In the Back of My Mind



"So."

Randi folded her arms. "So, what am I doing here?"

"You tell me."

"The partners thought I should come."

"Who are the partners?"

"Don't give me that. You know them. You met Lynn."

"I know, but now I want to hear who they are to you."

"People from work."

"Just people?"

"No. They're goats, and one's an extra terrestrial."

"So, they're from work."

"That's what I said, Doctor." Randi said impatiently.

"Tell me about them."

"Lawyers. We're all lawyers. You know that. What else do you want?"

"How do they treat you?"

"Like a god."

"Really."

"Yes. They value my opinion, and they listen to me."

"How do you treat them?"

"With respect."

"Even Joe?"

"Even Joe."

"And Rex?"

"He's not as bad as I thought him to be."

"Do you all argue a lot?"

"Sometimes."

"About what?"

"Cases. Clients. Beliefs."

"Give me an example."

"We had a stem cell case."

"What happened?"

"The clients' kid was sick, and they wanted to induce their extremely premature fetus to obtain stem cells to save their son."

"And if this were done, the fetus would die?"

"Most likely."

"What did you argue about?"

"I didn't think inducing was right. It endangered a potential life. No one is worth more anyone else."

"That's right."

"The partners wanted to induce anyway. I didn't want to."

"So you argued?"

"Yes."

"Why do the partners think you should be here?"

"They believed I was getting too personal with a case I took up."

"What case is that?"

Randi studied the carpeted floor. "A husband beat his wife and kids."

"And how were you getting personal with that?"

"I understood what they were going through."

"And the partners didn't understand?"

"Your words not mine."

"So they did understand."

"To an extent, yes."

"To an extent."

"To an extent."

"What did you with this case?"

"The father wanted custody of his two kids because he and his wife were divorcing. The mother was previously a drug addict, and he was using that against her, saying that she still had problems."

"And she didn't."

"Well, I didn't say that."

"She did?"

"A little, but she loves her kids."

"And the father?"

"He came home every night drunk, and would beat the three of them up."

"And this bothered you?"

"It bothers anyone who has a conscience, Doctor."

"Yes, but what about the firm?"

"It bothered them, yes."

"But they said they wanted you off the case?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"I was getting emotionally attached."

"And you shouldn't?"

"Not so much."

"Why not?"

"It's not my rights I'm fighting for, it's theirs."

"Theirs?"

"The mother. Her kids."

"Why else did they want you off the case?"

"I wasn't sleeping."

"Sleeping."

"Yes."

"You weren't sleeping."

"I wasn't sleeping."

"Why not?"

"I don't know."

"Yes, you do."

"It seems to me that YOU do." Randi suddenly snapped.

"Maybe."

"So why don't you just save everyone some time and tell me?"

"I want you to find out yourself."

"I don't have anything to find out."

"So, you admit you DO know why you're not sleeping."

"Yes."

"So, tell me."

"Dreams."

"What about them? Everyone has dreams."

"Bad dreams."

"About what?"

"I don't always remember."

"What do you remember?"

"My husband."

"YOUR husband."

"My husband."

"The one who died."

Randi nodded slowly, staring at the floor.

"The one who hurt you."

Randi nodded again.

"Tell me about him."

"Green eyes. He had green eyes. And brownish blonde hair. Tall. Skinny, but strong. Stubborn. Easily tempered."

"Did you love him?"

"Yes." Randi whispered.

"Did he love you?"

"He did."

"Then why did he hurt you and your daughter, Mary Beth?"

"He was angry."

"With you?"

"With everything."

"What did he beat you with?"

"A twig." Randi taunted. "He hit me with a hammer."

"A hammer."

"Yes."

"And your daughter?"

Randi nodded.

"Did he use his fists also?"

"Yes."

"So what did you do?"

"When?"

"When he hurt you."

"I don't know."

"Yes, you do. What did you do? Did you cry? Did you beg? Did you crouch in a corner? Did you fight? What did you do?"

"I didn't do any of those."

"You didn't."

"I didn't cry. I just let him do what he did."

"Why?"

"If I did anything, it was all futile."

"You protected your daughter?"

"The best I could."

"Then, what happened?"

"I got fed up."

"With what?"

"With having to wait every night for him to come home and wonder what he was going to do to me that day."

"What did you do?"

"I lied in bed."

"How long?"

"I don't know. This was years and years ago." Randi shifted in her seat.

"How long?"

"Long. Very long." Randi admitted.

"Then he came home?"

"Yes. He came home. Drunk as usual."

"And?"

"And he didn't do anything."

"Why?"

"He passed out on the couch."

"Where was Mary Beth?"

"She was at my mother's house."

"She wasn't there with you."

"Right."

"What did you do?"

"I killed him."

"With what?"

"I stabbed him."

"Then what?"

"I cried."

"You cried?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"I killed someone. That's not an easy thing to take in, Doctor."

"What did you do?"

"I sat on the couch."

