Recovery, Relapse, Relationship (part 9)

(Continued from the last post. Click here to catch the whole story from the beginning.)

She sat in my guest chair and stared at the floor. She clearly wanted to say something, but was upset and didn’t know how to begin.

“How did it go with Angela?” I asked.

She nodded, looking like she was about to cry. Then she just said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t lay this on you.” And she started to gather up her purse to leave.

I laid a hand on her shoulder. “What is it? Did something happen during your session?”

She shook her head, tears welling in her eyes.

“Was it something I did?” I asked.

She shook her head again. She looked into my eyes, and I felt how she felt.

“I just don’t have anyone I can talk to,” she said. And she did cry.

I handed her the box of tissues from my desk. Between sobs, she told me that she didn’t want to lay all this on me, because she knows I didn’t sign up for it, but no one at work really understood her, and Ted was lashing out at the world and was in no condition to help her. She wiped her eyes, shook her head again, apologized and was again about to leave.

I interrupted her. “Please don’t go. Please stay.”

She already had a shrink. She didn’t need a shrink. She needed a friend, a support system, and I was it. But she was afraid to throw herself on me, gallant of her, but stupid. What were friends for?

“Look, you said it yourself,” I continued. “I’m your friend. And if you can’t talk to a friend when something’s bothering you, well then what are friends for?”

It was worse than she had let on earlier. She and Ted were on the skids. This only added to her depression, and I could well imagine. They were not having sex. They had already missed three of their regular whoopee sessions, which was fine with her, because she really didn’t feel like it anyhow. But she also felt guilty for feeling that way. It was complicated.

I just sat and listened.

“How do you get over a trauma like this?” she asked.

I thought of my parents. Ever since they had passed away, I had avoided thinking of them. But I had been thinking of them a lot since I met Clyde. Not big thoughts, but short, fleeting memories, which subconsciously popped into my mind and which I immediately buried again. To this day, I don’t understand how she did that to me, when everyone else I knew for years before failed to.

“Well,” I began, in answer to her question, “eventually, I guess, you just move on.” I was a mental health professional. I knew that wasn’t true.

“What were some of the things you did to move on?” she asked.

“Things I did?” I was carefully confused, as if I hadn’t been asking myself the same question she had just asked me.

“Yeah. You mentioned that you had experienced a similar trauma. What did you do to move on?”

“I just kind of… got over it,” I answered.

A lie. You don’t just “get over” a tragedy that rips apart your life. You try your best to go on despite not getting over it.

I shook my head. “You don’t actually get over it. You just kind of… get used to it.”

We were both miserable now, but at least we were miserable together.

(To be continued…)

This story is tangential to The Conscience of Abe’s Turn and takes place in the Abe’s Turn universe. If you enjoy this story, please also check out The Conscience of Abe’s Turn (the novel).

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really nice, solid writing… the dialogue is so natural & thats not easy to do.

caught this via Twitter link & its so good I’ll have to go back & read what came before.

Thanks for the kind words, Lorainne. I really appreciate it.

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