I lay down in bed next to Carol. I was already feeling very little sympathy for her being upset at Rick’s presence. She talked and I listened, staring up at the ceiling.
“Rick wants to come back… to his job,” Carol said.
“They want to bring him back. I wish he’d just go away! Why can’t he just not be around!” She said. I got up and closed the bedroom door and lay back down on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
“It’s not fair how he gets to have every chance in the world! If he wasn’t their son, he’d be gone!” Her voice began to break. I didn’t look but I knew the tears had come. “I have worked so hard to get where I am. I worked my ass off for them! And he’s just going to come back and ruin everything!
Phil says I won’t be working for him. That’d I’d still have his job. That he’d be on the same level as me but doing other things. But I’m still going to have to deal with him! Why can’t he just be gone? I wish he’d just quietly go away. I’ve been sick to my stomach ALL DAY. I can’t deal with this!”
Silence. I guessed it was my turn to talk. I continued looking up at the ceiling, fingers interlocked behind my head.
“So, what did you say to Phil?” I asked.
“I told him if Rick comes back, I’m going to find another job. Phil agrees that Rick shouldn’t be there but his hands are tied. He says, ‘maybe he’ll just do some maintenance for now.’ He shouldn’t be working there at all. None of the managers like him. None of them want him there!”
“So, he told you Rick’s coming back and when you threatened to leave, he tried to downplay what Rick would be doing? What did you say?”
“I told him I can’t work there with Rick there AT ALL.”
“Has Rick tried to contact you then?”
“Well, he sent a text earlier today saying, ‘I hope it’s okay that I’m coming back.’ So when he came to the store tonight, he asked why I didn’t reply to his text. I said, ‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ then I hid in my office.”
“Why don’t you have his number blocked?”
“I had it blocked before but when he came back to work for that short time, I had to unblock him for work.”
“But you got him removed from his job. Why didn’t you block him then?” My questions came out quickly and without emotion.
“Because he had no reason to contact me, I just didn’t think…”
“You said you had no reason to talk to him again and you could block his number again.”
“Well, I don’t know… I just didn’t think I needed to anymore…”
“Why didn’t you tell me he texted you?”
“Because Phil came and talked to me first. It was later in the afternoon when Rick texted me.”
“Has he tried to contact you in any other way?”
“Not since he was removed from his job.”
“You see how hard it is for me to begin to trust you again, when I have to ask first before you tell me about Rick texting you?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m sorry. I was getting to that.”
“You have to tell me what happens when it happens. Any attempt at contact, I need to know about. If you want me to develop trust for you, I have to hear this things from you first. Not from me probing for details.”
Carol was very upset and wanted to vent to me but since she was talking about Rick, I was not feeling very supportive. All I could think of was that she found him good enough to sleep with and now him being around makes her sick to her stomach. How did she get from one point to another and then to yet another?
“I just don’t understand how this all happened. I’m missing details here. The things I don’t want to ask outside of counselling.”
Before long, I’d be firing off questions, one after another but before we got too far into it, I did open up a little and tell her how I was feeling.
“I feel like that ball of darkness in your stomach that you don’t have anymore, you just passed to me. I feel like I’ve lost so much of myself. That I’m just pretending to be a person.”
“It doesn’t feel good, being fake all the time,” Carol responded.
“I feel like a ghost. There are things that I hope to get back. I want to enjoy making music, watching shows, playing video games. But I’m also glad that I don’t feel things as strongly, so I don’t get hurt so much. You were the last person I trusted. Now I don’t trust anyone. A blogger told me I should be vulnerable and tell you these things but I don’t want to open up anymore because I’m tired of getting hurt. But I am sharing this with you now. I feel like there’s a monster inside me and I want to hurt people. It used to upset me but now I don’t mind seeing people suffer. I don’t think I’d ever actually go and hurt people but I wonder if it’s mainly fear of consequences now more than feeling what is right. I think my feelings will come back stronger in the future if I learn to trust again.”
I continued sharing while she listened. I still felt very little but maybe I could also feel a little bit of weight being lifted off me. Maybe.
“There are things about me that have changed that I hope don’t change back. Earlier this year I was doing online tests and considering making appointments because I thought I might have Asperger’s. My social anxiety had gotten so bad and I was beginning to believe that I could not read people at all. Something felt so terribly wrong but I thought I just couldn’t read you, that everything was alright. Now I’m more confident and sure of myself. I have less social anxiety. I do most of the driving. I don’t want those things to go away. But I want my joy from hobbies to come back, and sometimes I want my emotions to come back too. I don’t feel as much, but I know I love you.”
This was my confession about the darkness in me now. The rest of the conversation was so long and in depth and bounced around so much, I don’t know how I’m going to transcribe it.
I will try.