Stage Two – Anger
They had read her diary again, of course, hoping to find more than the six little words she had put. When asked what she meant she just smiled and said that she agreed with them and that she had wanted to say goodbye to her fantasy world.
Those words hadn't really been for her lost childhood. They were actually a challenge to her family and the doctor who seemed to believe they knew so much better. She would never give up on the world that contained the labyrinth, on her friends, on him. It was, after all, only fair that she believed in him just as equally as he had in her. If Sarah was anything she was loyal.
She smirked as she stood in the hallway, watching as her stepmother crawled around on the floor looking for 'evidence' that she had slipped somehow. The room looked quite different than it had mere months ago. The toys, posters, costumes, and imaginative books were all packed away in the attic, locked with a key by the woman herself. Her stepmother, after having broken into her room secretly that first time, now took it upon herself to search her room regularly. "I don't know what you think you will find but I hope you enjoy looking!"
The woman turned to glare at her and the girl shrugged and walked away, bouncing down the steps and waving at her father as she went out. She walked along happily, ignoring those around her before settling on a quiet park bench beneath a large willow tree that provided both shade and shelter. It was her favorite sanctuary from those who would try to break her spirit. Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a worn book with a smile. "She thinks she is so clever." She said of her stepmother, with a small laugh as she opened the book to reveal a picture of her mother.
Tracing her fingertips over the image she let out a wistful noise of contentment. "Oh mom, I miss you. Why do I feel like you are the only one in this world who would understand me?" She kissed the picture gently and let out a sigh. "They think I am crazy. I took those pills for the first week until they trusted me enough to let me take them without a chaperone. Now I just throw them in the trash. They taste awful anyway."
Sitting up she pulled the book close to her chest and sighed before opening it to a few pages and reading over it. How could anyone doubt that this world was true? Just because it was in a book or because they had never experienced it themselves didn't mean it was fake, right? Besides, even if it was a fake world it wasn't like she was hurting anyone! She really didn't understand what all the concern was for.
Of course, she wasn't stupid by any means. Sarah understood that her father and stepmother likely overreacted to the fact that in the "fantasy story" Toby was indeed kidnapped by goblins and taken away, all at her request. They probably believed that Sarah would hurt the baby. She hadn't been asked to watch him since her first visit to the doctor. In fact, any time she motioned to do anything for him both parents jumped up immediately rushing her away from him.
Likely they believed she might hurt the baby or herself out of anger at them, her mother, whoever they felt was the cause of this make believe depression they claimed she was in. "I am not depressed!" She yelled out suddenly and a bird let out a screech as it flew away from her, leaving her behind. Looking up she had hoped it was an owl but it was only a blackbird.
Her hip started to vibrate and she jumped a little before taking out the beeper and glaring at it. Her father had bought it for her as a way for them to keep a leash on her. Whenever the home number rang her up she was to be home in five minutes or be grounded. With a sigh she let out a cry and kicked at the tree. "Oh, I just left! Can't I have any time to myself? It's not fair!"
She paused and brought her hand up to her mouth before letting out a giggle and shaking her head. No. It wasn't fair but that's just how it was. She took a deep breath before starting off home, never noticing that a large white barn owl had been watching her the whole time.
As usual her stepmother was waiting for her on the front porch, hands on her hips and glaring. "Where have you been? Don't you know that you're supposed to tell someone when you're going out? How many times do I have to tell you?" The woman went on and on. Sarah just rolled her eyes and went up to her room, throwing back a weak apology behind her. "Get ready for your appointment!" The woman called up as Sarah entered her room.
Right, the appointment, she'd forgotten. She sat down at her little vanity and brushed through her hair considering what she might tell the woman today. For the past few weeks she had gone from being absolutely certain that the world she had visited was real, to being somewhat uncertain, to being pretty sure that it was fantasy. Should she give it up now? No. That was terribly boring and obvious.
There would need to be a twist, something to thicken the plot a little perhaps. She considered her options. Mentally, of course, she could never write anything down these days. Perhaps she could tell them that she had always wanted to be a writer, although that would entirely go against her lifelong dream of being an actress. No. Or, maybe, she could say that she was just lonely and wanted to make up some imaginary friends? That wasn't too bad of a thought!
Pleased with herself she finished getting ready, tying her hair up neatly in a basic pony tail and checking out her very plain clothes. "You look so very ordinary." She said to her reflection with a small broken smile before plastering on her fake one and heading down the stairs.
"So it was all just a rather elaborate daydream in order for you to have friends?" Wendy asked with curiosity. Sarah nodded to confirm this. "I see. What made you so lonely that you had to make up friends who would do such terrible things to you, Sarah?"
