R e v e r i e
by Politic X
2: expulsion


"How often have you had this nightmare, Dana?" the staff social worker asks.  She's an emollient to my pulsing nerves, her voice compassionate and her concern palpable. 

"It first occurred about a month ago, and has been escalating...."  I look down at my hands in my lap.  "I'm having it nightly now."

"And what are your thoughts?"  Karen Kosseff asks.

I look over at her briefly.  "I've tried to analyze it, but I haven't really made any progress."    

She waits, looking at me.

"Except," I concede.  "That I care about Monica."

Her eyebrows arch.

"More, maybe...."  I clear my throat.  "More than I've admitted, I mean."

"To her or yourself?"


Kosseff nods thoughtfully.  "Let's get to specifics.  What about cutting yourself in the nightmare?  Any thoughts on that?"

"No, not really."  She's pointing out something obvious that I missed while trying to piece the puzzle together.  I'm suddenly uncomfortable.  I came to Kosseff for help, willing at last to face this pent-up desire for Monica Reyes, but I'm not sure that I'm ready to face the symbolic logic of the dream.

"Do you think you're still sacrificing yourself to work on the X-Files even though you've done more teaching than actual investigating lately?"

"There are sacrifices I've made, but they come with the territory." 

"Do you think so?"

I don't wish to lie in the face of her concern, so I say nothing.

Kosseff presses me further.  "Do you really believe that losing your sister, your child, losing a period of time in your life for which you cannot account...."  Her voice is soft.  "Do you think that comes with the territory?"

I bite my lip and work to maintain my composure.  "I have a child now."

"But you lost one as well."  She's referring to Emily, the child who was apparently the result of my abduction years ago.  "And you lost Mulder, your best friend, your partner."

"I didn't lose him," I snap at her.  I did lose him, really.  He's out there somewhere, hiding, contacting me occasionally with terse, cloak-and-dagger messages that piss me off.

"But he's not here, helping you raise William."

I haven't seen Kosseff since I gave birth, so I'm rather surprised that she knows him by name.  Then again, sometimes I think Karen Kosseff knows every single thing about me.  I just shrug at her; she's on the money, as usual, so there's nothing to say.

"And he's not here, heading the X-Files division," she adds.

"Agents Reyes and Doggett are doing a fine job of that."

"Does this bother you?"

"I'm not sure I understand what you're asking.  Does it bother me that they're doing a good job?  No.  I'm proud of them, proud for them."

"And worried, perhaps?"

Ah.  "Yes." 

"Are you afraid Agent Reyes will follow the same path as Agent Mulder?"

I am.  I worry about that very thing.  I don't say this, but she knows.  Karen Kosseff reads between lines better than anyone I've ever met.

"You're afraid she'll become ... damaged?" 

Kosseff's heard me refer to Mulder as damaged.  The state of his mind has been questionable for as long as I've known him, and despite my firm hold on reality, these dreams have me worried about my sanity, too.  Am I losing my mind?  Quite possibly.  Years of working on bizarre cases, wrestling with unexplainable phenomena, encountering human and perhaps inhuman demons has done something to my psyche.  My outlook has changed.  No longer do I see the world as a whole place.  I see it fragmented, as if I'm looking at everything through broken glasses.  It's more than my ideals that have been shattered along the way.  My faith has been destroyed, too.  I can't bear to think of Monica in this position five, ten years from now.  "Yes," I finally mutter.

"And Agent Doggett?  Are you concerned for his sanity as well?"

Doggett....  "I'm not very concerned about the effect the X-Files may have on him.  He's a good man, he's been more than kind to me, but he isn't ...  he's not...."

"He's not Monica." 

I shake my head. 

"Do you resent her?"

"No."  That's ludicrous. 

"Even though you're risking your life again just to be close to her?"

I'm so astonished by the assumption she's making that I have no words.  Just an open mouth.

"You have a child now to consider.  Yet you continue to help on cases whenever you can.  And I've learned very well how dangerous your cases usually are."

Yes, she has.  She's watched me face death more times than I care to count. 

"In the nightmare, you are in a state of panic, slashing your body, doing whatever it takes to get out of the woods and get to Monica.  You're terrified, in pain, dying, but she walks on, continuing her quest quietly.  You need her, but she obviously doesn't need you.  She's calm and centered, you said, and you're anything but."

"Yep," I say tightly.  My discomfort begins turning into something darker.  Kosseff is provoking the rancor that lies coiled in my stomach.

"Do you begrudge Monica her serenity?" she asks. 

"No."  I try to squash the bitterness back into the hole it came from.  Kosseff is goading me in her gentle way; she wants me to lash out.  But I'm afraid that if my emotion unleashes itself, it may break walls that are best left in place.

She appears to check something on her notepad.  "Where is William in your nightmare?"

"He's not in it."

She nods.  "Why do you think that is?"

"I don't know.  You tell me."  My patience has been stretched to its limit today.  I can't take much more of this interrogation. 

She smiles softly.  "Perhaps he's not an issue that needs resolving.  No one's in the nightmare but you and Monica.  Maybe your unconscious mind is trying to work out a solution to waking issues you have with her."

