Week Thirty Three - A Day in The Life - Sun Peeking Through the Clouds
I hardly slept between my last phone conversation with Paul and the evening I saw him at Marsha’s office. I was so tired that I couldn’t concentrate at work. I couldn’t eat. At night I would lie on my bed, going over and over what happened between us from when he lost his job to the present, and trying to guess what would happen in Marsha’s office. Which Paul would show up? The one who was closed up and distant, or the one who was on the phone with me last week? Not that he said that much when we last spoke, but it certainly was much more than in a long, long time. Plus, he might have said even more had I given him a chance. I was the one who ran away this time.
Anyway, eventually I dragged myself to Marsha’s office and arrived there a little early. I thought I needed a few minutes to gather my thoughts and calm myself down. But then, as I was sitting in the waiting room, I panicked at the thought Paul would arrive early too and the two of us would have to stay in the waiting room together. It felt awkward, nerve-wrecking. But then, perhaps unconsciously, I might have wished Paul would be as impatient as I was about this appointment and seeing each other again and arrive early too. Perhaps he also wanted to be with me for a few minutes before we started our session together. But Paul showed up just as Marsha opened her office door and invited us in. Then I thought that maybe he had seen my car already parked outside and had chosen to wait in his truck because he didn’t want to be with me in the waiting room…
Marsha was professional, impartial, business-like but warm toward both of us. She started right away, asking us general questions that put us more at ease. Paul was obviously prepared for this session. He didn’t need any prompting. He talked about how insensitive he had been to my feelings, and how selfish. He said he had learned a lot about himself and us while apart and was GLAD - can you imagine? - glad to have the opportunity to work at fixing our problems.
I sat there for a long time saying nothing. A part of me felt validated by what Paul was saying, but a part of me was cautious. Did he really mean what he was saying? Was this just what I wanted to hear, not what he really felt? Was he going to be able to sustain this position?
I must admit I felt so proud of him! Marsha was looking at him and encouraging him to say more. I could see she liked him. The two of them seemed to be quite in synch with one another. Perhaps Marsha was wondering what was wrong with me, as he seemed to be such a congenial guy. For a moment I felt like a spectator, watching a program in which I played no role. I felt a twinge of envy. I didn’t expect Paul to be so at ease with her and me! I was more tongue-tied the first time I met with Marsha than he was today for sure.
I was glad, sad, surprised, envious, angry, hurt. I felt incompetent, anxious, worried about the present and utterly confused about the future. I had so many feelings that I didn’t know what to think any more. I didn’t know which way to turn and what to believe. I had a headache. I wanted out.
When we finally left, Paul asked me if I wanted to have a coffee with him. I couldn’t. I was too stressed out. I needed to gather my thoughts, to identify my feelings, to deal with them. All this had been just too much for me.
I ran to my car and drove off, without looking at Paul, who was standing in the parking lot looking at me.