Episode 43 Transcript
43 - Former Patient (#11-A-7)
by Lauren Shippen
Dr. Bright: (into the phone) -alright, I can bring these over to you tonight if- Right, of course, I forgot. Say hi to her for me. No, that’s alright, I have some work that I should probably finish up anyway. Thank you though. While I’m here, I’ll see what else I can dig up about physical response - there might be some old AM notes that will come in handy, I know I have those notebooks somewhere…
[sfx: outer door opening]
Dr. Bright: Sorry, Sam, I think someone just came in, I- I should probably go. Yes, okay, I will. You too.
[sfx: Dr. Bright hangs up phone, opens office door]
Dr. Bright: Hello, how may I- Caleb. I- what are you doing here?
Caleb: Hi, Dr. Bright. Uh, where’s Sarah?
Dr. Bright: On her honeymoon.
Caleb: Oh, the wedding happened?
Dr. Bright: Yes, over the holidays.
Caleb: Wow. That’s exciting.
Dr. Bright: Are you alright?
Caleb: Yeah. Yeah, no, I’m fine. Sorry about last week.
Dr. Bright: No, I’m, uh, I'm glad you got home alright. I’m sorry that you walked into that situation.
Caleb: It’s okay. It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve been around drunk people. Just sort of caught me off guard.
Dr. Bright: Caleb, why are you here?
Caleb: Um, Adam has debate club today so I was taking the long way home and I just- I thought it’d be nice to say hi.
Dr. Bright: You know you’re not supposed to be here. Your parents-
Caleb: My parents mean well but the new therapist they have me going to doesn’t know jack. I can’t tell him half the stuff I’m going through because he doesn’t know I’m atypical and my parents don’t want me telling him. They, like- they don’t know what they’re doing.
Dr. Bright: They just want what’s best for you. And they were very clear that they don’t want you seeing me anymore.
Caleb: But it’s not up to them. Just- please, Dr. Bright. Can we just talk? Not as therapist and patient but, just as, I don’t know, friends?
Dr. Bright: Caleb—
Caleb: You did it with Sam and Chloe—
Dr. Bright: That’s different—-
Dr. Bright: You’re a child, Caleb—
Caleb: No, I’m not, I’m going to be eighteen in four months and I’m- I mean, I’ve done things— I don’t feel like a kid anymore.
Dr. Bright: Of course. Do you want to sit down?
Caleb: Yeah. Yeah, thanks.
[sfx: door closing, both sitting]
Dr. Bright: How have you been doing?
Caleb: Okay. I’m glad that I— well, that the holiday break came when it did. Even though it was a bit weird this year. Obviously.
Dr. Bright: Why was it weird?
Caleb: I mean, my parents spent the whole break looking at me like I was gonna lose it at any second. It wasn’t exactly relaxing.
Dr. Bright: I’m sorry to hear that.
Caleb: And Adam went to Ohio to be with his dad’s family for Hanukkah so I didn’t even get to hang out with him and, well, his parents are kind of freaked out.
Dr. Bright: What do you mean?
Caleb: Because of what I did. They- they’re worried. I mean, they know I would never hurt Adam but, I guess, I don’t know, it’s complicated. Adam says his mom and his aunt are in a pretty big fight about the whole thing.
Dr. Bright: I see.
Caleb: Was your Christmas okay?
Dr. Bright: This isn't about me, Caleb.
Caleb: Why not? This isn’t a therapy session, remember? You don’t have to talk to me like a patient.
Dr. Bright: I’m confused, Caleb: - what exactly is it that you want from me?
Caleb: I don’t want anything from you. I just- I miss you, I guess.
Dr. Bright: Therapists don’t typically have contact with their patients after they’ve stopped sessions with them.
Caleb: Yeah, but there’s nothing typical about any of this. That’s, like, the whole point. This has never been a normal doctor-patient relationship.
Dr. Bright: I know.
Caleb: Then why can’t we just talk? As, like, human beings.
Dr. Bright: Because I was supposed to protect you. And I failed.
