Therapy Session Chapter 2

The next week passed quickly, and it was group day again. This time there was no waiting–the door was open and several members had already found their places.  There was no assigned seating, of course, but members appeared to prefer claiming and re-claiming their own space. Rob had already arrived, and Amber found the seat next to him vacant. He beamed at her and gave her an awkward sideways hug. He seemed really glad to see him, maybe as glad as she was to see him.  She had not bee in the presence of such a warm, affectionate man before-not one that wasn’t interested in sex with her. She fleetingly wondered why she had never thought of gay men as a source of mutual friendship.

The distance from the bean bag chair to the floor was minimal, and Amber ran her fingers nervously through the lush magenta carpet. The color of blood, she noted. Hopefully there wouldn’t be any bloodletting today!  Rob leaned towards her and half-whispered, “Nervous?”  When she didn’t immediately answer  he added, “I am.”  Amber sent him a grateful little smile.

At that moment Ed and Jackie arrived,  occupying the bean bags which had been left vacant for them. After a brief period of silence, Ed began, “We usually begin group by taking a moment to get centered, and then to share how we’re feeling right now. For myself, I feel energized by our new members Rob and Amber, and regretful that Kelly had to call and cancel today because her daughter Becky is running a high fever.  And my back is a little sore from moving furniture at home.”

And so it went. One member felt sad and guilty because she had needed to put her cat down that morning. She burst out, “Which is a euphemism for killing my cat! She trusted me!” A box of Kleenex was passed to her.

Another feared he was going to be fired soon because his boss had been increasingly short-tempered with him. He was also looking forward to a visit from his brother who lives in California. As the circular sharing grew closer to Amber, she began anxiously trying to think of something to say. This sudden withdrawing into herself was a familiar experience for her. Her high school counselor called it dissociation,  a not uncommon psychological defense of survivors.

Her mind then went to memories of Miss Catherine Patterson, whom everyone referred to as ‘Miss Cat Pat.’  Neither she nor the counselor had uttered the word “incest,” and Amber later learned  it was because of the new reporting laws. Instead of having to report to authorities and her dad getting charged and all the bad stuff that would have followed, Miss Cat Pat had just quietly pulled some strings and Amber went to live with her mother’s sister Betty, who lived across the city. Her father’s alcoholism was the excuse given. And it was a pretty good excuse, she reflected grimly.  Amber was so inwardly focussed that she missed Rob’s sharing, and then the group was staring at her, expectantly.  She was back in the room again and stammered, “Sorry, I guess  I was just wool-gathering. ”  The group was patiently waiting. Her throat tightened, all the way up to her ears, and sat therre unable to speak.

“No rush,” from Jackie, the female co-leader. Still everyone was eyeing Amber curiously.

Oh, what could she make up?  School? That was it. Amber avoided the eyes that she felt upon her and replied, “I’m worried about an exam next week in my social studies class.”  No good. Everyone was still silent, in anticipation. Waiting. Amber felt like a century passed before she broke down.

Jackie said gently, “And being afraid of men?….And your father? How often did he get drunk and how did he act then?”

Timid Amber flared up. “You just keep on and on, don’t you!”

Ed spoke. “You’d rather wait a year or two to get what you want from the group?” He was speaking softly also. Amber glared at him, then glared around at the group members.

“You just want me to say it, don’t you! That I was molested by my drunken father who kept warning me that men only want one thing!”

Jackie said, “You also said you hated your mother.”

“She slapped my face and said I had a dirty mind.” Amber finally appreciated the silence in the room which continued until they moved on to other matters.

The group hug felt good again, but Amber begged off on the dinner.  “I’m just not hungry,” she said.

“I’m not either,” Rob said, and offered her a ride back to her dorm. He looked over at her in the passenger seat and added, “I hope you don’t mind taking a little side trip along the way.”  A grin from Amber was his answer. “I just want to see how my grandfather is doing.” After a short drive Rob turned his Toyota up an incline by a circular drive and stopped at the front steps of a sprawling two-story brick house surrounded  by a carefully tended lawn.  Amber recognized a smattering of tulips with alternating colors in a bed along the front of the house, larkspur, zinnias, and a host of other flowers she was unfamiliar with.

Rob popped out of the car and opened the door for Amber, who was gazing  appreciatively  at the grounds. “This is where your grandfather lives?”

“This is where my grandfather and I live,” he amended.

“Will he be awake?”

“I believe he will be. “Let’s see.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Old Man Fred –flash fiction for d’Verse

Although age and poverty had taken its toll,  when far away an interrupted cry woke him from his sleep, he shuddered.  He knew he lacked boundaries, was too easily empathic. That tendency had led him to  panhandling in the evening of his life.  It was getting more and more difficult to arise from his seated position on the sidewalk and retrieve his upturned hat from the pavement before him.

Someone at the Center had stolen his flute, so he had  nothing left to offer passersby than  the one song he could remember all the words to, Old Man River.

The children still stood round and begged their parent for a dime to drop into his hat. The children stared. The adults avoided his eyes.  He thanked them all.

