Journey by Billie Hinton

…………Perhaps when the boy built the elaborate scaffolding between sand trays in his first
therapy session he was building bridges from me to him.

…………Perhaps the melting down of crayons in aluminum foil was alchemy, testing the
boundaries of the place he would heal.

…………Perhaps the Playmobil medical worker locked in a tiny building while opposing armies
fought was for her safety, or for his own.

…………Perhaps, in a much later sand tray, the same Playmobil medical worker holding a light at
the prow of the boat in dangerous waters was lighting the darkness.

…………Perhaps when he brought The Game Of Life board game to his next to last session he was
starting to see the big picture.

…………Perhaps the boy thought we knew what we were doing, his mother and me, when we
stood in the dark parking lot with a flashlight.

…………Perhaps he thought their giant SUV not starting was an omen of great import, that his
final therapy session would go on forever.

…………Perhaps he thought his mother and I were not very bright, or not trying hard, when we
dug out the set of jumper cables she had never used and the instructions, opening the folded
paper between us, flashlight illuminating our faces as we read what to do.

…………Or perhaps he saw what we had agreed to model for him as he sat in the SUV: his mother
and therapist working together on behalf of forward motion, that we were strong women who did
not need to call upon men.

…………Perhaps he was thinking exactly what we feared: that if we connected the wrong cable to
the wrong thing we could both be killed.

…………Perhaps he made the connection between this fear and the original fear that brought him
to therapy, that his mother’s illness and his parent’s divorce might take her away from him.

…………Perhaps when we carefully attached the cables to the correct places, held our breaths and
told him he could crank the engine, he made the connection that we were not simply
jumpstarting a car, we were jumpstarting the journey he was about to take,

Where he was the driver, hands on the wheel.

dark figure on a boat at night
Coast Guard Cutter Eagle by US Coast Guard Academy. CC license.

Billie Hinton
Billie Hinton is an award-winning writer and psychotherapist who lives in North Carolina. She keeps horses and bees, studies native plants, and wrangles cats and Corgis. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama, Not One Of Us, Manifest-Station, Riverfeet Press Anthology, Streetlight Magazine, and Anthology, Longridge Review, Minerva Rising, Failbetter, and River Teeth, among others.

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