So I just ran into Dr. T . . .
Okay, not exactly face to face, but close enough. Closer than we’ve been for six freaking years, since before I filed the lawsuit.
It happened at Whole Foods, just as I figured it would. I don’t normally go there much after 5:00 p.m., because that’s when I’ve seen him there—from a distance, of course. Despite the progress I’ve made in my healing, I’ve chosen to continue to avoid certain places at times when I think I’m more likely to run into him. Like Whole Foods after 5:00.
But today I was on my way home from a healing session and in kind of an altered state (which was maybe a good thing), and thought I’d just pop in and get the few things I needed.
So there I was in the middle of the body care section and I happened to look out right as he was passing the aisle. He looked down the aisle, straight at me, it seemed. But he didn’t react. He did appear to be in a hurry, so it’s quite possible that he didn’t recognize me or that I didn’t register in his brain.
My first thought was, Oh, hey, it’s John. And then, Oh. It’s John. Oh.
What was weird to me was that it was as if only six months had gone by since I’d seen him, not six years. It felt so normal. Like he was an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a while.
Yeah, okay, kind of creepy. Except . . . not.
As it all registered, I stayed exactly where I was, not moving. I half wondered if he would come back and confront me, try to kick my ass (ha!). Nope. Didn’t happen. Though part of me wanted to follow him and see him, I remained standing in the aisle. (You ever feel like that—wanting to follow the person who did these things to you, as if trying to reconcile how someone who could do something so . . . demonic, could also be this “normal” human being? Or feeling compelled to run after them because the little kid inside you still wants to see and be seen by the parent, still thinks that connection was real and, not fully understanding what happened to it, wants to go find the parent, locate them in space and time? It’s as if I go into detective mode, like: Who is this person now? Where does he go? What does he do? What does he really look like? It’s like I need to know him, in real life, outside my idealized memories of him. Concretize him in my mind in this different way. Yeah, something like that.)
Since I didn’t really want to run into him again, I stalled. I walked to the opposite end of the aisle where I had a safe vantage point and stood by the endcap, watching, and noticing what I was and was not feeling.
And there was good news there.
I was not panicking. Or crying. Or freaking out. Or going into shock. I was not even sweating profusely (as I often do when I get triggered).
I could breathe and I could think.
I kept noticing that for a while and wondered what I should do.
Part of me wanted to buy a lot more food. I walked back to the chips aisle, where I picked up and put back several bags of tortilla chips. Instead of going for junky carbs, I managed to contain myself to a simple, small container of hummus. (Well, I am on a budget . . .)
After stalling for about five or ten minutes, I figured it was safe to go to the checkout area. So I did. I did not see him again.
And I remained “fine.”
When I got home, I left a voicemail for my current therapist, who of course is on vacation. (These types of events always seem to happen when my therapists are out of town!) And now I’m sitting here writing this. (Probably the least edited post from me that you will ever read!)
I haven’t been crying or freaking out or stuffing my face with food. I’m breathing and I seem to still be in my body. So maybe I’m okay. Maybe I’m really okay.
Which, all things considered, is a pretty good Christmas present, don’t you think?