Maybe.  "Look, I just want the dreams to go away so I can sleep."

Kosseff eyes me thoughtfully.  "You refer to them as dreams, not nightmares."

I stare at her.  "I don't really care what we decide to call them as long as I'm able to get some rest."  Surely she recognizes anger when it seethes on her sofa.

"You realize that while a sedative may help you fall asleep more easily, it can make the nightmares more vivid."

I nod, clenching my jaw.  Am I not a doctor?

"Discussing this is a good form of expulsion.  Purging our feelings can make us all rest easier."

I nod once again and fix my eyes on the clock mounted on the wall.  "That's why I'm here," I say flatly.

Kosseff follows my gaze.  "There are a couple of things I'd like to discuss with you before our time ends today.  What o you think it means that the ground is sinking in the nightmare?"

If Kosseff is an exorcist, she's a kind one.  I sigh, trying to release some of this misdirected irritation, and search myself for an answer.  "Solid ground is symbolic of comfort and security.  Maybe my dream is telling me that I feel no security in the present."

"Do you feel secure with Monica?"

How could I not?   We're seldom together, yet when we are, I feel safer than I ever have.  It started when William was born.  Monica was there, acting as my midwife and my bodyguard.  When the shelter she'd created for me was invaded, the only thing that kept me sane was the determined focus of her gaze.  She stayed with me in the most frightening ordeal of my life, and she hardly knew me.  And she's proven to be as steady as she is courageous.  No matter when I've needed her, she's always been there.  Secure isn't the correct word for how I feel with Monica.  I'm not sure what the correct word is.

"Have you ever been in a lesbian relationship, Dana?"


"You'd think that the sinking ground and the instability it represents would have to do with your love for Monica.  Yet the ground beneath her is stable."

I look up sharply.  We haven't used the 'love' word yet.  I merely said I have feelings for her.    

She continues, unfazed.  "But you run away from the sinking ground, the evil forest.  And when you reach the safety of the field, you see Monica walking serenely, on solid ground.  What do you make of that?"

"I don't know."  The last bit of anger leaves me in a rush.  I feel deflated in a way.

"What?"  Kosseff studies my face.  "What are you thinking right now?"

I'm thinking how everything makes sense when I'm with Monica.  It's not that my cracked view of the world has changed; it just doesn't bother me as much.  "I feel safe with her.  Not necessarily safe from physical danger, but safe in a different way."

"In what way?" she asks softly.

"Like everything's okay.  Like 'the universe is unfolding as it should' - like the Desiderata says."  Even talking about her now, thinking about her, makes me feel better. 

She nods.  "What about the song you hear?"

The oddity of the question stirs me from my reverie.  "The sound of it disturbs me.  I've heard it plenty of times on the radio in the past; but in the dream it's so loud that it blocks out any rational thought.  I start reciting prayers to silence it and to calm myself."

"The song is 'Don't Fear the Reaper' by Blue Oyster Cult," she says, looking dead-on at me.  "The lyrics suggest suicide."

I nod my head, Blue Oyster Cult.  Suicide?

Kosseff's staring a hole through me.  "What is suicide, ultimately?"

"It's a cop-out," I say.

She shakes her head, no.

I think for a moment.  What's suicide but a cop-out?  Some people can't deal with the hand life has dealt them so they take their lives into their own hands.  "Control.  It's a matter of controlling one's fate."

Kosseff's words come rolling at me.  "Control has always been important to you, hasn't it, Dana?"

I stand in a rush.  "I need to get back to work."

Kosseff remains seated.  "In a moment."

I look at her angrily.  Expulsion is seldom pleasant; I know this, but I'm not sitting again.  Enough is enough.

"You can't control the ground sinking beneath you, you can't control Monica walking away, you can't control anything but your own fate.  Nevertheless Dana, controlling your fate is an awful lot to ask for, isn't it?  We do what we can to direct our lives, but we don't have control over everything."

I nod. 

"I know your impatience with therapy, but this-"  Kosseff stabs her pad of paper.  "This is something you can control.  We can work together to stop the nightmares.  There are several issues to address, and we'll take them one at a time. Where shall we start?"

She gives me a moment to answer, and during this moment, I sit down.  I'm here.  That's my start.

"How about with Monica?  Perhaps you should tell her how you feel."

And how is that, really?  Tell her that I need her so I can get through the nights?  Tell her that I want to pin her to my bed so that I can finally have a dreamless sleep?  "I'm not sure I can."

"If you can, if you can get your footing, if you can find a way to Monica, perhaps you will find your way to safety.  Maybe safety is simply unburdening your heart to someone you trust."  She lets this sink in before continuing.  "The primary person you've trusted for years is unavailable to you now, but someone else is here, someone that you care about very much.  Someone you trust."  She sets her pad of paper aside.

I nod numbly.  I don't know how I'll tell Monica what I feel; I don't know that I can.

Kosseff looks at me as if she knows what I'm thinking. 

I bolt out the door.


 Posted 10/31/03