Bonus Episode 2 Transcript
The Bright Sides: Patient #3-C-2
by Anna Lore
[sfx: click of recorder]
Dr. Bright: Patient #3-C-2. Female, 31 years old. Patient has been out of the country for the past few months. Last session was conducted approximately two weeks before she left. There was a semi-serious incident early last year, but since that event the patient has shown little to no signs of atypical behavior. With the events being so infrequent, there has been no opportunity to practice control over her abilities. This is something of a blessing and a curse. No events, no issues. But if something were to happen I do not feel confident that she has the skills to contain the situation. Abilities like hers are a considerable threat, as they have the potential to draw a lot of unwanted attention.
[sfx: Skype ring tone]
[sfx: call being answered, static on the other end]
Melanie: (breaking up) Hi Dr. Bright, can you hear me okay?
Dr. Bright: Melanie? I’m having some difficulty hearing you.
Melanie: Ugh, I’m sorry, the connection is not very good. One sec-
Dr. Bright: I’m only getting bits and pieces.
Melanie: Is this better at all?
Dr. Bright: Yes, much clearer.
Melanie: Sorry about that. The connection is really weak. Although, considering where we’re staying, I guess I’m lucky I have internet at all.
Dr. Bright: No problem. As long as you're somewhere you feel comfortable and safe.
Melanie: I'm fine. I'm in my hotel room.
Dr. Bright: I see your style has changed up a bit.
Melanie: Do you like it? It's called an ‘abaya.' To be honest, it's really grown on me. It takes the pressure off of deciding what to wear.
Dr. Bright: It's been a little while since we've spoken. How are you doing?
Melanie: I'm fine. Dr. Bright, have you- have you seen the headlines?
Dr. Bright: No, about the dig?
Melanie: Not exactly.
Dr. Bright: What are they about?
Melanie: I’d rather not talk about it.
Dr. Bright: Okay. Why don't you tell me a little about what you’ve been doing? You seemed really excited about this job the last time I saw you.
Melanie: Okay. Sure, yeah. Um, well, Dr. Travers asked me to join him when he got the email from his colleagues here. It was a huge honor to be considered, it's a really important project. They found a human finger bone. It's incredible really, because its over eighty thousand years old. Early humans weren't supposed to have left Africa yet. It's too soon to tell, but this could change the entire dispersal theory. And this was just a third metacarpal, too small to give us all the information we need, but if we found more- well. It would have changed a lot.
Dr. Bright: Melanie, that's wonderful. You must be thrilled, I know you've worked really hard.
Melanie: Yeah. Yeah, it's helped- well, it was a nice distraction.
Dr. Bright: Was?
Dr. Bright: Have you spoken to Becca since you left?
Melanie: Uh, no, it's definitely over.
Dr. Bright: I'm very sorry to hear that.
Melanie: I know, technically, that it's for the best. I kind of knew early on that we had different feelings about...well, about, you know. Having a child. Becca always said she wanted that too, but whenever I brought it up she would just dodge the conversation. I think that's something that can't be reconciled. I've= I've always wanted to be a mother, it's just always been inevitable for me. You know, raising a child, having those experiences. I can't imagine never having that. But, at the same time, I don't want to do that alone. And if my partner doesn't want to do that- It's just as inevitable you know, people that don't want to have children. I think that feeling is just as strong as the maternal instinct. One way or the other, you just, you know.
Dr. Bright: You're right. It's hard to change someone's mind, especially over a decision that can so drastically change one's life.
Melanie: Right. There's no going back. So when we had that last fight, it was sad, sure, but we both knew how it was going to end. It's really hard to be looking at the person you love most in the entire world, and it hits you, the reality of it. In a perfect world, love is the only thing you need for a relationship to work. But this isn't a perfect world, and love is just one part of it.
Dr. Bright: That's very true. That's a very logical way to look at it, Melanie.
Melanie: This trip has really helped, it came up at the right time, I didn't even find a new apartment I just put my stuff in storage and got on the plane. I thought it would be good to get out of town, bury myself in my work. I had a fresh start.
