self-appointed savior, but you are attracted to what is dark, perceived as damaged, evil and unlovable… and we both know it…
“Yes, he is quite capable of giving and receiving love and I do not have any reservations about Aaron being in a healthy, monogamous relationship. I think he is the type of person that actually
one, would benefit from it. He needs to be able to give, as well as an outlet where he doesn’t feel as if he must perform and be judged. Okay.” He sighed and pushed his laptop back a couple of inches. “Very well. Mia, I need to arrange for you and Aaron to spend some time together. I need you to clear your schedule this upcoming weekend to help address this.”
“Yes, of course. Consider it done.” She squeezed the tissue in her grip.
“If I can get Aaron to agree to it, we can try to turn this situation around. I have a rather unorthodox proposal.” He paused, studied her a moment or two, and clasped his hands together. “It will require me to pull in a couple of favors but sometimes extreme circumstances require extreme measures.”
“Where are you going with this, Dr. Owens? I think I know, but…” She swallowed. “Okay…maybe I’m jumping to conclusions. What do you suggest?”
“A conjugal visit…”
“A conjugal visit?” The woman’s brow rose as her jaw dropped open. “I thought you’d arrange for us to meet in your office next week, something like that! He’s
going to do that and besides, we’re not married and Holman doesn’t even allow that. Matter of fact, there is only one prison in the entire state of Alabama that makes provisions but it would never—”
“Let me handle the details, please.” He raised his hand. “There are a lot of things that go on in the prison system that the public is not aware of, or is privy to, including yourself. I am, however. Now, let me make this clear.” He pointed at her. “I am not arranging it so that you and Aaron engage in sexual activity. Under the circumstances, we both know that is highly unlikely, but I
need for you two to be in the
area for an extended period of time, uninterrupted and left with nothing but conversation. Again, Aaron needs to feel safe. That is what drives him as it pertains to things such as this. And, he can only feel safe with you, if he is able to look you in the eye and spend, not just an hour or two with you, but two to three days to help with forgiveness and healing. There are too many layers, and that takes time.”
She dabbed at the corner of her eyes and held up a finger as if requesting him to hold that thought. Mia proceeded to pull out a ribbon wrapped wad of papers. Gently untying the shiny, royal blue string, she let the series of neatly tri-folded sheets spill onto her lap.
“What are those?”
“They are most of the poems I’d handwritten to him, returned to me. I wrapped them up in a blue ribbon in hopes of giving them back to him some day.” She plucked another folded piece of paper from her purse, this one white, and reached across the desk to hand it to him.
He looked at her for a moment or two, then unfolded it, and read the simple words…
I don’t know what to call you anymore, so I won’t write a name at all.
I loved you more than any other woman in my lifetime… I planned to give you everything you could have wanted and needed. I don’t know what’s true and what’s a lie, but now none of that even matters. How could you do this to me? What type of person does this to someone they say they love? I know who you are and what you are. You made a fool of me! Stop sending me letters and gifts.
Don’t ever contact me again.
“Mia, when did you receive this?”
“Not long ago at all. I got it a bit later though because it arrived at my P.O. Box. It was the only address he had for me. I understand that you’d been sending the bulk of his correspondences previously, up until that point.”
Dr. Owens bowed his head in agreement.
“I had kept trying to send him letters to explain, to ask to talk on the phone at least, but the letters kept coming back and then he sent this one.”
…He was having a nervous breakdown and even in the midst of it, he was reaching out to her. A part of him wanted her to make this right, though he knew that was theoretically impossible.
He nodded in understanding from her response and sighed, yet, kept the revelation to himself.
“Well, we have a lot of work ahead of us, and I’m going to need you to do your part…”
“I’m going to do whatever you say, Dr. Owens. I got myself into this, and now, I just want to get
out of it…”
OU MUST BE
out of your goddamn mind!” Aaron screamed.
He looked at the man, certain the nerdy motherfucker would sprout two more damn heads. Dr. Owens was quickly becoming an ugly alien, public enemy number two, in his mind. Not only had the man called him back into his office in the wee hours of the morning when he’d finally fallen asleep after yet another emotionally draining day, but he’d confirmed his greatest fears…
To make matters worse, hints of her perfume lingered in the man’s office, floating about like tiny, invisible ghosts there to haunt him. Ghosts that gave dirty proof she’d been sitting there not too long ago, infecting the air with her lying stench. There was no room or opportunity for talking himself out of the actuality of the situation. It had happened. The good doctor had done some investigative work and admitted to the entire conversation with the woman. He didn’t give many details; matter of fact, Aaron’s questions often went unanswered by a bland response such as, “That’s not important…”