Ever felt like you had to force yourself to numb over, go cold, because if you relaxed your grip on yourself you'd start flying again, and you couldn't afford that kind of pain anymore, you couldn't afford to feel that raging fire of life?
"Just leave me alone," she cries. "It's what you want anyway."
"If you're going to put words in my mouth, then I'm going to put some in yours," I say. "I know what you're doing, and I know why you're doing it. I realise you're mad."
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," Lucy mutters.
"But you're not mad at me, You're mad at yourself. Because against all odds, in spite of the fact that you were so damn sure that you would hate working with me and coming to music therapy sessions, they started to work. And you like coming." I put the ukulele down on a desk beside me and stare at Lucy. "You like being around me."
She glances up, her face so raw and open that, for a moment, I forget what I was saying.
"So what do you do? You sabotage the therapeutic relationship we've built, because that way, you get to tell yourself you were right. That this is a load of bullshit. That it would never work. It doesn't matter how you do it or what you tell yourself is the reason we're in a fight. You ruin the one good thing you've got going because if you ruin it, then you don't have to deal with being disappointed later on."
Lucy stands abruptly. Her fists are clenched at her sides, and her mouth is a livid red slash. "Why can't you just take a hint? Why are you still here?"
"Because there's nothing you can do or say or any way you can act that will drive me away, Lucy. I am not leaving you."
She freezes. "Never?" The word is like tempered glass, broken and full of beauty.
I know how hard it is for her to lay herself bare, to expose the soft center under that hard shell. So I promise. I'm not surprised when the tears come, when she collapses against me. I do what anyone else would do, in that situation: I hold Lucy until she can hold herself.
- Sing You Home (Jodi Picoult)