“Oh, well that’s a pretty short conversation- assuming you mean romantic relationships. One three-year relationship from nineteen to twenty two-ish; That’s it for me.”
“You call three years a short conversation?”
“I was still such a child then, in my assessment at least- and that was before everything that’s happened in the last couple years, so to me it was a completely different lifetime; it’s over, it’s distant, it’s irrelevant.”
“Try to tell me a little about it anyways. These things do matter.”
“I guess, just don’t get all Freudian on me. Uh, I met him at a church college group I decided to drop in on one night when I had decided to switch churches. I mostly remember that there was this guy who although he was tall as hell at 6’5″, he actually looked at me when I talked in the group, or would even intentionally stop the other chatterboxes because he actually noticed them just talking over me and not listening at all. Most of my life it had been that way when I was in groups of people- and I’m not even soft spoken or shy at all- but I was so used to feeling ignored, unheard, and left out that I was completely dumbfounded as to what this guy’s trip was- like he actually saw that I existed, even though he of all people was nearly a foot and a half taller than me. So I guess I sort of asked him out, to go waterfall jumping, and we were just kind of always together from then on.”
“Being seen is always nice… So what happened?”
“It made sense, but it’s like that was all it did. It looked great on paper, he was ‘the real deal’, a man of integrity; but from the very start- from the very first kiss in particular- I was so confused as to why I felt absolutely nothing, or sometimes didn’t even want to kiss him. But I’d never dated before so I figured I would warm up to him in the near future in regards to feelings of infatuation or attraction. But it never really happened- at least not enough. Everything felt forced and uncomfortable and as always, something in the very back of my skull told me something about it wasn’t right. I mean of course I really liked him, but I wondered at times if it wasn’t just in a platonic, brotherly way- but I knew that my emotions had always been erratic, irregular, and unreliable. It evidently wasn’t a major problem then though, because from the start we had consensually agreed to “wait” until marriage; which surprisingly, sounds pretty funny to me today. Time went by anyways, because we enjoyed each other’s company, and everything else about it seemed right- often even talking with the assumption of marriage. Then after a particularly nice day together, I never saw him again; until finding out that he was sleeping with a girl only a few houses up the street from me. They got married and I had to watch them together until they divorced a year later.”
“Wow, I’m sorry. Why today do you think you weren’t physically attracted to him?”
“I don’t know… You know, we never in those years had a single fight- not one. We managed to either always agree or he was just so laid back that he always agreed with me. But really I don’t think that was heathy at all- I always told him to feel free to tell me I was wrong, or tell me I was being a bitch if I ever was, to make a decision instead of wanting me to make them, but he never did. Maybe I needed someone who was fiery enough to rival me, beat me in an arm wrestle, and tell me what I should do every once in a while. Maybe? But there’s no way for me to definitively know; I’ve never been really attracted to anyone before.”
“Never? Are you sure?” she glanced back up from her clipboard with a look of skepticism.
“Would I know if I was? I mean I’ve always been a little different than other people my age- maybe a lot different, if that’s not too presumptuous to say. When they were talking about who’s hot and who’s dating who, I was by myself, wondering how people can be so stupid, shallow, and equivocally content with it. I didn’t date, didn’t do the childish games and peacocking; I was too focused on nailing my next PR or getting to the next mountain range. I can only speculate that if I were to encounter any notably intense attraction, it would be the result of a strange combination of qualities that I’ve yet to find in anyone I’ve ever met; as looks never did all that much for me in determining.
She laughed, “Sure they don’t..”
“Hey now, you’re a therapist, you’re not supposed to have any personality,” I almost betrayed my stone face.
“I’m not a therapist anymore, now I’m the boss.” she sat up with an obviously facetious air. She laughed again. “You’ll see..”
I raised an eyebrow. “But on a final note, you’ll see my lovely black guitar he left that evening when he ditched. But I’m glad he left- he deserved someone who was crazy about him. And that’s the end of that subject. Next.”
“Okay, so you said no job? What about past? And no college either? ”
“I haven’t worked in five years, come this November. I worked mostly retail with some specialty in holistic health for some years. I’ve never been able to hold a job longer than six months. College I only did one semester abefore dropping out on health leave, and doing a few online classes. A couple certifications but no degrees or anything shiny.”
“Why have you been unable to work?”
“Ah there we are, the therapist tone is back. I’ve been unable to work for these years now because of severe mood disorder, and physically I have been unwell for a long time. I don’t have the energy, and that’s even if my brain did start working right again. I couldn’t keep jobs in the past because I’d eventually always lose them for these reasons, though the severity back then was exceedingly more manageable- something I now see I much took for granted.”
“Yep, abusing your body eventually catches up with you, doesn’t it?” she had a hint of that awful condescending tone as though everything was quite simple to explain.
“Indeed it does.” I concurred. “But that’s not entirely a fair assumption either. No one at this point can say that simply any substance or starvation was what brought me to the dead end I’ve found myself. Perhaps I’ve done irreversible damage, but with all due respect, that argument doesn’t hold water to me anymore. I’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in guilt and debt in having seen every doctor anyone thought could help- but no one has ever been able to help at all, much less figure out what the fuck is wrong with me- and I believe there’s something. No I’m not a hypochondriac. And if you think it’s so simple or are going to regurgitate the same dogmatic adage to me that I stay “sick” because I find some identity in it, well, you can go fuck yourself.” I paused, sighed, and took a deep breath.
She simply sat with the same grin on her face I would try not to smile at for next six months.
“You know what, I’m terribly sorry, that was uncalled for.”
“No, it’s okay. I can tell you’ve been around this block a few times. And it’s been a while since I’ve had a client tell me to fuck myself.” she was still smiling, looking utterly amused.
“Can we please move on to the next question.”