Epiphany Ch. 01byStardog Champion©
"These ivy covered walls feel like they're closing in a little more every week," Allison Murphy found herself thinking each Tuesday she made her scheduled trip to the small, rustic New England Catholic school campus where she'd been contracted to apply her trade as a psychiatrist and youth counselor.
"It doesn't help that everyone here is half your age either," Allison chided herself, knowing that at the ripe old age of 41, most of the students she passed on the way to the classroom she used for her sessions were not even born yet when she was in college.
"But it does all seem like yesterday somehow," she continued to ruminate. "And to think about all the water under the bridge since then. An 18 year marriage, two kids, an abandoned career, a divorce, middle age gets here before you can breathe."
"God I wish I could tell all these kids to be a little more selfish with their time once they get out of here and on with their lives," Allison would think each time she pass a bright eyed and optimistic face in the hallway. "They don't have a clue what's waiting for them out there."
The light, inner reminiscing Allison always did during her trip across campus to her makeshift 3rd floor office in McCullough Hall each Tuesday always seemed to come to a grinding halt however once she arrived and opened her shop for business. Then things inevitably began to get very heavy.
Even though she had finished her degree and kept up her license to practice while married, Allison mainly worked part time after her children were born, basically running her counseling services by referrals and word of mouth. It wasn't until her and her husband split about a year earlier that Allison was able to commit herself fully to trying to get her career off the ground.
The timing of Allison's life change happened to coincide with the fallout of the Catholic church's sexual abuse scandal and that, in a macabre but fortuitous way, enabled her to land her first major run of steady and well paying work.
The school that had offered Allison the counseling contract had discovered that several of the students currently enrolled had one in way or the other been victimized by those horrible abuses of power years earlier and wanted someone on staff to help those young men have a consistent and confidential place to deal with their trauma.
Selfishly, it was a huge opportunity for Allison to build her resume and the ample monthly check that came with it could help a struggling divorcee with two teenage kids as well. A practicing Catholic herself, Allison also saw it as a small way to salvage her faith's besmerched image by helping the unfortunate souls that had been victimized and showing them someone truly did care.
On a personal level, the new job also served as a indispensable conduit for Allison to get her self esteem back in one piece after having it ripped apart by a long failing marriage and the nearly year long divorce that ended it. Without a Husband, and with both her boys away at a private school in Maine, Allison could focus solely on making her career work.
While all of Allison's intentions had been good, the sessions themselves had proved to be an emotional and painfully draining grind. With two children of her own, both boys not much younger than the college students she was counseling, it was a chore for Allison to apply her professional detachment and clinical understanding to what the boys described rather than allowing her anger and parental protectiveness to kick in.
Adept and trained at understanding the peculiar workings of the human mind, deep down Allison also knew she was submerging much of her own dysfunction into helping mediate the troubles of others, but often she questioned if she had bitten off more than she could chew with the abuse cases.
As any sane person would in her chosen field, Allison had made a promise to herself never to bring her work home with her, but as the Tuesday sessions at the school continued, she found herself more and more trying to make sense of what she was hearing late into the evenings.
"Price you pay for having so much drama in your life for the last few years... when there was a drama free vacuum there after the divorce Allison... naturally you found something to fill it," she would rationalize.
"Besides... each of those boys' stories sound so much the same... it's horrifying... you need to spend the extra time away from the meetings to try and keep their situations separate and special to try and find some common thread to help them out of the darkness."
Allison would have freely admitted to being somewhat geeky and a bookworm in school. Her plain features and boxey figure present from the onset of puberty, she always knew she'd have to count on her brains more than her looks. Never one to slave to be part of a social circle, Allison made it a pastime to continually look inside herself, and others, to find the motivations behind human behavior and her pursuit of Psychology as a career grew out of that. If you can't join them, so to speak, at least understand them and maybe beat them.
