Episode 14 Transcript

14 - Patient #12-D-10 (Sam)
By Lauren Shippen

[sfx: click of a recorder]

Dr. Bright: I received a message from Patient #12-D-10 this morning- or I suppose, last night. I’m on the elevator up to my office now. I saw the patient at her normal session time on Thursday - that was her eighth session I believe. So this is session 9, I suppose.

[sfx: elevator opening]

Dr. Bright: Sam, I’m so sorry I’m late - I only got your message this morning. I was already asleep last night when you called. 

Sam: No, no, it’s fine. I’m sorry to bother you on a Saturday.

Dr. Bright: It’s perfectly alright.

[sfx: keys in door, opening door]

Dr. Bright: Sorry that Sarah wasn’t here to let you into the waiting room. I sometimes work on weekends but I’m rarely busy enough to need her here. Why don’t you go sit down in the office and I’ll just gather my notes. 

[sfx: opening door]

Dr. Bright: So, Sam, how are you this morning? You sounded very overwhelmed on the phone. 

Sam: I’m fine. I’m - well, I’m still in shock a little bit to be honest. I still can’t quite believe what’s happened. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, you said you were able to go on a trip on your own?

Sam: Right, yes. But that’s not even the most extraordinary part. 

Dr. Bright: Okay, well, let’s start from the beginning. 

Sam: Okay, um. So, I haven’t been able to go on a trip on purpose since that session of ours last week. And I’ve been practicing at home, every day, like you’ve taught me, but it’s just hard to do without you guiding me through it. You know, getting me into the meditation and giving me cues and what-not. 

Dr. Bright: I’m glad to hear that I’ve been helpful, but you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to do it on your own. You’ve made so much progress in the last few months. That’s enough for right now. 

Sam: I know, I know that’s what you said on Thursday. And I think that’s what finally did it - instead of just sitting in my apartment, trying to force myself to meditate, I tried not to worry about it too much. I sort of assumed that it wouldn’t happen, so I just did the meditation out of habit and didn’t stress about it and it worked. I went away and I meant to. 

Dr. Bright: That’s remarkable, Sam. You said you went to England?

Sam: Yeah, for only a couple of minutes. It was strange- normally when I arrive in the other place, I never know when I’m going to come back. Once I’ve settled down from the journey getting there, I feel normal and I just wander around until I feel myself being pulled back to the present. 

Dr. Bright: But this was different?

Sam: Yes. It was like - like I had to hold on to being there or something. From the moment I got there, I felt like I was being pulled back. I had to concentrate really hard to stay, even for just a few minutes. 

Dr. Bright: Why do you think that is?

Sam: I don’t know. Maybe because it was voluntary? I have the getting there part under control, but maybe I have to control every piece of it.

Dr. Bright: I think you’re probably right. Before, your trips were induced by panic. Now that you’re learning to control it, you are fighting against what your body wants to do naturally. 

Sam: What do you mean?

Dr. Bright: I think the trips are your body’s way of trying to calm down during a panic attack. When you’re in emotional or physical turmoil, your body transports you to a different place that it deems safe. As if it's choosing flight over fight. 

Sam: What, like a defense mechanism?

Dr. Bright: I definitely think it’s possible. It would explain why the lengths of the trips vary so much. You said the one after the accident was by far the longest - and it was after the greatest trauma you’ve undergone. 

Sam: Yeah, that’s true. I’d never really thought about it that way but yeah- the more anxious I was feeling the longer I would be gone. But I still don’t get why that would affect my ability to go on trips on purpose.

Dr. Bright: You’ve been able to leave purposefully by entering into a calm, meditative state. When you go to another place in that condition, your body isn’t using the travel as a defense mechanism. Instead, the trip is what disrupts the calm, not the other way around. So your body will try to pull itself back to the present and the calm state that you were experiencing there. 

Sam: So I’m basically just always trying to find calm. 

Dr. Bright: I think so. Our bodies crave balance. 

Sam: You’d think mine would have come up with a less weird way to accomplish that. 

