A Therapeutic Moment

“Your past is just a story now,” she said, her voice booming with confidence. She saw the look of disbelief on my face and nodded. “Are you saying you’re incapable of turning the page and choosing different behavior? If that’s so, go ahead and surrender to your patterns. It’s over for you.”

I was a little stunned that she was advocating that I give up.

“Get a piece of your crazy chalk, X, go outside, and make a chalk outline of your body, as if you’ve fallen forever. Look at it. That’s what you’re going to leave behind if you don’t make different choices. You know that the number of obstacles that hit you is never going to be zero, so figure out how circumstances are not your actual problem. You are. You wanted clarity and hit-you-in-the-face commentary. There you have it.”

I nodded with an intent look on my face. She wasn’t saying anything I hadn’t heard before. The words, though, were incisive and harsh this time.

She continued. “I read your ‘reset’ promise. You said you’d give it a year. Do that. Every day, make a chalk outline and remind yourself visually that we all are going to end up with unfinished business. Get yours done already. You love to write? Do that. You want a connection that gives you presence and affection without qualification? Get that. If you can’t be successful, I doubt anyone who sees me can be.”

I laughed. “I wish you’d tell me how you REALLY feel.”

I pulled the piece of orange chalk out of my gray jacket pocket, holding it up. “I’ll get started when I leave, right in your parking lot. I hope no one gets the wrong idea.”

“There is no wrong idea. It will either be funny, surprising, or hurtful. You know that you can’t control other people’s filters. Stop trying. What was it you gave me? Like a mouthful of fire, who you are should be impossible to conceal. Your sense of humor is your secret weapon. Focus on that, X.”

After I left the office, I did what usually gives me a secret laugh. I knelt on the pavement and drew a rudimentary chalk outline of a body. I wrote “Yesterday” on the torso.

Somehow, I knew she would nod in approval at the small addition to my drawing.

Almost all of our lives are written in chalk. Entropy and time erase so much – but never the connections and moments we share as memories. Things are transitory, just as we are.

On the way home, I stopped and got nine balloons. I wrote a card that said, “Thank you for being you. -Anonymous.” And I tied them to someone’s car, someone I didn’t know. I laughed, knowing that whoever the car belonged to would find them and be filled with curiosity. And maybe a little glee. I gave them a story, maybe one that would linger forever in their heads.

Love, X

5 thoughts on “A Therapeutic Moment”

  1. This was fantastic! Thank you for sharing, internet stranger.

    Something I do that others find goofy is when waiting for the subway or the bus, I always smile and wave at the driver as they approach. I like to think it makes their day a little brighter, and it delights me whenever I get a wave back.

    Liked by 1 person

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