Dr. Bright: Had?
Melanie: I don't know how to talk about it. I don't know where to begin.
Dr. Bright: It's okay. Take a deep breath. You can tell me at your own pace.
Melanie: A couple of weeks after I first arrived, we were out in the desert. We're staying in a really small town in the middle of nowhere, and we still have to drive for a couple of hours to get to the site. I was working on my section, it's very slow going work, when a Jeep pulled up. New workers, from a university in London. That's when I first met A'dab. It wasn't...I didn't think there would be a problem right away. There are so many workers out here, we barely met that first week. But then, on a Saturday, there was some outdoor music that I wanted to go see. Men and women aren't allowed to stand together, so I needed to go with someone. When I ran into A'dab in the hotel lobby, I asked if she'd like to go with me. And that was when I realized I had a problem. A'dab is incredible. She was born here, but her family moved to London shortly after. She's a professor in London, she speaks like a hundred languages. And she's so funny, I was almost crying I was laughing so hard. I remember one of the musicians- he was doing this solo guitar act and his playing was beautiful, but his voice was like, a 4 year old doing bar karaoke. It was unbearable. And after we left, A'dab kept doing this perfect impression of it. I'd say‚ ’want to get breakfast tomorrow?' And she'd reply like ‘yes, I'll be there' but in this terrible singing voice, oh my god...
Dr. Bright: She sounds wonderful.
Melanie: I thought immediately, like, no way this woman is into me. I mean, I'm smart but she's like- she's like a next level genius. And I tried to just be friendly but...We work in the late afternoon or the early morning, so that we aren't working in the hottest part of the day. We worked late, until about one A.M., and then we all got in the van to drive back to our hotel. The sky was weird, very cloudy, which is rare for the desert. It was flat and gray, I just stared out the window trying to find the horizon in the dark. A'dab and I were sitting in the third row seats. Everyone was so tired, it was quiet in the car. I remember feeling so horribly homesick, just wanting to lay on a couch in my underwear and watch some Friends re-runs. I started crying, really softly, I was so embarrassed, I just didn't want anyone to see me. And then I felt A'dab rest her hand on mine. Her finger was just stroking the top of my hand. For second I didn't move or anything. And then I laced my fingers into hers, barely moving. And I remember the clouds just broke open. It was as if we were watching it on fast-forward, they moved so fast. They pulled back and- the most brilliant stars I've ever seen- everyone in the car gasped.
Dr. Bright: Have you ever done that before?
Melanie: No- never. It was terrifying - like it always is - but at the same time, exhilarating. I've never done it in a way that was beautiful.
Dr. Bright: Melanie, you're a scientist. You think very rationally, you like to organize. And that’s often extended to your ability. I know you like to think of it as nothing more than a biological process but it’s more than that. It reflects what you’re experiencing - what you’re feeling. And if you continue to compartmentalize your emotions-
Melanie: I know. I know. I'm trying so hard to control it. Sometimes I feel numb inside, like a blank white wall, but then it'll all come spilling out.
Dr. Bright: You’re feeling unstable.
Melanie: I don't even know where stable is or what it looks like anymore.
Dr. Bright: I don't want to worry you, but that concerns me. You've been experiencing some very strong emotions, and if we can't find a way to help you process a little more efficiently, we could be looking at another major event. With your abilities, that can draw a lot of attention.
Melanie: There’s a freak weather event in the papers every other day, Dr. Bright. I don’t know that I’d stand out.
Dr. Bright: Maybe not to the general public but there are...groups that keep an eye out for this sort of thing. It would be better if you didn’t do anything to end up on their radar.
Melanie: I think it's- I think it's a little too late for that.
Dr. Bright: What do you mean?
Melanie: Last week, A'dab left the dig. It was really sudden, her coworkers said she had an emergency back home and she just left. She didn't say good-bye, she didn't leave a note, nothing. She was just gone.
