Chapter 663 Deep-Seated Trauma
“No, I won’t,” Toby said weakly with a shake of his head. He knew that he had issues, too, but he didn’t think these were issues that could go away with therapy.
Sonia frowned unhappily when she heard this and countered by saying, “Why not? And how would you know you won’t get better until you’ve tried it?”
He closed his eyes tiredly. “My mom, she… She regretted giving birth to me…”
“What?” Sonia froze at first, then eyed him in bewilderment. “Did you just say your mom regretted giving birth to you?”
He said nothing, but his silence was an affirmation.
She shook her head incredulously. “That can’t be right. No, that’s impossible! How would you know your mom regretted giving birth to you? Grandma told me that you were really close with your mom and that she was gentle.”
A woman who could earn such praise from Rose couldn’t possibly have regretted giving birth to Toby, but as Sonia assessed the expression on his face, she didn’t think he was lying at all. So what in the world is going on here?
Toby still had his eyes closed, and he did not utter a single word.
Seeing him like this only made her worry more. She leaned closer to him and pleaded, “Tell me, Toby. You can talk to me about anything; I’ll be your most faithful listener. Don’t keep it all inside, or it’ll only make you spiral deeper. Grandma and I really care about you, and we all want to see you walk away from your past and embrace your usual self. If you don’t talk to us or try to overcome the trauma, it’ll only make us worry about you more, and we won’t ever get a peace of mind. Do you really want to see Grandma and I running around like headless chickens every year because of you? Don’t forget that Grandma isn’t getting any younger.”
She didn’t tell him that Rose had collapsed. Given his current state, Rose’s predicament would only add to his burdens. I’ll wait until he feels better, Sonia thought.
Having heard Sonia’s words, Toby parted his lips, and he had to admit that his current state would indeed make everyone around him worry incessantly. More importantly, Rose really wasn’t getting any younger, and with each passing day, her body grew more feeble. The doctor even mentioned that she might only have a few good years left in her.
“The night my mom took her own life…” he whispered, finally willing to speak as he opened his eyes.
Sonia stared at him intently. “Yes?”
“That night, she drank a lot. I had no idea why she drank that much, but I kept her company anyway. It wasn’t until she got really wasted when she held me in her arms and told me a bunch of stuff…” He trailed off as he fixed his hollow gaze on the ceiling. “My mom cried about Connor’s upcoming marriage, and she told me that she would have run away with Connor had she not been pregnant with me at the time. She told me that she only stayed because she was pregnant with me.”
“She…” Sonia faltered a little, then pressed, “So you think that she regretted having you because she told you this?”
His eyelashes fluttered for a bit as he dwelled on his own thoughts. “Back then, I had no idea who Connor was, but I knew my mom didn’t love my dad. She didn’t want to marry my dad, but she chose to stay in the Fuller Family because of me, and she stayed married to my father for the same reason. I was secretly happy when she told me this, until the next morning when I found her body. From there on, my nightmare began to torture me, and it’s been this way for over a decade. In my dreams, I would relive the moment I discovered her body, or I’d dream that she was strangling me with blood-soaked hands. She would ask me why I was born in the first place, and why I got in the way of her happiness.”
Sonia bit down hard on her lower lip, bristling as she urged, “Those are only dreams; they can’t hurt you because they aren’t real.”
“I know that, but what my mom had conveyed to me on the night she took her own life had been her true feelings.” The light in his eyes looked as if it was extinguished as he gazed at Sonia. “Because of these dreams, I realized that my birth was the reason why my mom couldn’t pursue her own happiness. My existence tethered her to the Fuller Family and kept her from escaping; I practically pushed my mom into taking her own life.”
Taken aback by this, Sonia immediately understood that Toby’s deep-seated trauma had not been a result of his witnessing his mother’s suicide but of his belief that he was the reason for her death.
“No, that’s not true!” She shook her head vehemently. “Toby, don’t even for a second believe that you caused your mom’s death, and your mom never once thought of you as a burden. Listen to me carefully: you only think that you had anything to do with your mom’s suicide because those dreams told you so, and you were convinced at a young age that that was the truth. However, your mom could never mean what she said that night. You were her son, and there was no way she regretted having you, let alone think of you as a burden.”
If I were in her shoes, and even if I were in love with another man, I would never regret having a child with another man. As far as Sonia was concerned, any sensible woman ought to know that children were innocent, that she shouldn’t take her resentment out on these children.
When Toby heard this, something glimmered in his eyes, but it disappeared just as quickly as she shook his head. “You’re not her; you can’t possibly know what her thoughts were.”
“No, I know,” she said solemnly, grabbing his hand tightly in hers as she gave him a firm nod. “Toby, I truly believe in what I said. I have heard many stories of you and your mother from Grandma. She said your mom was a gentle person who loved you as a mother should, even though she never loved your father. But she chose to take up her responsibility as a mother for your sake, and I don’t think she ever regretted having you. She only said what she did out of sentiment, musings on what could have been if she had taken another road in life. That was not regret, because if it was, she wouldn’t have said ‘what if’ but told you right there and then that she regretted giving birth to you.”
Toby’s eyes widened slightly, but he didn’t get to interject as Sonia went on to say, “Also, if she truly did regret having you and thought of you as something that kept her from pursuing her own happiness, then she wouldn’t have loved you the way she did. She never would have been a good mother to you. On that note, Toby, I conclude that you are only so affected by her words because of those nightmares. What you should be aware of is that those nightmares are not reality but a manifestation of your childhood trauma. So please, Toby, forget about those words and leave the past behind, okay?”
A bitter smile curved on his lips. “It’s been over ten years since the nightmares started. I can’t just stop having them, you know.”
“I know, but you’ll have to try and move forward, won’t you?” she pressed. A sudden thought crossed her mind, and she rose from the couch to walk to the side of the room, whereupon she retrieved a paper bag and walked back to him.
Under his curious gaze, she reached into the bag and pulled out something.
It was a scarf, a black one.
Just then, Toby’s eyes widened when he remembered asking her to knit him a scarf the day before. “Is that—”
“This is the scarf you asked me to make. I stayed up all night just to finish knitting it,” she said as she opened up the scarf and draped it over his nape. “Not bad. It actually looks really good on you.”
She had planned on giving him the scarf on his birthday, but after learning of his shift in personality today, she decided to bring it over, hoping that it might help in soothing him or something like that.
Presently, Toby raised a hand and sunk his fingers into the soft fabric of the scarf hanging from his neck. He could pick up a faint, pleasant scent and realized that it was Sonia’s fragrance.
He couldn’t help but tighten his grip on the scarf, then buried his head into the soft yarn.
At the sight of this, Sonia added, “It was meant to be your birthday gift, but now that I’ve given it to you in advance, I’ll just have to get you something else on the actual day itself.”
“This is good enough,” he replied, still holding the scarf as he stared at her appreciatively, clearly moved by the gift.
She poured him another glass of warm water. “Would you like some water?”
He shook his head. “No, thanks.”
“Okay, I wasn’t actually giving you a choice. You have to drink this. I mean, do you even hear how terrible your voice sounds right now?” she asked with a frown.
If it weren’t for the fact that he had alcohol in his stomach, she would have made him a honey drink for his irritated throat.