Dr. Bright:  Yes, I suppose it could have. But this is just a theory. The cause of your trips could be any number of things, or even a combination of things.

Sam: Sure, right. But I think this makes sense. I mean, it also explains why I was able to come back before seeing the moment of the accident a few weeks ago. It was like my body was protecting me against having to watch that. 

Dr. Bright: That’s a very good point.

Sam: So how on earth am I supposed to travel of my own free will if it just throws my body into chaos?

Dr. Bright: When you arrived in England - when you realized that you had been successful in your attempts to travel - what did you feel?

Sam: Excited. And proud that I was able to accomplish something. 

Dr. Bright: Were you nervous at all? Frightened?

Sam: Um, yeah, I was a bit. I mean, it was such a new sensation. Getting it right, being able to control it. I guess- I guess I wasn’t sure if it was entirely a good thing. I mean, what if controlling it means I can mess things up? What if I can get there but not get back? What if I get stuck somewhere forever?

Dr. Bright: See why your body wanted to pull you back to the present? You were experiencing anxiety on a trip; not something that is typical, as I understand it. 

Sam: But I’ve had panic attacks on other trips before. And they’ve never pulled me back. I only go back when I’m fully calm. Or bored. 

Dr. Bright: Has an attack on a trip ever been as bad as the attack that caused the trip in the first place?

Sam: No, I guess not. 

Dr. Bright: And you’ve said it yourself - you know you can’t get hurt when you’re in other times. There’s less danger in the past than there is in the present. 

Sam: But now that I can control it, that’s not true. 

Dr. Bright: Exactly. 

Sam: So what do I do?

Dr. Bright: We keep working on your anxiety. If you can learn to be less afraid, to be more confident in yourself and your abilities, then you should be able to control every aspect of the trips. 

Sam: Okay. I guess that makes sense. 

Dr. Bright: Let’s get back to what happened yesterday. You went back to the same place in England?

Sam: Oh, um, yes. Which is so weird. I mean, there have been a couple of repeats throughout the years, but never back to back like that. 

Dr. Bright: Were you thinking about the place before you went there?

Sam: Yeah, I was. But this trip wasn’t on purpose.

Dr. Bright: It was anxiety induced?

Sam: Yes, I was- well, I was thinking about getting stuck. I was thinking about maybe trying to go on a trip again, but I was caught up in worrying about it and then I left.

Dr. Bright: And when you arrived, did you feel like you were being pulled back? Or was it one of your usual trips. 

Sam: It felt pretty normal. I felt solid there. And I, you know, sort of rolled my eyes at the irony of ending up in the same place that I had failed to stay in before and then I went about my usual routine. 

Dr. Bright: You mean finding someone interesting to follow around?

Sam: Right. It was the early 1800s - Regency era, I think. I don’t know, it reminded me of Jane Austen. My mom was a big fan of hers. 

Dr. Bright: Are you?

Sam: Um, I don’t know. I remember liking her books when my mom used to read them to me, but I haven’t read any fiction like that in years. It doesn’t really- it doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. 

Dr. Bright: Too close to home?

Sam: Something like that. I like science fiction, mostly movies and TV, though I’ve read a few novels. 

Dr. Bright: Science fiction, really? 

Sam: You're surprised. 

Dr. Bright: Well, I would have thought that would be especially too close to home. 

Sam: YeahI don’t like all science fiction - like, X-Men is definitely a little too relatable and I can’t stand anything set in the present, but anything in the future or outer space is okay. At least I know I’m unlikely to ever go to either of those places. 

Dr. Bright: I see. I suppose that makes sense. And historical nonfiction is right out I assume?

Sam: No, not at all. I mean, I have to do a lot of research for my job - or rather, I come across a lot of research, and then it’s my job to archive it - but I like learning more about the places I go. It helps to put things in context. 

Dr. Bright: But Jane Austen doesn’t do it for you? Her novels are fairly true to the time period. 

Sam: Well, sure, but it’s- it’s her characters. I don’t, um, well, families and friendships and romance are not really things that I know a lot about. I’d rather read a textbook on the 19th century than a romance novel about it. 

