“He has a problem. A truly serious problem.” A tallish woman with ivory skin and sandy-blonde hair spoke. She was wearing what seemed like a sun-bleached orange dress. Her legs weren’t crossed at the knees, but open. She had a face of makeup that was put on obviously too fast.

“Tell me everything: when it started, how old he was.” Now a golden-haired man with greyish skin and round-rimmed glasses spoke. His ugly brown jacket crumpled at the sleeves and his red tie was poorly tied. “Has your son ever shown signs of pain?”

“No! He hasn’t, not once!" The woman spoke loudly. Her eyes seemed to refocus as if she was realizing where she was for the first time. She started softly. “He was eight when I found out about it. Before that I had no idea. He would take one normally, you know, once or twice a day. When he was around ten, he started taking three every single day.” She spoke with worry, but also sadness.

When the therapist spoke again, she hadn’t blinked through his words. “Does he ever bring it up? Why he might be taking so many showers?”

“No, but I know why. After almost four hours he’ll come out of the shower with huge, nasty blisters on his back that look like badly healed stab wounds. That’s what he does it for, the pain. He likes it. He’s sick. He knows he’s sick and he never once wondered why. He just sits in the water with the heat to the highest temperature.” She spoke slow and angrily. “He comes out of the shower, and just goes to his room with his towel around him. Hot steam will come pouring out of the bathroom. He cooks himself like a fucking lobster! He should be put away, locked up! He should be forced to take ice cold baths for the rest of his life! With a nice smooth back, free of scars and blisters!" She was yelling now. Frantically. Screaming at the top of her lungs.

“Miss Wells! Miss Wells!” The therapist was hollering at the top of his lungs. “I know you must be upset, but for Pete’s sake, your son is right here."

It was true. A boy who seemed maybe fifteen sat next to the ivory-skinned woman in the sun-bleached dress. He had blonde hair that hung over his eyes down to his mouth. The color was identical to the woman next to him on the worn blue couch cushion. He had a blue flannel and a gray shirt with a yellow smiley face print. His black jeans slightly piled up at the top of his white shoes. His skin could be described as porcelain.

He had listened to the full conversation. But he didn’t seem to care. He just sat there with bad posture, as most teenagers have.

The woman had reacted to the therapist’s words of judgement by quieting down and putting her legs together.

“I think your son has a very rare “situation” known as Scoliander's Disease.”

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