The 3 Hardest Things to Say

Once upon a time, I spent my Tuesday mornings huddled on a couch with equally poor posture. I always favored the right side, which sagged a little less. That side was farthest from the window — farthest from the requisite fishbowl, the box of Kleenex, the potted plant. Interesting, to see something so green.

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It took me months to actually go. I’d never worn a hood in my life, but I wore one then. The soft fleece against my cheek made me want to cry. It didn’t take much, in those days. I remember filling out a form in the waiting room, with a graying black dog dozing in a patch of sunlight. He looked very tired. I remember seeing someone I sort of knew, slumped there too, and how quickly we averted each other’s eyes.

I went because I didn’t know what else to do. I went because I was heartbroken and it was my own fault. I went because I was starving, and this was also my own fault, but I didn’t know how to stop. I went because I couldn’t keep myself from running — I mean that literally — and because I was so completely worn out. I went because I was graduating soon, and I was desperate to be done, but not as desperate as I was for four more years, somewhere else. I went because time was moving too slowly, and too quickly, too.

Mostly I went because I thought it might help.

It did, but I wasn’t prepared for how much it would hurt first. I walked home, drenched, and cried for the rest of the afternoon. At around seven I made a slice of my favorite toast, and I didn’t taste a thing.

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It did get better. I went every week for four months. Twice a week at first, then only once, and then just once every other week. All I wanted was something concrete. This is what is wrong with you, and here is how to fix it. I wanted a list of things. All the things. She gave me a journal and a series of prompts. I liked her well enough, but I felt a little bit like I’d been left out to dry. Eventually I realized that she was doing just right. By leaving me clipped to a clothesline — still dripping.

By the time I ran out of things to say, it was spring.

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Now, barely three years later, I’m thinking about going again. For variations on the same themes. (Which feels so unfair, somehow.) I’m thinking about going again, because while making a list in a bakery may be cheaper than therapy, I’m beginning to think I might be asking a lot of a chocolate chip cookie. (No matter how good.)

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Did you know the three hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and help me?

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2 thoughts on “The 3 Hardest Things to Say

  1. Go! It will be good. Remember that when you revisit things, you’re not moving backwards, you’re spiraling upwards — think of a DNA strand, you might be in the same position but you’re several rungs higher. I have someone in the city if you want. xo.

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