Trans·Fer·Ence: A Novel

By: Ava Harrison


To those who are looking to find the strength to conquer their fears.

trans·fer·ence: n. in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, a client’s feelings for the therapist. May be used to understand the origins of the client’s emotional and psychological problems.



My pain is an open festering wound.


I hear the words that are spoken but they have no meaning.

They’re only words. They will never bring him back.




The pain inside me roars out in a silent scream.

Like ice spreading through my veins and numbing me to the outside world.

Sucking me under, until all is gone.

My hands swipe away my stained tears.

My breath becomes short gasps of air escaping.

Cold sweat. Hammering heart.

A distant hum.

The beat of a bird’s wings.

I need to leave.

I can’t be here.





Through heavy eyelids, flashes of white light gleam in. It’s like living in a world of solitude. All alone, no connections, no expectations, no pain, no memories, and then suddenly everything rushes back.

Sounds overwhelm me.





With careful precision I pry my eyes open, but I’m unnerved as the world around me comes alive. The sounds, once muffled, attack me like a passing freight train. They infiltrate every pore in my body, relentlessly. They are an unwelcome attack on my senses.

A voice breaks through. “I think she’s waking up.”



“That’s right, sweetie, open your eyes,” coos a soft, comforting voice.

My blurry vision focuses and I’m facing two women dressed in purple scrubs. Where am I? A plain room that’s void of all emotion and warmth. Sterile. The walls are a dirty white, not quite cream, and the smell of disinfectant permeates the air. My mouth opens to speak, to ask them for some explanations but it’s too dry. I try to swallow however the thickness of the saliva pooling makes the action feel impossible. With wary movements, I press my fingers toward my lips, but even this small gesture is too much as pain radiates throughout my body.

“You need something to drink. Let me grab you some water.”

“Where . . .” It sounds as though I’m talking with a mouth full of marbles, so I try again but my words are jumbled and make no sense. The sound of the faucet running causes even more liquid to collect. I watch in parched desperation as she slowly fills a pitcher and then grabs a cup and straw.

“Where are you? You’re at Sinai-Grace Hospital. You were in an accident.” My heart rattles heavily at the new information. No wonder everything hurts. Even my skin burns.

Finally, the nurse steps over to the bed, carefully fills a cup with water and then offers me the precious liquid. Thank you, God. The water feels like heaven against my tongue.

“What . . . What happened?”

“A car accident. You hit your head and were unresponsive. You’ve got quite a nasty gash on your left temple and on your cheek.”

“An accident?” My eyes widen and the sharp bite of the bandage pulls against my skin. I wince in pain and then she gives me a small smile. “Can I see? Do you have a mirror?” I motion to my face and the shorter woman proceeds to leave the room. I turn my attention back to the remaining nurse, who is speaking.

“Yes, you were brought in a little bit ago. I can’t tell you much more than that, but from what I hear, there’s nothing to fear. You’ll be okay.” The other nurse walks back in and approaches the bed, placing a mirror in my hand. Just as she had said, a bandage covers my forehead. My eyes are dull today. You can barely see the blue as my pupils are dilated. My once blonde hair is now matted and caked to my skin. I look skeletal and pale. “I notified the attendee that you’re awake, so he’ll come speak to you once he gets in,” she says before stepping out of the room.

My gaze locks on the window, and I watch as the snow softly falls, drifting down the pane and leaving streaks of murky water. The familiar cage closes in all around me, robbing me of air.

I’m afraid . . .

And I’m not ready to face the truth.

I’m not ready to face what’s happening to me.

Hearing footsteps, I turn my attention back to the door and am met with a pair of soft brown eyes that I know so well.

“Oh, my God,” Sydney cries as she steps into the room. Her face is blanched and her straight brown locks are now back to their curly form thanks to the snow. “You’re awake. Thank God. I was so scared.” She grabs my hand and it feels so warm wrapped around mine. I welcome the comfort, leaning closer to her to bask in the feeling of home she evokes.