I thought about the idea of having a journal of some sort and write down the stuff I learned from the sessions for the next two days after that. Having a journal wasn’t as easy as one would have expected. At least for someone like me. For one thing, I have AJ. Not someone you would want to have around when you own something as secretive and personal as a journal. And then there’s the ‘passionate’ [i.e. psycho] fans who would do almost anything to get their hands on something that is ours. I hope they know that it counts for stealing. Even if it was just my used underwear that even I would be glad to part with. And then there’s my girlfriend.
She has this vision of how a relationship should be. Top of her list, is ‘no secrets’. I would go for commitment, that or communication, but heck, if the third on my list wasn’t about give and take, I would have fought for my beliefs too. So we settled on ‘no secrets’. Bear in mind that we’ve only been dating for 2 years and didn’t get serious until recently. Also, bear in mind that 2 years dating someone like me, we could count with just the fingers on her hands alone, the times when we were truly on a real date. Minus the hoo ha of Backstreet Boys and security hovering over our backs.
So it really felt like 2 months. And upgrading ourselves from dating to being serious after 2 months was not always the wisest of decisions a 20 year old guy could make.
But a promise is a promise. I told John I would have a journal and co-operate with him. It was my only ticket out of this whole mess. I finally pushed myself to stop by a bookstore and bought a simple brown leather journal.
Getting down to writing my thoughts was another matter altogether. It was difficult to say the least. I knew what it felt like to have read page after page about myself that I didn’t even know of in the tabloids. When I went into an interview and found the person interviewing me quite a decent person only to read the nasty remarks they had printed on paper of our meeting. It was a form of betrayal to me. I was about to do the same to John.
A line soon filled up two pages. That was when I literally put on the breaks and looked back at what I had written. Two pages of frustration over a man who was only doing his job. I almost sounded like I hated him with a passion. I blamed him for everything that had led me into where I was now. And it didn’t take long for me to realise that I had used him as my catalyst for everything bad in my life. He was there to be blamed, a physical being that I could point my fingers to instead of just JIVE. Who’s JIVE? A group of conniving business men (for selling me out to a psychiatrist) whom most I couldn’t even single out with a name.
I ended my entry with a new resolution. I will give Johnathan Reitt a chance to help me. And I promise to behave.
Kevin came into my room right after I had safely kept the journal in my bag. I was lying on my stomach on the bed, watching Scooby Doo.
“If you count trying to solve the mystery of the person behind that swamp ghost thingy as busy, then I am.”
He strutted into my room and stole a glance at the TV. “What the heck are you watching boy?” I didn’t bother to answer cause I knew that he would figure it out if he took a longer look. Which he did. “Scooby doo; poor AJ missing this show, he digs it right?”
“Yup. Didn’t he convince us to do some mystery solving at that old bed and breakfast in London last year?” For real, we actually took some of the crews with us to explore this supposedly haunted Bed & Breakfast in London. We didn’t get far to get freaked out. Okay fine, so I didn’t get far to get freaked out. Same thing.
Kevin climbed into bed, uninvited, if I may say so myself. It’s a good thing we were all sharing a suite. He laid on his back, facing the ceiling but with his eyes closed. “You and AJ made a great Scooby and Shaggy.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I remember you begging us to get out of there. And AJ was just as bad.”
AJ was worse. He refused to get into this haunted room and told everyone he’d be guarding the door instead. Psh! Me? I didn’t have the ‘luxury’ of exploring the room, I was given the job to guard the main door to the house. Okay, so they couldn’t drag me anywhere further into the house if their lives depended on it, but I still believe I saved the day by guarding our only exit. I had my fair share of haunted movies and more often than not, the actors always had problems with the exit doors.
“Fine old man, if that’s the lie you’ve been feeding everyone with.” He giggled and never opened his eyes. “Get up before you start dozing off man. I’m not gonna carry you back to your room.”
“My room is too far away.” He mumbled. “Can I room with you? Mandy’s coming next week with the tour and all, call this our bonding moment.”
I scoffed at that but didn’t turn him down. The bed is huge for the both of us, and Kevin, surprisingly enough, holds some of the most interesting topics to talk about at night.
“Hmmm, I take it Kristin left today.”
He groaned. “For a whole damn week!”
I laughed. He’s such a wuss. “It’s seven days Kev, not a year, sheesh.”
“It feels like it. Come on, don’t tell me you don’t get lonely when Mandy’s not around.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. The past few weeks had been so hectic that I didn’t really miss her presence. But she was coming back with us in a week, finally, she would be opening for us on our Millennium tour. I'm proud of her, of course, but lately, we had been arguing a lot and that depressed me. Howie said touring together would be good for us. He said I should seize that opportunity to patch things up with her. I planned on doing just that.
“Yeah, I do.”
“There ya go.”
