Every other Thursday I have a standing appointment with my therapist. It was supposed to be every Thursday rather than every second one, but I bargained it down to twice a month.
I’ll call the therapist Dr. X.
Dr. X and I have a routine. Routines are nice. You always know where you stand in a routine. Ours is that I come in, drop my bag on the centre console, plop down in a chair. Dr. X asks: What would you like to talk about today? I turn my head and stare out the window for 45 minutes and say nothing. I am required to be here, physically, but nowhere does it state that I have to talk.
I think most people would find it daunting to ignore someone for this long, and especially on such a regular basis. I find it helps to have something to think about, and most days, for me, that thing is music. Not just a song either, I’ve done entire concertos, one movement at a time-I have a lot of time to kill. Today I spent the morning listening to Carmina Burana because the bombastic O Fortuna section can sufficiently distract me while I’m here waiting for the clock to signal my release.
After ten or so weeks of this Dr. X decides to change tact. She begins to vary her question, the only thing she will have a chance to ask me during an entire session before my face has gone blank and I’ve made it clear that the only thing of interest to me is the dumpster that stands 20 feet from her office window.
Are you angry about being here?
Do you think you would benefit from seeing another therapist?
Do you want to talk about what happened?
This becomes a variation on a theme. It’s almost tempting to give her something. Almost. But each time I come here is one time less I’ll have to come here. One less time I’ll have to feel Dr. X trying to sniff me out, find the password that will unlock me.
She misses every time but one. The one after the one where my husband picks me up. I don’t know where she sees us exactly, maybe it’s us in the car already, maybe it’s him moving me towards the elevators, palm on my lower back.
But she’s found the key and she isn’t shy about using it.
Life is a gamble, she tells me. Marriage is a gamble too.
I stare at her for a long time, the window and the dumpster forgotten.