128 words

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The Reluctant Atheist – for d’Verse

The old man used to be a preacher, but

in good faith had to turn in his cassock

because he no longer believed in anything.

He mumbles now, admitting that he cannot

say he  believes he’ll live again.

If asked he’ll say  we teach our young to

be fair, play fair, as though  the world were

fair. Maudlin now, he observes that

we can kiss away a boo boo or wipe away

a tear, but

the buffer does not outlast reality, , or is it

just the luck of the draw? Lotta bad luck,

then, for many. “Refugees, thy name is grief.”

But with a little smile  he reckons that

we avoid madness in the arms of sleep.

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Introducing My Pages

You may have noticed that what I post is unpredictable. I think that’s the reason for the column’s miniscule readership.  But that’s not the case for most of my pages, which are listed at the top of my site.   When I post to one of my pages   no one knows it unless I toot their horn. This is to tell you a little bit about what’s inside them.

The most pleasant/relaxing/fun is RELIEF–REFRESHING.  DOWNS may be the most extensive and includes re-blogs from others on the topic, as well as photo updates on my daughter.  I just finished re-reading the page  on JOURNALLING and posted a small entry (these usually go at the bottom of pages) and enjoyed the read.  I’ll introduce the others later on. It’s  bedtime.

 

 

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Therapy Session–Fiction

For the first time Rob was fighting tears. He motioned to Amber, on his right. Mesmerized by Rob’s sharing, Amber surfaced and said “Uh…”   The group sat quiet, expectantly, and watched empathically as her tears began to trickle. Jackie said gently, “Take your time. There’s no rush.”

Amber could feel the intensity of everyone’s eyes focussed on her, even Rob’s. She looked down into her lap and spoke softly.  “I’m a new student, and live alone in a single freshman dorm, and my little sister died several years ago. My father was an alcoholic so my aunt Betty took me in for a couple of years. I’m a social work major at the community college.”

Ed nodded. “And what do you want from the group?”

She took a deep breath and said, “I’m afraid of men. I mean I hate them! All they’re interested in is swex! They just see me as a sex object!” Her voice sounded strangled now. “I hate everybody! I hate my mother and my father and me and–everybody!” Rob put his hand on her shoulder and gave a squeeze, whereupon Amber      began emitting little choking sobs. The group sat and stared at her, speechless for once. Jackie passed her the Kleenex. There was still silence, as though no one knew what to say.  Amber covered her face with her hands.

Finally Ed spoke. “So that means you hate me and Pete and Stuart and Rob? You don’t even know us. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair. Is that something you want to work on?”

A little laugh escaped Amber. “I don’t know. I think that’s reality. That’s the way the world is! Maybe nothing can help.”  She was quiet, and so was the attentive group. Finally she spoke in a small voice. “And I hate myself too.”

Ed glanced around the group. “How many people in here hate themselves?”  There was a momentary shocked silence and then slowly four hands went up, even Rob’s.   Ed regarded the raised hands and said, “Do you want those who hate themselves to hate you too? Will that make you feel better?”

Amber protested, but in a lighter vein.  “You’re confusing me!”  She let out a deep sigh and said, “My life is such a mess!”

Ed looked around the group again. “How many members’ lives are a mess?”  When everyone raised their hand Amber had to laugh.

“All right. I guess I’ll live.” She blew her nose loudly and the group moved on to other issues.

Neither Amber nor Rob had experienced group psychotherapy before, and observed with interest the variety of therapeutic techniques used in the group. As they were to learn later, some were Gestalt, some psychomotor, some Rational Emotive–whatever seemed to fit. After the deepest, most emotive exchanges, the group’s camaraderie and commitment remained.

As the session ended, someone said, “Group hug,” and there was one.  Someone else explained that the group often eats dinner together at the nearby steakhouse. Amber and Rob accepted with enthusiasm, welcoming the warm friendliness of the group.

to be continued

 

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Wow!

Check out Johanna Massey’s site today for the great baby quails and family! I wonder how she was able to get so close to them without them running. Precious!

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Trump’s LGBT Pride Month Tweet is a Lie, Hypocrisy and a Threat

Sorry for the personal insults to Jacob, but this is one of rump’s most blatant lies. even though probably penned by one of his well-trained White House lieutenants because I don’ think he’s capable of even faking support for anything.

O-blog-dee-o-blog-da

It is Pride Month and politicians seem to think this is the time to court LGBT votes- even those ‘dispicables’ who tout our demise! Including Donald Trump: In effect Trump is complicit in the ongoing assault, rapes and deaths of LGBT people worldwide.

As many of you know I have been blocked by Donald J. Trump on his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. He blocked me well over a year ago when a tweet of mine went viral. He could not handle the truth – being called a liar!  That said I do receive screenshots of his Tweets from friends, supporters and also through following social media of others.  If you are reading this, I would be very grateful if you would spread my perspective on his latest lie – that being his purported support of LGBT people. His current Tweet about LGBT Pride Month may ring supportive to an ignorant ear…

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