Clair meets her demon
August 14, 2016
Glenn gazed around at the others, then looked at Clair.
“I want to ask you a question.”
Sill slumped in her chair, said, “Shoot.”
Larry jumped out of his chair and exclaimed, “Shoot who?”
Mike, another one of the group members said, “It’s an expression. It means I’m giving you permission to proceed. So sit your fat ass down and shut up!”
Larry complied, but also made that gesture with his pointer and middle finger, aimed at his eyes, and motioned in return with the implication, “I’m watching you.”
Mike looked at him and shook his head.
“Larry, go to hell.”
“Okay, fellows, let’s keep the testosterone to a manageable level. Let’s get started again, and can we try it with no more interruptions? Clair?”
She stood up at attention and saluted.
“Yes, Comrade Counselor?”
The room erupted with slight laughter.
“Please sit down.”
“Ya Vol, Mein Fuhrer!”
Obeying his command, she sat down and again slumped in her chair, but now both feet were kicked straight out, rigid and crossed.
Glenn wasted no time, remained poised, and got straight to it.
“So Clair, who are your demons?”
Pondering the question, she replied, “I don’t know, maybe the boogeyman.”
More chuckles from the participants, but it gave her a moment of pause, remembering back when Edward said it to her.
He repeated the question, implying he would not settle for another smart-ass answer.
“Clair, who are your demons?”
The room was hushed, and every eye was on her. She acted as though she didn’t hear the question this time. To add to her posture, her arms were tightly crossed over her chest.
Calmly and without changes in his tone, Glenn asked again, “Who are your demons?”
She remained in her defensive stance —but now her arms grew tighter over her chest, legs remained outstretched also crossed and added a hint of nervous foot twitching.
“Clair, I asked you a question.”
She swelled up inside and was about to burst wide open, but managed a calm, chilled retort.
“Back off, Glenn.”
“Who are your demons?” he asked again.
Now less calm, she said, “I swear to God, you are starting to irritate me.”
“Clair, I can’t make you feel anything. That belongs to you.”
“You’re right, you can’t. But, you can stick that shit up your ass, because right now, you’re pissing me off!”
Glenn remained poised.
“Clair, please stay focused and answer the question.”
She sat up and uncrossed her feet and planted them on the floor. And with outstretched arms, she flung them with each word.
“What, Glenn? What do you want me to say?”
Clair is running out of room to hide and is feeling attacked. He knows it and perseveres.
“I don’t want you to say something; I want you to tell me and the others. I’ll ask it one more time. Clair, who are your dem…”
Before he could finish the question, she jumped up from her chair and yelled at the top of her lungs, “Everyone! Everyone is a fucking demon! Are you happy now?”
Angry and frustrated, she dropped onto the chair with so much force it hit the wall with a loud bang. The room went silent.
“I can see you’re upset.”
She lowered her head and quietly said, “No shit.”
“But who are you the angriest with? Surely not all of us —” and in a rare stab at a little humor, he finished with — “except maybe me.” That brought a brief smile on her face.
She got back to her relaxed posture.
“I guess I’m the angriest at Hunter.”
“Isn’t that a little too easy? You really think Hunter is one of your demons.”
“He’s damn sure no saint.”
“When you guys are together and getting along, aren’t you happy?”
“Let’s rule him out. What about your father?”
“You mean the sperm donor? He’s dead.”
“Yes, I know. Before that. Is he one of your demons?”
“Not really, I just hate him.”
“And your mother?”
“No, I only despise her.”
“What about Edward, your brother?”
Clair paused for a moment, sat up, then looked Glenn straight in the eyes, and in a voice of calm, said, “I would like to see him tortured to death and cut into little pieces.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere.”
Larry jumped up and raised his hand.
“Can I help?”
Glenn told him she’d call if any assistance were needed.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret, Clair. Edward is not one of your demons either.”
“Then, who is? You seem to know everything else. Who are my demons?”
“All of those that you mentioned are distractions and not letting you see who they really are.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll show you.”
Glenn reached under his chair and slid an object on the floor toward Clair. It got to its mark, and she picked it up.
