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Old 07-13-2017, 02:24 PM   #76
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If I could do anything for this woman, it would be to give her her self-esteem back - if she ever had any in the first place. I know money doesn't buy happiness (although it can make an incredible down payment...), and she was surely the living embodiment of that phrase.

But I know she has to have gifts of her own somewhere, and right now she needed to discover her own voice and step away from the oppression with which her family seems to like to trap her.

"It doesn't matter to anyone else how the gallery came to be. What matters is what you do with it - how you take it to make it your own. What can you do to make it better? What can you do to make it stand out, a place where every artist and every art lover wants to come back to time and time again?"
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:54 PM   #77
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"You might be right. I just don't know anymore. I'm muddled. Tired." I sighed and turned back the way we had come, and we walked more quickly now. Talking had helped me but I felt increasingly weary and weak, from stress and lack of food.

I was worried about driving myself home- didn't want to fall asleep at the wheel, or zone out. To be completely honest I didn't feel too protective of myself but the idea of hurting some random person in a car accident made me feel deeply sick.

"Could you.... drive me home?" I tried to phrase it in a way that didn't sound like a command, which was difficult for me.
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:47 PM   #78
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Her request surprised me - I knew she must be weary from the events of the past couple of days. Of course, I would drive her home, if she didn't feel safe enough to drive on her own. Protect and serve - it was my duty.

But I didn't want her car left there overnight - I'm not sure any car would be safe, but I'd hate to think what might happen to a Porsche in this neighborhood.

"Of course, Clarissa - I can drive you home. Do you want to leave the keys to your car with me so I can come back and take it to a safe location overnight?"

I looked at her as she pondered the question. I don't think she had thought about leaving the car. We have an impound lot at the station where it would be safe and secure, but it would mean a special trip for her to pick it up at some other time.

As she pondered, I did the same thing. After all the grief this woman has put me through the last few days, why did I suddenly want to help her so much?
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:36 AM   #79
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I felt it was a bit much to ask him to come back again just to take my car away for me. I was well accustomed to telling people to do things for me, but not so deluded that I couldn't see that he wasn't here as my employee. He had come here out of concern for me, and I was touched by that. And a little confused.

"No.... no, that's okay. I'll..... I'll have my father's driver call round to my apartment for the keys, and then he can go and bring the car back. That'll be fine. Thank you."

He opened the passenger-side door for me and I got in, leaning back, weariness washing over me as a tide. I hadn't been in a police car before. First times.
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:58 AM   #80
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I called in to the dispatcher that I was escorting her to her home - standard procedure, log beginning and ending mileage as a means of verification of duty.

We drove in silence - her out of fatigue, among other things, and me in the awkward position of having no idea what to say. Sometimes silence is the best form of communication. I had so many questions, but no idea where to begin.

So as I drove, I thought of my own kids, and compared my parenting to that of Clarissa's. Her family life may be messed up for her, but at least her family was there. I loved my kids to death, but I wasn't there for them. Who was better off?

I decided that neither was acceptable, but like Clarissa, I felt trapped, not able to do anything about it.....
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:38 AM   #81
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The only words were mine, quietly giving the directions. the neighborhoods improved as we got closer, and I wondered what his home was like.I felt more and more curious about his life.

He pulled up at my apartment block and killed the engine, looking up at the well-maintained building. To me it was modest, to my family it was cheap and a little lacking in comforts, but I knew that to a lot of people it was an impossibly expensive high-tech modern apartment, in a wealthy area.

I thanked him for taking me home, and he nodded silently, and I felt suddenly guilty for all the extra trouble my family had given him.

"Would you come up for a coffee, or something to eat?" I felt silly as I offered it- he was on shift, and it wasn't like my job- he couldn't just drop things and do whatever he felt like. But for some reason I didn't want to say goodbye and be alone again.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:06 PM   #82
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Did she mean that? Did she really want me to come in? Or was this just another ploy to "put me in my place," by seeing the fancy building where she lived, and comparing it to my run of the mill two bedroom apartment on the other side of the city, which to her might as well been on another continent?

C'mon, Joe, I thought to myself - she's given you no reason today for you to think that. She's been nothing but polite and honest, and maybe she genuinely is grateful for you driving across the city to bring her home.

