Chapter 27: Acceptance

November 12, 2009 at 9:14 am (Uncategorized)

So, a few days back, I posted a mixtape that served as a soundtrack for The Catcher In The Rye. Another component of that project is the imagined Chapter 27 of the book. I’ve just finished this and I’m too lazy to edit now, so I’ll let you peeps see it. Tell me what you think. 😀

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So one day, I was just sitting around this crumby room they gave me. I think it was morning, but you couldn’t really tell since there were no windows and I was staring at my suitcase and I thought about Harriet Pullman. She was this skinny little thing, with pale blonde hair and light grey eyes. When she smiled, it just broke your heart because it looked like something so hard for her frail face to do.

She’d leave little notes in my pocket when I wasn’t looking or anything, even when my efforts were clearly directed to Jane, who was kind of her best friend back then. She’d fold them into these little paper hearts and stick them in my pocket. That killed me.

I kept every single heart in a little pocket inside my suitcase and I’d go back and read them and I’d think about her. I could never bring myself to throw them out. They were pretty nice, anyway.

Then, the door opened and I sat up. Dr. Greenwood walked in with a smile and said, “Holden, my boy, it’s time for the session.”

I nodded and stood up and followed him out the door. The treatments here are pretty okay, I guess. They don’t give you those shock treatments like in The Snake Pit. The Snake Pit is this movie that I watched and the star was this girl who had a mental breakdown and ended up in some institution and the whole affair was so phony because the institution seems like such a happy, normal place to be and all the patients are nice, eccentric ladies who strike conversations and smoke with her and the shock therapy actually helps her and she feels completely better afterwards. You’d be afraid they’d start singing and dancing at any given moment. I wanted to laugh but I thought I might puke instead.

Dr. Greenwood led me to a separate room where there was a single table and two chairs on either side of the table.

“Sit down, Holden,” he said. I did as he said but he stayed standing. “Alright, Holden,” he said, looking at his notes, “You’ve been doing fine and dandy so far. You’re a fast one. We’ve managed to identify your problem areas and the things you need to do to apply yourself and that’s great. Hold your horses, though, ‘cause this next step we’re about to take is a tad tough. Hope you can handle it.”

I leaned closer and gave him a look of nonchalance, exuding the confidence of someone who could handle it, “What might that ‘next step’ be, Doctor?”

He just smiled very mysteriously for a while. Sometimes I’d wonder if Dr. Greenwood was just another patient who had disguised himself as a doctor and now he was just toying with all the other crazies. It was a scary thought. Finally, he said, “Acceptance.”

Dr. Greenwood just smiled at me for a while, silently bathing in the impact of this word, “acceptance.” After ten hours of smiling at me, he started to explain, “Now, you need to start out healing the little broken parts, the relationships, the attitudes and eventually, yourself, really.”

And as he said this, he started to walk to another door. “Holden, I’ve brought you a visitor,” he said as he began to open the door, slowly. “Allie, you can come in now.”

The door opened and Allie walked in with his head down, avoiding my eyes. He was taller now and he was starting to look more like a man than a boy.

Dr. Greenwood smiled, pretty satisfied with his little trick, “I’ll leave and leave you boys alone for now. You’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”

After Dr. Greenwood walked out the door, Allie sat down across from me, still looking down and not saying anything. Looking at his curly red hair and his freckles, I kind of wanted to hug him right there and then, but I just said, “Hey, Allie. How’s it going?”

He looked up now and just stared at me angrily for a bit, then he said, “Holden, I- I don’t know what to be more offended by, the non-speaking terms or the fact that you told everyone I was dead, that I’d had leukemia and just died.”

I tried to make the situation a little better, saying, “Well, I’m really sorry and I promise I’ll make it up to you. You know, I still have your mitt. You wanna go out for a few pitches sometime?”

Allie sighed and looked down again. “I told you, I don’t play baseball anymore. You can keep it or give it away somewhere if you like. I’m sure some kid would love to have an old, crumby mitt with green ink all over it.”

That just killed me, but I tried not to show him it did. “So how’re things at home? Mom, Dad and Phoebe? They haven’t visited in a hundred years.”

“Oh, Phoebe was great in her play. Mom and Dad are the same as always,” Allie paused briefly, then looked at me again. “You know, I just want to know why, why you went so far to tell yourself I was dead. Holden, you know me. It hurt to be denied. It hurt every time you’d pass by my room and pretend I wasn’t there. It hurt when you’d write back home to Mom, Dad and Phoebe and not me. What for, Holden? What did I do?”

He was tearing up a little and bit his lip to stifle a sob. I thought about it for a while and I said, “You changed. You stopped being my brother, Allie.”

“What? What did I do?”

“I don’t know. It just happened and I just couldn’t handle you not being that little brother, who played baseball and read books all the time and never hurt a fly, and-“

Allie looked at me exasperatedly and muttered, “Because you wanted to be the catcher in the rye.”

And I just felt so sad, all of the sudden and I said, “I’m sorry I couldn’t catch you.” We sat silently for a while after, not even looking at each other.

“Holden,” Allie said after three hours, looking like some of the anger had died down, but not really the hurt, “Remember when you and Bobby Fallon would go down to Lake Sedebego back in Maine and you told me I couldn’t come?”

I looked up at him and said, “You’re not still sore about it, are you?”

“You were trying to keep me from falling, but I followed you two anyway. I biked fifty paces behind you, then I walked behind you and watched you shoot your BB guns and laugh and talk, and you know what I realized? It’s that it’s not that different outside the rye.”

With that, he just stood up and walked out the door he came in through. There and then, I just started to cry. Acceptance. What does that even mean?

Seeing as Dr. Greenwood didn’t come back, I guessed the session was over, so I went back to my room and sat on my bed at stared at the wall. Everything seemed colder now. I poked through my suitcase and pulled out the mitt and it still smelled like old leather and grass and ink. Then, I saw one of those hearts from old Harriet. I put the mitt down on the bed and opened the heart and inside, it said,

♥ If you love somebody, set them free, because you do care and you love them enough. ♥

Goddam phony piece of crap. I just wanted to puke all over it. I can’t believe I kept all of these goddam hearts when all they do is make me sick. I turned and saw a little waste basket under the writing desk in the room. I got every single goddam heart I had in my suitcase and tossed them all in. I had to press them down so they’d fit. Then, I saw Allie’s mitt on the bed. I guessed there was no use keeping it now, so I picked it up and tossed it in, too.

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