Jacob spent the weekend finishing the necessary preparation for his suicide. He met with his dealer and spent a large wad of cash on the purest heroin he could get. When he got back to his apartment, he locked the bag of powder in a drawer. He didn't live in the best neighborhood, and he definitely didn't want someone to steal it before he left the city on Tuesday.
He would just leave for the coast right after his therapy session, but he wasn't sure whether Simon would try to have him committed again. He hoped that after the last time his therapist would understand that it was simply too easy for him to say the right things during psychiatric evaluations. That's the thing, Jacob was sure that he wasn't psychotic; he hadn't lost touch with reality at all. To the young man, acknowledging reality meant accepting that his life was just terrible, and it was sane to want an end to his misery.
A few times it occurred to Jacob that he didn't actually have to go to the appointment on Monday with Simon, but he figured he owed one last session to him for all of his emotional support throughout the last few years. Even though he knew Simon was getting paid to listen to him, Jacob couldn't help but feel a connection to him. The older man had been the closest thing he had to a father figure in his whole life.
Lying on his bed and staring at the ceiling, Jacob finally felt his inner peace resurface for the first time since he was a young child. He didn't have any doubt that he would fail to end his life this time. All of his other attempts were usually the result of spur of the moment decisions. This was the first time that he really sat down, contemplated his options and made a step by step plan. Now, he just needed to make it through the session with Simon on Monday evening without incident.
On Monday morning, Simon and Angelique had a very informative conversation over the phone with Dr. Kelly. They were impressed by all of the information the accomplished psychiatrist shared with them about the program. Listening to her talk about some of the extraordinarily positive outcomes she had witnessed from patients who had similar cases to Jacob's quelled any uncertainty that they had left.
The couple was certain that St. Ives was the best option they had to try to save the suicidal young man's life. The only problem was that the hospital was a few hours away, and it was unlikely that Jacob would consent to being driven there or willingly check himself in.
Walking from the bus stop to the office, Jacob found himself paying attention to details he never considered important before. He noticed that the potted plants decorating the outside of the office had all been neatly trimmed and slightly re-organized. He squatted down for a second and admired a large, red Hibiscus flower.
The yard of his childhood home in the US Virgin Islands had been adorned with Hibiscus flowers in a plethora of colors and shapes as they were his mother's favorite. Running his fingers over the soft petals, he remembered how he would traverse the yard and pick a myriad of the flowers outside before presenting them in a jar to his beloved mother on every Mother's Day that he lived at home. Letting the flower slip from his grasp and standing up, he heard a phrase softly echoing in his mind.
I'll be home soon, Mom.
Brushing his hands off on his pants and pushing his emotions aside, Jacob went to open the door for his final session, but it was locked. After a few knocks on the door, it was Angelique, the other therapist of the private practice, who answered the door.
Angelique was a middle-aged woman of Spanish descent. She had a light skin tone, and at times, it unnerved Jacob how much she looked like the younger version of his grandmother that he had seen in old photo albums. That evening, he noticed that her long black hair was freely flowing down her neck rather than pulled back as she typically kept it. She was also uncharacteristically dressed in casual wear, and he assumed that meant she wasn't seeing any clients.
"Sorry about that. Come in, Jacob," she said, stepping back to give her husband's client enough room to step inside the office.
"No problem," he replied, walking in and taking a seat in the waiting area.
"Since you are our last client today, I'm locking the door," she explained, turning the deadbolt.
"Okay, cool," he shrugged and reached into his bag to hook his portable charger up to his phone.
"How are you?" Angelique politely inquired.
Jacob always hated small talk, but he figured he might as well try to be a good person for the little time that he had left. Looking up and making eye contact with Angelique, he responded in the most pleasant tone he could muster, "I'm doing well, and you?"
"I'm also well. Thank you for asking," she said, turning and walking into her office.
Jacob didn't have to wait for very long in the quiet waiting area before Simon came to get him for his appointment.