So I surprised myself when I said, "Thank you, Clarissa - actually, I could use some water after our long walk." I got on the radio and reported myself as out of service, and then followed her into her complex, already in awe at the trappings this building offered that would never be available where I lived.
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:09 PM   #83
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I was surprised, but glad- and surprised to be glad. He followed me in, I climbed the stairs slowly, unlocked the door and showed him in. I was always quite house-proud and the apartment was perfectly clean, tidy, organised.

Joe looked around and I looked at him. How would my place appear..... a rich girl's luxury or disarmingly modest? I had no idea how it would seem to people on "normal" incomes. I wanted him to like it, to approve of the light decor, the comfortable furnishings. The midnight blue sofa in particular, commissioned by myself to be designed and built specially. Unique.

Excusing myself, I stepped round the corner into the kitchen area, and, selecting a new bag of Salvadoran beans, set about preparing the coffee. My heart was moving quite quickly now. I wasn't sure why.
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:03 PM   #84
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It was clear to see her hand in the way the room was laid out, including the furnishings and the other items she displayed. I could see her hand in it because I was picking up hints of style in her apartment that I had seen at the gallery on the night of the opening. Part of me was a little surprised I could recognize the hints of similarity. That would be the first time in my life I had ever noticed anything like that.

The decor of this apartment was created to be functional, and yet give one a sense of security and belonging in the way the colors melded together and meshed with the layout of the furnishings. It was a very comfortable place to be, even for an average guy like me.

Seeing her apartment, I knew I could never let her step foot into mine. It was as different from this one as night and day.

As she moved about the kitchen, I could sense something in her - almost as if something that had been repressed was trying to find its way out. I was with a far different person in this apartment than the one I was with the morning after the gallery opening. That person wanted to hide and run away from the problems that were present with the missing money. This person today was not hiding at all - in fact, she was going the opposite. She was emerging almost like a chrysalis opens into a butterfly.

Relax, I told myself. She may be lovelier when she's smiling with a spring in her step, but she's still a Barrington, and you're just Joe Average, divorced cop. You are worlds apart, and you always will be. Don't read anything into this happier Clarissa - your hope will beat you down in the end if you're not careful.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:08 PM   #85
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The coffee spilled slightly as I poured it into china cups, and I tried to steady my hand and concentrate. It was ridiculous to be nervous, I was just offering a courtesy to an acquaintance. It was very hospitable of me to invite him her- generous even.

I brought the cups through to the living room and handed him his and he took it with a polite thanks. We stood there awkwardly for a moment, it was yet too hot to drink. At my gesture, he seated himself on the blue sofa and I sat on the chaise-long opposite. I smiled and he smiled back.

"I'm sorry for today," I said. "I don't usually zone out like that. And I don't usually need police help either, I promise. I don't know what you must think of me after all this."
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:18 PM   #86
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I stifled a chuckle as she handed me the china coffee cup. I really didn't know if I could drink coffee out of anything other than a Styrofoam cup. There weren't too many china coffee cups at the precinct.

I listened to her comments. I wished I could figure out a way to get her to drop all pretenses and just be a person for a change. But that might be impossible, since these pretenses have been present with her for her entire life.

"What I think is that you are a smart and talented young woman with a lot on her mind, and it all kind of crashed together at the worst possible time. But you'll bounce back from this, because I think you have the ability to learn and move forward."

I sipped the still-too-hot coffee as she pondered my answer. I was trying to gently build her confidence in herself back up. But I didn't want to come across as dismissive. I've seen enough of that from her dad and brothers to know that Clarissa didn't want it either.
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Old 07-22-2017, 07:37 PM   #87
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"That's nice of you," I said but that didn't cover it. Really I thought it was the kindest thing that had been said to me in years and there was a warmth from hearing someone express belief in me. I still felt embarrassed at being so clearly overwhelmed by a problem that for most people would not even register as a problem. I was wasting my privilege and I knew it and it hurt me.

I wanted to turn the conversation his way because I had had enough of turning over my own life in my head.

"How long..... how long were you and your wife together? If you don't mind my asking?" I glanced nervously at him, trying to detect if he was uncomfortable. "I always wonder what it must be like when something like that doesn't work out."
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:39 AM   #88
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I winced at her question. For one thing, I never expected to hear her ask a question about me and my life. But more importantly, the divorce was recent enough that the thought of the process still caused me pain.

"We were married for 11 years - married the first weekend in June after we received our college degrees, hers in elementary education and mine in criminal justice. We were supposed to have this idyllic life together; college sweethearts marry and have a perfect little family. Guess dreams sometimes don't work out."

