Paper Forests

“While your children and grandchildren are away, I like to think that they’re visiting a fantastic place, somewhere where they aren’t restrained by an illness or held back by their own emotions. I like to believe that they’re in a place called the Paper Forest, where there is nothing but health and happiness to greet them.” // this blurb and cover is a work in progress.

13Likes
33Comments
3418Views
AA

2. Prologue


Usually, in a counselling room with a circle of chairs, you would expect to find a group of teenagers. They would have expressionless faces and slumped postures and minds that probably told them that they were immortal or immune to the influences of society. Now, the room is full of adults, holding on to each other as their final shred of hope flickers before them.

           

“We’ll go around the circle one-by-one,” says a man stood at the edge of the circle, scratching at his neatly trimmed beard. “Introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you are here, as much as you are comfortable to share. Remember, we’re here to support each other, not block each other out.”

           

The first person to stand up is a woman, likely to be in her late forties or early fifties but looking many years past her age. She has the dainty features of a porcelain doll, although her makeup is smeared by tears and her skin looks multiple sizes big for her skinny frame. There’s a man beside her – possibly her husband – with a fuller figure and an untrimmed moustache. He doesn’t stand.

           

“I’m Caroline Ramsay. This is my husband, Michael. My son… Our son… His name is Oliver. He’s in a coma. He’s only sixteen.”

           

Her hands shake as she talks but her voice doesn’t falter. Her words sound rehearsed, almost as if she’s been repeating the same things over and over again to other counsellors, private therapists, or even her own family. The man beside her reaches up and holds one of her hands in both of his, squeezing it gently.

           

“He overdosed on heroin a few days ago and the doctors aren’t sure if he’s going to make it. He’s on life support. We’re praying for the best but it isn’t looking promising.”

           

A few tears leak out of her eyes and she sinks back into her chair, not uttering another word for the rest of the session.

           

The counsellor continues to go around the circle, all the wet cheeks and empty ears blurring into one figure, looking like despair has been personified. There’s a young man representing a little girl named Gracie. She was left critically injured at age nine – along with her mother – in a car accident where the man was driving. An elderly couple speaks about their grandson, Ansel, only fourteen years old. A middle-aged man and woman who don’t make eye-contact or acknowledge each other’s presence besides constantly interrupting each other talk about their son called August. He was a terminal cancer patient, approaching the end of his life expectancy.

           

After allowing each child to be spoken about for a few minutes, the counsellor steps in, sensing that the adults are becoming too distraught or too uncomfortable to continue. He steps into the centre of the circle, cracking his knuckles.

           

“One thing that you all have in common is that you have a child who is on the verge of being taken away from you, whether it has been caused by a natural illness or something that could’ve been prevented. You mustn’t worry, for they have been placed in the best hands, and there are people who are trying their best to look after them.”

           

The adults in the circle lean in, desperate to hear anything that could ease their pain, even if it’s just a story woven for their own comfort. In this situation, it is a story, although there’s some truth behind each uttered word.

           

“While your children and grandchildren are away, I like to think that they’re visiting a fantastic place, somewhere where they aren’t restrained by an illness or held back by their own emotions. I like to believe that they’re in a place called the Paper Forest, where there is nothing but health and happiness to greet them.”

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...