stood up for me, Matt. You should have helped me take that lunatic mother of yours to the poorhouse. We should have taken her for everything she had. But like I said, you’re a spineless idiot.”
Matthew still didn’t say anything. He knew he was acting like a wimp, but what no one knew was that his pain was slowly turning to rage and he’d had just about enough of Racquel for one evening.
“But you know what?” she said. “That’s all beside the point. I’m putting that drama behind me and moving on. So all I need to know is whether the two of you are still gonna pay for my education the way you promised.”
Matthew stared at her in amazement. What nerve. Here she’d sat, calling her father the biggest whoremonger in the country and then spoke to her mother like she was her greatest enemy, yet now she wanted them to pay thousands of dollars for tuition? Not to mention room and board? Matthew didn’t even know who Racquel was anymore.
Neil and Vanessa looked at their daughter but didn’t speak.
So she asked them again. “Well, are you? Because I’ve already spoken to MIT admissions. I talked to the woman who’d worked it out for me to start last fall, and she’s pretty sure she can get me back in for this September. I also told her that you’d be paying cash for everything.”
Matthew scrunched his forehead. Did she really think they were going to just up and send her away when there was clearly something wrong with her? From the look on her face, though, he could tell she did. She saw not a single thing wrong with what she was asking.
Neil still said nothing, and Matthew could tell he was livid about those infidelity accusations. Vanessa finally answered her, though.
“If you’re really ready to go back to school then we will totally support you, but only after you see a doctor.”
“What kind of doctor, Mom? And for what?”
“What you mean is a psychiatrist. A doctor who sees crazy people.”
“We just want you to sit down with someone. Let them counsel you.”
“Counseling is for crazy people, and I’m not crazy.”
“We’re not saying you’re crazy. But the fact that you no longer want to have anything to do with MJ means something’s wrong.”
Racquel looked at her mother, then at her dad, then at Matthew. “Oh, I get it. The three of you think this is some kind of intervention, don’t you? Well, you can intervene all you want, but not with me. So please leave,” she said, standing up.
“Really?” Neil said, getting to his feet. “Our own daughter throwing us out. After all we’ve done for you.”
“Honey, I’m begging you,” Vanessa said. “Please let us help you.”
“I said, get out, Mom!”
Vanessa stood up and broke into tears. Neil took her by her arm and led her to the front door. Matt walked into the hallway with them.
“I’m sorry,” he told his in-laws.
“It’s okay, son,” Neil said, rubbing his back. “This isn’t your fault, and no matter what we all say or do we can’t make Racquel get help. As long as she’s not a danger to herself or anyone else, we can’t force her to see anyone.”
“I just don’t understand what happened to her,” Vanessa said, sniffling. “I always thought she was depressed and that’s why for months now, I’ve tried to convince her to get help. But I’ve never heard of postpartum happening a whole year after a child is born.”
“But it is possible,” Neil said. “I spoke to our head of psychiatry this afternoon right after you called me, and he said he’s seen this before. It’s not as common, but he’s had a couple of patients who seemed to love their babies more than anything in the beginning, but then they became so overwhelmed with the responsibilities of motherhood that they eventually distanced themselves from their child altogether. He said Racquel may have somehow decided that MJ is the reason she doesn’t have the freedom most young people do. She might even be
Robert Atwan, John Jeremiah Sullivan