"Why?"

"I wanted to make sure he was dead."

"And was he?"

"Yes."

"How many times did you stab him?"

"I don't know."

"You do know, Randi."

"I don't remember."

"Yes, you do. How many times?"

"I don't know!"

"Close your eyes and count."

Randi closed them. Tears escaped from her eyes against her will.

"Now, how many?"

"Seventeen."

"Is that a guess?"

"No."

"That's really how many times you stabbed your husband?"

"Yes."

"How did you feel afterward?"

"Surprised. Surprised that I actually did what I did."

"Anything else?"

"Scared."

"Scared of whom? What? The police?"

"No."

"Scared of what then?"

"Myself."

"Yourself?"

"That I was capable of doing such a thing."

"Anything else?"

"Yes."

"What?"

"My daughter."

"You were afraid of your daughter?"

"I was afraid she would hate me."

"Did she?"

"Yes."

"But he beat her."

"But she couldn't accept the fact that I killed him."

"She died, didn't she?"

"Yes. Fourteen months ago."

"How did she die?"

"She fell down the stairs."

"Fell?"

"Pushed."

"And?"

"And I wanted to give blood."

"And what happened?"

"She didn't want it."

"Then?"

"She died in the hospital."

"And you got custody of your granddaughter, Annie."

"Yes."

"How did you explain this to her?"

"I told her her mother died."

"That's it?"

"Yes."

"What about your husband?"

"No."

"What about your jail time?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"She doesn't need to know that. She's four."

"Let's go back to the night of your husband's death. What happened after you killed him?"

"I waited."

"Waited for what?"

"People. People to find me."

"You didn't run?"

"No."

"The police came?"

"Yes."

"And?"

"They arrested me."

"You still didn't run, Randi?"

"I didn't run."

"Why not?"

"I knew I couldn't get away."

"You could've tried. Why didn't you at least try?"

"I didn't want to."

"Why not?"

"Because I killed my husband."

"So?"

"I was wrong."

"What happened after?"

"I was brought to court."

"How did you plead?"

Randi didn't answer. She didn't even look the psychiatrist in the eye.

"How did you plead, Randi?"

"Guilty." She replied softly.

"Why?"

"I told you. I was wrong."

"Did they know your husband beat you and your daughter?"

"Yes."

"Then what?"

"I went to jail. A women's prison."

"How long were you sentenced?"

"Years."

"How many?"

"It doesn't matter."

"Of course it does."

"Not to me."

"Fine. What happened in jail?"

"I studied law in jail."

"Then you were given parole?"

"Yes."

"And you came out, and?"

"And nothing. I worked. Practiced. And Lynn wanted me to be a partner with her and Rex. So I was."

"How was your relationship with them?"

"With whom?"

"Lynn."

"Fine. We had are disagreements and differences, but we dealt with them."

"What about Rex?"

"What about him?"

"How was your relationship with Rex?"

"Different."

"Different how?"

"I didn't trust him like I did Lynn and Danni."

"Danni was the associate?"

"Yes. She left."

"Why didn't you trust Rex?"

"He was a man."

"So? You've worked with other men before."

"Yes, but rarely. People knew I had a problem with being inferior to men."

"So what happened?"

"Nothing. I just didn't trust him."

"I heard you didn't like him either."

"I adjusted."

"Did you ever say anything?"

"Not really."

"What about now? How is your relationship with him now?"

"Fine."

"Do you trust him?"

"Yes."

"It took some time, didn't it?"

"Yes."

"How does everyone react to you?"

"When?"

"When they found out you killed your husband."

"They were scared. They never actually outright told me, but I knew. They were afraid of me."

"What about now?"

"I think after knowing me a little bit more, the fear lessened."

"So why aren't you able to sleep now?"

"I told you. I have dreams about my husband."

"Is that from the case?"

"Maybe a little. But I had dreams about him whether I had a domestic violence case or not."

"Were they all nightmares?"

"No. Some were decent."

"Randi?"

"Yeah?"

"Are you still afraid of him?"

"Who?"

"Your husband."

Randi didn't reply.

"Are you?"

"Yes." She answered quietly.

"Randi, he's dead. Your husband has been gone for a long time now. You don't have to be scared."

"Then why am I?"

"Because of the major impact he has made on your life. And the power he has over you, even though he's gone. Believe me, Randi. He's never going to hurt you again. You don't have to be afraid anymore."

Randi nodded slowly. "Okay."

"Okay."

"Am I allowed to leave now?"

"You're allowed to leave anytime you want."

She nodded again, stood up, and walked toward the door.

"Randi."

She turned around, and faced the doctor.

"Trust Rex. He's not going to hurt you. He came in with Lynn, and he seemed genuinely worried."

"He did?"

"Despite the fact that Lynn told me he was a jerk at the office, I bet he isn't on the inside."

"Yeah. I know. Okay."

"Take care of yourself, Randi."

Randi nodded, and left.

THE END