Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mere Acquaintances- Chapter Eleven

Lydia Rhys was born on July second. As a student, she had been very promising, graduating early, with colleges practically knocking down her door to offer scholarships. She took a few years off to let herself mature-- she attended cosmetology school in the interim-- so she would not be too terribly much younger than other college freshmen. But before she made her decision on where to go, or even what to major in, she fell head-over-heels for Robert, and was pregnant with her daughter not long afterward.

Lauren was three when Lydia divorced Robert and five when Lydia married Daniel. Lydia had managed to get out of a physically abusive relationship-- only to find herself deep in an emotionally and verbally abusive one. After two years of enduring, the abuse became physical, and she feared for her life and that of her daughter. Terrified, she eventually managed to get out of her second marriage and moved to start a new life with now ten-year-old Lauren.

They settled in Hapsburg, and Lydia landed a full-time job at a local bank to support her daughter. Lauren adjusted quickly, made friends, and excelled in school, just like her mother. A straight-A student, Lauren joined the band in sixth grade, played softball, and showed a promising future in law-- she was a fierce debater. Especially with her mother.

And then something happened when Lauren became a teenager. For all Lydia could see, Lauren snapped. The A’s fell to B’s then to C’s in a matter of months. The debating became mouthing off and then cussing out. At first, she tried to attribute it to being a teenager, but the change was so sudden and so drastic she couldn’t convince herself it was just the result of puberty attacking her daughter.

Lauren’s friends changed, and suddenly Lydia began uncovering secrets. Lauren was sneaking out of her classes at school-- and out of the house, even-- and smoking. And drinking, when she could manage it. At age thirteen!

Lydia sought professional counseling for her troubled daughter-- and for herself-- but things only got worse. Stress levels at work rose from downsizing and staffing issues, plus a corporate merger with another bank. She was having a hard enough time keeping herself stable, much less reining in the wild Lauren.

Then she found 17-year-old Brian naked in bed with Lauren when she came home from work one day a month before Lauren’s fourteenth birthday. When she confronted the teen about her “boyfriend” and their “actions” Lauren spewed that it was far from the first time she’d had sex.

Lydia snapped, and a week later, was committed to Ighosia Falls Insane Asylum by her social worker-- since there was no other family to do the deed.

Becca looked over Lydia’s background file and made her own paraphrasing of it all, trying to sort through the details to get to the real meat of her patient. Lydia had been a beautiful woman, no doubt, maybe a little tall for her weight, with very fine long dark hair and almost purple eyes. It was hard to reconcile the limp-haired, empty-eyed patient with the woman in the photo attached to her files.

She made a note of the daughter Lauren’s current location. She was in the custody of the state since her biological father and her ex-stepfather wanted nothing to do with her, and since all her grandparents were dead. According to the files, there had been no aunts or uncles to take her in; no cousins or even close friends had stepped in to watch over the girl. Becca felt the urge to weep at the thought of being so alone-- for Lydia and her daughter both.

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