Joy walked to the corner of the waiting room at the police station. She dug out the card that had been left for her at the emergency room. She placed the call.
“Hi, is this Deanna Johnson?”
“Yes, this is Deanna. How can I help you?”
“This is Joy Jamison, from the emergency room last night. Detective Mullins told me you are a good person to get in touch with about the, um, rape.”
“Hi Joy. I am so glad you called. How would you like to get together for a bite to eat at the Abby Café? Say in two hours?”
“Get together? Sure. I know the Abby Café, and I can meet you there in two hours. See you then.”
Joy disconnected and found her heart racing. This was just all too much. She didn’t know how she was going to make it through today. She walked up to Daniel and Jeremy and told them what was going on, so they split up and headed out.
Joy wanted to stop in and see Ben before meeting Deanna. She just wanted to see her precious little boy and forget all of this for a few minutes. Once they reached her in-laws and were walking up the front path, Joy felt the weight that had been dragging her down start to lift.
“Mommy! I missed you last night.” Ben squealed as he launched himself at Joy.
Grabbing him up for a hug, “I missed you too monkey. Are you having lots of fun with Poppa and Grandma?”
“Yes, we’re having lots of fun. You got a boo-boo?” He said, pointing to her neck.
“Yes, but it doesn’t hurt at all. Guess what? You get to stay with Poppa and Grandma for three whole day. Isn’t that awesome? It’s like a mini-vacation.” Joy enthused encouragingly.
“Is that true Dad? This is great!” he runs and hugs his dad’s legs. “I’ve got pictures for you.” He said as he ran from the room.
Joy’s in-laws made the appropriate inquires about Joy’s well-being, but the exchange was stilted.
“Mom, we’re going to head out as Joy has an appointment this afternoon. Here is a bag of things for Ben.” Daniel said, changing the subject.
Ben came running back into the room. “Here they are; I made miss you pictures.”
Joy and Daniel made over his coloring, kissed and hugged him bye, and let him know they would be back soon to check up on him.
On the drive back to their house, Daniel made to hold Joy’s had, but she flinched at first.
“I’m sorry Daniel; I’m just so jumpy.”
“You don’t have anything to apologize for Joy, I know how stressed you are. Do you want me to drive you to your meeting with Deanna?” Daniel inquired; trying to be helpful in any way.
“Thank you, but no. I think a bit of alone time will help calm me down.” Joy said nicely, all the while thinking about stopping at the drug store for her medication.
“All right, but keep you cell on so I can keep in contact with you.” Daniel said with a bit of worry in his voice.
“Okay, but I won’t be gone but a couple of hours. I’m sure you can use a break from all of this by now anyway.”
“Joy, I don’t need a break from you or this situation. I am here for you one hundred percent. Stop worrying about everyone else and concentrate on taking care of yourself. I can assure you that everyone has your best interest at heart.” Daniel said.
“Daniel, I’m going to go ahead and leave, in case I get turned around. I love you and please try not to worry.” Joy gently kissed Daniel on the cheek and then climbed into her Cadillac MKZ.
Driving toward the drug store, Joy couldn’t help but feel guilty over Daniel’s concern for her. If only he knew the whole story, I bet his reaction would be totally different, Joy thought to herself. Having reached the drugstore, she got her medication and bought a juice drink. Back in the car, she was impressed with the dosage and quantity of Xanax Dr. Katz had prescribed for her. She immediately took two with the drink.
She got to the café a bit early, so she got a table and ordered a glass of wine. Just a few minutes later, Joy saw a woman about her age looking around. Joy waved her over. Deanna wore a tailored shirt and slacks with heels. She had lovely mocha skin and hair and vibrant blue eyes, the color of the sky.
Joy stood to introduce herself. “Deanna? Hi, I am Joy. Thank you so much for meeting me.”
“I’m more than glad to do it, Joy.” Deanna said as they took their seats. The waitress cam over and they both ordered the special and Deanna ordered a cappuccino.
Joy took another sip of wine. “Please do not think I’m one of those bored housewives that hit the sauce at ten in the morning. In general, I hardly ever drink. I have just been so on edge since yesterday; I just feel like I can unravel at any moment.”
“Joy, you will find no judgment here. I have been where you are sitting and I didn’t hold it together nearly as well as you seem to be. I don’t know how much you know about our organization, so stop me if I go over something you already know. We are a group of rape survivors who have banded together to provide support to women who are sexually assaulted. The woman does have to come from a known referred source, to keep the group authentic. We come from all walks of life; like I’m a probation officer with a criminology degree. We have resources, such as doctors that will see you related to stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as therapists if you need more intensive therapy than the group can provide.” Deanna stated the information matter-of-factly.
The waitress set down their orders of quiche and Deanna’s cappuccino. Joy order another glass of wine.
“Deanna, I am a very private person by nature. But I would like to give the group a try to see if it is something I can do. I definitely want to get a therapist referral from the city. My husband is a psychotherapist and knows all the other therapists in town. I would like to remain as anonymous as possible. My husband recommends a Justin Mayer; have you heard of him?” Joy said the words hurriedly, as if speaking about them made the rape more real.
“I certainly understand that. Yes, Dr. Mayer is one of our contacts in the city and comes highly recommended. Let me ask you, how are you doing today?” Deanna asked gently, taking Joy’s hand.
The question caught Joy off guard and she found herself tearing up. “I really don’t know how I’m doing; everything is just moving so fast.” Joy shared the details of the case with Deanna.
“Are you able to rest? You have been through a trauma and it’s really important for you to get rest and recharge, and to have someone to talk to.” Deanna looked at her with concern on her face.
“I slept on and off last night, but I had Daniel with me. These two glasses of wine are merely to calm my nerves. I feel like I have no control over anything in my life right now. I don’t understand how an act that took less than ten minutes can have such a strangle-hold over everything in my life.” Joy said with tears in her eyes.
“I know you feel like you have no control over anything, but you have control over how you react to things going on in your life. You need help learning to deal with your feelings, and not using any substance as a crutch to cope. They just inhibit you from dealing with the emotions and learning appropriate coping mechanisms. I know this is hard to think about; but you have to start somewhere, sometime.” Deanna said with kindness in her eyes.
Joy eyed Deanna thoughtfully. “When is your next meeting?”