Dr. Bright: I understand that. 

Sam: It’s just- not everyone experiences those things, you know? At least with a non-fiction book I know those things happened. It’s fact. History is easy - things happen and they affect the world around them, either in a big way or a small way. And sometimes I get to see those things. But Mr. Darcy doesn’t exist and there’s no reason to believe that he could. 

Dr. Bright: You like to stick to reality. 

Sam: As much as I can. There’s no point in fantasizing about things that will never happen. 

Dr. Bright: Mr. Darcy may not exist, but other people do.

Sam: Yeah, I guess. Speaking of which, um, I did find someone to follow around in England. A girl, a little younger than me, and her sister. I overheard them gossiping a few minutes after I got there and they seemed fun. 

Dr. Bright: Ah. Very Austen. 

Sam: I guess so. They were just walking around the main town, doing errands, talking to various people - some things are essentially the same no matter what time you’re in. And then they started to head home and it was a pretty long walk, but it was nice. It was a nice day and it’s always cool to see so much undisturbed countryside. And as we were walking through this field, there was a tree with a man sitting against it. He was about my age and I didn’t think much of it, it looked like he had just stopped in the middle of a walk to take a nap or something but - well he was quite handsome, so I was looking at him a bit and his clothes - they were Regency clothes but they looked. I don’t know, they looked odd on him. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but he just looked so out of place. And I was expecting one of the girls to point him out, or, I don’t know, whisper to one another about his looks - there had been a lot of that so far - but nothing. They didn’t even seem to notice that he was there. 

Dr. Bright: Perhaps they didn’t see him.

Sam: No, I don’t think that’s possible. We were walking straight towards him and they didn’t glance at him once. And then - and this is what I was trying to say in the voicemail. Um, well, we were about thirty feet away and the girls’ chatter woke him up I think and he opened his eyes, and he did sort of a double take and leaped up to his feet. And I thought that he was just trying to be polite - you know, stand in the presence of ladies and all that but, he looked shocked. And confused. And then- then I realized he was looking at me. I wasn’t sure at first, but he looked straight into my eyes and I just- I stopped dead. The girls kept walking forwards, past him and he didn’t look away from me once. He saw me. And I could feel it happening - my body pulling away, I guess because this was freaking me out way more than any anxiety I had had before coming on the trip - but before I left, he smiled. He looked me right in the eye, and the shock softened and he smiled. And I don’t know, it was- it was extraordinary. I’ve seen a lot of amazing things in my trips - a lot of bad stuff, yes, but also a lot of beautiful things. But this- this strange, out of place person smiling at me in the middle of a field is maybe the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t remember the last time someone looked at me and smiled like that. You know, not the vague, practiced smile of someone passing you on the street or handing you your change, it was- it was like he meant it. Like somehow my mere existence had made him happy. And I don’t understand any piece of it - I mean, who is he? How did he get there? How is it that he was able to see me? But, I don't know, all of those questions don’t seem so important when I think about sheer joy and wonder on his face. I didn’t know I could make someone look like that.  Dr. Bright? Dr. Bright are you okay? You look a little pale.

Dr. Bright: Yes, I’m fine, thank you, Sam. 

Sam: I know, it’s pretty incredible. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, it is. And you’re absolutely sure he was looking at you - not something behind you?

Sam: I’ve never been so sure of anything in my entire life. 

Dr. Bright: But he was wearing era clothing?

Sam: Well, yes, but like I said, they were odd on him. And actually - he was sort of odd, too, not just the clothes. It was like - it was like he wasn’t solid. I think he must have been another time traveler. But then how was he wearing the clothes? I mean, I can’t pick anything up when I’m in other times. How would he have put clothes on?

Dr. Bright: What did he look like? Exactly?

Sam: Why? Do you think he’s one of the mental time travelers that you were talking about? Someone you’ve read about?

Dr. Bright: No. No, the only mental time traveler I know of was a woman. And she is deceased as far as I know. 