Silence, saved for the voices of the cartoon characters on TV. They finally found out the culprit. It was Mr. Bunion, the storekeeper! I guessed correctly this time around. He had been my number one suspect right from the start. Come on, his name is the biggest clue. No good could ever come out of someone named Bunion!
“How’s the session going bro? The John guy cool?”
“Yeah. I’m trying.”
“Good. I don’t like it when they told me about the idea of sending you to one, but I figured, if he’s someone you can talk to, why not right?”
“He’s great actually. Nice. But I can talk to you guys if I want to, there’s no need to send me to those sessions.”
“I know Nicky, but it’s different from talking with us. We practically see you 24/7, most likely, the stuff that you’re gonna say, we've been there too, together. Sometimes it’s refreshing to share it with someone who’s not in the circle, you know? Like I talk to Kris about what happened to us and she always has this wide eyed look on her, like the stuff we did was amazing and special. I won’t get the same reaction if I tell that to, say, you, cause you know exactly what I mean. You know?”
I nodded. I understood. Whenever he looked at Kristin, he felt good cause someone would look back at him and tell him how wonderful and proud she is of him. It made all the hard work and unbearable pressure seem worthwhile. So the same could be said with Brian and Leighanne. As to AJ and Denise. Howie and Pollyanna.
I have Aaron. He always looks up to me. Everything I do is wonderful in his eyes. I have Mandy to talk to. I have my parents.
So here’s the question.
Why am I seeing a psychiatrist?
“You should get her one of those.” Marianne said, pointing to the ankle chain that you’d normally spot on a prisoner. How did we end up in one of those Houses of Humour gift shop was beyond me.
“I don’t think she’s into all this bondage stuff Marianne.”
“No, I don’t think so, being so classy and posh that girlfriend of yours.”
“I sense a lot of bitterness Marianne, have you taken your pills? They’re good for you.”
She slapped me on my arm. I guess I deserved it.
“All I’m saying is, it’s a good gift.”
“Please, enlighten me with your reasons.” I said, rolling my eyes at her.
“Thought you’d never ask.” She smiled. Don’t be fooled by that smile. “See, you attached it to her ankle, take her on a cruise and push her into the ocean. Good riddance don’t you think?”
“You would love that, wouldn’t you?”
She nodded, her eyes gleaming hopefully. “Yup. Would you do it for your best friend, pwease?”
“Be happy for me then; that’s what best friends are for.”
“I’m still here with you after all these years, aren’t I?” Marianne said.
“But you’re not happy that I’m still with Bianca.”
“Well best friend, they also said that we should be honest with each other. Or would you rather hear my lies? They’ll make you feel better but it’s not the truth.”
I sighed and pulled her out of the shop. We walked along the stretch of shops at the Mall, looking for another gift shop. “We’ve had this conversation before Marianne, you know why I’m still with her.”
“I know, and it’s the fact that you’re with her for all the wrong reasons that I’m not happy about. Trust me John, she’s not bad, I don’t hate her, but you know you’re both together for the wrong reasons. I don’t like it. And I’m telling you, she hates me.”
I laughed. “She doesn’t hate you.”
“Crystal shop, she likes crystal right?” She was changing the subject, again. I hate when that happened, but I was looking for a fun day together, she would be going to LA for two weeks to see one of her clients there. The catch was, Bianca lived there and I had made Marianne promise to deliver my little gift to her. Long distance relationship, got to love that.
“She loves crystal.”
“Well, there ya go!”
Two days after Marianne left, I found myself in my office, facing Nick Carter. He wasn’t in the mood for much talking and was getting restless. He did however, tell me that he was hyped about the Millennium Tour.
“None of my family are coming with me this time, so it’s cool to be on my own. Besides, Mandy’s gonna be there so technically, I wouldn’t be alone, alone, ya know?”
“Who’s Mandy?” No really, who’s Mandy?
“Oh, her stage name is Willa Ford, she’s gonna open for us...you know, opening act?”
I nodded. “I see...so she’s a fellow artist then. You talked as if you kinda like her, is that it?”
He laughed. What’s so funny? “She’s my girlfriend.”
I raised an eyebrow. Marianne forgot to update me on this one. I didn’t know he was dating a celebrity! “Ooohh...so your girlfriend is also a celebrity then. How’s that for you? Is it easier to date a celebrity than just, you know, a girl?”
“It’s not like that...”He looked out of place all of a sudden and I realised I had been too forward with my questions.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” He shook his head.
“It’s not that I don’t want to talk about her, it’s just that...”
“It’s okay Nick, you don’t have to explain everything you know...and I’m sorry for being too forward, I know too well about people always asking you stuff that you don’t want to talk about.”
He nodded, not bothering to say anything at all. He seemed to be preoccupied with something else. “This is one of those days where you don’t just feel like talking much, don’t you think?”
“I know I promise to co-operate, I just don’t feel like being locked in some room today. I feel like I should go out and have fun, when the tour kicks in, I could hardly do anything else.”