Dr. Bright: My job - my only role in your life - is to help you. It’s to guide you through living with your ability and make sure that your mental health is attended to. And I failed.
Caleb: We’ve been through this— it’s not your fault. Maybe things wouldn’t have turned out exactly the way they did if I didn’t know you, but I’d still be with Adam and his aunt would still be who she is. That, like, has nothing to do with you.
Dr. Bright: I know, Caleb. It’s not that, it’s-
Dr. Bright: I should have been there for you. In November. I should have- I should have helped you during that crisis. But I froze.
Caleb: Yeah, and I should have listened to you more about mindfulness and all that stuff and not gone off the deep end.
Dr. Bright: I’m your therapist, Caleb. You were in emotional turmoil and I did nothing. And I am incredibly sorry about that.
Caleb: That’s why you didn’t put up a fight, isn’t it? With my parents.
Dr. Bright: What do you mean?
Caleb: I expected for you to, I don’t know, to push back. But my mom said you jumped right on board with them. That you thought it was a good idea for me to go see someone else. And, like, that was it. My parents didn’t even talk to me before coming to you. And it’s not fair. It’s not their fucking choice in the first place, and you should have known that and I shouldn’t have just let them decide for me, but I could feel how scared they were and I just, I wasn’t- I couldn’t take fighting with them anymore.
Dr. Bright: You haven’t often fought with your parents very much in the past, have you?
Caleb: Nah, not really. Not since my thing first started and I was yo-yoing all over the place. I mean, they’ve been really great for the most part. And I’m lucky. Like, believe me, I know that. They could have freaked out way back then and they didn’t, they just tried to find a way to help me. But, like, after the whole thing with Damien, they totally blew their fucking lids. I mean, you know that, you were there—
Dr. Bright: Only for a moment.
Caleb: Yeah, sorry about that. They shouldn’t have thrown you out like that. But, you know, son gets dropped off by his therapist covered in blood…
Dr. Bright: I understood their reaction completely.
Caleb: Yeah. It was like that for days.
Dr. Bright: I imagine that was difficult for you to deal with - all those emotions swirling around the house.
Caleb: Yeah. Yeah, it was bad. But Alice stayed calm during all of it, somehow, and having Adam over really helped. When he was allowed, I mean.
Dr. Bright: Allowed?
Caleb: His parents wigged like mine when they got the whole story. Like I said, I think they know that I would never hurt Adam but, well, I don’t even know that. Not really. Not for sure.
Dr. Bright: Is that something you worry about?
Caleb: Yeah. I mean, not just with Adam. With anyone. The first couple weeks after, everything was so tense and, like, at a fucking boiling point, and I had to finish my college apps and something’s going on with Alice underneath all that calm, I don’t even know what, and there were times when I just couldn’t see, you know?
Dr. Bright: What do you mean? You physically couldn’t see?
Caleb: Yeah, kind of. Like, my body just gets so full of toxic bullshit that I get this tunnel vision and I feel it- that feeling of wanting to hit something. Of wanting to, I don’t know, just, like, explode.
Dr. Bright: You felt that way when you first came to see me, do you remember? And it was difficult, but you learned how to manage it.
Caleb: Yeah, but his feels worse. It’s like I let something loose and now it won’t stay quiet. And the thing is- I’d do it again. If it came down to it, if I had to hurt someone to protect Adam, or my family, I’d do it. You’re scared of me.
Dr. Bright: No, I’m not.
Caleb: I can feel it.
Dr. Bright: I am scared, Caleb. But not of you.
Caleb: Of what I might do.
Dr. Bright: Of you letting this rule you.
Caleb: What do you mean?
Dr. Bright: You’re an incredibly kind boy, Caleb.
Caleb: I’m not a boy.
Dr. Bright: Okay. You’re a good man. With a good heart. And that doesn’t mean that you won’t have these impulses - these angry feelings - but you shouldn’t let that destroy the kindness in you. I don’t want you to become vindictive.
Caleb: Have you been talking to Sam?
Dr. Bright: What?
Caleb: You’re both worried about me going after Damien, aren’t you? Finishing what I started?