Sarah inhaled sharply and held her breath for a few moments. She hadn't considered that! Luckily she was quick to think of something, she just hoped it seemed plausible. Wendy might think she was crazy but the woman was pretty smart. "Oh I don't think they were all that terrible. I was young and materialistic, insecure, and honestly terrified. My friends helped me to overcome those obstacles in their own ways."
The woman nodded and flipped through her pages a few times. "Like, ah, Hoggle, was it? What did he do to help you? From what you told me he first was trying to trick you to take you back to the beginning of the maze, conned you into giving him some of your jewelry, and gave you a tainted peach which caused you to hallucinate. He seems rather selfish and sour. Not to mention that he was using some sort of bug spray on pixies at the beginning. I can't imagine why, fairies are such sweet and innocent creatures that grant wishes after all."
"Shows what you know." Sarah said with a giggle before covering her mouth at the woman's disapproving gaze. "What I mean to say is that not everyone is how we first view them as. A few negative behaviors don't exactly make the whole person bad. Nobody is perfect. Besides, Hoggle is a wonderful friend! He might be somewhat cowardly and materialistic but he stuck it out with me and we made it through to the end together."
"I see, so you are saying that not all those that we initially perceive as negative are always so?" Sarah nodded in agreement to that and the doctor made a few more notes. She then smiled at the girl. "I can see we are making some progress, then. I wonder, however, how you feel about your stepmother when considering your own judgment on people who you at first consider to be against you?"
Sarah stiffened a bit but paused to consider what the woman was saying. "I guess I am a little hard on her." She admitted and the woman nodded. "Still, I don't really understand her and she doesn't even want to understand me. I don't really know how to get through to her and make things better."
"Well that is part of why you are here, Sarah. Your relationship with your family is very important to you, isn't it?"
"Of course, I love my family even if we don't always get along."
Dr. Jacobson looked down at her notes and wrote a few more things before pursing her lips and bracing herself. Sarah always responded rather forcefully whenever she brought this subject up but she really felt this was the key to breaking through and getting the girl back on the right track. "You do love your family, so much that despite having difficulties at home you turned down something amazing to go back to them. Isn't that right?"
For a moment fear darted along in Sarah's glassy eyes and she looked away from the woman quickly. "I told you that I didn't want to talk about him!"
"I understand that, Sarah, but for some reason you seem to be contradicting yourself. I believe you'll understand your own motives better if you come to terms with your true feelings on this fantasy of yours and let it go. According to you he isn't a villain or a lover so what does Jareth mean to you, Sarah?" Wendy was certain this would get Sarah to her point of breakthrough. She really felt they were making progress here.
Sarah stared over at the corner of the room, suddenly very interesting despite being empty. Her mind began to think about the woman's question seriously. She had honestly never really sat down and considered it. What was he to her? Her lip quivered and she shook her head before hugging herself. The answer came to her so quickly that she had a hard time believing that it really was that simple. The seconds ticked away, loudly pounding in her head with her heart beats, and she swallowed to wet her suddenly dry mouth.
"Sarah?" The doctor seemed concerned now. She had never seen the girl this way before.
Her voice came out in a hushed tone with a small hitch to it; she was fighting back the tears as she continued to stare down at the floor – anywhere but that woman. "He's me."
The session had ended rather abruptly with Sarah running from the room and the doctor sitting there silently. Sarah didn't even wait for her father to get himself together. She couldn't even think at the moment, all she could do was run. She ran for miles before finding her favorite tree.
Rushing under the safe haven of the branches she flew against the trunk of the tree with a great sob and clung to it before beating her fists against it. "Why did I say something like that?" She screamed out as thunder rumbled in the distance. The tears began to stream down her face as she allowed all the emotions she'd bottled up inside since her fantastic journey had begun to come out.
She couldn't deny it. He was her and she was him, only in two entirely parallel worlds. His world was full of fantasy and mystery and no one questioned him, regardless of what he said, because they were afraid of him. In her world it was the opposite – everything was green and lush but hiding a great sense of emptiness. Everyone questioned her but only because they were afraid of how her answers might make them look, not because they cared.
The greatest thing that bound them to one another was that extreme sense of loneliness. Both of them were surrounded by others but neither by those who cared. Her crying intensified and she slid down along the tree and kneeling down to cup her face in her hands. She realized the truth then and there: Jareth wasn't the villain. She was.
He had given her everything he could give and all she had to do was imply that she might want it. She asked that her brother was taken – he took him. She asked for an adventure – he gave it to her. She asked for a challenge – he made it difficult. She wanted someone to see her for who she was – he did.
Yet when he asked for something, she… threw it in his face.
Letting out a sob she wiped at her face, now filthy with tears, and let out a whisper as the thunder roared above and the rain began to fall with an angry force. "I wish I could say I was sorry."