“Megan, would you please leave. Britt and I have to talk.” Joe’s voice was quiet but forceful, leaving no room for argument.
“Can’t help. Joe? Is there something or someone I can get? What’s happened to her, she looks kind of freaky.” Megan’s voice trailed off as she realized the implications of her words.
“No, you called me. That was enough, now please just go.”
My heart felt as if it had stopped and would not continue. Joe’s arms still held me tightly. Megan started to leave, then stopped as she turned to look at me, her eyes full of pity. I wished she would stay to buffer Joe’s anger.
When she was gone, Joe slowly loosened his arms as he talked. I felt wounded by the disappointment in his words and, with downcast head, I sat huddled in a chair, truing not to listen.
“Why, Britt? Thank God I left the number of the restaurant here. Who knows what I would have come home to otherwise. Maybe nothing, but maybe you would have been in the hospital or even dead, But I am here now and you don’t have a secret anymore. Why, why did you do it? Don’t you realize what could have happened?
I tried to answer at last, but my words were all jumbled so I stopped. I couldn’t eve look at Hoe for fear that he could see in my eyes the despair that couldn’t be voiced. The walls were spinning, fading, bulging. “Please,” I thought, “leave me alone, Joe. This can’t be happening. Maybe it’ll go away.”
I don’t remember exactly what happened next. It seemed like I vanished from reality. I know I was there, but I wasn’t a part of what was there. Joe continued talking, yelling at my nothingness. When my eyes again focused on the room – I don’t know how much later – Joe was gone and there was silence.
The next morning began as all mornings begin when you’re feeling insecure – normally. Joe and I ate our breakfast in silence. Morning has never been our time for talking; Joe thinks about worm and I just wait for time to pass. Eight o’clock came and went, Hoe sat, finished with his breakfast, looking at me. I knew that he wanted me to say something about the night before, but I couldn’t.
“I’m staying home today.” Suddenly I felt trapped.
“Why? You’re suppose to meet with Mr. Marlin today, aren’t you?” I still couldn’t look at him, even as I spoke.
“After you zoned out on me last night, I finally gave up trying to talk to you. But I didn’t give up. I called the drug hotline number and they advised that you see a doctor right away. On their recommendation, I’ve made an appointment for you to see a Dr. Shane this morning. I’m here to see that you make that appointment. maybe you’ll listen to him since you won’t listen to me.”
“I’m not going anywhere. There’s no reason for me to see a doctor. Fine, you found me tripping. But why not? What’s there for me to do all day? Babysit? Huh! School? I’d go if I knew for what, but I won’t wast my time guessing. Just leave me alone – leave me alone!” My outburst ended with me shoving back my chair and I almost fell over it in my hurry to escape from the room. As I scrambled for the door, Joe quickly stood up to stop me.
“Sit down.” Joe said it as if there was really nothing else for me to do. I sat.
“Britt, please. I don’t have time to play your games. This was the third time I found you tripping and I can’t guess how many other times there were that I don’t know about. I can’t fool myself any longer that you really meant to keep your promise and quit. Obviously you won’t. I said before that if you wouldn’t quit I would take you to see a doctor. Well, that time is here now. Maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time with work, and more with you, but if I’m going to do the work I do, and be good at it, then I need to put in a lot of time. You know that. You knew it would be like that when we got married. And God knows we’ve talked about it enough. I just don’t know what you expect me to do. Megan’s going to go with you today to Dr. Shane’s office. She wants to help you and I have some work to take care of here at home. She’ll be here soon. You should be glad that you have people around who care enough about you to help.”
I really had no choice in the matter. It was clear that no matter what I promised, Joe would not let the issue drop this time. Why hadn’t I been more careful and locked the doors? I felt as if Hoe was ready to leave me and walk out of our marriage because of the failure I seemed to be. This frightened me. “Please Joe, don’t leave me. I need your help and I know you want to help me, but I don’t want to quit,” I whispered to myself.
Megan showed up promptly at 8:45, a cheerful smile and a hug could not hide the worried glances she shot at Joe.
I pictured Dr. Shane as some young shrink who felt it was his duty to help others but was more interested in his golf handicap. Wrong as always.
He was about fifty years old, graying and beginning to wrinkle. He presented more of a fatherly image than that of someone who was about to poke and prod into my mind. I was told that we would meet once a week and that no escort would be needed. Trust was very important. Just talking to him made me feel a little better, not much, but a little. I thought that maybe i could change. I still didn’t want to see a shrink, but it seemed that I would lose Joe if I didn’t.
That first session wasn’t too bad. Dr. Shane was mainly interested in what had happened to bring me to see him. He listened patiently while I told him what I remembered about the previous night. I didn’t tell him how depressed I’d been feeling and he didn’t ask. The session ended with him asking me to return in a week so that we could both look at my actions. he would have some question to ask me then. He also said that I could always call him if I needed to talk, but I never did. Reluctantly, I agreed to return. I felt that by seeing Dr. Shane I could keep Hoe happy with me. Everything was for Joe. Hes love was one of the few things in my life that seemed secure, but I seemed to be trying to break even that.
Joe said that I must try to get away from drug for myself. but “I” didn’t matter that much to me. I thought that by going to these sessions, Joe would see that I loved him – I really do – but I didn’t really want to go.