Jerry Maynard wiggled in her chair like she was a dog settling in a basket — up-down, left-right, forward-back, finally grasping the floral cushion, placing it in the small of her back, then settling into stillness.
“Ms. Maynard,” the receptionist vixenly voiced, “please follow me.”
Jerry stood unsteadily on sky-high stilettos, teetering and tottering across the beige Berber, into a room, walled on three sides with vast windows.
“Make yourself comfortable.” With this utterance, she turned, the door clicking.
Jerry’s blue eyes scanned the space, the cornice moulding, the strip flooring, the wall of cupboards broken only by the entrance door.
The swoosh of the door opening preceded the steady steps of the man, dressed in jeans and a salmon toned shirt, his raven hair curling at his collar.
Jerry pivoted, offering her left hand.
“Hi. I’m Jerry. But you already know this, don’t you?”
His smile painted his face. “Hi, back. I’m Dr. O’Brien. Please just call me Gavin. How about we take a seat so we can get to know each other a bit more before getting started. Okay?”
Jerry’s blond head nodded, as she followed Gavin to a sleek, modern couch cuddled into one corner.
“I’m going to have a cup of coffee. Would you like anything?”
“Coffee with soy milk would be wonderful. Thank you.” Jerry’s voice was soft, her words stilted, as if she were speaking a script.
Tapping a well-hidden button, speaking succinctly, their beverages ordered, Gavin rearranged his body posture so he was facing Jerry, hands on his lap, his legs casually stretched in front.
“I’m an art therapist. We’ll be exploring and working towards your healing through a variety of creative techniques — drawing, painting, colouring, collage, sculpture.”
“Since you’ve been referred by the courts, I’ll be sharing the insights from our time together. Do you understand this limited privacy expectation?”
Jerry’s head tipped down and up.
“Jerry, today we’re going to do something called, ‘Process Art.’ Our focus will be on the process of creating the art, and not on the product. Today we’re going to colour. Let’s move to a work table, we’ll each grab a chair, and go from there.”
In the opposite corner stood a large table with four stools with containers of pencil crayons, pastels, crayons, markers, pencils standing out of jars. Drawers and drawers filled the under-space of this surface. Jerry chose a stool facing the windows, while Gavin sat opposite.
“Before getting too comfortable, you’ll want to take a look in the various drawers for which paper you choose to use.”
Gavin’s eyes tracked Jerry’s exploration of her choices, a brief tic in his eye when she chose a tiling pattern of roses for her colouring sheet. Laying the paper, positioned top to bottom, Jerry raised her head, scanning the choices before her. Pulling the container of pencil crayons closer, Jerry picked up crimson in her left hand.
“I always liked colouring as a girl.”
“I’m wondering why you chose red to start?”
“Aren’t roses always red?”
One rose glowed garnet. Replacing the pencil crayon, Jerry’s fingers tapped over the top of the pencils, pausing, perusing, before plucking the merlot colour. Next ruby, then cherry, afterwards currant.
“Do you see a pattern in your choices?”
Jerry’s refocused from the page to Gavin’s face.
“What do you see?”
The top of Jerry’s head looked to the ceiling, as her eyes looked to her page.
“Reds, I like reds.”
“Whatever does that mean?” Jerry's tone was tinged with turpitude.
The sweep of the air conditioner spread through the room.
“Oh, psycho-babble!” The derision draped over Jerry’s words,
“Blood. Is that what you’re referencing. Blood? So much blood. God, how predictable.”
“What are you feeling?”
“What am I FEELING? Frustrated. Trapped. Judged.”
Jerry repositioned the pencil crayon in her hand, holding it like a stake, raising it above her head, holding it steady, then slowly, lowering it to the table, letting go.
“Why did you let the pencil go?”
“I don’t feel comfortable. I’d like to go.”
“We still have time in our session for today. Why did you let the pencil go?”
Like two tableaus, Gavin mirrored Jerry, their eyes holding, their bodies reflecting postures.
“Well,” whispered Jerry, “that’s not how one uses a pencil crayon.”
Picking up the currant pencil crayon, grasping a wine colour, another rose bloomed on the page.
“We’re almost done for today. You’ve done well.”
Author Notes: The words, "art therapy," grabbed my muse, and off we headed. The result is this tale. I welcome your feedback. C Alexis