Dr. Bright: Oh, Melanie, I’m so-
Melanie: I don't know what I did, I keep playing it back in my mind, over and over and over. Maybe I completely misread things, I shouldn't have taken her hand. I thought- I thought maybe- I thought there was a chance that we felt the same way but now- Or maybe I should have done more, maybe I should have said something. But it's dangerous to do that here, it's illegal. I'm just- I’m so confused. I've been out for ten years but, all this, it's just, it's- it's taken me right back there. I'm a lost sixteen year old. In high school, I couldn't be myself, I didn't know how to be. I didn't want to weird anyone out, I just tried so hard to fit in. I was so scared and alone and now- now, I'm a grown woman and I'm scared and I'm alone and I'm just- I am so tired of being hated. I made it rain. A country that gets maybe one day of rain in a year and old Melanie Trent comes and floods the whole place. It didn't stop. It went on for days and days. I just sat in the hotel with everyone staring out the windows whispering about ‚’What is going on?' And ‚”How could this be happening?' Me. I'm how it could be happening. It's all ruined of course. The site was totally destroyed. I- I flooded the entire place. The only thing I had left, and it's gone.
Dr. Bright: Has it stopped at all?
Melanie: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, it stopped. I calmed myself down, I told everyone I was sick and I locked myself in my hotel room. I just slept. After a couple of days, the rain cleared up. Dr. Travers was going out to assess the damage and I wanted to go with, to see if anything was salvageable after I... We could barely get out there, the Jeep got stuck. We got to the site and it was completely flooded. Everything was just mud. All of our work. Destroyed.
Dr. Bright: I'm so sorry.
Melanie: I actually felt it come over me. Absolute despair. It's hard to feel, sometimes, Dr. Bright:. You can only hate yourself for so long before your brain decides to shut it off. You just turn it all off. Better to feel nothing than to feel like this. Someone threw a rock at the Jeep. Dr. Travers and I turned to look when I felt one hit me, on the shoulder. I whirled around because I really thought someone was attacking us.
Dr. Bright: I don't understand, someone was at the site with you?
Melanie: No. It was hail. We ran back to the Jeep for cover. The windshield was cracking, Dr. Travers couldn't see anything. We barely made it back to the hotel. I haven't been back. I can't go back. I'll just make things worse. The site... Becca...everything is better off without me.
Dr. Bright: Melanie, these thoughts you’re having are very common. A lot of people with similar conditions feel and think this way, but you are in a very unique position. For most people, these thoughts, as terrible as they are, are all in their head. For you, these thoughts are manifesting in your physical space but I want you to remember something: they are still in your head.
Melanie: How could you say that? How could you say everything I'm experiencing isn't real?
Dr. Bright: Your feelings are real, the pain is real, but these thoughts are lying to you. Dr. Travers, your colleagues - they asked you to come on this trip because they value your intellect, your experience and your passion. You and Becca had to make a very difficult decision, and it had nothing to do with her love for you.
Melanie: They don't know who I really am. What I've done.
Dr. Bright: You are not your ability. Your worth is not measured by it. If you saw someone cry, you wouldn't think any less of them would you?
Dr. Bright: Your ability is just an extension of your emotion. And it's healthy to cry sometimes. But when we don't express our emotions, when we bottle them up, they can emerge suddenly, in unexpected ways. Sometimes in ways that negatively impact our lives or the lives of others. I want to help you to express it in a healthier way.
Melanie: I don't want to express this at all. I want it gone. I don't want to be like this, what good has it ever done me?
Dr. Bright: Your ability is a part of you. We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like, but that doesn’t mean we can learn to live in harmony with them. The sky clearing to reveal all those stars? You made that happen. Remember that you are capable of creating beauty, too.
Melanie: Do you know the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy?
Dr. Bright: The book series?
Dr. Bright: I'm familiar.
Melanie: Well, in the fourth book-
Dr. Bright: Wait, I thought it was a trilogy?
Melanie: There are five books but they call it a trilogy. I've wondered why for a long time, but I realized the answer is probably just ‚’forty- two’. Anyway, in the fourth book, there’s this guy and he's a rain god. But he doesn't know he's a rain god, he just knows that everywhere he goes all the time, it always rains. And once everyone finds out he's a rain god, resorts and stuff start paying him to stay away, you know, to keep the bad weather away.
