Preview of OK Danny Boy (Monster) vol. 2 by Felicia Johnson

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After a couple of days, I got used to the routine at Bent Creek. Wake up, check vital signs, chat for a bit with your group and group leader while waiting for breakfast, take my insulin, breakfast, morning goals group with a mix of different counselors along the doctor leading the goals group, my doctor, Dr. Finch.

Dapper and chill as always, Dr. Finch sat with me in the room after morning goals group. It was easy to talk with him. I mostly stayed on the surface of things with him because when it was time to go deep, I felt like I couldn’t do it. I felt like if I did go down that dark path of what had actually happened and how I truly felt about it all, I would lose the comfort zone I was in and in turn I’d lose my ability to want to talk to Dr. Finch or even be in Bent Creek Hospital. What else was I going to do if I didn’t stay here? Go back to my home where Mom and Pop fight and make me feel crazy? Sit and watch reality fake tv with Mom-Mom and we take our insulin together and stay silent about the other medications that I need to function, too. There was no way in hell I was going back that church so that the scary priest man could squeeze my head and the bronze statue of the man with arms wide open would stare at me and watch and let them do those things to me.

“I want to talk about home, Daniel.” Dr. Finch said. “What is home life like for you?”

I put my feet up in the chair and rested my chin on top of my knees. It made it easier to untie and re-tie my shoe laces in that position. I don’t know where or how I picked up this nerve picking habit to mess around with my shoe laces. It seemed to have started at the beginning of that school year after I was shortly put on academic probation.

“Home,” I said. “Home. Home. Home.” I almost began to sing it as I belted the word out once more.

Dr. Finch blinked and waited.

“It’s okay. Mom-Mom is great. She is weird like me but different because she is into church stuff. I don’t judge her or anything. I just wish that she wouldn’t judge me. Pop, well, Pop is just Pop. I mean,” I chuckled. “He is in and out. He doesn’t have a job yet. Mom is working around the clock and she leaves it to me to take Mom-Mom to the doctors. Which, really, I don’t know what’s going on there because Mom-Mom has been going to the doctor’s office a lot lately and it worries me. It could be because of Diabetes. But she says that she is okay. You see, me, my Pop and Mom-Mom all have Diabetes. We got it when we were kids. I shouldn’t have kids because they’ll probably have it too. Plus, Theresa would hate that. She wouldn’t want to…”

Dr. Finch’s expression changed. He furrowed his eyebrows and cocked his head to the side. He looked thoroughly confused, yet concerned.

“Go on,” he encouraged me to speak more.

I shrugged my shoulders and leaned back in my chair. I said, “I worry about my mother.”

“Tell me more about that, Daniel. Tell me about what worries you.”

Dr. Finch was the first doctor that I ever had that wanted me to talk about it. Still, I felt uncomfortable as I sat in the chair across from him. I picked at my shoelaces and kept my head down. I desperately wanted to smoke. It was out of question to even ask for cigarettes.

Dr. Finch waited for me to answer him, but I had no idea where to start. It was frustrating, trying to find the right words to explain the hows and whys of everything when most of the shit didn’t make enough sense to try to explain.

“It’s okay,” Dr. Finch said. “I’ll ask you in another way. Why did you ask to come to Bent Creek? You could have went home after you were released from Egleston Hospital.”

“I guess…” I said with a heavy sigh, “I guess it was because I had no other place to go.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that I couldn’t go back home after everything that had happened. It was hard for them.”

“It was hard for whom?”

“Mom-Mom, my Mom and my Pop and Theresa…”

“What about you?”

“What about me?”

“Since you’ve been here, you have only talked about everyone else’s problems, but what about you?”

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

Dr. Finch didn’t look like he was buying it. He shook his head and gestured his hands out to me as he spoke, as if he was pleading with me.

“Look, Daniel,” Dr. Finch said. “I know that it’s not easy. Especially when you have been through all that you’ve gone through in the last week or so. The emotional stress on top of your physical stress from the complications you suffered with Diabetes, it’s-“

I don’t know what came over me. I put up my hand to stop Dr. Finch from speaking and I cut him off.

I said, “Having diabetes isn’t the real challenge. Sure, I have to stick myself with a needle about two times a day. I have complications if I don’t watch what I eat and take care of myself physically. Like, I can’t eat what everyone else eats like candy bars and birthday cake. I can live with that. I always have lived with it. It’s the Bi-Polar Disorder that messes me up. One minute I’m fine and as soon as something happens that makes me angry, I loose it. It’s like when I last saw Theresa talking to Ryan, I just wanted to kill him.” I paused and looked out of the window. Still picking with my shoelaces, I tried to calm down. It felt like my emotions wanted to get the best of me. I didn’t want to cry. I couldn’t cry!

Dr. Finch remained calm and quiet. He watched me and listened to me intently. It was a strange feeling to have someone listen and care the way that Dr. Finch seemed to care about what I had been through.

I continued, “I don’t understand Bi-Polar like I understand Diabetes. Diabetes is simple. It’s genetic. My grandmother has it and my father has it. Maybe Bi-polar is genetic too?” I paused. When Dr. Finch didn’t respond I said with a shrug, “I don’t know.”

