Every morning appears to be as anxious as the previous one. There's never a day I don't wake up discontent with the idea of going to work as a licensed marriage counselor. In the twelve years I've done this kind of work there has not been a time I don't stay awake at night wondering if things could've been different. My job was ironic in the sense that my wife had left me shortly after I had started. She stuck along side me throughout my education. I never would have foreseen my career to disengage my own marriage. As this thought crosses my mind my alarm clock tells me to get out there and start my day.
I trudge out of bed and crawl over to dismiss the alarm. I walk across soiled laundry until I reach the restroom. Looking directly into my eyes in the mirror is always the same. It's no different then looking into a never ending water-well. I wet my face and shave unenthusiastically. Next step was to get dressed, comb my hair, and brush my teeth. I only need to look well. My clients lack of concern for my well being suggested it never mattered if I felt well. I assume it's easier for them to speak with someone they thought had their life together.
It's 9:00 AM and I'm almost ready to go in for work. This used to be the time I opened my office to greet my first pair of clients for the day. That changed after four years. I take the first cup of my coffee and think of how the bitterness foreshadows today's attitude. Who am I kidding, it's the attitude I pick out and wear everyday. It seems to be the only one that fits me these days. Another alarm screams at me to get in my car and drive off.
Walking outside I start to remember how my wife used to make me a cup of coffee and nag me to eat breakfast. She reassured me on the days I felt lost when work would drain my sense of self confidence. I couldn't save every marriage is what she would tell me. I would always get so obsessed over each client's relationship and slowly lessened any focus on my own with Anne. The last thing she told me was this: "You can't save this marriage. You can't save something that's been lost for two years. I'm leaving you." That last encounter echoed like a shout within the hollow cave that is my head and growing louder with each reverberation.
As I place my key into the ignition of my car I stop mid way. No. No, I'm done. Something is coming over me at this point in time. I walk back inside and begin to search for any work related documents. I find them underneath my bed, in my closet, buried in the couch, and inside my brief case. I take all of the papers and bring them outside. After grabbing a shovel from my shed, I start to dig a shallow pit in the ground disregarding my freshly cut grass. A strange feeling comes over me and only gets stronger each time I go to remove a pile of dirt.
This feeling courses throughout my body from my head down to my toes. I can't quite pinpoint how I feel and can only hear whispers in my head:" Relief is near. Continue. Destroy the chains that bind you and all will be fine." Sweat begins to pour down my face and I start shoveling faster. My heart starts to dance sporadically with veins rising to the surface of my forehead and neck. My throat narrows as dust swirls about the air and my breathing becomes difficult. Part of this was from the intensity I used to thrust that shovel into the Earth. This is the first time I had ever felt so alive.
What I was doing felt surreal. Almost completely unbelievable from someone like me. What did that even mean "someone like me"? I would have to say I meant disconnected and dormant. No sense of self and a product of others ambitions. Someone that didn't have their own thoughts or opinions. This is how I would describe myself . That is what circulated my thoughts while I dug my way to sanity.
After thirty minutes of arduous labor I throw every last sheet of nonsense into the pit and soak it in lighter fluid. I stand there a moment and light a cigarette. Seven inhales later I drop the remnants of a dying flame into the pit. I had never seen such a beautiful array of blazing ash. A ring in my pocket shocks me out of my transient state. It's one of my client's. I forwarded the call to voicemail and throw that phone in the smoldering glory before me.
These flames reminded me of the fierce remarks my clients would make as one of the two during a session would run out. The frustration and lack of concern the two individuals would have for one another started to tremor deeply within me. I feel tears sliding down my cheeks. Was I really any different from one of my clients? No, I wasn't. I gave advice that I never seemed to take into account for the short-lived fantasy I had with Anne.
This new found sense of relief provokes me have reminisces of the time I shared with Anne. Her eyes had always glistened with a sense of calm and serenity. She was my friend, my lover, my companion, and more. Like the purge before me, Anne was no different and I realize now it's time to let go. It 's time to move on.
I'm excited to think about getting a new phone, a new job, and a new life. It was unfortunate that as I had helped others over the past twelve years, this was the first time I've helped myself. It felt refreshing. All that was left was to resign from my current job administratively. I don't know what I will do now, but perhaps it would be best to refrain from a career that involves mediation. I am no longer an in-between for others. All it ever did was separate myself from my own reality.