Life Can Be Lonely by Colin Kelly

Chapter 15

What is it like when those closest to you are not there any longer?

Thursday, March 28, 2019; Morning

Kevin got up for his morning run. When he got back, he took a longer shower than usual, then sat down to eat breakfast. Connie had arrived, and she offered to fix him scrambled eggs and bacon, and he agreed.

“Thank you, Connie. It’s been a long time since I had a home-cooked breakfast.” He sliced an asiago cheese bagel in half and put it in the toaster oven and had it with his bacon and eggs.

“My friend Jeff is coming home with me this afternoon. We’ll do our homework, have dinner, then probably watch a movie. Were you planning to fix something for dinner today?”

“I thought you’d like some meat because it has a lot of protein, so I’m going to fix pot roast with potatoes and vegetables. Is that okay?”

“Yes. That sounds wonderful. And Jeff will like it, too.”

“I’m fixing it in the slow cooker, so it will be finished just about the time you get home from school. It’s set to keep it warm. All you’ll need to do is dish it up. Then there’ll be some leftovers, so you can put the cover on the slow cooker insert and put it into the refrigerator.”

“Okay. There’s something I need to tell you. There’s going to be a meeting here, at my house, with the Walnut Creek Police and the FBI on Saturday morning, April thirteenth. Supposedly I’m supposed to learn something about how and why my family was murdered. Anyway, they’ll start arriving for the meeting around ten forty-five. I was thinking it might be a good idea to pick up a dozen bagels and one container of plain shmear at Noah’s. Maybe a half dozen each sesame and asiago cheese. And if you can, fix a full pot of coffee so it’ll be ready. Then you can have the morning off as soon as the coffee starts brewing.”

“If you have bagels left over, they can be sealed in a plastic bag and put into the freezer.”

“That’s a good idea. Makes me hope that most of them will be left over!” Kevin laughed. “I love Noah’s asiago cheese bagels.”

“Alright, I’ve added getting the bagels to my shopping list for that week, and I’ll enjoy having the morning off. Thank you. Kevin, I want to tell you that you are my favorite client.” She walked to where he was sitting and signaled that he should stand. Then she hugged him.

“You know that I love how you take care of me, and all the fantastic meals you make for me. Now I better get ready so I can leave for school on time. I'll see you later, Connie.”

Kevin got to school with enough spare time to stop at the cafeteria and get a bottle of orange juice. He sat down and looked around, but didn’t see anyone he knew. Not surprising in a school with an attendance of almost two-thousand kids in four grades. Still… he was alone. Not lonely, the way he’d been when he’d get home and no one was there. That was fixed now that his three best friends were coming over to keep him company. But sitting in the cafeteria with maybe a thousand kids, and not knowing any of them, made him feel alone. Like he was a newbie in a different high school.

He wondered, could this be a sign that he was depressed? He’d ask Dr. Ranse at their meeting tomorrow after school.

After he finished his orange juice, he walked to his first class, Algebra 2/Pre-Calc.

As he walked across the campus, he thought about how normal this all seemed. And yet, soon it wouldn’t be, at least for him. In just over two weeks he’d be meeting with the Walnut Creek Police and the FBI. He’d discover why his family had been murdered in cold blood. His life would be different after that meeting. How different, he didn’t know. That frightened him. He didn’t like surprises that would force him to relive the events when his family had been murdered. But there was no way he could avoid it. Good or bad, this could be the end game.

He saw Laura walking ahead of him and into the entrance of building 600. She was already in her seat when he got to the classroom. She saw him, smiled, and waved.

“You ready for the exam this morning?” she asked as he sat down.

“I think so. I’ve caught up with where we are in the textbook. And Ms. Arnold had sent me all but the last two make up exams. I have A’s on all of them so far. So, Sunday you and I will finish the two practice exams, and I should be good to go. Then I’ll tell her I’m ready for the last two make up exams.”

Laura could tell that Kevin seemed a little quiet and distracted this morning. She smiled, then told him, “You’ll do great on today’s exam and on the last two make up exams. You’ll be ready to take AP Calculus next year.”

“I hope so. I actually feel pretty confident about it. I assume that you’ll be taking AP Calc in the fall, too.”