Dr. Bright: What? No, of course not. Why? Is- is that something you’ve thought about?
Caleb: No. I mean, yeah, I’ve thought about it, I guess. But I wouldn’t. I don’t think so.
Dr. Bright: I think Sam was worried you’d try to apologize.
Caleb: To Damien?
Dr. Bright: That you’d try to get closure that way. Neither of us thinks that’s a good idea.
Caleb: No. No, trust me, if I never see that guy again I’ll be happy. Why does she think I’d want to apologize? Is it- does she- Mark’s been telling her stuff, huh? And you, I guess?
Dr. Bright: I know you haven’t seen him very much but he’s-
Caleb: -picked up on stuff. Yeah, Sam said. What exactly has he been feeling from me?
Dr. Bright: Guilt.
Caleb: Okay, yeah, that makes sense.
Dr. Bright: You’ve been feeling guilty?
Caleb: Mark has been. So has Sam. And so do you. Like, all the fucking time. That’s why you guys are all fixating on that. But, look, I get it. When I was first getting used to my ability, it was sometimes easiest to feel things that were close to what I was already feeling. I see people doing this all the time. People are always putting their own bullshit onto somebody else and saying it was their’s all along.
Dr. Bright: So you don’t feel guilt about what happened?
Caleb: Jesus, okay, we need to stop talking around it. Nothing “happened”. I did something. I beat a guy close to death. And yeah. Yeah, I feel guilty. Because sometimes I fall asleep and I wake up with fear on my tongue and I realize it’s not mine, it’s his. His fear, his pain, and just- just a little, tiny part of him that felt, like, victorious. Like he was happy somebody was finally punching his stupid fucking face in.
Dr. Bright: You’re still feeling his emotions?
Caleb: No. No, it’s not like that. Not exactly. It’s like- it’s like having a nightmare or something. Like some sort of weird aftershock. Because I don’t know that I processed it all at the time, you know, because there were too many- there was just so fucking much. But in the days right after, it was like having an empathy hangover. Not the kind that I was having at Sam’s party, not the actual hangover, but, like, so much got poured into my body and as I worked through all of it, I felt things, like, one by one. It was like detoxing or withdrawing or something, except instead of sweating out chemicals, I was just swinging from feeling to feeling. And, like, every now and then, something pops up totally randomly - like- I don't know, like, the feelings are like an old injury that hurts if you move it the wrong way.
Dr. Bright: Has something like that ever happened before?
Caleb: No. Not this bad. Not this much. I never felt like I was, like, a container that could carry around people’s feelings. It’s, like, all too big for me to push away. What? You’ve got that feeling where you’re holding something back. Just say it.
Dr. Bright: Holding something back is an emotion?
Caleb: It is with you. You hold in, like, a lot.
Dr. Bright: I’m trying not to be your therapist. If this is just a social call, it’s not my job to diagnose you.
Caleb: So if this wasn’t a social call?
Dr. Bright: Caleb.
Caleb: Trauma, right? That’s what you want to talk about. PTSD.
Dr. Bright: Is that what you think?
Caleb: That’s what my other- my therapist says. I didn’t tell him the whole thing, just the basics of, you know, a violent event and, yeah. He thinks I’ve got to deal with some trauma.
Dr. Bright: Has he been helping you do so?
Caleb: I mean, the best he can, I guess. But Adam is more helpful than ten non-atypical therapists put together. He’s really good at keeping me in that green place, that good mix of his feelings and mine. That helps. But— but he’s scared. I can feel it. And I don’t know if he’s scared of me or of Annabelle or of Damien or what, but he’s scared. And I don’t know how to make him not be scared.
Dr. Bright: Have you talked to him about it?
Caleb: No. I’ve been too scared to. Fucking ironic.
Dr. Bright: What are you afraid of?
Caleb: That he’ll tell me it’s me he’s scared of after all. That he doesn’t look at me the same way. That he can’t be with me.
Dr. Bright: Do you have any reason to believe that he feels that way?
