Gradually, my scholastic performance improved.
The improvement had little to do with the therapist, and a lot to do with me. I grew tired of adults worrying about me, prying and poking at me. I got tired of the therapist asking me about Amy over and over.
I had told him about her, that I had met her right after the attack, and that she had proven to be a great friend. I didn’t tell him about the Silo, or much that we talked about. It wasn’t his business. It was between her and I, and it felt sacred.
He would try to steer my thoughts this way or that, try to gauge my interest in her, or her influence over me. He’d guess at her motives. His methods were transparent, always looking for an easy label, to find something in his books that fit me, that would make it easy to deal with me. He never looked deeper than the surface, never touched the real me. Nobody but Amy ever did, really.
I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. I had lost interest in school, but it had nothing to do with the attack. School was boring. The work was easy, and I was learning nothing. I found my mind wandering in class, I would doodle endlessly in my notebooks. Sometimes I thought about Amy, but sometimes I thought about music, or something I had read. Sometimes I’d just stare out the window at the grey sky and wonder how I could get out there.
Sister Maria Corvi would try to catch me, try to embarrass me into paying attention. She’d call my name when she was sure I wasn’t paying attention, call on me to answer. It would frustrate her to no end when I could pick up the thread of a lesson, answer the question she had posed even though I had barely heard it.
So it became easier to just do the schoolwork and feign interest. It took little effort, and everyone else won. Sister Maria Corvi could pat herself on the back for being such an excellent teacher.
The therapist could congratulate himself on another mind saved, another life improved and another point for medical science.
My mother could point to a rare success in parenting, that she had done the difficult but right thing by her child and atoned for so many of her past mistakes.
And every day I told myself it was easier this way – to make all of them feel better, to make them leave me be. The tiny piece of my soul that burned off every day was a small price to pay.