"Jacob," he said. "Come on back."
Jacob slowly walked into the therapy room, taking in the various paintings hanging on the walls. When he sat on the sofa, he announced, "I'm sober as you requested."
"That is good to see," Simon remarked, smiling.
After a short moment of silence, Simon began, "Jacob, I know that you said you wanted this to be your last session." He paused slightly before asking, "Is that still what you want to do?"
Jacob nodded his head and looked directly at his therapist. "Yup, I'm not changing my mind," he confirmed.
"That's okay. I'm just glad you chose to attend the appointment today. I was a bit worried you wouldn't come," Simon admitted.
The young man lightly chuckled and said, "Hey, you were the one who brought up the fact that I agreed to a final session in the past."
"That's true," Simon relented before steering the conversation back on track. "Jacob, I thought we could talk today about some of the highlights of our past sessions."
Jacob furrowed his eyebrows and tilted his head. "Highlights?" he asked. "What do you mean?"
"I'll ask you this then," Simon said. "You've been seeing me for over two years, probably almost three years now. What do you think you've gained from therapy?"
"Oh. Well, I've managed to make it this long," Jacob acknowledged. "If you had asked me when I was seventeen if I would have made it to twenty-two after all the crap that's happened to me, I would have never believed it was possible. So, I guess there's something to this therapy thing."
Simon smiled. "You've grown a lot in many ways since you were seventeen," he said. "I know the Jacob I first met almost three years ago was lost and confused. How do you feel about who you are now?"
Jacob pursed his lips. "I don't know," he said, pausing to look at the ceiling. "I'm not confused anymore, and I wouldn't say I'm lost. I guess I'm relieved for the first time in my life."
"Relieved? What do you mean by that?" Simon asked.
The young man took a deep breath. He knew he needed to be careful with his words. "Well, now that I'm sure of where I will be in the near-distant future, everything is simpler and freer."
Simon leaned forward in his chair and asked, "Where is it that you will be in the near-distant future?"
"Come on," Jacob said, rolling his eyes. "You know I can't answer that unless I want to have to sit through hours of evaluations again."
"Okay, Jacob," Simon said, throwing his hands in the air. "Since you've obviously decided that you are going to end your life, how will you do it then?"
"It will be on a beach. I want to be looking out at the sea."
"So that's it then. You are just giving up on a future?"
"Yup. I've had enough misery for a lifetime."
Simon shook his head. "How can you not see how childish this is, Jacob?"
Jacob scoffed and glared at his therapist. "It doesn't matter if it's childish or not. You aren't my father, Simon."
"You are right," Simon agreed. "I am not your father, but you can still go on to be a father someday. You can be a husband. You can have a family again."
"I had a family once, and I lost it. I would never risk that again," Jacob insisted, folding his arms across his chest.
After a few more similar questions from Simon that yielded the same answers from Jacob, the two men were sitting still silently glaring at each other. Neither Simon nor Jacob was willing to relent to the other's perspective. They had already gone fifteen minutes past the hour-long session when Jacob looked at his watch before looking at the door and asking, "Are we done here now? Can I go?"
"Not just yet, Jacob," Simon answered. "I need to get some termination forms for you to sign from my office if you'll just wait here for a moment," he explained as he stood up and walked to his office.
Jacob shrugged and pulled out his phone to check the upcoming bus schedule to the Bay Area in California. He didn't want to wait until it was too late to buy his bus ticket for the following evening.
Entering his office and walking directly past his file cabinet containing the termination forms, Simon opened the closet and pulled out the package that had been sent by Dr. Kelly earlier in the afternoon. Inside of it was a syringe filled with a strong sedative and a pair of handcuffs.
Angelique had been waiting in his office knowing that this was going to be the deciding moment for Simon. He would have to break the Code of Ethics, and she knew that it would be tough choice for him. She was also aware that should he decide to sedate Jacob, he would need help restraining the young man long enough for the intramuscular injection to take effect.
