Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The MOST Well-Deserved Thank You Gift

His neighborhood was close to mine, but as vastly different as night and day.  Houses lined both sides of his block, regular,run of the mill houses showing signs of actual life and use.  His lawn even had a tipped over bicycle.

I rang the doorbell and then stood in cool nightfall.  The sun was fading and the temperature was dropping. I suddenly longed for a sweatshirt.

The door opened and a little boy stood there.  He was cute and wore glasses. "Hello," he said. I asked if his dad was home.  "Yea".  Then he left me standing there by the open door.

He came to the door a few minutes later.  If I was hoping to catch him in shorts and a Grateful Dead t-shirt, i was mistaken.  He looked just like he always did.  When he saw me, I caught the briefest of hesitation.  "Cymbaline," he said, "come in".

He sat me in his well worn, comfortable living room and asked how I had found his unlisted address.  I told him the internet is a wonderful tool.  All around us were signs of a very used, but well kept, home.  I asked him how many kids he had.  Six.  Wow.  I told him it was weird I didn't know that.  He smiled.  "We usually talk about you, no?"  Touche.

"I'm almost afraid to ask, but what can I do for you?" he asks.  A ghost of a smile plays on his lips.

"Nothing," I reply.  "I have something for you."  A gift.  I reach out the bag i am holding. It's a fancy looking bag from a fancy sounding store.

"He's already shaking his head.  "I can't take anything from you.  You know that."

"Yes you can.  Well you can now at any rate," I amend.

***************************************************************************

Twenty four hours earlier I am sitting in his office.  I have the last appointment of the day. My favorite appointment because no one is rushing me in or out.  The last appointment of the day always feels more leisurely.  And since I am one of his older patients, I usually get it.

He's been treating me weirdly all night though. I can sense something off.  I assumed he was tired and ready to call it quits.

I finish talking.  He stares at me.

"Well?" I say.  "Nothing wise to add?  Or are you saving the big reveal for next time?"

He looks at me as if for the very first time.  He's quiet for what seems like a few minutes though it was probably just a few seconds.  "Cymbaline you're fired."

I look at him, head tilted, trying to understand the deep lesson i am supposed to take from him.  I shrug.  "I give up," I say.

"No," he smiles.  "You don't get it.  You're done.  We are done.  There's no next time.  Simply put, there's no reason for you to come anymore."

You ever feel panic welling up inside you?  well that's what I felt in this moment.  "You can't just abandon me," I say, my voice several octaves higher than I wanted it to be.

"Abandon you?  Do you realize you have spoken the whole session?  You told me how you were feeling, you told me what was bothering you, you explained to me WHY these things are bothering you and how you were going to deal with them.  I didn't say anything."

"That's because you have me well trained."

He shook his head.  Gently but firmly.  "That's because you don't need me anymore."

We argue back and forth for a while.  But my heart isn't in it.  He's right and I know it.  I just wanted the safety net.  I like knowing he's there if I need him. 

And there's no shame in realizing that you have become better than you once were.

Finally, I smile sweetly. "I'm going to start stalking you like one of those crazy people."

He smiles back.  "I'll just have you committed."

Yes, we have that kind of relationship.

**************************************************************************

He's still shaking his head.  He doesn't want my gift.  But I'm firm.  "Doc," I say. "You saved my life.  There's no gift I can give you that can ever repay what I owe you.  You saved my life.  I'd be dead now or as good as dead, without you to guide me back.  I got this for you to say thank you. I paid for it with my own money.  Please."

In the end, he took the gift.  He introduced me to his wife and he gave me his home phone number ("you probably already have it anyway," he says with mock grugingly).  "I won't give you my cell or my wife will get jealous," he jokes.  His wife is there when he says it and she doesn't look particularly worried.

In the end, he took the gift.  Whatever it was it can never, and will never, signify what this man has done for me.  He saved my life.  I owe him pretty much everything.  Whatever I have become, no matter how great or small, is due to him.

So, all in all, a well deserved gift.

6 comments:

  1. Awww :)

    Also, you are a creepy stalker-patient! Yay!

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. ALSO don't you dare stop blogging. Or if for some bizarre reason you do stop blogging, don't stop gchatting me.

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  4. Malka - you will never be "unknown" to me.

    My time as a creepy stalker was, sadly, incredibly short. But it was loads of fun!!

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