Not that she was single again, all those same insecurities of her teenage years that Allison thought she had conquered, had risen from ashes. Those feelings were only heightened by having to put herself back on that college campus. Even though she was on the backside of 40 and was a trained and well compensated professional, the same queasy bitterness Allison felt towards the popular and good looking 'in' crowd when she was in school came back in a cold, dull rush.
Through some strange quirk of fate however, some of the rich, preppy pretty boys she was now in charge of counseling, ones who would not have given her a second look when she was in school, were now laying themselves down on her couch and spilling out the most acidic secrets humanly possible from their souls and Allison fought mightily to keep from taking any joy in that. Yet in those private moments of justification, there was still a vague but persistent need gnawing at her, a hunger left over from adolescence for appreciation, attention and self worth.
A need that had been bubbling beneath the surface like a long dormant volcano, one that with all her training as a psychiatrist she would have easily diagnosed if it were a patient, but like a moth to an ever-intensifying flame, Allison found herself being drawn to it even as she approached the crossroads of middle age.
Allison's new business, for the most part, was running smoothly. Her Monday sessions she had allotted time to counsel women who were going through divorce and other major life hits as sort of a cathartic kinship for herself.
Wednesday through Friday, Allison mainly served a walk-in crowd at her small, rented downtown office and most of those cases were easy money walks in the park compared to what she had to deal with during her Tuesdays at the college.
Six nights a week, Allison's usually fell asleep within a minute or two of her head hitting the pillow. On Tuesday nights however, she often found herself lying awake, talking to herself until well after midnight. There in the silent calm of her bedroom, Allison was forced to accept the fact that she was sleeping alone after having a body next to her for almost two decades. All she could seem to replace those feelings of loss and inadequacy with however was replaying the drama of her work day, the one area of her life where Allison still derived some vindication and worth.
The previous three Tuesdays, Allison had a boy named Darrin take part in her afternoon sessions. He was 20 and had just began his Junior year at the school. Tall and well built, albeit still somewhat gangly like a puppy still trying to grow into his limbs, Darrin was almost 6'4" but often slouched and tried to diminish his presence in a room, a trait Allison had come to recognize in many of the boys who had been through similar situations.
Like most of the other young men that came through Allison's door at the school, although they seemed like normal healthy, college students on the surface, once they full opened up to her, it felt as if they had become nothing more than fragile eggs in her hands. And Darrin was no different.
He had held the secret of his abuse to himself for almost 8 years until he saw the flier Allison Murphy had stapled to a school kiosk about her anonymous Tuesday meetings. It had taken Darrin about two sessions to feel comfortable enough drawing out all his demons, especially to a woman, but once he did, Allison felt he had made a crucial step in facing up to his past.
After a few sessions, Allison was relatively certain Darrin had already come a long way in dealing with his own abuse. While he did still harbor some untapped and justified anger towards the priest that had originally abused him, Darrin's main stumbling block was the guilt and self hatred he felt over helping the priest, through fear, embarrassment and his own weakness, recruit other boys from the church into the ring of shameful filth. As much vengeance as Darrin wanted to hold over the man of God that had violated the ultimate trust, Darrin was forced to channel much of the weight of those horrible years onto his own conscience for his secondary role.
Darrin had also made several offhand comments during his sit-down visits about a kid named Tony, who was about two years younger, that was one of the young men Darrin had unfortunately been pressured by his priest into the lecherous void. One of the things that Darrin felt had triggered the re-emergence of all his past misgivings was that he thought he saw that same young man on campus one day early in the semester, walking to class.
Racking her brain there in bed, in the early morning darkness, Allison recalled a session her first week at the school with a Freshman named Tony who had a hauntingly similar story to tell that Darrin did. Laying there in cold sweat, Allison became fixated wondering if the two parallel stories were actually two perspectives of the same one.
Looking over at the alarm clock beside the bed, Allison finally snapped herself back to reality.