Laura smiled. “Yes. We’ll be in the class together, and we’ll study together every Sunday morning. The difference is there won’t be any make up exams.”

That made Kevin smile, and he seemed to relax, which made Laura happy.

Ms. Arnold handed out the exams, and everyone in the class focused on finishing on time. Kevin had enough time to go back and check his answers. They were all correct, as far as he could tell.

They turned in their exam papers, and Ms. Arnold got into her lecture on the next topic, polar coordinates. This required the use of a graphing calculator. Both Kevin and Laura had the same TI-89 Titanium model. That would make it easier to learn how to use the calculator because they could work together. They would have preferred using their computers, but the class required the use of a graphing calculator. Which they could also use when taking exams. They weren’t allowed to use laptops for exams; it would be too easy to cheat if they could use a computer. Requiring use of a graphing calculator solved that problem.

Kevin’s next class was World History with Mrs. Weston. Today their projects would be returned. He was eager to see his grade. He wasn’t disappointed; he had an A with two remarks: first, she was pleased that he’d been able to catch up with the class and was now current with his homework; and second, she said that his project was exemplary. That made him feel good. He thought about it and realized that he wanted and needed positive feedback from his teachers.

Kevin and Laura had English 2 with Mr. Sommers. It was also in building 400, across the hall and a few rooms down from their World History class. Today was when they would discuss The Dream Weaver. Kevin was especially eager to participate in the discussion and feedback and to listen to what the other kids in the class thought about it. He hoped there would be another reading assignment. He also wanted to know why Mr. Sommers wanted them to read a book on philosophy, and this book in particular. He planned to take notes, so he’d be ready to talk about it with Dr. Ranse on Friday.

When Kevin arrived no one else was there yet, so he sat down and opened The Dream Weaver and reread the thirty-three pages that Mr. Sommers had assigned, plus the four-page Foreword which hadn’t been assigned but hadn’t been excluded, either.

He’d just finished rereading the thirty-three pages for the second time when Laura walked in and sat down next to him. He looked up. “Hi.”

Laura looked at the book Kevin was holding. “You’re reading the assigned pages in The Dream Weaver again?”

“Uh-huh. It seems like it was at least two weeks ago when I read it for the first time. It’s weird, everything seems so stretched out and disconnected. But I’ve only been back for a week. My first day back — in class — was Thursday, the twenty-first. The first time I read The Dream Weaver was on Sunday, the twenty-fourth. Today’s Thursday, the twenty-eighth. I don’t know what’s going on in my head. I’ve always been able to keep track of time and days and manage my schedule. Now, it seems I’ve lost that ability.”

Laura chuckled. “Think about what you just said about the days and dates when you read The Dream Weaver. You picked the correct days and dates and didn’t have to pause to think about what you were going to say. You’ve still got your ability to keep track of and manage your time, Kevin. You just need to slow down and think about each class and what you have to do, so you can prove to yourself that you’re in control.”

She tipped her head and raised her eyebrows. “Do you know what I think is going on?”

“No. Wait… make that a yes. You’re going to tell me your professional diagnosis about what’s going on with my memory problem. Right?”

Laura grinned. “Clever, Mr. Young. And that, my friend, is a yes.

“It’s all the studying you’ve been doing so you could get caught up. And it’s all the exams you’ve been taking to get caught up. And the chemistry experiments you’ve been doing from scratch to get caught up. It’s like you’ve been doing every one of your classes over again, at least twice and sometimes three or four times, depending on the subject, and trying to get caught up to where you’re supposed to be in each class.

“Because of all the work you’ve been doing getting caught up, you’ve been running on pressure and adrenaline starting from when you tried to register to return to school, then doing all the make up work and doing all the current class work. You need to find a way to get rid of the pressure and that’ll help you shut down all of that excess adrenaline.

“Think about this. You are almost one-hundred percent caught up. So you shouldn’t be under all the pressure you’re feeling. Most important, you don’t need all that adrenaline anymore. That’s what’s fucking up your brain.

“You’re seeing your therapist person. You need to talk to her about this the next time you see her. I think it’s important, and I think she’ll agree it’s important, too. And, if she’s any good, I think she’ll have ideas about how you can slow things down from now on and return to something more like your normal pace.”

