Dr. Woodrow greets me with a friendly smile as I sit down in front of her. Her office has always been relaxing to me. It’s painted in a mute mint color and the furnishings are understated, yet impeccable. Like the doctor herself. Just being here brings me a feeling of peace.
Today, however, I feel agitated. I don’t really want to be here. I don’t want to talk about my past. I don’t want to be vulnerable.
She tilts her head and studies me long enough to make me fidget. I hate it when she does that. I don’t want her to see into my soul.
“Are you having a bad day?” she asks gently.
“Not really,” I lie. In reality, it’s been a tough day. I chose today to ask Lainey if she would be willing to come in for a session. I sigh inwardly as I remember what happened.
“Can you tell me what the sigh was for?”
I look up sharply. I hadn’t realized I had sighed out loud.
“Today I asked Lainey if she would be willing to come in for a session,” I explain.
“I see. How did that go?”
I sigh again. “It was fine. She was hesitant at first, but asked if it would help me if she did.” I look at the doctor. “I really don’t know if it will, but since you suggested it, I said yes.”
“I think it will,” she states, then waits for me to continue.
“She agreed. I thanked her by hugging her. I didn’t think about it, it was just natural for me.”
“Eve. Lainey is your best friend. Why wouldn’t you feel natural hugging her?”
“Because of everything that has happened between us.”
“I don’t think you should withhold all affection because of that. In fact, I think that would be harmful for you both. It would put an even bigger strain on your relationship.”
“The strain my affection for Lainey puts on Adam is killing me,” I mutter.
She frowns a bit. “Did something else happen between you and Lainey?”
I feel tears start to fill my eyes, and I blink rapidly to keep them at bay. I’m sure I don’t fool the doc, though, since I see her writing in her notebook.
“I almost kissed her.” My confession was said so fast that it almost sounded like a five syllable word.
“What does that mean? What do you see?” I ask irritably. “Please tell me, because I don’t see! I’m in love with my husband! What is it that draws me to Lainey? Please. Help me.” My plea sounds pathetic to my own ears, I can only imagine what the doctor thinks of me.
“Eve, what you felt for Lainey is not going to just go away. It doesn’t just stop. She was the first person you trusted completely. Lainey is the one that helped you begin to break down the walls you built around you.”
I shake my head. “I am married, doc. I love my husband with every fiber of my being. Lainey is married. What we feel is wrong.”
Dr. Woodrow did something she rarely does. She showed her emotions. Her eyes flashed with what I thought was annoyance, and her fingers clenched her pen.
“Eve.” She takes a deep breath, and I can only assume it’s to calm herself down. “You have this notion in your head that life and relationships are black and white. You are letting this guilt about having feelings for Lainey consume you. We will not be able to move forward until you can forgive yourself for being human.”
“Adam walked in when I was hugging Lainey,” I confess softly. “The look on his face shattered me. He tried to hide it, even tried smiling at both of us, but I saw it. I saw the distrust and sadness. How do I forgive myself for that?”
“Did you explain to him why you were hugging Lainey?”
“Of course. But I think it only made things worse.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I asked Lainey before asking him.” I leaned forward, putting my elbows on my knees and burying my face in my hands.
“Why do you think you did that?” dr. Woodrow asks while writing down notes. When I shrug, she continues. “You do know. Don’t come up with an answer that you think will satisfy me, tell me the truth.”
“Because I hate when Adam sees me vulnerable,” I confide. “I know he asked me to come here and talk to you, but knowing that and actually having him here to see me . . . like this . . . ” my voice trails off as that thought makes me extremely uncomfortable.
“How do you think it makes Adam feel when you shut him out like that?”
I know her question wasn’t meant to be mean, but it still felt as though I had just been slugged in the gut. “This isn’t who he fell in love with,” I murmur.
“I beg to differ, Eve. You, are exactly who he fell in love with. Flaws and all. You are also the one he stood beside during everything that happened. Even after learning of your feelings for Lainey.” When I didn’t respond, Dr. Woodrow sighed, wrote a note, and looked up at me again. “Did you ask Adam if he’s willing to sit in on a session?”
“What did he say?”
“He readily agreed.” I raise my head and look at the doc solemnly. “He deserves so much more. He would be better off with someone who can give him all he deserves without all the damn problems.”
“Eve, you just told me that you love Adam with every fiber of your being. You are not whole at the moment, for many different, very legitimate reasons. I think Adam realizes that. You both deserve to live and love without the past hindering you. But I don’t think Adam would be better off without you.” She reaches over and places a comforting hand on my forearm. “He would not be happy without you, Eve. I’ve seen you two together outside of the office enough to know that. You need to give both of you a chance. I would like to see you and Adam next time. Are you ready for that?”
“Adam first?” I ask hesitantly. I want to work this out, and I want Adam to know that I love him completely. But it’s still hard for me to let my vulnerable side show.
“Yes. I think Adam needs this as much as you do, Eve. I believe that one of the reasons you still feel so drawn to Lainey is because you’re still closing a part of yourself off to Adam. A part that you still feel safe only showing Lainey.”
I consider that, then nod. Maybe she’s right. Hell, she is a psychiatrist. Am I ready for this?
“I will ask if he will join me next time.”
Dr. Woodrow smiled brightly. Maybe she thinks this is a breakthrough. I sure hope so. These conflicting feelings, plus not being able to paint is beginning to wear thin.
“Very good. I look forward to speaking with you both next session.” She stands, as do I. “It will be okay, Eve. Remember you’re safe here. Adam wants to be there for you, I think you know that.”
I nod. I do know that. I just have to let him in.
“Thank you, doctor. Have a good night.”