I walked into Dr. C’s office and after our initial how are you’s I decided to dive right in. I knew I would lose my courage if I waited too long.
“I have something I need to tell you.” I blurted out.
“Please do.” Dr. C responded calmly, knowingly.
“I am having an affair. I mean, I am in love with someone. Not Joel. Not my husband. A wonderful and special man who loves me for who I am. I need you to know because I need to figure this out and move on.” Oh, and please don’t hate me. Or judge me.
“Thank you for being honest with me, Lyla. But more importantly, now you can start being honest with yourself.”
The next 20 minutes are a blur. I am pretty sure I cried through the whole telling of it but Dr. C never did anything but nod. I started with my sadness and moved on to the bright light of my photography class and my friendship with Jill. I told her about how my new friends actually listened to me and wanted to hear what I had to say. I recounted the group’s many discussions and how they made me feel strong and valued. I told her how happy I was when I was with them and how I dreaded going home.
And then I told Dr. C about Jackson. I smiled as I remembered back to the early days and how intently he listened when I spoke, hanging on every word. I recounted our initial flirtation and attraction and broke down in tears telling her about the first time we kissed. They were tears of both guilt and shame, knowing who I was about to become, and tears of joy, remembering how I felt that day, alive for the first time in years. I was desirable and I was worthy.
Dr. C sat for a long time listening before she said anything at all. When I was finally done talking I looked at her and saw something I didn’t expect; sympathy. I had just confessed my shame and betrayal and when I looked at her I saw compassion and concern. I began to sob under the weight of it all and Dr. C reached over and touched my hand. She looked into my eyes and said, “You are brave, Lyla. You are so strong. This is your beginning.”
In between sobs I looked into her eyes and smiled.