Caleb: No. I mean, he told me the exact opposite but that was, like, right after and, I don’t know, his feelings could have changed.
Dr. Bright: Do you think they have?
Caleb: He got into Yale.
Dr. Bright: That’s wonderful.
Caleb: Yeah. Yeah it is, I guess. I mean, he’s so stoked. Like, I’ve never felt him as happy as he was when he heard he got in. We were in different classes on, like, opposite ends of the building and all of a sudden I got punched in the stomach with, like, this pure joy. And I knew, I knew it was him. The moment the bell rang, I ran to find him and it took, like, two seconds because I just followed the feeling and there he was with this, like, stupid huge smile on his face. I’ve only ever felt him that psyched maybe, like, once.
Dr. Bright: When was that?
Caleb: Our first kiss. That was the first time I saw him really smile. This was definitely like that.
Dr. Bright: And you’re worried that this means his feelings about you have changed?
Caleb: Yeah. Well, no. I don’t know. I’m happy for him, for sure. But, like, I’m not gonna get into Yale. I didn’t even apply.
Dr. Bright: You’re very smart, Caleb.
Caleb: Yeah, thanks, but tell that to my grades. I spent most of junior year completely flipping out and then getting my first boyfriend. Neither are great for schoolwork. And god, my grades from last semester were, like, bad.
Dr. Bright: I take it you didn’t apply early like Adam?
Caleb: Nah. I just sent in my apps a few weeks ago. Now for the waiting. And, like, yeah, I applied to some places that are within driving distance to Yale but even if we’re close, we’re not in the same spot and he’s gonna be around a bunch of brilliant nerds like him and I’m just- you know, with everything that’s happened and him going to a new place with new people, I’m just worried I’ll be left behind.
Dr. Bright: You have months left in your senior year, Caleb. There’s no purpose in borrowing trouble. Try to focus on the present and enjoy the here and now.
Caleb: Is anybody actually able to do that? Like, do people actually enjoy the present without freaking out about the future?
Dr. Bright: I have no idea. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn't try.
Caleb: Are you able to do that? Enjoy the present?
Dr. Bright: I’m certainly trying to. It’s a little easier now that Mark is back.
Caleb: But that frustrates you?
Dr. Bright: I’m sorry?
Caleb: Mark being back, it’s making you feel, I don’t know, it's like, unsettled or something.
Dr. Bright: I suppose if I’m being honest, I don’t really know what to do now. The past few years have been spent laser-focused on getting Mark home and safe and now that he is, I’m not sure what the next step is. Not to mention, I’ve lost about half my patients for one reason or another. And I’m certainly not consulting with The AM anymore.
Caleb: You’re not?
Dr. Bright: Agent Green still calls to check in occasionally, but I’m officially off their payroll. I think Ellie is hoping it will drive me back there.
Caleb: Have you talked to her at all?
Dr. Bright: No.
Caleb: Yeah. Adam hasn’t either. I guess Mrs. Hayes and Annabelle are seriously on the outs.
Dr. Bright: That doesn’t surprise me.
Caleb: Yeah, well, no kidding. I’d be pissed too if I were Adam’s mom. Her sister put her son in, like, a huge amount of danger.
Dr. Bright: And yet you can’t understand why your parents don’t want you seeing me anymore?
Caleb: No, I understand it, I just think it’s stupid. It’s not the same situation. It sounds like Annabelle basically trash talked Damien until he snapped. At least you were leaving him alone. Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you sad.
Dr. Bright: No, it’s alright, it’s not you. I just- I wonder if I could have helped. There’s always an amount of lingering doubt around patients you’re unable to help. I worry that I lost patience with Damien too soon. Maybe there was something more I could have done.
Caleb: Did he ever seem like he really wanted help? Like he wanted to do the work?
Dr. Bright: No. He wanted answers - a solution to his control problem, more information about atypicals - but he was always completely unwilling to do the work to get there.
Caleb: When we first started, you told me I had to meet you halfway. Like, that’s how it works, right? You can’t help someone if they don’t want to help themselves or, like, whatever the saying is.