Kevin grinned and put his hands on the sides of his head. “I think there’s way too much thinking going on inside my head!” Then he laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “Actually, you’re right. Only you could have figured it out and then been able to tell me what it is and, much more important, what I should do about it — talk to Dr. Ranse and tell her what’s going on — going on with me in my head. I see her tomorrow after school. I’ll put this at the top of the list of things we need to talk about. Thank you, Laura.”

He pulled his laptop out of his backpack, opened the ‘List of Things To Do’ spreadsheet, and added a new item with of a description based on what Laura had told him. He colored the text green and bolded it, saved the spreadsheet, then closed his laptop and returned it to his backpack.

“Jeff’s coming home with you after school today, right?” she asked.

“Yes. Did you know he doesn’t like fish?”

“No. That’s… interesting. I can’t think of anyone else I know who doesn’t like fish. I love fish. So, what are you going to have for dinner tonight? Fish?” She grinned.

“I talked to Connie, and she suggested pot roast with lots of veggies. I said that sounded good, so she set that up in the slow cooker today. All I’ll have to do is fix a salad to go with, then dish it up. It’ll be hot and ready to eat.”

The rest of the students were arriving for Mr. Sommer’s English 2 class, so Kevin pulled a spiral binder from his backpack.

“You going to take notes?” Laura asked.

“Yes. I’ve got some questions about this book. Like, why did Mr. Sommers assign this project, why are we talking about philosophy, are we going to read any other chapters in the book, will any of this be on our final, and so on.”

“Some of those questions sound argumentative.”

“I know. I won’t ask them the way I just said them. Are you ready for the discussion session?”

“Yes, I think so.”

Mr. Sommers rapped on his desk with his knuckles. “Greetings! We’re going to talk about The Dream Weaver this afternoon. Let me explain a few things before we get underway.

“First, this is a particularly interesting book because it’s about a subject, philosophy, that isn’t covered in any high school classes here at Edison. But, it’s not a textbook. It’s written like a novel. In other words, it has a theme, a setting, a protagonist, supporting characters, and even a narrator. But, it’s also like a textbook in the way the information is structured.

“My objective was to have you read an excerpt from the book, then we’d discuss it in class today. The way I’m going to structure the discussion is I’ll ask questions. Many will be general questions, and anyone can offer a response. Others might be directed to specific students based on how they responded to one of my questions or what they said during the class discussion.

“So, let’s get started.

“My first question is, ‘What is philosophy?’ Who would like to suggest an answer?”

It looked like no one was eager to raise their hand, so Kevin raised his.

Mr. Sommers recognized him by saying, “Kevin?”

Kevin stood, which was what Mr. Sommers’ wanted students to do when they’d respond.

“I looked it up since there wasn’t any explanation of what philosophy is in The Dream Weaver. Or, at least in the part we were assigned to read. Googling ‘what is philosophy’ resulted in millions of results — actually, seven hundred and twenty-nine million. I only looked at the first thirty results.” Kevin opened his spiral binder.

“The definition I found most interesting was this: ‘Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.’ In other words, it’s the study of everything. It’s probably the only academic subject that can have that definition.

“I think, for me, this definition was concise and right on. None of the other definitions I looked at were as germane as this one.

“By the way, this definition was from the first Google result.”

Kevin grinned and sat down.

Mr. Sommers asked the class, “Did anyone else look for and find a definition of philosophy?”

Donna Leonard raised her hand. She stood when she was recognized. “In the foreword to the book, which we weren’t told to read, there’s this definition: ‘What it means to be human.’” She sat down.

Three other students raised their hands. The discussion session was underway. Kevin was surprised and pleased that everyone in the class had something to say, not about the definition of philosophy, but about other topics from the book that Mr. Sommers posed as questions.

By the time they heard the bell announcing that the ninety-minute period was over, most of Kevin’s classmates were reluctant to leave and said they’d skip lunch to continue the discussion.

However, Mr. Sommers announced that they would continue the discussion on Monday and Tuesday and that he would give them another reading assignment from The Dream Weaver. They could check School Loop this evening to see what it was and when it would be due. It was interesting that no one in the class groaned about getting another reading assignment.

Thursday, March 28, 2019; Early Afternoon

On the way to the cafeteria, Kevin and Laura talked about how everyone in the class participated in the discussion and responded to Mr. Sommer’s questions.

