I'm not going to any fucking psychiatrist, and nothing she says will make me change my mind.  I know what she's up to, she tried it before, does she think I'm stupid enough to fall for that shit again?

Besides, I don't  need a fucking shrink, I'm not crazy.  There is nothing wrong with me but this fucking gimpy hand.  And a few nightmares.  Everybody has nightmares sometimes, it's no big deal.  I don't need to talk about them and I don't want to talk about them and I WON'T talk about them.

I've got to get over to the loft and see Brian.  I keep trying to get there and then suddenly I wake up and it's not real.  But I'm awake now, aren't I?  I'm sure of it.  Pretty sure.  I'm going to try again now.  Please let this not be the dream again.


Just make them leave me alone.  Leave me alone.  God, my head hurts.  I bashed it on the wall.  Maybe I am crazy after all.


Why is Brian doing this?  He showed up at the condo and Mom let him in and they told me I was going to stay with him for a while.  I need to know why, I even asked him why, in the jeep coming over here.  He wouldn't tell me.  I pretended to believe it's because he loves me.  He didn't deny it.  But he didn't confirm it either.

I know he feels guilty.  I know he feels like it was his fault, I saw his face when he told me about Chris bashing me.  I hope it's more than that.  But I need it to be more than that, so how can I believe it?  I used to be so sure he loved me.  I remember that much.  I remember being sure.  Now I don't know any more.

He just told me to get off the computer and come to bed.  What is like totally UNBELIEVABLE is, that I don't want to.  Here I am in Brian's loft where I wanted to be and needed to be and how can I not want to get into bed with him?  I'm going to take a shower.  Maybe he'll fall asleep before I come to bed. 


I totally fucked up.  I couldn't let him touch me.  And now he's gone, he got dressed and went out.  He said he had something important to do, but I know what it is.  He's going to find a trick.

Brian tried to talk to me, after I messed up.  He kept saying it was okay, but it's not fucking okay.  Maybe it won't ever be okay.  He said maybe I should see a psychiatrist.  He doesn't even believe in fucking psychiatrists, he's said so a million times.  I just kept saying "no" to everything till he finally gave up.  

Maybe I should leave.  Where can I go?  Not home.  My home is gone, I can't live with Mom any more, I just can't.  Or Debbie.  Or Brian.  I'm going to pack my stuff and just leave.  I don't even care where I go now.


Brian didn't go fuck somebody last night after all.  I was in the middle of packing when he came back and I thought he'd yell at me or something but he didn't, he just pulled the sweater I was stuffing in my duffel bag gently out of my hand and led me to the kitchen, I could tell my face was all red and flushed like I get when I'm upset, he made me drink a glass of milk and take one of my stupid anxiety pills.  I have two kinds of meds, one to calm me down and one for pain.  Then he led me to the sofa.  He wasn't wasted, I could tell he hadn't taken anything.  He made me sit down next to him, then he told me he'd gone to see a shrink friend of his.

First I got all pissed at him for doing that, but he kept talking and talking to me.  This shrink told him we need to do things to trigger my memory to come back, so he says starting tomorrow we're going to try that.  Like what, I asked and he said he didn't know yet.  To be honest I'm a little scared of doing that.  Not scared, but sort of worried.  I mean, OF COURSE I want to remember.  But sometimes maybe it's better not to remember things.  Maybe it's safer.

I started getting sleepy, I could feel my eyes drooping, and so we went to bed.  I was a little tense but he just said goodnight and rolled over facing away from me and then I could relax and fall asleep.  When I woke up this morning, he'd already had his shower and was getting dressed.

Brian had to go to work today of course, and he dropped me at the hospital for my physical therapy appointment.  He asked if Mom could pick me up but I didn't want her to, so he gave me money to take a taxi home, and made me promise to do that instead of taking the bus.  I could walk, it's not that far and I don't have any trouble with my legs or anything; but you never know who you'll run into on the street or on a bus, somebody might talk to me or touch me accidentally, so I agreed about the taxi.

PT went okay, I had Miguel today and I like him, he's young.  Or  anyway, he's younger than Sam, who's about ninety-seven.  I like Gillian too, but she's even older than my mom.  Miguel pushes me harder than the others but that's okay, I like to be pushed.  Miguel says he is SURE my hand will get back to normal; the others promise nothing. 

I got a sandwich in the hospital cafeteria before taking a taxi back to the loft.  Miguel told a hospital pink lady to call the cab for me.  These really ancient old ladies volunteer at the hospital and they all wear pink jackets.  The one who helped me today had the most interesting face, all these interwoven lines and wrinkles converging together to make the sweetest face with pale, pale blue eyes sunk deep in their sockets, and a smile that's seen a lot of suffering I'll bet, but still smiling. 

God, I wanted so bad to draw her face.  I feel incomplete without my sketchpad.  All my life I have captured moments and people and feelings with my drawings and now I can't do it.  Can't even hold the fucking pencil, it falls right out of my fingers.  Fuck.