“I’ve had a lot of practice.” Referring to her and Charlies’ shuffleboard routine with the drinks.
“OK, now what?”
“Hold it up.”
She held the object at eye level with her arms slightly bent to get a good view.
“Now, turn it around.”
As she did, her reflection appeared and peeked for a moment then sat it on her lap.
“Clair, pick it up. Look at it again and listen to me.”
She picked it up and held it as before. “What do you see?”
“Yes, that is you. Now tell us what you see. Describe it to us.”
She slammed the mirror back on her lap again.
“Why are you such a jerk?”
“I’m paid to be your therapist, not your friend. I have to practice the jerk part.”
“You’re doing a good job.”
He ignored the jab and told her to pick up the mirror again and look at it.
As she did, he asked the others, “Now group, let’s help her out. Lisa, what do you see?”
“She’s always been a kind friend.”
Clair lowered the mirror and Glenn said, “Keep looking.”
She raised the mirror back in position and listened to other group members. A slight sniffle was heard, followed by a small trail of goo that came from her nose and quickly wiped it clean.
Glenn asked, “Do you need a tissue?”
“No thanks. My sleeve will do.”
“Okey-dokey, let’s get back to it. Blake, what do you think?”
“Her eyes are gorgeous.”
Now a tear rolled down her cheek, followed by another. Clair was unable or unwilling to see what they saw, but tried to absorb each word they said. Saying something good about what was in the mirror was contrary to what she believed.
“And you two? What do you boys think?”
Ryan and Jason said together as if they rehearsed it, “She’s hot!”
That made her chuckle in between sniffles.
“Lauren, your thoughts?”
“I would kill for that hair!”
Larry again jumped to his feet again, “Right on, sister!”
“Sit down Larry and relax.”
Glenn didn’t want to leave him out of the exercise, but with reluctance asked him the same question. He seemed put off and not very enthusiastic.
He yawned and said, “OK, Larry, tell us something about Clair.”
Not in his usual, obnoxious behavior, he shyly said with great sincerity, “I wish Clair was my girl.”
It’s hard to explain, but Larry’s answer got her tears to flow.
Clair got up from the chair, went over to Larry, put her arms around him, and gave a big hug, then whispered, “Thank you, Larry,” then kissed him on the cheek and returned to her seat.
She settled in, only this time, and on her own, got the mirror back in position.
“Clair, I’ll ask you one last time, who are your demons? Take your time.”
The group waited as she gazed into the mirror. She stared for a few more moments and let out a sigh. The others sat in deafening silence waiting for her answer.
Glenn already knew, but instead said, “Clair, please, tell the group who they are,” and said to himself, “Come on Clair, you can do it.”
The wheels started to turn, and the power that the demons had on her were becoming weaker. Clair stared at the reflection, and as she did, millions of images raced through her mind like a high-speed movie projector. All the way from childhood until now seemed to pass right in front of her mind’s eye within those few moments.
All the while, she hadn’t moved and continued to stare, then quietly announced, “I know who the demon is. There is only one.”
Glenn leaned forward.
“And who might that be?”
Everyone had remained quiet this whole time, then Suerenia said very softly, “Clair, tell him.”
Clair took a quick glance at Suerenia, paused, then lowered the mirror and placed it on her lap.
She let out another deep sigh then uttered, “Me, I’m my own demon.”
The room again went silent except for a collective exhale. You could hear a pin drop because the group knew this was a crossroad for Clair. She finally met her demon face to face and prepared to challenge it.
“Clair, what you see in the mirror is the face of torment. You are not the demon. The past that haunts you is, and I want you to know the difference. What you saw was an image of its representative, and that’s all. It’s not real —only a reflection. But when you put into your head harmful thinking, you give it a reason to live. Your actions, like trying to kill yourself, are nourishment for the demon, and you have to starve it. Now, you call the shots —” then Glenn emphasized — “because you are now in control, not an image in a mirror. Pick it up again.”
Clair raised the mirror, looked into it, but this time with a hint of a smile.
“What do you see.”
“I see hope.”
“Me too. Good work. I’m very proud of you.”
Her response was short and somber.
“Thank you, Glenn,” and she meant it.