“Are you interested in what the next reading assignment is going to be?” Laura asked.

“Definitely. You want to know something else?”

Laura grinned. “Sure. What?”

“I’m going to check the DVC schedule for this summer and see if there’ll be a philosophy class. If there is, I’m going to sign up and take it.”

“Really? How are you going to get to DVC? You don’t drive.”

“I’ll use Uber or Lyft.”

“If there is a philosophy class, I’d like to take it, too.”

“We can go together. Since it was my idea, I’ll pay for the rides.”

They arrived at the cafeteria. Laura had a bag lunch, so she got a carton of milk. Kevin picked the special Tennis Team lunch paid for by the Booster’s Club. Today it was a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato, and a salad with veggies and a grain, quinoa, he’d never heard of. It looked good. He walked to the table where he usually sat with his friends.

Devon opened the ham sandwich he’d picked from the lunch counter.

“Hey, Kevin. Where’d you get that sandwich?” Devon asked.

“It was today’s special lunch for members of the tennis team.”

 “What I got doesn’t look as good as the one you’re eating,” he said. “How can I get a sandwich like the one you have?”

“Join the tennis team,” Kevin replied, then he grinned and took a big bite from his sandwich. After he swallowed, he explained, “The Booster’s Club pays for special lunches for all of the sports teams. They are designed to have high protein, high fiber, low carbs, low sodium, and so on. The idea is they’ll be more healthy than the usual cafeteria food.”

“Always has to be a catch,” Devon groused.

When he was finished eating his sandwich, Kevin got up. “Time for me to head out and go play some tennis. See you guys tomorrow.”

Everyone at the table said “Bye” or “See you mañana” or whatever. After dropping off his tray, Kevin walked to the gym.

Since this was a Thursday, he spent the first forty-five minutes practicing strokes with Taylor Dayne, one of the other members of the varsity tennis team. Then he was scheduled for the weight training room, and with stretching exercises and running two laps on the track, he was exercising for almost one hour. Since this was the last period of the day, Kevin put off showering until after he heard the bell announcing that seventh period was over.

Thursday, March 28, 2019; After School

When he was finished, Kevin went to the bike racks where Jeff was waiting.

“Hey, Kev!”

“Hi, Jeff. Been waiting long?”

“Yeah, about a quarter of an hour. Not your problem. Mr. Contreras had a teachers’ meeting, so he let us out twenty minutes early. By the time Laura and I were finished chatting, and I’d gone to my locker to drop off the books I don’t need for homework, I was still here early. So I’ve been reading the World History chapters that Mrs. Weston assigned. I almost fell asleep.” He grinned. “What class did you have? PE?”

“Yes. Since I’m on the tennis team, Taylor Dayne and I practiced strokes, then I spent an hour exercising. I always feel great after using the weight training room. Are you ready to head out?”

“Yup. Let’s go.”

The ride to Kevin’s house was leisurely; there was no rush to get there. Jeff did ask what he was fixing for dinner. Kevin told him that Connie had fixed beef pot roast with lots of veggies, and he would fix a salad and they’d have that with the pot roast. Jeff smiled and said that sounded great.

When they got to Kevin’s house, he opened the garage door, and they moved their bikes inside. There was a FedEx package at the front door from Young-Williamson-Lautner Architects Ltd. When they got inside, Kevin opened it. It contained two copies of the floor plan of the house. He showed one to Jeff.

“This is the floor plan of my house. Lieutenant Richardson of The Walnut Creek Police Department asked me to get the floor plan. The district attorney had asked for it. I guess they need it to plot out how the killers got in and what rooms they were in.”

“So they’re still investigating?” Jeff asked.

“I guess,” Kevin said. “It’s taking freakin’ forever.”

“How did you get the floor plan?”

“My uncle in Vancouver is the architect. He sent two copies. One for the district attorney, and one for me.”

Kevin changed the subject.

“Time to get to our homework. You think?”

“Unfortunately, I think! Let’s do it.”

The first thing they did was read the World History assignment. Even though they were in different classes, they both had Mrs. Weston as their teacher. After they’d read the assigned pages, and reread them one more time, they talked about it. The subject was the beginning of the Truman presidency. This was new to both boys, so they discussed it and worked out what they thought was most important. As a result, they came away with an understanding of that period of U.S. history.