“How about if I show you around the building? You’d be surprised to know that there is fun stuff around here.”
His eyes brightened a little. “Can I do that?”
“Well, technically, we’re still in the building, so we’re not going against rules.”
He smiled. “Great! Hey, maybe you can ask the nice lady I met in your office a week ago to join us.”
He nodded eagerly. “Yeah, Marianne, that’s her name! If she’s not busy, we can ask her along too.”
Hey Marianne, guess what? Nick came by today and he was asking for you, I know, sucky isn’t it that you weren't here?
“She’s in LA right now with a client.”
“Oh...that’s a shame, I bet it’d be fun with her around. I mean, the more the merrier.”
On second thought...
“Hey Nick, wanna go see her office instead? She’s got the coolest fish tank ever.”
By the end of our little tour around the building, Nick was more relaxed and willing to talk while we were doing something else. I learned a lot more about him than he ever realised. We were in Marianne’s office, [I got an extra key and no, I wasn’t intruding, on the contrary, she’s going to love me for Nick left a little gift behind] watching her huge fish tank when he opened up to me. I didn’t think he realized it though.
“I talked to Kevin last night. You know Kevin right?”
“Yeah, by pictures and your songs. He’s the...what you would call, the leader of the pack?”
“Yeah, the leader, the most good looking, but the guys rather call him the terrifying one, just so he wouldn’t get lost in himself you know? Somebody's gotta keep him down.”
“That’s what Brian said, then again, he’s the bickering cousin, but anyway, my point is, I talked to him last night and I kinda asked him why I have to see a psychiatrist and he told me that sometimes, we need to talk to someone who’s outside of the circle...know what I mean?”
I nodded. “Someone outside of the business, you mean?”
“Yeah.” He paused and then giggled. “Look that orange fishy is trying to bite my finger through the glass.”
“That’s a piranha Nick.” He froze and looked at me, wide eyed. I laughed. “Kidding.”
“I’m losing my touch.”
“You’re just distracted...you were talking about Kevin.”
“Oh yeah...so he was telling me that he talks to his wife about stuff and I figured Brian has Leighanne and AJ has Denise-”
“His mom. He’s an only child so they’re very close. Then Howie has Pollyanna, his sister, you know, Howie’s family is really a tight-knit so he's got a lot to go around.”
“So, who do you have?”
He shrugged. “I think my brother is the best to talk about stuff. He always gets excited and wants to know more, but he’s very young and a lot of the stuff I can’t tell him. I can’t tell him about stuff that bothers me too cause I don’t want him to worry. But I feel like I have a lot of people I can talk to. My mom, dad and my girlfriend are quite a good listeners sometimes. I just hate to tell them everything you know?”
“Cause you don’t want them to worry?”
“Yeah. And I’m known as the ‘whiner’, believe me, going around telling them what’s troubling me will only encourage them.”
I smiled. It was clear to see why he was sent for sessions when the other guys were spared, I hoped he could see it too, someday.
“And that’s why you’re bummed you have to do this?”
“Yeah.” He said as his finger followed the trace of the orange fish absently.
“Well Nick, maybe someday you will, and when you do, I’d like to hear about it.”
“Yeah well, don’t hold your breath, it’s nowhere soon.”
We left Marianne’s office soon after and ventured next to the unisex restroom. He had a whole lot to say about that.
“I had a great time John, thanks man.”
“No problem. I have a feeling though that the guys would never let you go wander around like that on your own.”
He laughed. “Kevin said it’s terrifying to let me out of his sight.”
“I can see why.” I joked.
“So, does this means I won’t have to come here for another month?”
I nodded. “Yeah, but you still have to write in your journal. I don’t normally advise on having too much of a break in between sessions so I’m going to have to talk with JIVE about that.”
“Is that what Marianne is doing? She’s seeing her patient in LA right?”
“Yes, sometimes we come to them instead of them coming to us.”
“Cool. You and Marianne should come see our show, I’ll introduce you to the guys, it’d be fun.”
“That could be arranged.” I nodded, giving it some thought. Maybe I could even catch them in LA and bring Bianca along. I doubt she listens to Backstreet Boys but heck, I didn’t even listen to the album until I had Nick Carter as my patient. Marianne told me it was the best thing that ever happened in my life and that I should be grateful. To that, I decided to keep my mouth shut. NEVER argue with a Backstreet fan, I learned that much.
“Well, I’ll see you then.”
I nodded and we shook hands. “And Nick, if you feel the need to talk to me, for whatever reason, just call okay?”
So there it was. An entire month on the road for Nick Carter and some other stuff for me. Truth be told, I’d rather be here in the office listening to him or some other patients of mine, but some things cannot be avoided for long. I dreaded being at the other end of the table, but it must be done.
Copyright 2002/04 mersey © All Rights Reserved