Episode 15 Transcript
15 - Patient #11-A-7 (Caleb)
By Lauren Shippen
[sfx: click of a recorder]
Dr. Bright: Patient #11-A-7, session 19. The patient-
[sfx: knock on door, opening door]
Dr. Bright: Caleb, come in.
Caleb: Sorry I know I’m early but I just- I couldn’t sit around my house anymore.
[sfx: closing door]
Dr. Bright: It’s fine, Caleb. Are you alright?
Caleb: No, no I am not fucking alright.
Dr. Bright: Does this have to do with Adam? I got your message that you were thinking about telling him this weekend.
Caleb: Yeah, yeah, no I did that. Last night. And it did not go well at all.
Dr. Bright: Caleb, why don’t you sit down and tell me what happened.
Caleb: Okay, so, last night we were doing our normal Saturday night thing - just hanging out at my house. Adam’s favorite band came out with, like, a new album, so we were listening to that. And you know, things were going well. Like, really well actually. At one point, I sort of thought that- well-
Dr. Bright: You thought what?
Caleb: Well, that something might, you know, might happen. But I don’t know, there have been so many weird moments like that recently where I feel like I’m looking at him a little bit too much but he’s looking back and it’s like maybe he feels the same way, but. Well, not that it fucking makes a difference now.
Dr. Bright: Why do you say that?
Caleb: Because it was a disaster! An unmitigated disaster, to borrow a phrase from my former best friend.
Dr. Bright: Caleb, what happened?
Caleb: So after we had finished listening to the album, I suggested that we go for a walk. It’s been really warm this weekend, right? And, I don’t know, I didn’t really want to have the conversation with him while my parents were in the house. So we went to this park just down the street and, well, I explained everything to him. And he just freaked out and ran off.
Dr. Bright: He left? Did he say anything to you first?
Caleb: Yeah he went totally like, pale and weird, and then he was all, “oh god, I need to go home, I’m sorry” and he literally ran away. Like, it would be funny if it wasn't just so fucking tragic.
Dr. Bright: I’m very sorry that he reacted that way, Caleb.
Caleb: Yeah, I just don’t get it. I mean, I wasn’t expecting a parade or anything, but I thought he’d at least stick around. I sort of thought he might even find it kind of, I don’t know, like, cool. Like, people find superpowers hot, right? And I mean, what I can do is sort of a superpower. It's- it just wasn’t how I saw things going.
Dr. Bright: It can be very upsetting when our expectations of someone aren’t met. Sometimes people let us down.
Caleb: Yeah, I know. That’s not new to me. I just- I didn’t think Adam would be one of those people.
Dr. Bright: Can you think of why he may have reacted that way?
Caleb: Not really.
Dr. Bright: Perhaps he’s confused about what you meant. How exactly did you explain your ability?
Caleb: Well, I started at the beginning. I asked him if he had heard about that fight last year that almost got me expelled, you know, the one that got me to come and see you, and he said that he did. That he was surprised I’d beat a kid up because I always seemed so nice.
Dr. Bright: Well, that must have been good to hear.
Caleb: Yeah, it was. So I explained about how sometimes I get really angry when other people get angry and he sort of smiled and said that he noticed that. So I started to explain about how some people have too much empathy or that synesthesia thing you told me about. And he said, yeah, he’d heard of that before.
Dr. Bright: That’s a good start.
Caleb: His parents are both doctors and he’s like a sponge for information so that wasn’t surprising.
Dr. Bright: Okay, so he was on board up to that point - what changed?
Caleb: Well, then I got into my thing. And at first he didn’t believe me. He thought I was just trying to pull a prank or something. But I told him that, no, I can definitely feel the feelings of other people. And then he thought that I just meant like, normal empathy stuff. And he was like, “gee, Caleb:, you might be hanging out with jocks too much if you think it’s abnormal to notice other people's feelings”, which sort of stung to be completely honest.
Dr. Bright: I know he teases you about football sometimes, but it’s unlike him to be cruel about it, isn’t it?
Caleb: Yeah, definitely. He’s sarcastic and stuff but he’s never mean. At least not to me. But I could tell that he was just getting defensive. I mean, the moment I started talking about feeling other people’s emotions, he started to feel really nervous. More nervous than I’ve felt from him since the first day I asked him to eat lunch.
Dr. Bright: Why do you think he was nervous?
Caleb: I don’t- look, I don't know, because he thought I was pulling a prank? He hates pranks a lot and- But I told him I was being completely serious, and it wasn’t a normal empathy thing, and that I could feel that he was nervous and then that made him angry so I told him that I could feel that he was angry too and then he asked if I’ve always been able to feel everything he feels and I said yeah, his feelings are actually some of the the easiest for me to feel and that’s when he freaked and left.
Dr. Bright: And you haven’t heard anything from him since?
Caleb: No. I texted him earlier today but he hasn’t responded. I’ve seen plenty of those stupid, fucking grey dots, but nothing.
Dr. Bright: What did you text him?