But this was the World History class, so they went through the material and concentrated on the impact of President Roosevelt’s death, the atomic bombing of Japan and how it ended World War II, and the Marshall Plan which was responsible for the economic recovery of Western Europe.

About an hour later, both Jeff and Kevin had enough of history. “How about we have dinner now? I’m getting hungry,” Kevin said

“I agree,” Jeff said. “Anything I can do?”

“All I have to do is make a salad, then dish up the pot roast onto our plates. What salad dressing do you like?”

“Whatever you have is fine with me. The only one I’m not big on is poppy seed dressing. It’s too sweet.”

Kevin made a salad with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and avocado, with blue cheese dressing. Then he dished up the pot roast. Both Jeff and Kevin had second helpings.

“You are so lucky you have someone who can cook such great meals for you,” Jeff said. “I’m already looking forward to having dinner with you next Thursday.” He grinned.

“I have a question, Jeff. It’s sort of personal.”

“That’s okay. If I don’t like the question, I won’t answer it. Okay?”

“Yes, that’s okay. My question is, why don’t you like fish?”

Jeff laughed. “You’re not going to like my answer. My mom doesn’t, either. I don’t like fish because it tastes fishy.”

Now Kevin laughed. “Actually, that’s both funny and a good answer. Here’s another question. What about shrimp?”

“I like shrimp. A lot.”

“Good. Because next week I’ll probably have an excellent shrimp and veggie dish with fettuccini noodles that Connie will fix for us. I think you’ll like it. It’s my favorite.”

After eating, they watched a movie. Jeff suggested Mission: Impossible — Fallout if Kevin hadn’t seen it. He hadn’t, so they watched it. It was an action-adventure movie, and they both enjoyed it. It was the kind of movie they didn’t have to think about.

When it was over, Kevin dished up some ice cream, and they sat eating their dessert.

“I have a question,” Jeff said. “You don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to. I’m just curious whether the police have found out who… you know… who killed your family.”

“The answer is, I don’t know. But there’s a ‘yet’ connected with the ‘I don’t know’ because I’m meeting with the Walnut Creek Police and the FBI on April thirteenth and I’m supposed to get an update about what they’ve found. I assume they’ve discovered something because if they hadn’t, then they’d probably have phoned me and said ‘nothing to report’ or something like that.”

“Damn! It’s sure taking a long time for them to find out anything.”

“I agree. I hope I don’t have to relive the whole thing. It’ll be tough for me, no matter what was found. Or wasn’t found.”

“Do you have a lawyer?”

“Yes. Actually, I have two lawyers. One is a family law attorney, and he’s the one who set up my becoming emancipated and recommended Dr. Ranse, my therapist. The other is a criminal law attorney, and he’s going to be there to help me ask questions about whoever did it and what’s going to happen to them, and what will a trial be about, and bail. Things like that.”

“Why do you need the family law attorney at the meeting?”

“There might be questions about rights that emancipation gives me. For example, they might decide they shouldn’t tell me something because of my age. Mr. MacIntosh will tell them if I have the right to be told that because I’m emancipated.”

“Jeez, these things get complicated, don’t they?”

“Yeah, they do.”

“How are you doing at school? Your classes and whatever you had to make up from when you were out.”

“Good, actually. I’m caught up in Algebra 2/Pre Calc, World History, and English 2. And PE, too. I’m on the varsity tennis team now.”

“That’s great! It’s neat having a jock as a friend.” Jeff smirked.

“Hey, members of the tennis team are not jocks! We’re highly talented athletes. Be sure to remember that.” Kevin laughed, and so did Jeff.

“What about your other classes?”

“I have a tutor for Chemistry. It’s the most complicated of my classes because there are exams that I had to make up, and I still have more to make up. And I have to finish the chemistry experiments that I missed. I’ve caught up with the class on the current stuff, but I still have some experiments to complete and a couple exams to make up. It’s a good thing I have a chemistry expert as my tutor. Chemistry will be his major when he goes to Cal.

“I also have a tutor for Spanish 3. Mostly he gives me the exams I need to make up, and he helps with vocabulary when I need it — though I’ve been able to learn most of the vocabulary on my own. Sometimes I need to have Jason — he’s my Spanish tutor — help with pronunciation of a word.”

