Novels by Sandy Kirschenbaum
Novels by Sandy Kirschenbaum
SHE NEVER REALIZED SHE WAS KEEPING
THE WRONG SECRET!
More than twenty years after breaking away from an abusive relationship, Sophie Libusier is once again plagued by nightmares.
With the help of therapist Dr. Nathan Russell, Sophie begins to understand the cause of her wild dreams and self-doubt. Inside the safe confines of Dr. Russell's office, Sophie reveals the lifelong challenges she has never confronted.
Follow Sophie’s journey they delve into her past to reveal the deep-rooted source of her nightmares, insecurities, and inability to speak up for herself.
Call Me Nathan
As she sat in the waiting room, Sophie flipped through the pages of the first magazine she picked up—she had no idea which magazine it was. She glanced at the pictures and skimmed the articles, but nothing registered. Her nerves had the best of her. Her right leg rested over her left knee—her dangling foot shook rapidly. The door to the office opened and interrupted her mindless perusal of the publication.
“Hello, Sophie. I’m Nathan. Come in.” Dr. Russell stepped aside to allow her to enter ahead of him.
His office was clean and modestly decorated. A gray-and-white striped couch was pushed against the wall beneath a large store-bought print encased in a metal frame. Two brown leather chairs, nearly identical, faced each other: one below the window and the other next to the square coffee table in front of the couch. Bookcases lined two of the four walls. In the corner was a small three-drawer desk with papers, notebooks, an iPad, and a cell phone on the wooden top.
Sophie walked toward the window. “Is it okay if I sit here?” She pointed to the empty chair.
“Certainly. Please make yourself comfortable. Can I get you something to drink? Juice? Water? Coffee?” He pointed to the coffeemaker on a stand in the corner. A small refrigerator was tucked below the counter.
“No thanks. I’m all set. I’m always armed with a bottle of water.” She held up her bottle to display it. “Thank you, Dr. Russell, for calling me so quickly after receiving my email.” She sat and placed her bag on the floor next to her feet.
Dr. Russell nodded. “Please, call me Nathan.” He looked at her inquisitively and tilted his head slightly. “Have we met before? You look familiar.”
Sophie pushed into the seatback. Her anxiety was apparent. “I don’t think so.”
“Are you involved with the Children’s Hospital?”
“I’ve volunteered for functions there.” She smiled. “Two months ago, I donated a painting for their annual auction.”
“That’s why you look familiar. I’m very involved with the auction. I must have met you then.”
“Probably so. I donated a large watercolor. It was a sunrise of Boston harbor.”
Nathan glanced at his paperwork. “I didn’t recognize your name, but I seldom forget a face.”
“I put my married name on the form I emailed to you. I go by Sophie Libusier most of the time. I use my birth name, Sophie Grabel, for my gallery and most of my art.”
“I remember you by Grabel. Your work is amazing. I’m on the board at the hospital. We greatly appreciated your donation. It was extremely generous. Thank you.”
“I’m happy to help such a worthy cause.”
Nathan placed a notepad on his lap and held a pen in his left hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Sophie.” Nathan paused. “I want you to feel comfortable in here. You can talk about anything you’d like or nothing at all. During our telephone conversation, you said you’ve been experiencing interrupted sleep because of nightmares. However, if you don’t mind, I’d like to spend this first session getting familiar with you and learning a bit about your life.”
“What would you like to know?”
“Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself. Your family. Your life in general. How you became an artist. Basically, anything you feel will help me get to know you better.”
Sophie rested her hands on the arms of her chair. With her thumb, she spun her wedding band around her ring finger. “I hope I don’t talk too much; I tend to ramble when I’m nervous.”
“There’s nothing to be nervous about. Think of this as a chat with someone you’ve just met. After all, isn’t that what we’re doing? No judgment.” Nathan smiled. “And no needles or nasty-tasting medicines to ingest.”
Sophie laughed. “You’re right. We’re just talking. Talking shouldn’t be scary. Right? I’ve been talking most of my life.” She grinned and then took a deep breath. “Okay, so let me tell you a little about myself. My husband Charles and I have been married for seventeen years. We met at an art show shortly after I finished graduate school. He was there with his then girlfriend, but they weren’t serious—obviously.” Sophie grinned.
“After the show, I bumped into him at several other events. One day, he asked me to join him for coffee and the rest is history. I have a master’s degree in business—it was my backup plan in case I couldn’t make it with my art. I always wanted to own a gallery—and now I do. I love my work. Oh, and of course I love my husband. I don’t want to leave that out.” She nervously laughed. “My mom is in her late seventies and spends the winter months in Florida. She’s up here from May through Thanksgiving. My dad passed away six years ago.”
Nathan listened and jotted notes as his newest client spoke.
Sophie removed the cap of her water bottle. She didn’t take a sip; she just twirled the round plastic cap between her fingers. “I have four sisters.” Sophie twisted her mouth to the side.
“Is that good or bad?” Nathan’s eyebrows lowered in reaction to the face Sophie had just made.