I sat there and listened to myself and realized what a hypocritical ass I was being. Here I was telling her that she will be fine and that she is smart and talented enough to do whatever she wants, while I can't even fall in love the right way, which resulted in messing up not only my life, but that of my ex-wife and kids.

I needed to do something - I had to get out of there - the gloom that suddenly hung in her apartment was crushing me. I set my cup down on the end table and stood up.

"Thanks for the coffee, Clarissa. It was lovely. I need to get back to work - please let me know if I can ever help again."
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:28 AM   #89
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11 years.... wow. That seemed an incredible length of time to me. How could two people disentangle themselves after all that time? Without tearing off pieces of themselves in the process? It must have been so painful. Where I came from, people didn't really get divorced. They just found someone else to sleep with on the sly, and lived together with little deals drawn up- who gets what, who gets to sleep with who, how they will conceal their disputes and lack of love from their friends and neighbours.

Joe had fallen out of love and changed things, just like that, apparently. Was that what "normal people" did? It seemed so brutal, so honest and painful and decisive.

I had more questions from him, I wanted to know how it felt, if it hurt, how he thought about her now. I wanted to hear more about someone else's story, and forget my own for a while. But he was suddenly up, placing the cup back on the end table, half of the coffee remaining, and bidding me a polite goodbye.

I barely had a chance to say goodbye before he was gone and I looked around my empty home and ran my fingers through my hair and tried to think. I couldn't and I knew that I needed to eat. Make something to eat, and then shower, and then..... something else. i wasn't sure. Draw something, anything. That would provide some kind of release.

As I looked through my cupboards for something quick to eat, my mind drifted to Joe, wondering what he was going home to after his shift.
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Old 07-23-2017, 05:08 PM   #90
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I couldn't get out of her apartment fast enough. Once on the landing outside her door, I took a big breath, replenishing the air in my lungs that had somehow been squeezed out inside. I hurried on to my cruiser and sat in her parking lot for a few minutes, reviewing what had just happened.

Talking about the end of my marriage had set me off into another episode of wallowing around in self-punishment mode. Things would be so much easier for everybody else if I would just swallow my own pride and go back to Kristy, even though I didn't love her. I couldn't understand why I didn't - she was a beautiful woman, an outstanding mother, a well-loved elementary teacher. And the saddest part of all was that she was still desperately in love with me. She was a catch, and for 11 years, she was mine.

But I didn't love her, even though I don't know why. I had searched my heart and soul since early on in our marriage, trying to answer that question. The longer I went living with a woman I didn't love, the more difficult the situation became, until finally I felt I had to get out, much like I just felt leaving Clarissa's apartment.

That realization caused me to shudder as I drove back to my own precinct. For the first time since my divorce, I was having a normal conversation with a lovely - although somewhat confused - young woman, and all I could do was seize up and run away, much like my marriage. I realized I couldn't spend the rest of my life being afraid to talk to women on a social basis. I had to stop that right now.

So I took a deep breath pulled into a nearby parking lot. I dug out my personal cell phone, and then looked through my notes to find Clarissa's number. I knew it was unethical to use my police data to find a phone number for personal contact, but at this point I didn't care. The way I looked at it, it was now or never to get over this phobia I seemed to be developing.

I began entering letters on the screen - "This is Joe. I'm sorry for leaving like I did. I'd like a chance to meet again, whenever it would work for you. Thanks."

As I pushed the "send" button, I noticed my heart rate had increased. Now all I needed for was for to reject me. I think I would just give up on women all together if that happened....
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Old 07-24-2017, 07:28 PM   #91
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Too-hot water to clean off the events, the troubles, of the day. I followed it with too-cold, wanting the shock from the icy water, asking the shower to wash everything away. I needed to purify, to release.

Walking slowly back to my bedroom, I looked in the mirror for a moment before wrapping the towel around. I'd had a lazy week but several years of consistent exercise had kept me slim and well-toned. I could almost see what some other people saw and I hoped I would one day. Now without makeup, I looked younger- twenty instead of twenty-five. I tried to remember what that had felt like but I couldn't summon the sensation of all of that optimism and hope and adventure. It just wasn't there anymore. Or... perhaps it was. Just buried deep. Darkly beneath.