“Is there anything I can help you with?”

“Be here Thursday after school to do homework, have dinner with me, and watch a movie or play a video game; just doing that will be great. That means I won’t come home to an empty house with nobody here. Having you here on Thursdays, Laura on Tuesdays, and Alex on Mondays means I’m not lonely. Even after you go home I won’t feel lonely.”

“I’m glad we’re all here for you, Kevin. Alex — he’s your chemistry tutor, right?”

“Yes. He actually tutors me, and that’s the reason I’ve made all A’s on the chemistry exams I had to make up, and I made perfect scores on the experiments. There are only two experiments left, and I think only one make up exam. It’ll be good when I’m up with where the class is and there are no more exams or experiments to make up.”

“How’s the psychologist you’re seeing?”

“Dr. Ranse is a therapist, not a psychologist. She’s been a big help. At first, I didn’t want a therapist; then I realized I needed a therapist. She’s great. I see her on Wednesdays and Fridays after school. The sessions last about an hour. We talk about all sorts of things. I feel better after our sessions. She makes me think about things, and that is important.”

“Sounds like what you’re getting from her is worthwhile. How did you pick her?”

“Mr. MacIntosh, my family law attorney recommended her.”

“Who’s paying for it? I’d think having a therapist like that would have to be expensive, especially since you meet with her twice a week for an hour each time.”

“Turns out that my medical coverage is paying the bill. I’m glad. I could pay for it out of my trust, but I’d prefer that the medical insurance pays for it, since I’m paying for the insurance.”

“That makes sense. I guess you’ve had to learn about all of these kinds of things to know what you have and don’t have and what you need. Like medical insurance.

“Hey, a question. Since you’re emancipated, can you drive?”

“I wish! One of the things that emancipation doesn’t include is the right to drive as soon as you’re emancipated. It, like drinking and buying alcohol, are still subject to state law.”

“What happened to your family’s car? Or cars?”

“Cars. Three of them. My dad’s and my mom’s. And my sister’s — which she stopped using when she discovered that she couldn’t get a parking permit at UC Berkeley.”

Kevin realized what he said and how he’d said it. He’d ignored what had happened to each member of his family like it was something he’d read in a newspaper. And he named each family member who had a car. That was something he hadn’t been able to do before.

“Are you going to sell them?” Jeff asked.

“Sell the cars? That’s a good question. I haven’t thought about it. I’ll be 18 in a couple years, so I guess that’s when I’ll be able to drive. But to answer your question, I don’t need three cars. So, I probably should think about selling two of them, and keeping the most up-to-date model for myself. One of them is a Prius. Without thinking much about it, that’s probably the car I’d keep for myself. The sooner I sell the other two cars, the more I’ll be able to get for them. Before they get old and the value goes down.”

“Prius gets good gas mileage. If it’s a plug-in hybrid Prius, then it gets even better mileage, but you can’t go very far on electric alone before you have to recharge the battery.”

“How far is that?”

“My brother says the electric range is about 25 miles. Then it automatically starts using the gasoline engine.”

“Your brother has a Prius?”

“A Prius Prime. That’s the plug-in hybrid. My brother works for Toyota.”

“Cool. Does he like working for Toyota?”

“Uh-huh. David’s job is dealer support, so he travels around the Bay Area a lot. From Sacramento to San Jose to Marin County.”

“Good thing he has a Prius.”

“It’s a company car. That’s even better. They pay for everything.”

Jeff looked at his watch.

“It’s getting late, and I’d better get home and get to bed. I had a good time, and It’ll be fun getting together next Thursday.”

“Be careful, riding home on your bike can be dangerous on this street. There’s not a lot of traffic, but sometimes drivers don’t pay attention to others sharing the road. Especially those of us on bikes.”

“I’ll be careful. I’m always careful. But thanks for the warning.”

They hugged, which made Kevin feel good. He followed Jeff to the sidewalk and watched him until he made the turn and was no longer in view.

Kevin checked the house phone for messages; there weren’t any.

He had two things to do for his Friday session with Dr. Ranse. Updating the To Do List, and completing the six questions she’d prepared for him.

He’d already updated the To Do List.