"2 am," she cringed. "You've got to get some sleep... besides... Tony hasn't been back since that first week... it's not like you can go through campus trying to track him down... he has to feel enough of a need to come back to you."
Still, the images of Darrin's story and Tony's continued to play simultaneously in her tired and fractured mind until they merged into one grainy but startling moving picture.
"There's only one thing you can do Allison to help you relax and doze off," her base inner workings warned.
It was the same thing she had done as a sexually unfulfilled teenager and a frustrated wife. It was also the only outlet she had now that she was single again. Masturbate, not necessarily for the sexual release but for the stream of calming, sleep inducing endorphins that came with it.
"SSHHHH... YEESSSS," Allison's voice whistled from her throat as she turned her body to the side and wedged the edge of her hand between her thighs until it sliced through the welcoming fissure of her cunt.
Her genitals responding instantly to her long and well practiced advances, low muffled groans burped from Allison's mouth as she began to grind and hump her crotch against her sawing right hand.
Cupping and squeezing her left hand around each of her sagging and heavy breasts, Allison's body began to tremble under the covers as the slick and sloppy sounds of her selfish act resonated through the room.
Her eyes clenched tightly shut as her body went through its well scripted paces, Allison's mind filled with dozens of random images. All the stress she was feeling from work, the tattered remnants of her personal life, every perceived slight she felt from her 41 years of life all seemed to gel behind Allison's mind's eye until the tea kettle burst.
"AAAHHHHH... AAAHHHHHHHHHH... YYEESSMMMMMMMMMMMM... AAAHHH... AAAHHHHHHHHHH... AAAHHHHH," her tortured voice ripped through the languid calm of her empty house until she had thrashed the bedsheets all the way down to her knees.
The specific images she had use to cum by still fresh in her mind as she blindly wiped the tears leaking from her eyes onto the pillow beside her head, Allison reached down and pulled the covers back up to her waist as a stream of sizzling adrenaline continued to pump through her veins.
"Now maybe I can go to sleep," she muttered, guilt now starting to slide back into her conscience as she chastized herself for the content of the complicated and confusing fantasy she had used to frig herself off.
Within two minutes, sleep had overtaken Allison, even as the aftershocks of her orgasm, and the implications of the images she had used to bring it about, continued to ferment through her fibers.
A full week passed before Allison's next Tuesday session at the school. She had four appointments scheduled for the day but the first two never showed. Not unusual, Allison had discovered, considering both were first time visitors and that was always the toughest step to make.
Darrin was her third scheduled visit that day and when he didn't show on time, a cold stab of uncertainty sliced through Allison's soul.
"He's been here on time... even early for each of his other visits... I hope I haven't done or said anything to... ," Allison openly wondered, feeling the weight of her own inner guilt and shame press down on her chest for all the late night hand wringing about the 20-year-old's case.
Occupying her hands by shuffling through the accumulated notes on her desk, only occasionally stealing a glance at her watch to keep track of the time, Allison had lost herself in a mild hypnotic state when Darrin finally leaned his head through the door.
"OOHHHH," Allison yelped in real shock, causing an equally startled Darrin to recoil slightly.
"I... I didn't mean to scare you Ms. Murphy... I'm sorry for being late... my car needed a jump and then I had to fight for a parking place," Darrin stammered apologetically, his discomfort in disappointing an authority figure again clear in his reaction to being late.
"No... No... don't worry about it... the school pays me whether anyone shows up or not?" Allison laughed in jest, trying to put the visibly shaken student at ease.
"Come on in Darrin... close the door... sit down and try to get your breath... I've got another session scheduled after yours... but we do have a few minutes if you want to try and go through with it... we could put it off though until next week if you don't feel up to it?"
"No... I'm here... so let's give it a go... this has been a really hard week... I really need to get a few things out into the open," Darrin said hesitantly as Allison retreated to her chair at the head of the sofa.