Sam: Oh. Well, there have to others right? And maybe that’s-

Dr. Bright: No, Sam. I- I didn’t give you the whole picture when I told you I had read about other time travelers. I assume there are more out there, but I have only read about one. She was able to push her consciousness back in time, like I’ve explained, but she passed away a few years ago. 

Sam: But there have to be others, like you said - maybe it was someone you haven’t heard of yet.

Dr. Bright: Maybe. But I think there’s another explanation for this man. 

Sam: And what would that be?

Dr. Bright: There are people - atypicals - who are able to adapt and perform the abilities of other atypicals around them. They act as a sort of conduit - they do not have any special power on their own, but when in close proximity to someone who does, they are able to perform the same powers. 

Sam: Really? People who can just do anything if they’re in the right place?

Dr. Bright: Yes. Though, I only know of one such person so far.  

Sam: And you know this person?

Dr. Bright: Yes. 

Sam: And you think this person is the man who saw me?

Dr. Bright: I do. 

Sam: Why? How? Who is he?

Dr. Bright: He is my brother. 

Sam: What?

Dr. Bright: My brother went missing 5 years ago- 

Sam: And you think he went missing to the 1800s?

Dr. Bright: Not exactly. Sam- this puts me in a somewhat awkward position. There are some things that you don’t know - a lot of things in fact - that could potentially put you in harm’s way. But if that man really is who I think he is, then I know why he was able to see you. And I also know that you might be the only person who is able to help him. But you can leave my office right now and forget about all of this. You can continue to be my patient and I will help you with your anxiety so that you can live life as normally as possible. 

Sam: Or?

Dr. Bright: Or I can tell you what I know and you can decide if you want to help me. But Sam, I am serious when I say that this will make your life even more complicated than it already is. You said yourself that you don’t want any more adventures. 

Sam: What’s his name?

Dr. Bright: Mark. 

Sam: Mark is stuck there, isn’t he?

Dr. Bright: Yes. He is. 

Sam: Then I’ll help you. 

Dr. Bright: Sam, are you sure-

Sam: Yes. I know what that’s like - to be trapped like that. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Well, you know, if I had enemies that is. 

Dr. Bright: Give it time, Sam. 

Sam: You have got to tell me what’s going on. 

Dr. Bright: Okay. Okay. But not here. Not right now. 

Sam: What? Why not? Just tell me the truth, Dr. Bright.

Dr. Bright: I will. But Sam, no one can know that I’m telling you these things. This is a major breach of- well a few dozen professional guidelines and a handful of federal laws. I need you to think long and hard about this before I tell you anything. I’ll look at my notes, try and figure out the most concise way to catch you up on the last 10 years and if you still want to know on Monday, you will have a folder waiting for you that will explain everything. As well as the appropriate proof. I need you to believe me and sitting here hashing it out is only going to frustrate us both. 

Sam: Okay. That seems reasonable. 

Dr. Bright: Good. And once again - do not make this decision lightly. 

Sam: I won’t. But Dr. Bright, I can keep a secret. You should know that by now. 

Dr. Bright: I do. I’m very much counting on it. For now, go home, try to relax. Call me if you go on another trip and I’ll talk to you on Monday once you’ve gone through all the material I send you. 

[sfx: door opening]

Sam: Okay. And Dr. Bright?

Dr. Bright: Yes?

Sam: I’m sorry about your brother. 

Dr. Bright: Thank you, Sam. 

[sfx: click of a recorder]

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: Thank you for listening to The Bright Sessions. The show is written and produced by Lauren Shippen. The voice of Dr. Bright is Julia Morizawa. The voice of Sam is Lauren Shippen. All our graphic design is by Anna Lore. Have you reviewed the show on iTunes yet? If you haven’t, it would be really cool if you did. And if you need to express your love even more, you can become a patron of The Bright Sessions by visiting Patreon.com/thebright sessions. And then come find us on our website, thebrightsessions.com, on tumblr, or on twitter @brightpodcast. And as always, thank you for listening and stay strange.