I sat on the bed and tried to think. I needed to grow up and move forward and try harder and live better and.... some other stuff too probably. Today had been difficult, painful. But talking to Joe.... that had been... nice, and something other than nice. Challenging in an exciting way. Different.

Sitting on the bed, I picked up my phone- pointlessly, compulsively, like we all do. There was an unread message and I prayed it wasn't from my father or one of my brothers. They had the awful talent of reeling me back in whenever I started to drift away. Kind words as a facade, promises and encouragement and I always went for it, always. My mom wasn't the same, but in a way that was worse.... she wasn't above manipulation, she just didn't care enough. I didn't need this tonight.

"This is Joe. I'm sorry for leaving like I did. I'd like a chance to meet again, whenever it would work for you. Thanks."

Sent an hour and a half ago. Thinking wasn't working for me today, my ideas were loops and dead ends and I couldn't find my thread. I decided to act instead, take a risk.

"I'd like that. Why don't you come back, this evening, after your shift? I could make us something. If that works for you."
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Old 07-25-2017, 02:39 AM   #92
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After I got back to my precinct area, all hell broke loose. It's usually quiet on a mid-week evening, but somebody forgot about that tonight. It started to fall apart when we had a high speed chase that ended up with the evading vehicle crashing into a building, causing an incredible amount of damage for a poor unsuspecting business owner who's building was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The last was the worst - a domestic violence call, which statistically are the most dangerous for responding officers. It reminded me that however rough I think I have it, there is always worse.

So it was nearly 11:00 p.m. when I got a chance to relax and check my phone. I was headed to a nearby all-night diner that was friendly to officers by offering discounted food in exchange for an increased number of drive-thru patrols. It was well worth the discount we received. If you like cops and show it like those owners do, cops will like you back and take care of you.

The message waiting on my personal phone changed that plan: "I'd like that. Why don't you come back, this evening, after your shift? I could make us something. If that works for you." I had to scroll up to see what I had asked her. I was obviously surprised that she had responded. I read it again to make sure I was understanding it right - she wanted me to come over after I got done at midnight, so she could make some food for us. I read it a third time - the words did not change.

Once again my brain went into hyperdrive. Clarissa and I might as well been from different planets, we were so far apart in everything in our lives. She lived a life of privilege, I worked extra just so I could send money to my kids. She took exotic vacations with friends, I took my kids to the swimming pool on family night. She pedaled high-priced art for a living. I risked my life protecting the city from reckless drivers and husband who abused their wives.

But I could not run from her, because I was still running from Kristy. I had to stop, and Clarissa would be a good person to help me slow down and enjoy something about life again. When I was there before, she had opened up when she was away from the controlling males in her life. Until she brought up my divorce, I was having a pleasant time.

So against my better judgment, I answered her back - "Is it too late to accept your invitation? I would love to come back and see you."

I sent the message. Part of me hoped that she would ignore it and I wouldn't have to deal with this tonight. But another part of me was on pins and needles, hoping a reply would be coming shortly.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:15 PM   #93
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Joe had left it a long time to reply, and I thought he must be having second thoughts. I was about to get ready and go to be when his message surprised me. I hadn't thought that his shift would run so late.

I hesitated for a moment, considering pretending I was already asleep. I felt tense in a way that I hadn't for quite a long time. Like anything could happen. But I told myself to be bold, and replied to him to confirm. Realising I'd promised to cook something, I hurried into the kitchen and tried to figure out what I could make to satisfy a policeman after a day of god-knows-what.
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:57 AM   #94
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It was just after 12:15 a.m. when I eased the cruiser into the parking area at Clarissa's apartment. At first I felt it was way too late to be doing something like this. But I had double checked her reply to make sure she has indeed invited me over. Once again my insecurities tried to get in the way, but I pushed them down and away for the moment.

I looked at her apartment window and noticed the light was indeed on (occupational hazard - always checking my surroundings). I walked to her door and knocked softly, and when she opened it, I saw her smile. Immediately I felt at peace, as if this was the place I was supposed to be at this moment. It was a feeling I had never experienced before.

As I followed her in, one nagging thought after another was filling my head - why? Why was this happening? How would two completely different people make a relationship work? Was this even a relationship? Maybe we're just two broken people, looking for a little help in the most unlikely of places. Maybe it was fate, and trying to explain it was going against the wishes of the gods.....
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:57 PM   #95
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He hadn't said anything yet, as I led him to the dining room. He looked calm, comfortable. My mental image had been of a tired, bedraggled officer, perhaps bloody from a blow to the head from some criminal, collapsing loudly on my sofa. I wasn't sure why I'd had that idea- faint memories of the way my parents used to talk about the police. Never with any respect- we always had private security to watch over us.