The phone was ringing when I got back to the loft, and I wondered if it was okay to answer, but finally I did and it was Lindsay.  She and Mel are planning this huge birthday extravaganza for Gus this weekend, and she wanted to be sure I'd be there.  She said Brian told her I was staying with him and she was very glad.  Lindsay's always been on my side about Brian, though mostly it's our secret.  She says I am good for him.  I wonder if she thinks I'm still good for him now that I'm damaged.  He needs to be around strong people and I'm not any more.  I didn't say that to her of course; I don't want to sound like a whiner.

Mom made me promise to call her every day, so I called in the afternoon, hoping she would be out and I could just leave a message.  But she was there.  Hearing her voice made me feel all antsy and annoyed.  I know that's bad.  I've been pretty rotten to her since I got out of the hospital.  She just smothered me every minute and I couldn't make her stop without getting mean.  I still don't know how to deal with her.  So I just told her everything was fine, I went for my PT and now I was going to take a nap.  That was a lie but it's something mothers like to hear.

So I got on the computer and snooped through some of Brian's stuff, he knows I do that, you'd think he'd get pissed but usually he doesn't.  I know his cruising screen name too.  I was so bored and my head started hurting.  I resisted taking a pain pill, they make me so dopey, but finally I had to.  Sure enough the damn thing made me sleepy and I decided to lie down just for a minute, but duh, naturally I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I heard voices.  Brian was home, and he'd brought Daphne to see me.  I was groggy from the pill and sort of tripped down the steps from the bedroom but caught myself before falling.  Brian rushed over and made me let him look into my eyes.  "How many Vicodin did you take?" he asked and I said just one.  God, if I took two I'd probably never wake up.  He went to get me a glass of water and I went into the living room to greet Daphne.  She tried to hug me but I backed away real fast, and I could tell by her face that she suddenly remembered I can't stand to be touched.

We said hey and she told me about her trip to Disneyworld.  Brian brought me the water and they both watched me drink it.  There was a kind of awkward silence, then Brian explained that we were going to re-create dancing at the prom and see if that triggered my memory.  I was still groggy from the pain pill so I didn't have much to say.  Daph and Brian moved the furniture and rolled up the carpet and put music on.

I did get a few flashes that might be memories, brief pictures of Brian dressed in black, a feeling of being swept around a big polished wooden floor, a kind of memory as if a spotlight was shining on us.  Brian held my hands and tried to move me around the floor, but I felt so stiff and unnatural, I can't imagine us really doing that.  As much as we've danced at Babylon, it was nothing like ballroom dancing.  Daph kept trying to fill in the blanks, telling me stuff that happened, but it was like hearing a story about some other people.  And when she told me about kissing, I almost fell down with shock.  Brian kissing me in front of all those people?  He looked sorry that I didn't remember.  "You should have been there," he murmured, his face dark and sad.

Finally they gave up.  I went to the bathroom and stayed there a long time.  I just wanted to be alone a while, to think about Brian kissing me in front of strangers.  Half of me was embarrassed, half of me was thrilled.  I do wish I had been there.  I do.

Then we took Daphne home, and Brian drove to the parking garage where it happened.  I stood there just totally blank while he described it all.  You always hear the phrase 'scene of the crime,' but you never expect to actually be standing in one.  You never expect to be a victim like that.  It's a miracle there was not a chalk line drawn around me.  Saying that doesn't freak me out too much.  I can even admit there's times I almost wish there was a chalk line.  There's times I don't think I have the courage to deal with all that's ahead of me now.

Brian broke down when he was telling me about it, he started shaking and got really upset.  You just never see Brian Kinney upset like that.  I wanted to hug him, I wanted to put my arms around him.  All I could do was pat his chest, pull on his shirt.  He stopped pretty quick, he saw that I was upset too and he quickly said, "Never mind, it's okay." 

"I'm sorry," I told him, as we got in the jeep, "I'm trying really hard."

He nodded.  "I know you are.  Maybe we're trying TOO hard.  Let's leave it for now, okay?"  When I agreed, he asked if I was hungry, he suggested we go to Luigi's for dinner, he knows it's one of my favorites.  Or used to be.  He started the jeep and revved the engine a few times, something he does when  he's antsy. 

"No," I said quickly.  I had to look away.  I don't want to see people who knew the old Justin.  I could feel him looking at me but I was too cowardly to show him my face.

Brian shut off the engine, and after a minute he said, "Justin. . .I'm not a shrink, and maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me like you need to start doing normal things again."  He waited but I couldn't answer him.  His voice was gentle, not impatient like you'd expect.  "You like everybody at Luigi's."

All I could do was shake my head.  "No."  From the corner of my eye I could see him raise his hand and almost put it on my shoulder.  I tried not to flinch.  He stopped just in time, then sighed, and started the engine again, drove us back to the loft.  He made us sandwiches, just peanut butter for me, he puts avocados on his (ugh), weird.  We ate in front of the tv and didn't talk much, and then not about anything important, just the news and weather and stuff.  It was like being old married people, but not in a good way.  He sent me to bed when I started yawning, and I was asleep before he got there.  He didn't touch me all night. 

