Patricia: Part 7

Several weeks passed, but Liz didn’t hear from Patricia again. Troubled by the lack of contact, Liz tried calling Patricia. Her number had been disconnected. Finally, Liz called Jeanette Sizemore, the social worker who had first referred Patricia’s case to her.

“Oh, yes,” Jeanette said, “Patricia had the baby and placed him with a wonderful young couple from out of state. Everything is fine with the adoption.”

“I’m more concerned about how Patricia is doing,” Liz replied, “Do you have a current contact number?”

“I’m afraid I don’t,” Jeanette replied. “But I need to do a follow up visit myself. If you like, I’ll get her new number and call you later.” The two professionals agreed on this plan. Even so, Liz felt troubled as she slowly replaced the phone.

Patricia had never really wavered from her plan to give her baby up. Though at times she expressed typical motherly feelings toward her unborn son, more often she appeared indifferent or closed to the possibility of bonding with the baby. It was as if she was already carrying someone else’s child. Patricia had often said that she didn’t ever want to see her father again; Liz suspected that she harbored similar feelings for her baby. Liz had worried that Patricia would give birth and never even hold her son, so eager was she to distance herself from the child.

Was Patricia symbolically distancing herself from her weak mother as she separated her weak and dependent baby from herself? Or did she identify the little boy with her own father somehow? Babies could be awfully unpredictable and chaotic—maybe on some level the little boy would dredge up archaic feelings of helplessness in Patricia.

“In any case,” Liz murmured to herself, “it’s done now. Now all you can do is wait.”

A few days later, Liz received a call from Jeanette. “Liz, I have surprising news about Patricia,” she began. “When I got out to the trailer, it was empty. Her neighbor said that as soon as Patricia felt better, she packed her things, withdrew the girls from school, and moved to Kansas to be near her mom and sister.”

Liz leaned back in her chair, dumbfounded. “Are you sure?” she asked.

“As sure as I can be,” Jeanette replied. “I was just as surprised as you, because she had a follow-up appointment with us, too. I’m going to have to try to contact her by mail, but I don’t even have a forwarding address that’s current. She put an old address for her mother on her original paperwork, so we’re pretty much up a creek without a paddle on this one.”

Liz thanked Jeanette and disconnected the call, sighing deeply. The clock ticked.

Patricia’s file was open before her on the desk. Liz charted her call with Jeanette Sizemore, then closed the file and locked it in her file cabinet. A few minutes later, she heard a soft knock at the door; time for her next client.

Tucking her hair behind her ear, Liz took a cleansing breath and opened the door, smiling as she ushered him into the room.

7 responses

  1. Oh, to all and sundry who are regular readers and who also use Facebook in real life, and who would like to share our more mundane selves in that venue, drop me an email at third.eve@gmail.com

    I’ve taken my mundane, shallow, cocktail party-esque self there and I like it. But of course I will continue to honor my analytical side here.

    • From the therapist’s viewpoint it was. From Patricia’s viewpoint, it was the beginning of something else. I wrap it all up in Wednesday’s blog–as much as can be wrapped up.

      This was fun to do, but also grueling, by the way. Now that I’ve gotten as far as I did I have even more appreciate for what it would take to write fiction. (And I don’t claim to have even approached the task here… I think all I had was the skeleton of a narrative.) I’m writing this to you, of course, because you ARE a fiction writer.

      Wow, the amount of psychological and emotional, even spiritual, work it takes to write fiction… I am seeing the seeable part of that and it boggles my mind. My hat’s off to you, my friend.

  2. “……did she identify the little boy with her own father somehow……..?”

    Would Patricia not have identified her little boy with her younger brother, who, like her little boy, was a youngest child with older sisters, and who had to be shielded, and then left the family.

    Patricia turned into her mother in the sense that, like her mother, she married a violent drunk, but isn’t like her mother in the sense that she’s stronger.

    • Phillip, yes, that’s a possibility also. Her patterns in adulthood certainly looked very much like those created for her during her childhood.

      Usually one has to wait a number of years to discover what drama was actually being played out. One thing we see consistently is that people have strong drives to heal the wound and also to re-create it.

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