Dr. Bright: When did you get so wise?
Caleb: I don't know, I’ve been reading up on psych stuff a bit. I wanted to make sure I applied to, like, the right schools.
Dr. Bright: You’re still thinking you might use your ability to do social work?
Caleb: Yeah. Or, I don't know, something like that. I know I’m not in the best shape at the moment, but I’m willing to do the work to get back to where I was. Especially if it means something like that never happens again.
Dr. Bright: That’s wonderful to hear Caleb. But you know there’s no guarantee that you’ll completely get rid of those angry impulses.
Caleb: I know.
Dr. Bright: I don’t say it to be discouraging. It’s just that sometimes the work we do is consistent; focusing on getting through every day rather than aiming for a time when everything is perfect.
Dr. Bright: But I wouldn’t say you’re in bad shape now - quite the opposite in fact, considering. You’ve been calling out the shifts in my emotions very confidently. And accurately.
Caleb: It’s gotten easier with you. I know you better now and, well, I don’t know, your emotions are closer to the surface now. I think maybe having Mark back has made you, like, more emotional.
Dr. Bright: Yes, that sounds right. Having him back with me is like walking around with an open wound that anyone can poke a stick at. It’s incredibly vulnerable.
Caleb: For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Emotional you, I mean. It’s- I don’t know, it’s nice.
Dr. Bright: Thank you, Caleb.
Caleb: And Mark isn’t in danger anymore, right? So you don’t have to worry about being vulnerable or whatever.
Dr. Bright: Mark will always be in some degree of danger, simply because of who he is. Ellie may have backed off, but there are others who would love to get their hands on him, I’m sure.
Caleb: Others? Wait, as in like other AMs?
Dr. Bright: In this country, yes, other branches.
Caleb: What the hell are you talking about?
Dr. Bright: North America isn’t the only continent with atypicals, Caleb.
Caleb: Well, yeah, sure, but, wait, there are other creepy science organizations like The AM?
Dr. Bright: The AM is a fairly recent institution. It was only founded in the thirties. Atypicals have existed for much longer than that.
Caleb: What, so you’re saying there’s like - like, a global conspiracy?
Dr. Bright: I wouldn’t go that far. But monitoring organizations have always existed.
Caleb: Like what?
Dr. Bright: I think that’s enough of that. You don’t need to go digging into what else is out there.
Caleb: You can’t just leave me hanging like that!
Dr. Bright: Yes, I can, Caleb. I may not be your therapist anymore, but I’m still going to try and protect you.
Caleb: And these other organizations, they're dangerous?
Dr. Bright: I honestly have no idea. I don’t actually know that much about them myself. Many of them are highly secretive. I’m going to assume there’s a reason for that.
Caleb: Like, more secretive than The AM?
Dr. Bright: Much more.
Dr. Bright: Indeed. Why are you smiling?
Caleb: Adam is gonna absolutely flip when I tell him this. Like, I know it’s all serious - secrets, danger, blah, blah, blah - but it’s also really fucking cool.
Dr. Bright: Can you just promise me you two will stop with the amateur sleuthing?
Caleb: I could, but I’d be lying.
Dr. Bright: Caleb—
Caleb: You’re not always going to be able to protect me, Dr. Bright. No matter where I go to school next year, eventually I’m gonna leave and be on my own and you won’t be there to tell me when I’m doing something stupid.
Dr. Bright: I know.
Caleb: No, please don’t get all sad, you feel like my parents. They’re going through the same thing. I get it, it’s what you guys do, it’s hard to let go or whatever, but I’ll be fine.
Dr. Bright: I know you will be. I think you’re going to have a wonderful life, Caleb.
Caleb: Jeeze, don’t say it like I’m gonna walk out of here and you’re never going to see me again. I was serious about the being friends thing.
Dr. Bright: That’s very sweet, Caleb, but you don’t need to come visit me.
Caleb: I want to, Dr. Bright. I, like, care about you and stuff.
Dr. Bright: I care about you too.
Caleb: Cool, great, so can we cut it out with all the guilt crap, alright? You’re not responsible for every bad thing that happens to people.