He checked the time. It might be too late to answer all six questions tonight. But there wasn’t any time for him to do it the next day; it was Friday, the day he had his session with Dr. Ranse.

He reviewed her questions. Some were easy, some not so easy. He could answer the easy ones first and decide if he wanted to do the others before going to bed. Though… he could do it during Academy period tomorrow. Except… that was when he was scheduled to take a Spanish 3 exam with Jason Valle. There wouldn’t be enough time left to answer all six questions.

So, he got started.

“First, how have you been sleeping?”

As soon as I go to bed, I fall asleep.

“Are you waking up during the night, or sleeping straight through to the morning?”

I always sleep straight through until I hear my clock radio switch on in the morning. I keep it tuned to KKDV, and it wakes me up and I get up in a couple minutes.

“You said you seldom remember any of your dreams. But, if you have remembered one or more dreams since then, what were they about? And, have you had any nightmares?”

The only dream I remember was night before last. We were playing mixed doubles tennis (that’s a guy and a girl on each side of the net). Our side was winning, but we kept hitting the ball out of the court and over the fence into the parking lot. We were laughing because the way we were playing was so lame, even though we were winning.
I don’t remember having any nightmares, other than right after my family was killed. I don’t remember any of the details. I don’t want to remember any of the details. Period.

“Second, are you tired during the day? Do you feel like you need a nap while you’re at school, or right after you get home?”

I never feel like I need a nap, when I’m at school or when I get home from school. I exercise and I’m playing tennis a lot. I think that gives me a high that keeps me from feeling tired.

“Third, are you eating enough? Have you lost or gained any weight?”

I wasn’t sure about gaining or losing weight, so I got undressed and weighed myself. It read 165, about 3 pounds higher than my usual weight. But I had a big meal at dinner with Jeff. Two servings of pot roast with a lot of veggies and potatoes, and a salad with avocado and blue cheese dressing. And a big dish of ice cream for dessert. So that might be the reason for my 3-pound weight gain.

“Fourth, have you been or felt ill, and if so, how has it affected you?”

I’ve haven’t been sick and I haven’t felt sick recently, so it hasn’t affected me.

“Fifth, do you ever feel anxious or stressed, and if so, what about and when does it happen?”

Yes. It’s usually when I’m thinking about the meeting with the Walnut Creek Police and the FBI on April thirteenth.
Also, when I think about going into my family’s bedrooms; I feel stressed because I don’t want to go into their rooms. Especially my folks’ bedroom.

“Sixth, how is your mood? Are you happy most of the time, and if not, how would you describe how you’ve been feeling? Have you been sad, and if so, when does that happen? How often do you laugh? What makes you laugh?”

I’d say that my mood has been mostly neutral. That’s probably because I’ve been in class most of the time.
I have been laughing a lot recently. Listening to jokes and sometimes telling jokes. Talking to my cousins Eve and Don has been a big help, especially Eve, because she’s both a motor mouth and a potty mouth and she always has something funny to say. I always end up laughing when we’ve been talking. For example, when I sent her a selfie of Alex and me, she said we we’re both so hot we could start a fire without matches. I think that’s hilarious.
I told Don what she said, and he busted up laughing. Then I told Alex, and after he finished laughing he said he’d tell Rick, his brother, who he said would also find it funny.
I like to laugh, so in the past my usual demeanor would have been called happy. Maybe sometime after the meeting on April thirteenth I’ll be able to be happy most of the time again.
I need to figure out how to get back to being the way I was. I’m going to need help to get back that way.

Kevin wondered what Dr. Ranse would think about his answers. Some were short, some were longer. He wasn’t sure what she expected. She’d mentioned he might be depressed. He’d find out tomorrow at their session after school. He printed two copies of her questions with his answers to bring tomorrow.

Mr. Sommers said he would post the second reading assignment from The Dream Weaver. Kevin went onto School Loop. The assignment was to read chapters two and three and be ready to discuss them in class on Tuesday. Chapter two had 36 pages. The title was ‘Self, Mind, Soul.’  Chapter three had 33 pages. The title was ‘Science.’

He could see why they should read these two chapters together.  It was the ‘Soul’ part of the chapter two title, versus the ‘Science’ title of chapter three. That was point-counterpoint.

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