Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
Ah, synchronicity. My email folders were so full that I wasnâ€™t allowed to send another message until I cleaned out the old stuff. So what should I find in a massive deletion Â of ancient Â emails Â but Â an exchange Â with Â the post- divorce counselor whose session notes I found last night while looking for tax data.
It was an email from a couple of days after our not- so-good session. He advised me that I was free to go get laid now, and I should be doing that as much as possible and Â having Â as Â many Â sexual relationshipsÂ Â as Â possible. Thatâ€™s what he did and what he advocated. I protested. I wasnâ€™t looking Â for a revolving door to my bedroom. Â I canâ€™t be like him, flitting from guy to guy with no emotional attachment. Sometimes I wish I could, but if I hold my breath for a little while, I come to my senses and the wish goes away.
The final exchange was a comment that bordered on hateful in tone, and itâ€™s what ended my relationship with him as my counselor. He Â was having a bad day, but he should not have aimed it at me. I got the feeling that he wasnâ€™t talking to me but to the lover heâ€™d just cheated on and admitted to me that heâ€™d cheated on and given me lots of great reasons why it was okay. (Who was counseling whom??? I paid for his time.)
His parting Â wordsÂ of advice? Â That I should Â just go find a man, any man, because the next one might be the one whoâ€™d make me grow up.
Hmmm. So promiscuity is the catalyst for growth?
I run into Bob in the parking lot again and we chat. He mentions how far behind he is at work and all the paperwork heâ€™s had to take Â home Â to work on in the evenings. Heâ€™s been to one social function and he just hated people dragging him out to parties to make him feel bet- ter. Heâ€™s not ready for that. I ask why he wasnâ€™t at the office awards banquet Â on Saturday night and he shrugs it off and tells me that he often goes to bed early on week- end nights rather than brood. But itâ€™s okay because heâ€™s over his ex.
So Â whether Â the Â newest Â evidence Â is Â from Â official sources or eyewitness accounts or even direct from him, whatâ€™s â€œrealâ€ changes. Â Rather than ask directly what the truth is, people try to put together the puzzle pieces-and some pieces are from someone elseâ€™s puzzle and only appear to fit.
A month passes. My lunchmate calls me to her desk. Sheâ€™s got Â news. Bobâ€™s divorce finally showed up in the newspaperâ€™s public records Â section. See? Evidence. The picture Â is Â clearer Â to Â both Â of Â us Â now, Â as Â farÂ as Â whatâ€™s â€œreal.â€
As Iâ€™m leaving the building after hours, I stumble over Bob sitting on a bench in front of my building and staring at the sunset. We talk about his wife and how heâ€™s over her. My instincts say it isnâ€™t true, but he repeatedly denies it and says heâ€™s moved Â on. Iâ€™ve asked the question Â directly, asked it of the source.Â The source has provided evidence of a particular reality that doesnâ€™t match my in- tuition, but I canâ€™t prove my intuition.
As I start to walk away, Bob collapses into deep, heaving sobs. No matter what he says or what the physical evidence says, heâ€™s not over her. Whatâ€™s â€œrealâ€ isnâ€™t about what canÂ be confirmed Â scientifically. Â The Â only proof Â I had of what I suspected was deep in my intuition.
We live with far more illusions that we realize. The only thing thatâ€™s real is how we feel inside.