Scene 1 - Therapist’s Office
I refused to live in fear. It went against everything I believed in and I vowed to never be part of any effort to control anyone else through fear.
Those in power seemed to be using the fear tactic a lot lately, creating a tension that permeated every part of society and our once quite campus was not as immune as I had hoped. We were all working hard at the health center to reduce the stress and return the student body and faculty to a level of functional normalcy.
The threat to our campus turned out to be a student who didn’t want to take her midterms and saw this as an opportunity to delay that. I had the pleasure and displeasure of talking to the student in question during a session that I thought was to address her as a potential victim. To my horror she broke down in tears and admitted to planting the letter with the threat to “spray the campus with bullets” worse than anything witnessed so far in previous school shootings.
Another passage from the Bible leaped into my brain - Do unto others, etc, etc. Don’t know why I was fixated on the Bible lately but when it was taken straightforwardly and not through the lens of power and fear mongers, it had some very simple and straightforward lessons for all of us. Too bad its power was frequently misused and abused.
I never did like zealots of any kind. They worked so hard to make sure we interpreted lessons like those in the Bible to their way of thinking - and only their way. The phrase, “My way or the highway,” was bantered around like a bat to a hornet’s nest lately and there seemed to be plenty of zealots on the other end of the spectrum who were eager to respond in kind.
The week went by quickly due to the overwhelming workload but when Thursday came I dreaded going to work. It was the day of Jason’s next appointment and I still shuddered at how the previous one concluded.
To my surprise - and relief - Coach Daniels personally escorted Jason to my office. An apology was promptly made - although under slight duress as the coach gave my young and reluctant client a look that brokered no room for resistance.
Coach Daniels took a seat outside my office as Jason passed by me and sat in my comfortable chair which last session seemed to make him so uncomfortable - although he was less so today.
Jason still didn’t reveal much about the incident but he did talk this time. I finally got him to open up about how he felt being in a therapy session. As long as I didn’t talk about the beating he was responsive, but not as much as I had hoped. It was clear that Jason’s therapy would progress in baby steps unless I could somehow convince him that the sooner he talked about the reason he was here, the sooner he’d be back in class and on the team.
When Jason left my office Coach Daniels stood, made eye contact with my still reluctant client and then addressed me.
“I expect that Jason was a proper and respectful student today.” His voice was even sexier than on the phone and I had to remind myself that this was serious business not an opportunity to meet eligible men. Of course, I didn’t know if he really was eligible and I found myself trying to sneak a look at his ring finger. Of course, not all married men wore their rings.
“Yes he was.” I really couldn’t say more than that due to patient/therapist confidentiality rules.
“Jason, wait for me outside.”
“Yes sir.” The younger man almost snapped to attention. I watched as Jason almost marched from the outer office area and into the sunny day outside.
Turning my head back to the coach my eyes locked with his as I blushed at his intense stare, his blue eyes studying me with great interest. Words escaped me as I tried not to respond to his overwhelming masculine presence. I hadn’t felt this speechless since I was a teenager with my first crush.
“Here’s my card with my cell phone number. If you have any further problems with Jason cooperating, don’t hesitate to call.” His fingers brushed my hand as I reached to take the card from him. It was electrifying and I struggled to get even the simplest thank you out.
“Call anytime.” His voice was soothing. “And I mean that.”
I thanked him again as he turned to leave. I couldn’t help but watch his athletic figure as he headed out the same door Jason left through not long before. My heart did a back flip and a part of me that I thought was dead suddenly showed that it was still alive.
Scene 2 - Therapist’s Home
Light poured into the house and I saw my surroundings in a new and carefree way. Dana and I had finished redecorating the windows throughout the house and I sat back on the couch and relished the fruits of our labor.
Dana was out with friends celebrating the end to a greulling week of exams. They were coming back to the house for a sleep over and I was excited about having so many young people in the house again.
Reflecting on my encounter with Coach Daniels earlier that day I wondered if he was indeed an eligible man, something that became more and more rare as I grew older. Even though I felt giddy at the prospect of having male attention in my life again, a sense of fear and reluctance about being hurt held me back. Did I really want the complication of a man in my life right now, especially as I was just beginning to open up to my daughter again?
I chastised myself for worrying about something that wasn’t even a clear possibility. I probably would have agonized further but was interrupted by the slamming of a car door and laughter as Dana and her friends arrived. I got up to greet them and a sense of pure joy washed over me as I was caught up in their happy and light-hearted mood.
Tears of joy welled up in my eyes as I realized just how lucky I was to have this second chance at life.
Scene 3 - Therapist’s Office
Regina canceled our weekly appointments until further notice and I grew more and more concerned about her. I left a message on her machine that we needed to have a girls night out and that I wouldn’t take no for an answer.
A few days later when she still hadn’t returned my call I went to her office and sat outside to catch her after her last patient. When she emerged I grew even more concerned. She looked tired and drawn. I hadn’t see her look like this in years.
When she saw me her face showed a mixture of relief and anxiety. I waited for her patient to leave then quickly entered her office.
“Grab your coat,” I almost ordered her to do so. “I’m taking you out to dinner.”
She hesitated then thought better of it. I quickly hugged her before she could object.
“You are the best friend I’ve ever had in my entire life.” My words were gentle and sincere. “You’ve always been there for me.” I hugged her even harder. “Turnabout is fair play.”
I felt her hug me back as if her life depended on it and maybe it did.
Relief washed over me that I visited her just in time.