"Please, sit down- I guess you must be exhausted by now," I said, gesturing to a chair at my dining room table. It was a cut slab of dark mahogany, polished and varnished and rich in colour, wide at one end and tapering off into a point at the other. I brought in the large serving dish of vegetable jambalaya I had made and set it down and served him what I thought approximated to a man's portion, and took a smaller one myself. The wine was blood crimson when I poured it and Joe met my eye and smiled and I felt an awful blush warm my face and I wasn't sure what was happening.
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:26 PM   #96
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It was surreal - the peace and calm I felt when I followed her into the apartment. The smells that greeted me were a unique mix - the fine furniture I had previously seen, combined with a delicious aroma of some fine-smelling food that could not have been thrown together quickly.

We didn't speak for a little while, and yet it seemed we were communicating, almost as if we were reading each other's thoughts. There was no rush, no panic to try to impress each other. It was hard to explain, and yet it seemed so right.

Gone for the moment were the nagging doubts that usually plagued me about Clarissa and the fact that we were nothing alike, and that we really knew nothing about the lives we had each lived to that point. Gone was the image I had of her being stifled by her father and brothers, her creative energy strangled and hidden. This was a completely different person than the Clarissa I had met at the gallery.

We smiled and chatted as we ate - me about my shift, her about the apartment, and her plans for something that she had intended to do by now but had not accomplished it. The food was delicious, which surprised me - I incorrectly had figured that a young woman in a lifestyle of plenty would not had to cook a meal if she chose not to. I chastised myself about making improper assumptions about people with insufficient evidence to make a judgment.

I knew I had to go soon, but I didn't want to. I was at peace here - in this apartment that I'd never be able to afford on my own. But it wasn't the apartment - it was the woman who lived here.
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:39 PM   #97
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He was surprisingly easy to talk to. As we ate and drank he told me about his job, painting a wild picture of the deep dark city and the villains and the heroes and the many in between. To me it was another world, from TV and books and though I had known it existed, it was coming through my mind as real and in full colour and it thrilled me.

He questioned me politely about the apartment- drawing me out to talk about how I had chosen it and the way I had furnished it and what it meant to me. His conversation was direct but in such an assuring and gentle way and I felt the urge to tell of all my feelings and difficulties and it was hard to hold back from that, but I did because I felt I needed to. I didn't want to trudge through that swamp on an evening like this. Amid my enjoyment I felt a throb of guilt- I had assumed, without really knowing it until now, that he would not have been someone who could spin a conversation so smoothly, the right questions and the right words and the right silences, knowing when to volunteer an opinion or experience, when to prompt for more detail.... and when to leave a topic alone.

I still wanted to clear something, to know something.

"Joe, I really want to ask you..... what do you of my family, after all you've seen? What do you honestly think? I..... it bothers me and I'd like to have the opinion of someone else. I'm so inside it, so caught up.... I can't see it. I can't see the wood for the trees, I can't get the picture. I... I just don't know how to think about it. Because it's my life. My family is my life."
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Old 07-29-2017, 07:03 PM   #98
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I had no idea what time it was. It was one of those experiences where time really didn't mean anything at all, to either of us. We ate, we talked, we shared....and in the process. I was enjoying this new Clarissa Barrington. At that moment, she wasn't a slave to her money or to the males in her family who did everything they could to keep her under control.

And then she asked THE question. While I didn't expect it tonight, in a way I was glad she asked, because I knew at some point in time I was going to tell her, whether she asked or not. I didn't know where our relationship was - hell, I didn't even know if you could call this a relationship yet. But I knew this was a watershed moment in whatever we had together.

I knew the answer to this question. I knew the answer that very first night at the gallery. In fact, I've hinted at the answer a couple of times when we've been by ourselves.

The sound of the silence was deafening as she waited for my answer. I had two options - first was to play the part of the dumb public servant who has no possible way of understand how families of wealth usually related with each other; the second was to give her the answer she needed to hear, and yet try to do it in a manner that didn't knock her back to where she was when I first met her.

