I heard the door open and turned my back to it. The cold draft from the hall swept through the room and I nestled even deeper into the covers. I was annoyed at being disturbed from my slumber and eager to get back to the timeless oblivion of sleep.
Her footsteps were light and quiet, but they irritated me all the more. I wanted her to leave me alone. But I knew she wouldn’t. She never did.
“Get out.” I said.
“No. I am not going anywhere.”
I didn’t answer. Mainly because I knew she was telling the truth – she would sit here and wait indefinitely, damn her – but also because I hoped she’d not disturbed me so much that I couldn’t go back into that dream world and lose myself again.
No such luck. She came over to the bed and sat down carefully on the edge.
God damn her. She was going to pull me out of this nothingness and back into life.
All the sudden I was furious. Anger surged through me though I tried to ignore it and stay in my cocoon. But I could hear her breathe and the sound of it infuriated me.
Why can’t she just leave me alone and mind her own business? I thought. I feel better now than I did. What is it about her that messes everything up? Why won’t she just LET ME BE???
Of course, I knew the answer. It was her job. She could no more leave me alone than I could stop breathing. She would wait and wait and wait. And when she could not wait anymore, she would do it anyway.
I concentrated on my breathing trying to stave off my anger – and extend my hibernation. And then I felt her hand stroke my hair.
“DON’T TOUCH ME”
Yet, even as I snarled at her, I knew I wanted to grab her and hold her tight.
She stood up and backed away carefully, her hands in the air as if I’d pulled a gun on her. I really did not know why I put her through this whole rigmarole. We’d done this before… many times. But this was a process and it had to be followed. She understood that better than I.
All I felt was raw emotion and pain. The other had worked me over good. I did not know how long I had been hibernating this time. There was really no way to know. Time does not exist in this part of the mind.
“Why don’t you leave me alone, you meddling BITCH??”
And with that the dam of internalized venom over flowed and spewed out of me in a turbulent, vitriolic vomit.
I struggled to my feet as rage kidnapped all my senses. I could feel it pouring in hot tears from my eyes, hear it ringing in my ears, taste its bitterness and smell the stink of sweat and fear radiating off me. Yet I seemed blinded, or at least unable to comprehend the little I could see, as I stumbled around the room.
I fell into the desk and wiped all my beautiful research onto the floor and stomped it.
I cursed myself and, eventually, God for my existence.
All the while she watched. Tears ran down her face, but no sound escaped her lips. She allowed me the release unmolested and without judgment.
And then, after the rage had hollowed me out and left me trembling, I fell to my knees and began my confession.
Only then did she come to me. She knelt next to me and stroked my hair. I grabbed her around the waist and held on with everything that was in me as the sins and guilt tumbled from my lips into her lap.
She had heard it all before, I knew. But this was a process. One I had to go through over and over and over, apparently.
When I was done, she rose in front of me, seeming to drift out of my grasp effortlessly, and pulled me up with her. She led me over to the couch, sat me down and produced a basin and cloth from nowhere. As she bathed my face, neck, shoulders and hands, the last remnants of rage, pain and sorrow eased and then left me. My head that had been pounding stilled; my throat, sore from curses, healed; and my eyes, burning and swelling with hot pain, cooled and abated.
“Now. That is over.” She said. “Better?” And I smiled.
I looked over and saw my desk had been restored. My research carefully stacked again, just as I had left it before, I was sure. The entire area was clean and ready for me – as if by magic.
“Why?” I asked. She simply shrugged in response.
There really was no need for her to tell me. I knew everything she knew.
Just as I needed the other’s torment, I needed her healing. Maybe one day I would reach a point where the other did not come. Maybe one day I would not need either of them. But for now I did.
“The other is gone – at least for now. Only you can decide if and when she comes back. Maybe she won’t. I do not know. What I do know is that you have to come out now. You cannot hide in there forever waiting for time to take the reigns out of your hands. Then it will be too late and you will bear the blame for it. And from what I have seen and heard from you, you don’t need any more guilt. You have enough as it is, don’t you think?”
She kissed my cheek and all of the guilt, fear, blame and doubt blinked out of me. All of the sudden, I did not know how I felt.
I just was – and it was wonderful.
She went to the door but turned to me as she opened it.
“I have told you this before. I am telling you now. And I will tell you again if you need me to – you are forgiven.”
And with a slight wisp, she was gone.