This afternoon is Gus' birthday party.  I don't want to go but Brian insisted.  He went over early to help Melanie finish setting up the new swing set and pick up some things, he told me but I wasn't really listening.  I was trying to think of excuses for not going.  He told me to be ready when he got back at lunch time.

Lindsay called and talked to me for a while.  I love her so much.   She never pushes me, or not exactly, she leans but in such a gentle way, you don't even realize she's leaning.  I told her my head was hurting so I might not be there.  She just kept talking about how disappointed Gus would be, till I felt guilty.  I don't have a present for him either, but she said that was a good thing, because he'd get so many presents today, that when I did bring him a gift some other time he would enjoy it more.  Finally she somehow backed me into a corner and I said I'd come.  After I hung up, I wondered if Brian told her to call me.

He came back earlier than I expected, I'd just gotten out of the shower and wrapped a towel around me when I heard him come in.  In a moment he appeared in the bathroom doorway and goes, "Oh, there you are."  He sounded relieved, like maybe he thought I'd escaped.  Or run away.

"Sorry, I'm not ready yet."

"S'okay."  He leaned against the doorframe looking at me. 

I stared at myself in the mirror.  "I need to shave."  I could see some little hairs in my mustache and on my chin.  My hair's blond but you can see them in a certain light.  In the hospital there was a nurse who shaved me a few times when I asked him to.  I don't like hair on my face, it itches or something.  I haven't shaved since then, I'm afraid if I try it left-handed, I'll slit my throat.

Brian pushed away from the door and came to stand behind me and we stared at our reflections.  "I'll shave you," he murmured, grinning, managing to make it sound sexy.  I was afraid he'd put his arms around me but he didn't.  What if I never want him to?  What if I never want anybody to?

He didn't wait for an answer but got out the shaving stuff, he uses an expensive cream from Saks, I love the smell of it.  He handed me the bottle and motioned for me to put it on my face.  I did a few dabs with my left hand, just my chin and mustache, nothing else much was growing on my face at the moment.  Then Brian  hitched himself up to lean his hip sideways against the sink, rinsed the razor under hot water, and carefully touched it to my face.  Somehow that was okay.  He scraped away my little whiskers and then wrung out a washcloth in hot water and handed it to me.  I was relieved that he seemed to understand about not touching me, and wasn't pushing it.  He took a piss and washed his hands, then went into the kitchen to make lunch while I got dressed.

We sat at the counter.  Peanut butter sandwiches again.  He never gets tired of them apparently.  Maybe I'll feel like cooking again soon.  I used to love to cook, especially for Brian, and I could probably do that one-handed, or some things anyway.  He likes the pasta things I've made for him.  While we were eating he told me about the party preparations, laughing that the Munchers' backyard looks like a gaudy carnival sideshow.  I told him about Lindsay's call and what she'd said about me not having a present for Gus.

"I'm not giving him one either," Brian told me.  When I looked surprised, he added, "He's going to get a million stupid toys today, and he won't even know what's going on.  I'll give him something special later."


He paused, chewing and thinking.  "I don't know yet."

"Debbie says you usually just give people money."

Brian snorted.  "Nobody's complained so far."  He took another bite, chewed and swallowed and took a swig of water.  "Maybe you and I could take Gus to F.A.O. Schwartz in New York sometime."

That took my breath away.  For lots of reasons.  It would be at least an overnight trip, especially taking a baby there.  I'm not ready for any adventures outside Pittsburgh; but what I got from Brian saying it was this: that he sees me getting better, that he sees us together at least in some way, that he sees me in his future and in Gus' future.  Somehow that little suggestion about New York almost brought tears to my eyes.  I sort of mumbled and looked down at the table, I didn't trust myself to look at him.

Brian stood up and took our plates to the sink, rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher.  He said he'd take a quick shower, he'd gotten sweaty moving furniture at the Munchers'.  So I decided to write about today in my journal in case we get back late.  The voice-activation thing works great except for some dopey errors it makes understanding my voice, especially when I'm trying to speak quietly.

Now he's getting dressed, I have to go put my shoes on, and we'll be ready to go.  I'm really dreading this party so much.  Brian promised not to let people get too close to me, he says he explained to Lindsay and to Debbie already.  I'm embarrassed for people to know I'm such a wimp, but I'd rather let them think that, than to have them crowd around trying to hug me.  If they did that I'd probably flip out and run screaming from the house.  Which would be just too humiliating.

I can't believe Brian is being so patient with me.  I want to think it's because he loves me, but I can't get my hopes up.  Brian is a lot kinder than people give him credit for, he just doesn't want anybody to know that.  So maybe he's just being kind now.  And I know he feels guilty, even though I told him it wasn't his fault. 

Well, here goes, he's calling me.  Please, please let me not freak out today.