Goodie

The Interview

I was finishing up the notes from my previous interview when my 10 o'clock walked in. "Thank you for being able to come in on such short notice, but with our kind of work we can not afford to have the position open for very long." I filed away the last resume to a different pile on my desk and opened up the resume for the next candidate. "Goodie Calvin, It's good to meet you," I finally looked up and what I saw knocked the wind out of me.

She stood with her hands resting on the back of the chair just gazing down at me with a relaxed smile on her lips. Her eyes where a bit darker then I remembered them, but there was no doubt in my mind that this was the woman who has escaped my care six years go. She was dressed in a dark green lady's business suite. Her dirty blond hair was much longer then when I had last seen her. It was currently restrained in a braid that continued to her waist with a small blackbird pin above her ear. Something about the pin seemed familiar but I couldn't place it. "Oh come now Sam, its not really necessary to call in the orderlies is it? I was never violent to you or the others." I moved my hand back onto the top of the desk. This was technically true. She had been the one of the most docile of all the delusional patients I have ever treated. "May I sit down?" I nodded and she took the seat gracefully.

"So your going by 'Goodie Calvin' now?" She was still for a moment before nodding. I risked looking away from her to pore over the resume. If half of what was listed in it was true then she had been very busy these past few years. More disturbing was my office's background check stapled to the back vouching for information herein. "It says you graduated with honors from your nursing program last year." She simply nodded again. I read though it at least two more times before motioning to the file cabinets behind me,"Do you mind?"

"Not at all," she said, staying eerie focused on me as I rolled to the cabinet.

It didn't take me long to find the file I was looking for. Her case had always stuck out in my mind. For all of the delusions I have helped people though, hers was confused me. Her delusions lacked the Grandeur and Paranoia that I consider common among those suffering her condition. Oh sure she was a some kind of saint all right, but in the way that a mother sacrifices for her family is always a saint, not in the grandiose ways that makes a schizophrenic loose themselves. I brought it over to my desk and flipped though the pages. It was filled with a mix of medical records and interview notes from her time as my patient."I was worried about what had happened to you after you disappeared."

"That's one of the reasons why I came. I wanted you to see for yourself. I know how hard it is to suddenly loose someone under your charge and I didn't want the uncertainty of my fate weighing on your soul."

I had finally found what I was looking for. "Last time I saw you, you claimed your name was Grace Anne Williams born in Boston, December 13Th, 1918 as the Spanish flu was dieing out in; if my notes serve me."

"Last time you saw me that was true. Is there a reason why we are revisiting this?" her smile was starting to fade as I continued.

"You told me that your father's wish had been to name you after President Calvin Coolidge, but he had died before you where born. Before he knew you where a girl."

"Governor" she interrupted me.

"Excuse me?"

"You're about to try and remind me how I my father died before President Coolidge was even a Vise President. Then I will remind you how my uncle would tell me how my father was a patriot and he believed in Governor Coolidge. Rather, that's what I used to tell you."

That was the other thing about her. As delusional as she obviously was, she was never irrational and I had never gotten her to slip on a fact. I continued with the oration "When it became obvious that naming you Calvin would be inappropriate, they chose to name you after his wife; Grace Anna Goodhue. Goodie is a not so clever pun her maiden name. If you wanted to convince me you where cured you should have chosen a name not so obviously tainted by the history you created for yourself."

"I never needed to be cured of anything. I was hoping I could get you to understand that."

I continued, I had to. I needed to get her to understated that she needed my help with the the delusion she was clinging to. "You always spoke so freely of how your mother never recovered from the death of her husband and two sons; About how eager your Aunt and Uncle where to raise you with no children of there own; of how growing up in the depression always meant that things could only get better." She was glaring at me now but let me continue. "The only part of your life you never talked about in length was your time in the Army Nurses Corps for the earlier half of World War Two."

"That's not the sort of thing you just gossip about over tea," She stood now, "I make my feelings about that very clear every time you try to badger me into talking about it." Before she could turn to leave I flipped to the last section in her file. It instantly had the effect I intended. She sat back down and pulled all the photographs I had in the folder to her. Her eyes filled with tears as she examined each image like it was a precious gem.

When she escaped six years ago I had an investigator see if he could find where she could have gone off to. To my surprise he had found the real Grace Anna Williams. Everything about her life matched the stories this woman told up until 1948. He had even managed to get me some pictures of the family. She bore a strong resemblance to the family. Out of fear that she would try to interfere with the Williams family, I had warned them about the delusional woman and asked if they recognized her from the admittance pictures I had. While they agreed with me that she strongly resembled their mother in her youth, save for being a bit taller, they adamantly denied the possibility of a illegitimate daughter and they could not help me identify her. "These pictures are the family of the REAL Grace Anna Williams. They are her son and daughter and grand children." The only indication I got from her that she was even listening was her mouthing the word 'grand children' after I had said it.

She was so vulnerable all I had to do was give it one more push and she might finally take my help that she so disparately needed. "You don't talk about the war because its not a memory that you can just fill in the blanks with. Don't you see you're hiding the truth from yourself. Something happened to you and you replaced your life with the life of this woman's because the trauma was too much..."

"Stop." she said it gently but with finality. "Please stop. The other reason I came here was to bless you for trying to help me even when I didn't need it. I though you where just trying to be kind. I believe in repaying kindness, but now I see its not about kindness its about being right. I do not appreciate you trying to hurt me." She reached out and turned the pictures face down, "I do not appreciate you trying to use my family against me. It was a mistake to come here." She arose and left without a look back.

I gathered back up the photographs and the resume and put it all together in the filing cabinet in time for my 11 o'clock to arrive. I reached over and shook his hand, "Thank you for being able to come in on such short notice, but with our kind of work we can not afford to have the position open for very long."