Dr. Graham was standing there, nodding his assent. Marcella continued, “Do you think if we hypnotized you, we might be able to figure out why that is?”

Jason gasped, and I sat up to stare him in the eyes. He looked back at me with his beautiful hazel eyes before he whispered, “That won’t be necessary, Marcella. I already know why.”


“Could you all please leave Zoe and me alone for a few minutes?” Jason was on the edge, and I was falling over the cliff with him. I wasn’t sure I could handle everything in one day after all. I would’ve preferred another day of everyone kicking my ass and getting hit by a delivery van.

“Jason—” Marcella looked almost as worried as I did. “It would really be better if this all came out with Dr. Graham and I present.”

Jason snapped back,“NO!I need to talk to Zoe alone. At least at first, and then you can all come back in here. Once she knows everything, I don’t give a damn who finds out!”

I convinced them to go get something to eat, since lunchtime had rolled around. If Jason didn’t want them there, that’s the way it was going to be. They all filed out of the room, headed to see what nasty yet nutritional food the hospital cafeteria was dishing up that day. My mother,being her typical indulgent self, asked Jason and I if we wanted her to bring us something to eat, but we refused. The last thing either one of us needed was heartburn or a gas attack on top of everything else.

Jason and I were left in the room alone. I wasn’t about to pressure him or rush him to tell me, so I ran my fingers through his hair and waited. “Zoe.”

“Yes, baby?”

“Let me say straight up this has nothing to do with cheating. I already told you I would never do that to you, and I haven’t!”

“I know you wouldn’t, baby. I believe you.” I gave him a kiss on his forehead and then raised his hand up to my lips so I could kiss it too. Then I asked him what I’m sure was on everyone’s mind. “Were you sexually abused when we were kids, Jason?”

He jumped up off the hospital bad. “No, hell no! I was never sexually abused or molested!”

I turned on my side to face him while he stood by the window, looking out. “Then what is it, baby? You know you can tell me anything.”

“Zoe, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to come on out with it full force. Willard and Lorraine Reynard are not my real parents.”

He kept looking at the window, at nothing in particular.-I started feenin’ for some Prozac or something. “Ummm, Jason, what do you mean, they’re not your real parents?”

He glanced at me and then walked back over to the bed. He didn’t lie back down beside me, but pulled up one of the chairs and sat down in it. “I should’ve told you all this a long time ago. You had a right to know. After all, you’re my wife, Zoe.”

“I had a right to know?”

He took a deep breath. “I’m going to make a long story short. I was adopted when I was six. Before then, I lived in an orphanage and was a ward of the state.”

I couldn’t talk, so I just reached for his hand and held it tight. “My mother, the real one, was a prostitute. I remember her clearly. She left me on the stoop of the orphanage when I was only four, telling me she couldn’t take care of me anymore and had to go away.”

He started crying. I reached over on the metal table beside the bed and retrieved one of the rough, generic-brand tissues the hospital provided. I dried his tears for him. “Did something happen to you in the orphanage, Jason?”

“No, Zoe! Actually, the nuns at the orphanage were very nice. That’s why I believe in Catholicism, even though we don’t attend church that often.” I made a mental note to myself to start taking my kids to church— we all needed some religion. “I’m not an expert on orphanages, but I’ve heard horrible stories about some of them. The one I lived in was nothing like that.”

“Okay, I believe you. Did the Reynards do something to you?” I was sitting there calling my in-laws the Reynards like they were strangers instead of my husband’s parents. Every thing was getting weirder by the minute. “Did they hurt you, baby?”

“No! Of course, there were times when they would get angry at me and throw it up in my face. Telling me I should be thankful they even took me in when they could’ve just left me there. They didn’t really mean any of those things, though. It was all said out of anger and frustration.”

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