Foto bij 627. - Lucien

I am playing with the business card again, just like I did a week ago on my first night in France and nearly every night since. I have even gone so far as looking the man up online, a couple of hours after my father told me about Cosette. The way he was presented on his website reminded me a lot of Dr Carlisle Ainsworth, the psychiatrist I saw a couple of times after Matthew recommended him to me. That comparison made me even less eager to set up a meeting with him, but the list of people recommending us therapy is steadily growing. Jean-Claude and Gemma, my father, and then Matthew when he called me earlier in the week. I know Eschieve would say the same, and so would Gabriel. Even Emma had mentioned it herself, though she had quickly dropped the subject when I didn't elaborate on it.
The moment her name crosses my mind, I listen if I can still the water of the shower running. It's harder when you're in the living room, but if Frank decides to not be a dick and stay quiet, you can hear a soft whooshing of water in the pipes. I don't hear it now, which must mean she's finished.
Our evening consisted mostly of exactly what Emma had suggested when she'd left me on the bedroom floor.: we have eaten copious amounts of truffle pasta, emptied half a container of Ben&Jerry's each, and watched bake-off. We didn't really talk much, except complaining when our favourite contestants have to leave the show. There is so much to be said that neither of us knows where even to begin. Not to mention that the eggshells have evolved themselves not just to be shells, but also nails and glass shards and quite possibly even some landmines. Even with our agreement that we want to fight this together, it has become impossible to navigate.
Going to Dr Ainsworth proved to me, more than anything, that therapy just doesn't work for me. He rekindled so many emotions in me that I could no longer handle them, which did the exact opposite of what he'd hoped to achieve. I got more closed off, hid even more of what I felt and avoided any kind of emotional conversation because I just didn't know how to deal with them. That is not a response that I can afford right now. No matter how much we try telling ourselves it's not the truth, or how we are willing to fight, we are the edge of a cliff. It's a matter of centimeters to determine what way we're going to fall and if it's the wrong side, we're going to be falling alone.
I want to believe that we are able to fight our way through this without any outside any help. Yet if that was the case, should we not at least have made a step forward by now? We are still where we were on April 12th, if we are not further back. I stare at the name on the card.
Do not lose something you could have fought to keep.
In the end the choice between losing Gemma or putting myself out there was one of the easy ones.
What if me prematurely saying therapy doesn't work for me is going to be the nail to our coffin? Is that knowledge I could live with?
"What's that?"
Emma startles me. She flops down next to me, dressed in one of my tshirts and her pajama bottoms, wet strands of her hair hanging over her shoulder. Knowing there's no use in lying, I hand her the card. "I got it from Jean-Claude."
I watch her as she studies the card, a light frown forming between her brows. "Beth also mentioned therapy."
"That makes four, then."
"Four?" She gives me a questioning look. "Jean-Claude, Beth, I'm going to guess Matthew, and then... Eschieve? Are she and Beth in kahoots?"
I chuckle lightly and shake my head. "Would you believe me if I told you my father came to me with not only advice, but also a very emotional story that explained why he gave me such advice?"
"I would not."
"I wouldn't either, if I hadn't lived through it."
She doesn't ask and I don't offer. The story of Cosette feels much too personal for me to share, though I wouldn't be surprised that Emma would be able to make a close guess considering the subject.
"You seem to have been talking a lot."
I snort ever so slightly. "More so people have been talking a lot to me. I haven't said too much in reply."
"Is this..." She makes a vague gesture to the card. "something you'd want?"
"Not really." I say honestly. "I've tried therapy once. Didn't do me much good. However," I continue when I see her face fall just ever so slightly. "I am willing to try if that's what you want."
That just makes her frown again. "Therapy doesn't work if you don't want the help." It's not an accusation, rather a stated observation.
"I want us to be okay again. Judging by how we've been handling things and by what others have told us, we need help for that. I can accept that. I'm not sure if that has to be in the form of therapy, but..." I shrug, unsure how to finish. I see her reaching for my hand, then she changes her mind. It makes me feel guilty. There's a part of me that wants to reach for her hand like she does mine, but I can't. I've been in a constant state of being overwhelmed for weeks now, and with what happened the night before I left for Paris I've crossed a threshold in that department. No matter how much I long for us to hold each other, even the thought of doing so gives me a headache with the tumbling thoughts of panic.
"Besides," I say hoarsely, trying to keep myself from spiralling all too much. "What are relationships if not compromises?"
"I'm not sure if forcing you to do therapy because that's what others tell us and what I feel comfortable with, is much of a compromise." Emma notes, and then she looks surprised when I smile.
"It isn't when you put it like that. It is when I agree to do therapy, and you agree that it might very well take me far longer than you to have it be useful to me - and you give me that time."

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