A Tragic Wreck
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“Perfect. Thank you, Cheryl. You’re a gem.”
“Olivia? Where did you go?” Dr. Greenstein slowly brought her patient back to earth. Olivia sat staring out at the Boston cityscape, her thoughts revolving around one person again. Alexander. It seemed that all she had been doing lately was thinking about him. The past month had been the happiest in her life. She finally had started to let Alexander in.
Olivia turned her gaze from the office window as snowflakes began to fall in the mid-March sky. “Sorry, doctor. I’m here.”
“I want to go back to something we had started talking about this past Tuesday before you stormed out of here.” She eyed Olivia, waiting to see her reaction.
“I did not storm out of here. I graciously left after I said you were full of shit and had no idea what you were talking about.” Olivia crossed her arms in front of her chest, avoiding the doctor’s eyes.
“Do you really feel that way?” Holding her pen and paper as if ready to write down whatever crazy thing was about to fall out of her mouth next, Dr. Greenstein looked at her.
“No, I don’t. I know I say that a lot.”
“Usually when you know I’m right about something. Olivia, you need to start facing these fears that you have. I know we’ve been working on this for the better part of a decade now but, at some point, I need you to start reaching out of your comfort zone.”
Olivia looked at the doctor, not responding. Her therapist was right. She just didn’t want to admit it, especially to her. She knew Dr. Greenstein just wanted to help her but, sometimes, ignorance was bliss.
“Now, what is it that scares you most about Alexander?”
Olivia exhaled loudly, leaning back against the couch, not really wanting to talk about any of that, but she knew she had to. “I don’t know. That I’m falling in love with him. That he’s going to be taken from me just like everyone else in my life. And, well, I don’t know. I still feel like he’s holding something back from me.”
“Do you think he may be holding something back because he never knows the next time that you'll want to run away? He wants to share things with you and get close to you. He wants to know you. He wants to show you how much he cares about you. If you keep pushing him away, one of these times may be the last time and he might just walk away for good, like he almost did last time.”
Olivia turned her head, not wanting to hear the words coming out of her mouth, the memory of Alexander almost marrying another woman still painful. The doctor got up from her chair and sat next to Olivia on the couch. “If you keep pushing people away, you will end up alone. That’s not much of a life, if you ask me. Just remember how you felt all those months when you left Alexander. Don’t forget that pain, Olivia. Carry that with you as a constant reminder so you don’t do that again.”
Tears started to form in Olivia’s eyes. She fought to contain them as the doctor handed her the tissue box. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” She tried to inch away from Dr. Greenstein.
“Okay. What do you want to talk about?” She got up from the couch and returned to her chair.
“Alexander asked me to the annual charity auction this weekend.”
“And how do you feel about that?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t given him my answer yet.” The doctor started to scratch away at her notepad. “What are you writing?”
“It’s nothing important, but if you want to know…here.” She handed Olivia the notepad. The only things written down were her name, the date, and charity auction. “Happy now?”
“Yes, thank you.” Olivia smiled, handing the paper back. “But if you need to write that I’m a crazy bitch, feel free to do so because I already know that I am.” She laughed, hoping to break the tension that slowly filled the room.
“I don’t like the word ‘crazy’. Why do we go through this every time? Stop deflecting. You know that’s not healthy. Now, getting back to the charity auction. Let’s work through this. I think this is a big step, but one you should take. What are you worried about?”
“Well, I’m worried that it’ll be more than I can handle, ya’ know? I’m worried about not fitting into his world. His mom will be there and I’m worried about meeting her.”
“And is he close to his family?”
“I think so. I mean, he speaks well of everyone, but I don’t think he’s ever forgiven his dad. When Alexander was in high school, his dad was never around. He was always working. And every summer, he would go away the entire three months, missing Alexander’s birthday, to work some protection detail. Apparently, they got into a pretty big fight the night before Alexander left for SEAL training. That was the last time he had seen or really spoken to his father before he died several years later.”
“Do you think he’s still mad at his father, or is he mad at himself?”
“I’m not sure. Why don’t you ask him?” Olivia was getting snarky. That always happened the longer the session went.
“I’m not interested in his opinion. I’m interested in yours.”
“Well, I think it might be a little of both.”
“How did his father die?” she asked, her interest piqued.
“He was on a protection detail. High security. He was protecting the identity of someone. Alexander is unclear of many of the details but, somehow, someone found out that Alexander’s dad was protecting this person’s identity and location. These people tried to get the information out of him, he refused and, after torturing him for days, they killed him. Alexander said his body was worse than anything he had ever seen, even in Afghanistan when he was deployed with the SEALs. And it’s like his father knew something was going to happen because he wrote Alexander a letter days before his abduction and death. He still hasn’t opened it.”
“Hmmm.” The doctor appeared deep in thought. “What do you think is in the letter?”
“I don’t know, but it sits in the top drawer of his desk in his office at home. He says he looks at the envelope every day and thinks about opening it, but doesn’t.”
“It sounds like you both tend to ignore things so you don’t have to confront them. If you really want this relationship to work, I need you to start to confront some of your fears. Maybe this will help him, as well.”