"Are you going to go through with it?" she asked her husband with a compassionate look on her face.
Bracing his hands on his desk, Simon whispered softly, "He'll die if I don't."
It was a harsh truth that he had accepted the moment he realized that any intervention he posed in the session likely wouldn't be enough to sway Jacob from his decision to end his life.
Simon summoned all of the physical and mental strength that he could and placed the pair of handcuffs in his back pocket before he walked back to the therapy room with the syringe in hand but hidden from direct view. When he re-entered the room, Jacob didn't even look up from the typing he was doing on his phone.
Before Simon could lose his nerve, he walked to Jacob's left, pretending as though he was reaching to grab a loose pen from the bookshelf but instead grabbed Jacob's upper arm, stabbed the needle in and quickly pressed the plunger.
When Jacob realized a needle had punctured his skin, his worst fears were running through his head. He never even in his wildest dreams imagined that soft-spoken Simon would go to such an extreme, or he would have never casually discussed his suicidal ideation. He tried desperately to pull away from Simon's grasp. He knew that he needed to get as far away from his therapist as possible before whatever he injected him with was able to take effect. Pulling back his right arm, he balled his hand into a fist and prepared to knock the older man out with a single punch to the face.
His fist was only a few inches away from connecting with Simon's face when he felt his arm grabbed and pulled behind his back. He looked over to his right and saw Angelique assisting Simon in restraining him. Neither the adrenaline coursing through his system nor his utter desperation was enough to resist the two middle-aged adults forcing his arms behind his back. Only adding to his predicament, he felt cool metal around his wrists and heard the click that signaled he was locked in handcuffs.
"Simon! What the hell?!" Jacob shouted, trying to shrug off the hands of the therapists.
"I'm sorry it had to go this far, Jacob," Simon began. "When you proved that involuntary commitment to the average psychiatric facility wasn't going to work, I had to consider more extreme measures to save your life. Tomorrow, you will be taking part in a new program at St. Ives Psychiatric Hospital a few hours from here. We will drive you there, but you'll probably be asleep for the whole trip."
"You'll lose your license for this!" Jacob shouted. "Don't do this!"
"I won't lose my license for this, and I'm doing this to save your life, Jacob," Simon reminded him. "Don't worry, this program will be good for you. The psychiatrist over the program has successfully rehabilitated a few other young adults in similar situations to yours. It will all work out. You'll see."
"Simon, look I'll come back for another session," Jacob said. "Whatever you want, man. Just let me go."
"Jacob, you and I are both well aware that you wouldn't come back for another session," Simon remarked. "If I let you go now, I'll just find out that you died. I refuse to do that."
"No, we can...we can..."
Jacob rapidly blinked his eyes, finding himself unable to hold onto his train of thought. The young man realized that he was already feeling the drug beginning to take effect. His heart was beating quickly, and his vision was starting to swim. After another few minutes, he felt his body slump backwards into the sofa. It was almost like he no longer had control of his muscles; everything felt numb.
Simon and Angelique had silently observed the young man reacting to the sedative. When they saw him slump into the sofa like a rag doll, they knew he was fully feeling the effects of the drug.
"I'll help you get him to the car if you are ready." Angelique offered.
"I'm ready," Simon confirmed. "Let me just get the handcuffs off first. That way, it will be easier to lift him."
Once Simon unlocked the handcuffs, Jacob's arms hung limply at his sides. They each wrapped an arm under the young man's shoulders, and together the couple hoisted him to his feet.
Jacob was fading in and out of consciousness as he was shuffled through the office and into the back of their car that was parked in the section of the parking lot hidden from road view.
While Angelique went back to lock the office door, Simon sat Jacob up, clicked his seat belt in place and flipped the child safety lock switch before shutting the door to the backseat.
Taking the driver's seat, Simon started the car's engine and drove them out of the office parking lot then onto the main road. Together the therapist couple and the sedated young man in the backseat began the three-hour drive to St. Ives Psychiatric Hospital