Me: Does she have — again, just trying to, um — be fun about it — does she have any particularly fun memories from that last Christmas? Anything from the party or anything like that, that she wants to talk about?
Amy closes her eyes. Frowns.
Amy: Okay, so she’s — everything just went — WOMP. Um. She’s… allowing me to feel, um, that — even before this happened, that day… days prior maybe, even. Two to three days prior, um. There was a real thickness. Stress. Especially amongst her mother and, um, her father. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t a typical…
Me: Stressful holiday?
Amy: Happy time. It was… yeah. It wasn’t…
Me: She knew something was up.
I wax philosophical about the way parenting was in the 90s and what it was like to be a kid back then because I was a kid back then. I’m trying to connect but I feel like I’m flailing.
Amy: She understood… that there was… that it centered around her. So… she was aware. That it was upsetting, and it all centered around her. Give me a second, Patsy keeps trying, so…
Me: If we need to jump over to her, we can jump over to her, so — I mean, that’s up to JonBenet —
Amy I do not want to jump over to her. She’s, um, I will, I’m just not giving her the floor… immediately.
Amy closes her eyes again, seems to meditate. I am left to wait. Meanwhile, outside my office, the lawn care service starts at the most inopportune time, creating a low buzz in the background.
Me: Okay. Continue? (laughs) So we’ve established that, uh, something was wrong… up to… Christmas. It wasn’t just normal Christmas stress. There was something going on, she knew it had to do with her, which — I’ll tell her, sorry, about that. That’s gotta suck, when your parents are fighting — and, and I would always assume it was because of me, but to actually know it was because of you, that had to have been hard.
Amy: So she’s saying to me that her family, um, wasn’t normal? Um. As, other families are. Um. What… they acted like, to people was not what was going on indoors. And so… um…
The lawnmowers quiet.
Me: Okay, well, if we don’t want to be coy anymore, um… let’s just ask her if she’s ready to talk, about what happened that Christmas.
Amy: Okay, so she’s saying that Mommy… got very upset. VERY upset. And angry.
Me: At her?
Amy’s eyes are closed. She looks distressed. She rolls her head from side to side, like someone trying to get a crick out of their neck.
Amy: At something that was blamed on her.
There’s a very long pause.