Dr. Bright: Well, that's not exactly what I meant.
Melanie: I know, but it's an interesting idea. I guess, the best thing I can do for the dig is to stay away right now. Maybe I should go somewhere where they need rain, a drought-stricken farm or something.
Dr. Bright: That's more what I meant. There is so much you can do. But you don't need to leave the dig, I can help you over the next couple of weeks-
Melanie: I'm not sure we have a couple of weeks. I didn't know if I should say anything, I don't want you to worry about me, but I think I'm really starting to lose it-
Dr. Bright: What do you mean?
Melanie: Earlier today, when I emailed you asking if we could talk, I was at the hotel. Dr. Travers came to my room. He's been at the site, overseeing the repairs. He told me that a black SUV pulled up and this woman was there. She asked about the dig and about the, you know, the weather. It's been all over the news here. And he was just telling me because it was so strange, but then I noticed a black car outside the hotel. I know, I know, I know, it sounds insane, and maybe I'm just paranoid now on top of everything else, but I... think I'm being followed.
Dr. Bright: Melanie-
Melanie: That's impossible that even be, the I mean, nobody right? Who would CIA or something? knows do they?
Dr. Bright: Melanie, I'm going to tell you something and I need you to listen very carefully. Those groups I mentioned - the ones that keep their eye out for people like you? Well, here in the US they have a variety of ways of dealing with this kind of event, but they would most likely cooperate with you as an American citizen. Where you are, a similar group may not do the same. There’s a checkered history between our governments and if the authorities there were to bring you in, there’s not much that I could do.
Melanie: What are you talking about, what's going on?
Dr. Bright: Will you follow my instructions?
Melanie: Yes, of course, I-
Dr. Bright: You can learn to control this. But you’ve been through too much to just swallow your emotions and hope nothing else happens. There is no shortcut around this, you need to grieve. You need to let everything come out. You need to mourn Becca and A'dab, the dig, everything. I will be with you every step of the way but you cannot grieve in the desert. You are not safe there. I need you to buy a plane ticket today, you have to go north, where a heavy rain or snowfall won’t be noticed-
Melanie: Um, okay, I mean, I have a friend in Moscow, an old professor, I could get a flight-
Dr. Bright: No, not Russia. That’s the last place you want to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were already on the NSB’s radar...I would recommend Greenland, or perhaps Alaska. Somewhere you can feel everything you need to, where the outcome will not be noticed and the governments are more...lax. Have Dr. Travers drive you to the airport and do not tell him where you're going. Do you understand?
Dr. Bright: As soon as you land, you call me. I don't care what time it is, I'll be waiting for your call.
Melanie: Dr. Bright, what is going on?
Dr. Bright: Buy the ticket now and call me when you land.
Dr. Bright: I'll talk to you in a few hours.
[sfx: Skype hang up]
Dr. Bright: The situation has somewhat escalated for Patient #3-C-2. The lack of control I was concerned about has become an imminent threat. It seems that she has been classified as an exposure risk. This is, of course, dangerous for the atypical community at large but I’m more presently concerned with Melanie’s personal safety. I am dedicated to further treatment, and will be conducting more frequent sessions. I may also need to invest in a good winter coat, it looks like I may be making a trip north in the near future.
[sfx: click of recorder]
[music & credits]
Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions was created by me, Lauren Shippen. Julia Morizawa is the voice of Dr. Bright and Shelby Young was the voice of Melanie. This episode was written and directed by Anna Lore and edited by Lauren Shippen. It was sound designed by Mischa Stanton and all our music is composed and performed by Evan Cunningham. Our psychological consultant is Elizabeth Laird. If you’d like to support The Bright Sessions and help us make more podcasts, you can become a patron at patreon.com/thebrightsessions. Next month, our patrons will be getting a bonus- bonus episode, so now is the perfect time to join our strange and unusual family. The next main bonus episode will be coming out on September 17th. Until then, thanks for listening and stay strange.