Dr. Finch nodded his head and remained silent. I kind of expected him to tell me if it was true or not. I wondered if it was genetic. I expected him to hit me with some popular statistic or something. I looked at him and something about his concerned expression made me chuckle. He made me a bit anxious. The next few words out of my mouth seemed to spill out without thought.

“When I was a kid, I watched my father beat a man into a coma. I didn’t do anything to help the man. I just stood there and watched as my father beat the man’s face into a bloody pile of meat with his bare hands. I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream. I didn’t react at all. I even had a bad dog bite from the guy’s German Shepard. I still didn’t show any emotions. My dad just spent the last few years in prison for hurting that man. After serving seven years, he came home last week. We never talk about it. My mom tried to talk to me about it one time, but I didn’t know what to say. Mom concluded that I was in shock and she didn’t press me anymore about it.”

Dr. Finch’s eyebrows raised up. He opened his mouth as if he was about to say something, but I didn’t let him speak. I started to laugh and he shut his mouth. He looked at me questionably and asked, “What’s funny about that, Daniel?”

I continued to laugh as I said, “It’s funny to me because now it makes sense.”

“What makes sense?” Dr. Finch asked.

I answered, “I guess that I’ve been in shock for the past seven years.”

Coming Soon!

http://www.feliciajohnsonauthor.com

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Why Do I Write?

Everyone has a story to tell. We all have feelings, and we have the right to express ourselves.

When I was 2 years old, my mother bought me my very first book. I did not know how to read, but I was fascinated by the book.  The cover was colorful, and it had an illustration of a blue fish that smiled. I carried that book around with me everywhere I went. My mother had read the book to me whenever she had free time, but I wanted to be able to read the book anytime I wanted, with or without my mother. Whenever my mother had read the story to me, I had listened as carefully as I could so that I could try to memorize the story. As she had read the story aloud, my mother had held me in her arms and she’d pointed to each word as she read them. This had helped me to know exactly what the words were as I had tried to memorize the story. Eventually, I had learned every word to the story and I was able to memorize it. I pointed to each word as I remembered my mother had done. This is how I had learned to read, and how I fell in love with red and blue colored fish.

When I was 6 years old my 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Medley, gave me my first composition notebook. She told us that this notebook was going to be our best friend for the whole school year. I found it curious that a notebook could be someone’s best friend. I asked Ms. Medley what did she mean. She told me that I would find out soon enough. About a day later, Ms. Medley gave me my first writing assignment. I had to write my assignment down in the new composition notebook. It was my first interaction with my first assigned best friend.

The only rule of the assignment was to write one paragraph about something that I wanted. My first writing assignment was titled: I Want A Dog. It is interesting what happens when a person who was born to write, actually begins to write. Paragraph one started with how much I would have liked to have a dog (very much), why (because they are so cute and fluffy), and why I couldn’t have one (our home was too small to keep one). Then, when I finished with the reason as to why I couldn’t have a dog I began a second paragraph. Paragraph two stated why I should have dog despite having a small home (I’d take good care of the dog, and let it sleep in my bed). The second paragraph listed reasons why I should have a dog. It was only right that the third paragraph that followed list what kind of dogs I would have, and paragraph four listed different names I would have named my dog. By the time I’d ran out of pages in my composition notebook I hadn’t  realized that I had written 100 pages. Scared that I’d get in trouble, I showed my mother what I had written.

My mother laughed. She found it amusing that I had written 100 pages about wanting a dog. Instead of making me do my assignment again, and correctly, the way it had been assigned, my mother told me to turn it in. Monday morning came, and Ms. Medley collected all of our notebooks. As she flipped through our notebooks she smiled and read a few good paragraphs aloud. I was nervous and afraid of when she’d see my written assignment. When she finally did see what I had written, her smile did not disappear as I thought it would have. She held up my composition notebook to the class and said aloud, “Felicia has written a novel! It is called I Want A Dog.”

I was shocked. I didn’t know what a novel was or how to even make one, but I somehow did it. After school, Ms. Medley took the time to explain to me what a novel is. She said it is a prose narrative made up of characters, wishes, wants, emotions, feelings, and expression. She told me that the writers who produce these novels are called authors. Ms. Medley said that if I keep writing, filling up a hundred plus pages of notebooks, then one day I could be an author. I asked her if I was in trouble for doing the assignment incorrectly. Ms. Medley’s reply was  not what I had expected. She said, “Felicia, the assignment was completed correctly as long as it was written by you, and you feel that everything you want to express is in the story.”

My first book.

I told her I felt that everything was there. Then she replied, “Okay. You are a writer. Keep on writing.”

I’ll never forget Ms. Medley’s encouraging words. I took them very seriously. I love reading and collecting books, even the ones about fish and green eggs and ham. I am in love with writing. It doesn’t matter what I write. It could be poetry, short stories, a novel, fiction, non-fiction. I do not stop until I feel that it is all there. Everything I need to express will be there. I learned this when I first learned to read and write. I wrote my first novel at 6 years old, and I have not stopped.

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