Today was a bad day. It still is – I can see all the hallmarks of spiralling downwards. I can’t find the pen in my bag and I get immediately, deeply frustrated, so I tip the bag upside down, scattering the contents everywhere. I couldn’t find the words to say goodbye to my colleagues, and I accomplished nothing all day, because I was simultaneously floating outside myself and feeling panicked, and wanting the pain of a cigarette lighter to ground me. I feel completely exhausted and tearful, but I know I’ve had more than enough sleep. I’m just overwhelmed.
R is going to see Jen tomorrow. I was in the office with his assistant while she made the appointment. They’ll talk about me – they always talk about me. Either outcome of their session is going to be bad – if she hears again that I’m struggling and still doesn’t reach out, or if she does contact me and all those messy painful emotions get triggered again. But imagining their conversation is the worst.
“Yeah, apparently she expected me to call her after Anna quit, and she got pretty upset and told me I wasn’t being supportive enough, so I just went ‘okay, I need to take a step back from this’.”
“I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with that, Jen – she’s being really unreasonable. That’s unfair after everything you’ve done for her. She’s just pushing everyone away at the moment. If she doesn’t want help there’s nothing we can do about it.”
I hate being in limbo. I hate that I won’t know what he’s told her, and I hate that I’ll be back to waiting and wondering about an email that’ll probably never come.
Kind of the way I was waiting today. I was so desperate to hear about the new psychiatrist, just so I know. Can she see me? Do I have to go back to searching, again? But, nothing.
And then I found out that one of the managers at work, one of my two “Jewish mamas”, is leaving in June, on bad terms with R. Obviously this time it has nothing to do with me, but still. Everybody is leaving. She’s been such an important maternal presence in my life. When I had surgery last year, she was one of only 3 people who knew. After I was discharged, she helped me dress, drove me two hours to my first follow-up appointment, came in to sit with me while the dressings were changed, never once flinching at the wounds, then took me home and put me to bed. I can always go to her with anything, and she’s never afraid to talk to me. She hugs me, close, holds my face in her hands while she kisses my forehead, touches my arm and rubs my back. She tells me I’m funny as hell, smart, gorgeous, and she cares about me. And she’s going.
But all of this is still in my head. I say the words – she’s going – and my brain knows this is a bad thing, that it hurts, but I don’t feel it hurting. I feel empty, and flat.
At lunch, I went to the park with Everest. Normally a friend or two would come along, but today I was by myself. Everest was scared, and I was sitting cross-legged holding her, trying to comfort her, when a little Russian boy came and sat down, cross-legged, in front of me. And we talked.
He was very mature and self-possessed, with an amazing ability to hold a conversation and ask appropriate questions, but he had that beautiful innocence, too, with a touch of little-boy bashfulness. I felt very connected and grounded, sitting on the grass in the sunshine, looking into the eyes of this little stranger and talking about pets and loss, love and family. He called his babushka over to us, and we moved into a little semi-circle. She took Everest onto her lap and tucked her completely underneath her shirt, against her skin, and Everest calmed.
“You must have the magic touch,” I told her.
“I have it, the magic. Children and dogs. They never cry when they are in my arms.”
He made me a bracelet out of small yellow rubber bands and slipped it on my wrist, then decided we should put it on my key chain. He told me solemnly that I could never take it off, and equally solemnly, I promised him that I wouldn’t. He was so disappointed when I eventually told him I had to leave, half an hour after my lunch break was finished. He reached out as if to shake my hand, but when I took it, he just held it.
“You are very pretty,” he told me.
I’m grateful to them both. The rest of my day was bad, but my time with them was simple, and good.