I own nothing. Just a short one-shot about Gillian.
She doesn't talk about what it was like to grow up with an alcoholic for a father. It's still too embarrassing, too shameful, even years after the fact.
She doesn't talk about the countless hours she spent hiding in her bedroom as her mother and father had it out once again, their screams filling the entire house. Or how she'd cower in fear in her bedroom closet, taking refuge in the dark and comfort in knowing he wouldn't find her if he came looking for her. She doesn't talk about how it wasn't so bad, right before it got really bad. How he'd be fine, right before he wasn't. How his moods changed on a dime and all it took was just one more beer to push him over the edge. She doesn't talk about how to this day she still hates the smell of beer, how she refuses to even try it, though she'd down a scotch with Cal at the end of a hard day without any qualms.
She doesn't talk about the first time he offered her a beer, when she was only 12, and he was well on his way towards his normal drunken stupor, and how she laughed it off and told him she preferred the glass of lemonade she was holding in her hands. She doesn't talk about the first time she found him passed out on the bathroom floor, her mother already in bed refusing to deal with her mess of a husband once again, and how she just turned around and walked out, leaving him lying there in front of the bathroom heater.
She doesn't talk about how many holidays had been ruined or how she missed out on so many afterschool activities because she had to go home and take care of the man who was supposed to be taking care of her. She doesn't talk about the way he'd criticize her and blame her for every problem in his life, telling her that she wasn't worth the space she took up or the money she cost him. Or how he'd refuse to talk to her for weeks on end, pretending she didn't exist because he didn't want her to. She doesn't talk about how much that hurt, how much it still does, to know that the one who is supposed to love you most is actually the one who loves you least.
She doesn't talk about how he'd try to control every situation, every minute detail of her and her mother's lives. How she couldn't date, or rather wouldn't date, because it was so much easier than trying to explain how messed up her home life was to someone who wasn't living it. It wasn't fair to bring someone innocent into the situation, even if maybe a boyfriend could've offered some reprieve. She doesn't explain how she didn't understand how messed up her home life was until she stayed over at a friend's house and realized what a family was actually supposed to be like.
She doesn't talk about how she could never invite her friends over after school, could never have a sleepover for fear of what they would see, what they would say. And even now she doesn't let her friends know because she doesn't want to see the pity on their faces, even though she can't explain to them why she refuses to go to that one bar downtown. She doesn't want them to know that the bartender knows her, that he recognizes her from all the times she'd picked her father up after getting a call that he had been drinking too much and needed a ride home.
She doesn't want Cal to know that part of her, that side of her that was weak. She doesn't want him to know about it because she knows he would analyze it and he would come to a conclusion. He would realize that her father's alcoholism shaped who she was, made her into the person she became. She doesn't want him to analyze why she became a psychologist, why she needed to have control, why she refused to drink beer, or how just the smell of it could send her reeling into bad memories that she thought she'd suppressed better.
She doesn't want him to know, she doesn't want to see his face, his eyes studying her as she recounted the painful memories of her childhood and adolescence.
So when he asked her "What was it like?" all she could do was look at him, consider letting him in for the briefest of moments, before downing another scotch and replying "It wasn't so bad."
No, she doesn't talk about it.