Caleb: Just that it was shitty- that it was a shitty thing for him to storm off like that and that I’d really like to talk to him.
Dr. Bright: You berated him and asked to see him in the same text?
Dr. Bright: Do you think maybe that wasn’t the best tactic?
Caleb: Hey, he’s the one that ran away when I was really, you know, lik,e opened up or whatever you always say I should do and he- he-
Dr. Bright: He rejected you.
Caleb: Yeah, he fucking rejected me! I shouldn’t have to be the one to text him, he should be texting me right now.
Dr. Bright: You said you felt nervousness and anger from him after you told him - did you feel anything else?
Caleb: Surprise, I guess. Which wasn’t too surprising. But mostly anger towards the end. Although-
Dr. Bright: Although?
Caleb: It wasn’t only the normal anger that he feels. It was also, I think he was embarrassed too. But what does he have to be embarrassed about? I was the one putting everything on the line.
Dr. Bright: You said yourself that you felt guilty over the fact that he didn’t know you could feel his emotions. You must have known that this was going to be hard for him. Do you think it’s possible that he has some feelings that he would rather you didn’t know about?
Caleb: What do you mean? He tells me everything about his life, what would he have to be embarrassed about that I don’t already know?
Dr. Bright: Well, try to put yourself in his shoes. It doesn’t sound like you got into a long discussion about the greater nuances of your ability, so in his mind, you know exactly how he feels about you. He probably thinks that you know about his romantic feelings and never said anything to him, essentially letting him down easy.
Caleb: Oh shit.
Dr. Bright: Indeed. I don’t think you’re the only one who feels rejected right now, Caleb.
Caleb: Oh, god, yeah, no, no no...I mean, we never- we never talk about that stuff. Which I know is kind of weird for friends - to never talk about dating but. Well, a while ago, we were, like, watching Mad Max and he made some off-handed comment about how hot Tom Hardy is- or well, he clearly wanted it to be off-handed, but he was pretty nervous about it and I just kind of brushed it off. I mean, I made sure he knew I didn’t care and everything but I didn’t make a big deal out of it either. Everyone at school has kind of always known that Adam was gay and I could tell it was something he just wanted to get out of the way, to like, make sure I knew, I guess. And I was still too distracted by balancing everything out at the time to really pay that much attention. Oh, god, I’ve been such a fucking idiot.
Dr. Bright: You’ve been distracted.
Caleb: Yeah, but all this time I just assumed that because I could feel his butterflies and we had those moments that we were sort of on the same page. Because, I was on his page, but he- he has no idea! Of course, god, he has no idea at all. I don’t think he even thinks that I’m - well you know, that I don’t mind that he’s- that's he's a boy or- you know what I mean.
Dr. Bright: You’ve never had your own Tom Hardy moment with him?
Caleb: No, Tom Hardy doesn’t really do it for me.
Dr. Bright: Who does?
Caleb: Adam. I know that people are going to call me gay for liking him that way, but I don’t think that I am. I mean, I’m definitely not straight either, but- it just never really came up. Because the only person I think about that way is him.
Dr. Bright: Have you ever given him any reason to think that?
Caleb: Not even a little bit.
Dr. Bright: Now do you think you can understand his reaction a little bit more?
Caleb: Yeah. No, I definitely can. God, what am I gonna do? I know how he thinks about stuff - he is a worst case scenario kind of dude so he’s probably thinking that I’ve been making fun of his crush with my teammates or something. When he has no idea that I like him so much it overwhelms anything I’m feeling from him.
Dr. Bright: I think you should tell him that. Nothing is ruined, Caleb. You just need to communicate with him. What are you doing?
[sfx: phone opening]
Dr. Bright: I meant in person, or a phone call. Not texting.
Caleb: Yeah, well, I can’t go to school tomorrow without fixing this and Sunday is his study day so I know he won’t want to come over so this is just gonna have to do, okay?
Dr. Bright: Very well.
Caleb: Okay. I’m saying, “I’m sorry that I upset you yesterday but you need to know that I like your feelings. All of them. So you shouldn’t feel weird or anything about the fact that I can feel them. Because it doesn’t have to be weird”. How’s that?
Dr. Bright: You’re going to send it regardless of what I have to say about better forms of communication, aren’t you?
[sfx: text sending]
Dr. Bright: Alright, well, if there’s nothing else you want to talk about with Adam, why don’t we move on to school. You have finals coming up, correct?
Caleb: What are you doing?
Dr. Bright: Therapy.
Caleb: We can’t move on from this. I have to wait to see what he says.
Dr. Bright: Of course, we’ll come back to it once he responds. But who knows when that will be, so we may as well delve into some other subjects.
Caleb: Well, if it takes him more than a few minutes to respond then I can assume our friendship and any hope of something more is dead. So then we can talk about that. You’re confused. That’s a weird emotion coming from you.
Dr. Bright: Yes, sorry, I just- I don’t think I especially understand the nuances of text etiquette.
