Picket Fences: Session 6

Double-clicking on an audio file, Payton hears a woman’s voice beginning what seems to be a typical therapy session. “So, tell me what brings you here today.” The other voice in the session responds, “I don’t know, lately I just don’t feel like myself. I can’t seem to shake this feeling of dread and I don’t know why. I have everything I could ever want.” Payton immediately recognizes his mother’s voice and takes a brief pause before continuing to listen. After hearing snippets of a few sessions for about an hour, he notices that Session 6 has a comment attached that reads “Authorities?” Intrigued, Payton moves the pointer on the screen, but Xavier’s voice echoes down the hall, interrupting his focus. “Burgers are ready,” Xavier calls out. Payton decides to take a break and step away from the files for a while.

But Payton isn’t the only one discovering new things. 

Hank pulls into his driveway next to a car he does not recognize. Walking into the house, he calls out, “I’m home,” expecting to find company or guests. He finds Madalyn and Sydney giggling and laughing. “Hey, what’s so funny? Who’s here?” Hank asks. “Hey Honey, we were waiting for you to take my new car for a spin. I promised this one ice cream. I thought we could all go to Double Rainbow.” Hank’s voice rises as he exclaims, “Wait, you bought a new Porsche Panamera without even asking me?!” He places his hand on his hip and belt loop, showing his displeasure. Madalyn, taken aback, replies, “I didn’t know I had to ask for permission.” Hank looks at her, his frustration growing, and notices Sydney becoming visibly angry. Trying to ignore Sydney, he says, “You had a perfectly good car that was paid off. Getting a hundred-thousand-dollar car is just about the dumbest thing you could do. I guess you only plan on hosting twenty more parties to pay for it!” He is ranting, clearly upset. Before Madalyn can rebut her husband, she feels Sydney push past her and scream, “Don’t yell at my mother like that!” before launching himself at Hank and pushing him to the ground. Hank struggles to block each blow. Madalyn tries to pull Sydney off of Hank, pleading, “Stop, Sydney, please stop! You’re scaring me!” Hearing his mother cry, Sydney stops and looks at her. “Mama,” he murmured, visibly shaken. Madalyn holds and hugs Sydney, comforting him, saying, “It’s okay, honey. Just calm down. I’m fine. I’m fine.” Hank, wiping the blood from his busted lip, can’t believe what just happened. He watches as his wife comforts her son with no regard for him. A feeling of dread creeps up his spine as he suspects his days are numbered before Sydney will snap on him again. 

Meanwhile, back at the cabin…

As the afternoon transitions into evening, Payton and Xavier are in the kitchen cleaning up after their burger meal. “You only made burgers, so why does it seem like you used every pot and pan?” Payton asks, giggling. “Hey, it takes a lot to produce perfection,” Xavier replies. “I’m going to turn on some music. Where can I find that?” Payton asks. “In the living room, I think there are some old CDs,” Xavier answers. 

“CDS… this place is a time capsule,” Payton remarks as he walks into the living room. Looking through the CDs, he says, “My dad would love these. I believe he calls them ‘Oldies-but-Goodies,’ something lame like that.” He puts in a Brandy CD, and the music starts to play. As the song plays, Payton feels Xavier’s arms wrap around him, and for a minute, he feels at home. “What are you doing? What are we doing?” Payton asks, enjoying the music and the swaying. “Well, right, we’re dancing in our house,” Xavier whispers. Suddenly, Payton is shocked back into reality. “Wait, what? What are you talking about?” Payton asks, pulling away. “My grandparents left the house to me in trust of my mother, but it’s mine,” Xavier says.


Payton is stunned and frozen. “Is this the same mother that you haven’t come out to, the mother that thinks you’re dating Saraya Foster?” Payton exclaims. “That’s rich, when you’re not out yet, either,” Xavier responds. “That’s because I’m waiting for you. I’m always waiting for you… You don’t get to do this. You don’t get to promise me a house,” Payton pauses. “I’ve made this way too easy for you. You don’t just automatically get to have me. You have to earn me!” Payton says and storms upstairs, leaving Xavier in the living room with only Brandy’s vocals to keep him company. Later that night, Payton goes into the office while Xavier is asleep to finish listening to Session 6 of the flash drive. Payton hears the same therapist’s voice. “I feel like you’re holding back, like there is something you don’t want me to know, Angela,” the therapist says. Hearing his mother’s voice, Payton becomes alert. “I am…I swore off talking about this,” she says. “This could be blocking us from our progress,” the therapist replies. “Well, I guess I can start with this. Angela Wingate is not my real name.”