Dr. Bright: Okay. But I do sincerely apologize for not being there for you in November.
Caleb: I get it, okay? Everyone was freaking out, you were worried about Mark and dealing with the fact that Damien looked the way he did. None of you were prepared for that. I’m guessing you haven’t had to deal with that kind of messed up violence in therapy.
Dr. Bright: There have been incidents in the past but you’re right. I was unprepared. I’m very thankful Frank was there.
Caleb: Yeah, same here. Dude is really good to have around in a crisis.
Dr. Bright: I know this isn’t a session, but do you want to talk more about what happened? About how you feel?
Caleb: I don’t know. Not right now, I don’t think. It comes and goes in waves, you know? Like, right now I feel good because you feel good - I think you’re happy that I’m okay - but I also still have nightmares about it. But it’s hard to think about how bad it makes me feel when I’m not in it, you know?
Dr. Bright: Yes, I understand that.
Caleb: I guess that might change now that Damien’s getting out though. Have you heard from him?
Dr. Bright: I haven’t. I’m not sure which day exactly he’s being released, but I can’t imagine he’ll coming running to my office when he is.
Caleb: You’re not worried he might, like, want revenge or something?
Dr. Bright: Damien is impulsive and largely acts out of desperation and fear. He’s not a planner. In fact, if there’s anyone who knows how to be in the present moment, it’s probably him.
Caleb: Guess I should go ask him for some tips then. I was joking. So what do you think he’ll do?
Dr. Bright: I don’t know. Depending on his experience there, he might turn his focus onto the AM - he’s always had a bit of a fixation on them anyway - but I imagine that his first priority will be survival. It always is. And, given that The AM is letting him go, I think his ability is probably significantly diminished, which would mean he’d have to learn how to live without it.
Caleb: You’ve thought a lot about this.
Dr. Bright: I suppose I have.
Caleb: Is he your new mission? Now that you have Mark back?
Dr. Bright: Definitely not. I’m certainly keeping an eye out, but I will not be going out of my way to ever see him again.
Caleb: Yeah, you and me both. Think we’re likely to get our way?
Dr. Bright: I doubt it.
Caleb: Right. I should probably get going - my parents are gonna start wondering where I am.
Dr. Bright: Of course.
Caleb: All of a sudden I have a very strict schedule. It’s annoying as fuck.
Dr. Bright: I’m sorry.
Caleb: Eh, it’s okay. I guess having overbearing parents means I’ve had at least one part of a normal high school experience.
Dr. Bright: You’re also star of the football team and have a very nice boyfriend, so I’d say you have at least a few items in the normal column.
Caleb: I’m not the star.
Dr. Bright: So that wasn’t you I read about in the local paper?
Caleb: Well, I did have a lot of stuff to work out this fall and I left it all on the field, I guess.
Dr. Bright: Very successfully, it seems.
Caleb: Whatever. I’m sorry you never got to a game.
Dr. Bright: I’m not sure that would have been appropriate.
Caleb: Yeah, I guess. Maybe you can come to graduation though? My parents should have chilled out by then.
Dr. Bright: I’d like that.
[sfx: door opening]
Caleb: Cool. I’ll let you know when I have all the info about it or whatever.
Dr. Bright: Sounds good.
Caleb: Alright. I’ll see you later, Dr. Bright.
Dr. Bright: Take care, Caleb.
[sfx: door closing]
[music & credits]
Lauren Shippen: Episode 43 was written and directed by Lauren Shippen and produced by Mischa Stanton. The voice of Dr. Bright is Julia Morizawa and the voice of Caleb is Briggon Snow. Our music is composed and performed by Evan Cunningham. If you’re a fan of Julia and Briggon, which I have a feeling you are, they just announced PURE, a digital series they are developing about a warrior and an unlikely ally in a genetically divided future world. To learn more about the series and stay updated, follow on Twitter @PureTheSeries. The Bright Sessions will return in two weeks, on November 29th with Episode 44. Until then, thanks for listening and stay strange.