Empathy No. 016
07/24/02, Levitt kitchen, 6:50 PM (approx)
LLOYD: Ellie, do you have a minute?
ELEANOR: Of course. Is something wrong?
LLOYD: Not necessarily, but we've all been very busy lately, and I want to make sure that you're okay.
ELEANOR: Yeah, it's...it gets like this at the store sometimes, and I end up with odd hours. There were weeks when Roderick could have forgotten what I looked like. I mean, if he ever forgot anyhting...
LLOYD: You could always cut back on your hours. We all appreciate your contributions, but it's not so critical now. It's not just you on your own anymore.
ELEANOR: No, it's...I'm used to it, believe me. I'm absolutely okay, honest.
LLOYD: Okay. To be honest, I didn't really want to talk about you. It's about Roderick.
ELEANOR: What's wrong? He didn't say anything to me-
LLOYD: It's not anything particular, Ellie, I'm just a little worried that he's not adjusting like I thought he would. This was always going to be a process, I explained that to the kids myself, but if anything he's withdrawing.
ELEANOR: That's just what he's like, it's...I hoped that he would make friends with his new siblings a little faster, but...but it hasn't even been two weeks.
LLOYD: Ellie, I've barely seen him in the last two days.
ELEANOR: I know.
LLOYD: School's going to start in a few weeks. That's going to mean meeting lots of new people, it's going to mean adapting to a new schedule and a new environment that he's not used to, and the way it is right now, he might not be able to deal with that. I'm only bringing this up because I really do care about him. He's a part of you, and he's impressed me every day I've known him. I don't want him to have a hard time.
ELEANOR: I see what you're saying, but it's just how he is, he's always been...he's always been Roderick. What do you think I should do?
LLOYD: Well, I've been telling the kids they should get him out more, meet some people his own age. If he makes some friends, that'll help, but...it might help if he talks to someone. I have a friend, her name's Azalea, who has experience working with young people like Roderick, and maybe he should speak with her. She really helped the kids after my first wife died, and I think she can help Roderick too.
ELEANOR: You're talking about therapy. I don't think it would help.
LLOYD: Why not?
ELEANOR: Because he wouldn't tolerate it. You need to understand...I took him to a doctor when he was very little, when he was about four. People were noticing how special he was, and someone recommended this very prominent man who was willing to work with Roderick for nothing. He gave Roderick some tests, and after that he told me...
LLOYD: Told you what?
ELEANOR: ...He said some things about Roderick that...that weren't nice, that scared me back then.
LLOYD: That's all?
ELEANOR: He said...he told me that Roderick was going to grow up to be a sociopath. That he was damaged and...I didn't believe it, and I'd like to think that it didn't affect the way I treated him. But one day, Roderick found some old records, he found out what this doctor said about him, and ever since...after those incidents at his school, everyone wanted him to go into therapy, and he would not do it, he does not trust doctors anymore.
LLOYD: This would be different. She's not going to analyze him like that, this is more about helping him understand himself.
ELEANOR: Maybe you're right, but I still say he's not going to go along with this.
LLOYD: Maybe it shouldn't be his choice. Look, if he doesn't want to go out and make friends, I won't force him. And if he absolutely decides that therapists are bad and he refuses to work with Azalea, that's his decision to make, but he can't decide he won't even try. If you need me to be the taskmaster, I can do that.
ELEANOR: No, I'll talk to him about it. I'll probably have to go with him, otherwise he won't have any trust at all.
LLOYD: That's actually the other part of this. Azalea would want to speak with both of you.
LLOYD: Roderick isn't the only having a hard time finding his place. You don't seem comfortable with the children.
ELEANOR: It's not that, I'm trying to be respectful. I don't want to step into-
ELEANOR: I know what people say about me, and-
LLOYD: Ellie! I don't care what they say, and you shouldn't care either. It's not about them. I love you, you're important to me, I want you here. I want you to be part of this family, with Allie and Jason and Brooke. They're part of this too.
ELEANOR: I know, and maybe...well, when would we see your friend?
LLOYD: I can set it up for next week, I can call her right now.
ELEANOR: I'll free up my schedule.
LLOYD: Thank you. This is all going to work out, you know that?
ELEANOR: I know.