Empathy No. 026
08/07/02, Brawney off. 3:07 PM
DR. BRAWNEY: Roderick, I'm pleased that you agreed to come back.
RODERICK: My mother thought it was a good idea, so I'm fine with it.
DR. BRAWNEY: If you do agree to continue with regular sessions, we can arrange with your school to let you out of one class a week to come here. You would not need to tell anyone why you were leaving.
DR. BRAWNEY: I understand that you went out with your stepsister and some of her friends last week.
RODERICK: Allison's boyfriend is in a band, they were playing somewhere. I guess it was a big deal for him.
DR. BRAWNEY: Tell me about it.
RODERICK: Um...I was there for a couple hours, I met some of her friends, talked to some of her friends.
DR. BRAWNEY: Did you feel comfortable there?
RODERICK: It was okay.
DR. BRAWNEY: If you had the chance to do something similar again, would you go?
RODERICK: I guess, I mean...I don't think Allison is going to invite me to do anything again. She only did it this time because her father told her to.
DR. BRAWNEY: You are starting in your new school next week. How do you feel about that?
RODERICK: It's just another school year.
DR. BRAWNEY: You're not nervous?
RODERICK: Yes, but it's...I don't know, I guess I'm trying not to think about it.
DR. BRAWNEY: Is there anything in particular that concerns you about school?
RODERICK: I don't know. I never know. That's the problem, I never know what's going to happen.
DR. BRAWNEY: Is that why you've been having trouble sleeping?
RODERICK: I don't have trouble sleeping, I just like to stay up late. It's quieter, I can actually get things done.
DR. BRAWNEY: I'd like to talk to you about your family today. What do you think about your mother?
RODERICK: What do I think? I don't know how to answer that!
DR. BRAWNEY: I just want you to be honest, Roderick.
RODERICK: I mean...she took care of me, she was always there. That's it, that's all I have to say.
DR. BRAWNEY: Were you ever disappointed because your mother was unavailable to do something for you?
RODERICK: She had to...she had to do everything, it wasn't her fault.
DR. BRAWNEY: Please relax, Roderick. I am not making any accusations.
RODERICK: I just don't know what you want me to say. It wasn't her fault when things went wrong.
DR. BRAWNEY: How did you feel when you learned that she was getting married?
RODERICK: It made her happy.
DR. BRAWNEY: Roderick? I asked how you felt.
RODERICK: It doesn't matter how I felt. It made her happy. That's what was important.
DR. BRAWNEY: How did you feel the first time you met Mr. Levitt?
RODERICK: It was weird, I didn't know how to act. He brought me this book, this history book, and he wanted to know about, you know, the activities and clubs and things I'd been a part of.
DR. BRAWNEY: And how do you feel about him now? Does he treat you like a member of the family?
RODERICK: Mom says he likes me, that's he really impressed with me. He always wants to read my short stories, says I'm really talented. And a couple times he suggested things we could do together. Dropped me off at a book fair once, gave me some money.
DR. BRAWNEY: And how does that make you feel?
RODERICK: ...I don't know how to act. I don't know what he expects from me.
DR. BRAWNEY: Roderick, have you ever been curious about your biological father?
RODERICK: I guess, but it doesn't matter.
DR. BRAWNEY: What do you know about him?
RODERICK: It doesn't matter, I don't know where he is. Nobody does.
DR. BRAWNEY: Would you want to meet him if you could?
RODERICK: What would I say to him? I've thought about it sometimes...what it would be like, but I just don't know what I'd do. He's like a stranger, except I've got his genes.
DR. BRAWNEY: Have you ever felt shortchanged by not having a father in your life?
RODERICK: We just talked about this. It's fine, I'm not upset-
DR. BRAWNEY: Roderick, we're not talking about your mother right now. Do you think your life would have been better if your father had been a part of it?
RODERICK: ...Yes. But I don't blame her. It's not her fault, it was just bad luck.