Caleb: Come on, you’re not that old.
Dr. Bright: Thank you.
Caleb: No, I just mean you’re - what, you're in your early thirties? You must text people right?
Dr. Bright: Not really. Occasionally I’ll text with patients about scheduling but I’ve never had a conversation through text.
Caleb: Not even with friends?
Dr. Bright: Uh, no I can’t say I have.
[sfx: text tone]
Caleb: Oh god.
Dr. Bright: Is it Adam?
Caleb: Yeah. He says, “How is it not weird? It’s so weird. And humiliating”. Okay, well, that’s not very encouraging.
[sfx: text sending]
Dr. Bright: How did you respond?
Caleb: I asked him what he had to be humiliated about.
Dr. Bright: But you know why he’s embarrassed.
Caleb: Yeah, but I want to hear it from him.
Dr. Bright: Caleb-
[tfx: text tone]
Caleb: Okay, he says “come on, you must know by now. If you can really feel everything I feel, then you must know. No point beating around the bush about it”.
Dr. Bright: Well, that’s very true. I think if you just told him exactly how you feel-
Caleb: "…to be totally honest, I wasn’t sure. Sometimes things get really muddled and it was easy to confuse that with my own feelings".
[sfx: text sending]
Dr. Bright: Caleb, I’m not sure talking about this through text is making anything any clearer-
[sfx: phone ringing]
Caleb: Oh god. He’s calling. Why the hell is he calling me?
Dr. Bright: Probably because this conversation is going nowhere. Pick it up, Caleb, talk to him.
Adam: (through the phone) What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
Caleb: What do you mean?
Adam: What feelings would you have to be confused about?
Caleb: Well, like, when I’m feeling something and another person is feeling the same thing, I can’t tell what’s coming from them and what’s coming from them.
Adam: Caleb, I swear to god, if you don’t start making sense in the next 10 seconds-
Caleb: I like you too, okay? Yeah, I could feel something from you but I was never sure because I was always feeling it too. A lot. So you can stop being an idiot and feeling embarrassed because if anyone should feel embarrassed it’s me, the guy who has been so stupid about you that it broke my fucking superpower.
Adam: But…I didn’t think- how did I not know you’re gay?
Caleb: Oh, um, I don’t know that I am.
Adam: Oh, sorry, never mind-
Caleb: It's not that I’m not into- it’s just you. I like you.
Adam: Oh, well, that’s. That’s good.
Caleb: So wait, where exactly did your feelings land on this? My thing doesn’t work through the phone.
Adam: Uh, yeah, no, me too. Um, could I- should I come over or? So we can talk and stuff?
Caleb: Yeah, yeah, no, that would be great. Just-um, give me like, half an hour? I’m just- I’m sort of at my therapist right now? But I can be home in like, 20.
Adam: Okay, that's cool. I’ll see you in 30?
Caleb: Yeah, okay, cool. Um, I’ll see you then. Uh, bye. I’m assuming you heard all that.
Dr. Bright: Well, he’s not exactly a quiet talker is he?
Caleb: Uh, no. Not when he gets worked up. Um, so I’m gonna go, if that’s okay? I know we still have like, 30 more minutes in our session but, yeah, uh-
Dr. Bright: It’s fine, Caleb. I’m glad the two of you are working things out.
Caleb: Yeah, yeah, me too. And thanks again. You know, for helping me figure out why he was upset.
Dr. Bright: Well, you may be a very capable empath but you’re still a teenage boy.
Caleb: What’s that supposed to mean?
Dr. Bright: Just that you aren’t always going to have everything figured out. And that’s okay.
Caleb: Right. And Adam’s pretty good at figuring out stuff too, so between the two of you, I should be totally okay, right?
Dr. Bright: Absolutely.
Caleb: You, um- he definitely likes me back right? I mean, you heard that too?
Dr. Bright: Yes, Caleb, I daresay he does.
Caleb: Wow. Okay. Yeah, I gotta go.
Dr. Bright: Bye, Caleb. I’ll see you next week. Call me if there are any more problems.
Caleb: Okay, I will. Thanks Dr. Bright!
[sfx: door opening and closing]
Dr. Bright: Well, that was an eventful 15 minutes. I’m pleased to see that Caleb has not missed out some of the the normal drama of teenage life. It reminds me a bit of when Mark got his first crush and he- well. As Chloe said, Caleb reminds me of him. Anyway, I think this is a wonderful step forward for the patient.
[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 Caleb is Briggon Snow and the voice of Adam is Alex Gallner. All our graphic design is by Anna Lore. Want to help us make the show? You can become a patron of The Bright Sessions and support our second season while getting some pretty cool rewards. Just visit Patreon.com/thebright sessions. And please leave us a review on iTunes if you haven't already - it helps us stay on the charts so other people can find us. And it makes us feel good. Also find us on our website, thebrightsessions.com, on tumblr, twitter @brightpodcast and of course our email firstname.lastname@example.org. And, as always, thanks for listening and stay strange.