Safely back in the clinical perch of her role as a counselor, Allison tried to sit calmly and listen to Darrin. Her legs crossed and a yellow legal pad resting squarely on top of her gray skirt, Allison scribbled down the occasional note as Darrin opened up.
Behind her outward professional facade however, Allison's primitive core continued to work.
"He just seems so vulnerable... just the way he walked into the room after being 15 minutes late looking like he was so afraid he'd let you down... he just takes things so hard when he disappoints someone he trusts," the motherly constitution inside of Allison admired until a three word question seeped from Darrin's mouth, causing everything in the room to go silent.
With one ear, Allison had been listening to Darrin ramble about what he did over the weekend. Normal college stuff like going out drinking with a couple of friends, trying to meet a few girls and his failings in that department. Distracted by the thoughts in her own head, Allison didn't appreciate the full gravity of what Darrin was beating around the bush about until he asked the same question again.
"Am I gay?" he croaked a second time.
For the moment, Allison was speechless. She knew it was an issue that many young men in Darrin's boat eventually had to face. With the abuse occurring at such a sensitive time in his life, just as he was tripping through puberty, and having it done to him by such a trusted older male role model and father figure, Allison knew the confusion that bred from that event would probably stay with Darrin for the rest of his life. And a major facet of that confusion would be questioning his own sexuality.
Some boys became ultra-promiscuous with women as they grew up, in essence trying to prove to themselves over and over that they were straight. Others, while heterosexual, were deftly afraid of women and the rejection that might occur. And then there were those that did find comfort in the arms of other men. Allison had made the determination that Darrin was somewhere between the latter two groups.
"That question Darrin is a personal choice you will have to make as you get older... but just from my past experiences and a wealth of data from the field... what you're going through and questioning is not unusual... but the answer will eventually have to be yours," Allison soothed with articulate softness.
Still, the weight of Darrin's question continued to hang in the air as the session played out and Allison found herself exerting more energy trying to keep from drowning in her own guilt for the illicit fantasies she had used centering around Darrin's case to help her fall asleep, rather than using her skill and training to help the young man work through his problem.
Guilt oozing out of her pores as Darrin continued to empty his soul, Allison shifted repeatedly in her seat, for the first time in her career anxiously checking her watch, praying for a session to end.
Nodding her head and doing her damndest to outwardly reassure Darrin she was all there as he spoke, Allison couldn't help but shiver from the cold daggers of ice that seemed to tumble through her bloodstream each time her patient mentioned something about his past.
"Oh... God," the distracted shrink muttered under her breath when she noticed her sweaty palms sticking to the legal pad in her lap.
Thankfully seated somewhat behind Darrin as he reclined on the couch, Allison was sure he couldn't see her as she fought to find a comfortable spot in her chair.
"You're palms not the only thing that's getting wet," a macabre inner voice foretold, causing her to instantly flinch when she felt a thin liquid sheen basting her crotch as she tried to maintain focus with the troubled young man.
With every word that came out of Darrin's mouth however, it was like an extra splash of butane on her arousal.
"Bet your damn nipples are probably poking through too," Allison dazedly worried as the images of Tony and Darrin's bodies intertwined themselves deeper into her mind.
"Thank God I wore a heavy sweater this morning," she muttered to herself when she peeked down to make sure her chest wasn't dotted with the most visible signs of her state of mind.
"Ah... Darrin... I was just checking my watch, " Allison's voice rose from out of nowhere, stopping her startled patient in mid sentence.
"My next student is due in here in about 15 minutes... we can definitely pick this up again next week... I'm sorry we're so pressed for time... how about if I block off an extra half hour for you next Tuesday... would that be OK?" Allison offered in a rushed tone, fumbling to maintain her professionalism as her guilt nipped at her heels, knowing her next student was supposed to arrive for another 45 minutes.
"I'll need at least that long to get my focus back on the task at hand," she rationalized as she raised herself out of her seat to walk a visibly shaken Darrin to the door.