I reached across the table and took one of her hands in mine. With a big sigh, I said, "Tonight, I am enjoying this Clarissa that is sitting here with me, talking and eating and relaxing and just being a great friend. I could honestly spend time with this Clarissa every day, and I don't think I'd ever get tired."

She smiled at me and looked down as I continued. "The Clarissa I met at the gallery is a different person. Now I honestly don't know about your family all that much, only what I've seen the last few days. But what I've seen is upsetting, because I've seen your father and your brothers doing everything they could just to keep you down, almost like they are putting you in YOUR place and not letting you breathe on your own."

I hated to be blunt, but then I would have hated myself if I had not told her what I really thought. I looked into her deep eyes, waiting for her response, praying I'd done the right thing.
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Old 07-29-2017, 07:30 PM   #99
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The truth hurts and the truth hurt me and it was emotional and physical and even though I'd expected it it wasn't nice to hear it said. In my head was one thing, from the lips of another being another. Having what you know and want to deny and bury expressed by someone else in front of you, it isn't easy you know. It doesn't feel good and more than that, it makes it that much harder to deny. It doesn't go back into its box after that, not easily.


I didn't look at him for a while and he was quiet and I knew that he was wondering if he had been too honest. My eyes were burning and I really, really didn't want to cry in front of Joe but a treacherous tear slipped out and rolled itself down my cheek and I wiped it into oblivion and looked back at him, smiled.

"That's how it feels to me sometimes too. I've never been myself. But... I suppose you must feel that way too, sometimes?" As I said it, I wasn't sure if I was right or not. I put my hand on his. "With all of that responsibility, and the problems with your marriage. Not that I know anything about those things.... I don't."
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:38 AM   #100
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She deserved to know. After all, I had learned much about her life, although not through her own will. So as she asked about mine, I felt that she had a right to know what was lurking underneath the hopefully calm and cool surface I projected.

"Kristy and I hit it off from the start, that first year of college. We were immediately best friends, doing things together as our class schedules allowed. We had told each other that neither of us was ready for a relationship that was more than just being friends, and I was fine with that. It was fun and playful and exciting."

"But I guess over time, it moved into something more serious for her. She'd sneak in the little kiss here, the random 'I love you' statement there. At first I ignored it, thinking it was just part of the cuteness that I liked so much about her. But I began to realize it was becoming more, and I started to panic."

"One evening she came over, and I could tell she was crying. She had received a phone call that a member of her family had been hurt in a car accident. She wanted to be there with them, but the distance was just too far. I held her closely, and one thing led to another and we made love for the first time. It was passionate, and I hoped it would be the final push I needed to fall in love with her."

"But it didn't happen. I kept telling myself that it would, that I would grow to love her over time. So we went through the motions - engagement, wedding, two beautiful kids. All that time I knew I wasn't in love, and I was afraid it was never going to happen. It became a marriage of obligation for me - you married her, you had kids with her, you can't leave now, even though you don't love her."

"Finally it got to be too much to bear. I wasn't sleeping. I wasn't being a good police officer. I was diagnosed with stomach ulcers, caused by the stress in which I was living. I knew something had to change, but I could see it wasn't going to be my feelings for her."

"The hardest thing I ever had to do was sit down with Kristy and admit to her that I didn't love her. At first she didn't believe it, but I think she could tell I was serious. We tried counseling together, we tried sleeping in different bedrooms...we tried a lot of things, and I was eager to try all of them because I wanted them to work."

"But it didn't happen, and finally I knew I had to get out. Leaving my kids behind was awful - I still cry every time I pull away from their house after I drop them off. But Kristy is a wonderful mother, and in spite of the fact that I basically walked out of our marriage, we still get along. Well....other than the fact that she calls me all the time, begging me to come home."

As I looked up at Clarissa, I realized two things - one, I had never told that story to anybody, other than Kristy and our counselor, and yet I had no trouble sharing with her; and two - earlier in the afternoon when I had brought here back home from sitting in her car, it was at this point where I had jumped up and left abruptly, feeling as though the walls were closing in on me. Obviously that feeling had gone away, because here I was now, spilling my guts out to Clarissa.

We were two broken people, needing healing without really looking for it. Was that what I was finding comfortable with Clarissa, that we could both bear our souls and not be afraid of each other? It didn't answer any questions I had about why I should not pursue something with her. But maybe just for once, I could follow my feelings instead of my brain. Maybe.....
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