That Terry thought he was a vampire didn’t seem to faze Teresa. It did faze his parents and friends.
A mother tugged a small boy through the outside door. A teenage girl came out the inner door, crossed the room and left behind the mother and son. A therapist stuck his head out of the inner door and looked around the room and saw his next client, a thirteen year-old boy. “Hi, come on in.” The boy dutifully followed the therapist. A fiftyish woman came in the outside door and proceeded over to the glass window to check in with the clinic’s receptionist. Terry no longer paid attention to the ebb and flow of people in the clinic’s lobby. Waiting for psychologist Teresa to claim him, Terry sat in the lobby as he had ninety-nine times before and always dressed in black.
“Hi, Terry, come on in.”
Carrying his dog-eared Virtual Gamer magazine Terry shuffled through the held door.
At the beginning Teresa was made aware of his parent’s concerns, their disbelief. When Terry had started to cut his arms and stomach to collect and consume his own fluids, they called N.B. Clinic. They hoped for some reparative therapy that would bring back their child from the “grave.” So, Terry’s parents sat down with Teresa.
They wanted to know what triggered Terry’s transformation: “Was it us? And what makes Terry sleep walk every night? And why did he only want play outside at night?”
Terry’s parents related how they would wake in the middle of the night, every night now, to find that Terry had left the house. He would roam the neighborhood in his black pajamas hissing. It had to be more than simple parasomnia.
When they did find Terry his face would be covered in blood and the remains of dead cats and dogs were scattered about. The sight and smell of blood gagged them. Terrified by Terry’s manifestation, Terry’ parents wanted to do anything to bring their son back to from this state. He used to play so gently with his stuffed animals.
But after ninety-nine sessions, Terry’s parents were now told to accept their son’s “vampirism”. As Teresa had explained it on the phone, vampirism was becoming an accepted behavior and that Terry’s self-image and his dignity depended on his being a vampire. “It is something that he cannot control and it makes him feel human. Besides,” she said, “it’s likely genetic – Terry’s need for plasma. He believes that has the ability to extract some kind of energy from living things to strengthen him. I see this kind of thing all the time at N.B. Clinic.”
“I wish my parents would accept me the way I am.”
“They are trying, Terry. I met with them recently. Give them time.”
“I wish everyone would accept me the way I am. I was born this way, you know, and it’s not what they think. I know who I am now. You can see that. Why can’t others?”
“Well, Terry, the world is not always friendly to minorities. But there are social justice warriors who are advocating for you right now. They are making a difference. Still, there are so many fundamentalists who reject the notion of nocturnal plasma-sucking activities that it is an uphill fight. Give it time.”
Teresa continued, “But you need to be secure in yourself, Terry. Last week I gave you information about a local Vampire Community support meeting. Did you go?”
“Yeah, it was alright. I got to be myself without having to hide my feelings. A lot of the kids said they came out of their coffins to their parents. I just wish my parents and friends… I just wish the whole world was a safe place for me and my friends.”
“You and I both wish that Terry.”
© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2016, All Rights Reserved
“And what we must not do, what we must never do, is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans for something that they cannot control and deny what makes them human,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch
“This is about the dignity and the respect that we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we as a people and as a country have enacted to protect them, indeed, to protect all of us,” Lynch said