My new therapist is an ex-tv producer
who used to hold business meetings with reality show directors
and actors, and marketing geniuses
only to curl herself in the washroom and cry.
She would take walks,
a cup of coffee in each trembling hand,
just to get away.
She doesn’t mean to tell me this,
she always asks, “What about you?”
But I’m an expert at misdirection,
this is how I know
how my other therapist loved musicals,
but her husband hated it, so she went alone,
how she pored over two volumes of Persepolis in one night,
because it reminded her of me,
how she fretted over which rug to put in her new office,
how she felt overwhelmed by having a new office,
how she thought the panhandler outside sang too loud
and disturbed her clients,
how she thought the retirement home she brought her mom to
how she killed herself shortly after
we stopped seeing each other.
Both of them said I’m always on time with payment.
I don’t want you to listen to me for nothing.
She loves asking me ,”Why,”
And I want her to know,
That it’s not the external that matters –
not the job you can’t have, not the money you don’t have,
not the relationships that broke you.
That’s the easy part.
It’s the living with yourself.
It’s the waking up in the morning and forcing,
with all of your strength,
to get out of bed,
to sludge on to the tasteless coffee,
to slither inside clothes you know doesn’t define you,
to look at the person in the mirror you no longer recognize,
the growing older, the years wasted
trading your soul for the practicality of adulthood,
if you work too much, you get too sick,
if you play too much, you go insane.
In this routine, interpersonal world of
commutes, and plastering smiles while out for drinks with friends,
and sideways glances that tell of wishing I am not here,
it’s the mind, my dear,
it’s the dead, unbeating heart that
performs the final act,
that delivers us to the gods.