Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It was comforting to be back in the waiting room at the Jewish Board. It had turned out I could have an almost immediate appointment. I went to the window and was told the name of the therapist.

George had said it took him a long time to get to the board and complete his internship so he could begin his practice. The reason, he had said, was that each time he started some training program he was horrified to find how badly messed up the budding therapists were. This new man I am assigned to looks about 40, older than George, so maybe he is a career changer. Unlike Yammer and George he looks like a therapist from central casting. He is a brooding man with black eyes. His first question is why am I here.

And it pours out of me in a torrent of words covering the torrent I have been in. The time not so long ago when I thought I was in a terminal depression. And the time, just a year ago now, when I stared going to ACOA meetings. And the death of Margaret, and the molestation of Lauryn. I ask him, as I had asked George, he if is familiar with Alice Miller. He isn’t. George was. I ask him if he has read the ACOA literature and he seems to have never heard of it. George had not read the literature, but he did after we talked.

Then I forget to wonder about Mr. Lewis. Wave after wave of words come from me. My cousins, the dead and the walking dead. The family bigotry. My childhood in which I was told I was hopelessly defective. My rivalry with my brother, the good twin – and how this year I had discovered how the rivalry was recently being played out in the Philippines where my brother had information that he kept secret though I could easily have been killed.

And I talk of the very recent high pitched sex with Gillian when we were in the north out to get the true story of what she was calling my magic kingdom. I mention the previous trip to New Hampshire when I saw Aunt Alice looking at me like a lover. I throw in an aside about their bigotry, about the English party, and rush on to tell of a childhood in which I was apparently written off as hopelessly dumb and gauche before I overtook my brother in boarding school. There was an aside about my drinking and my mother and father’s drinking. And an aside about the myths surrounding the great man, Gaga, the head of the family. An aside about the grandiosity of the Wasp world in the White Mountains. And the way they were casting Deirdre aside. And the memories about myself that had just come back. And then a quick run-through of the surprising turn into darkness again - a duplicate of past betrayal with Gillian back in the city - as if everything in my early life had just been replayed in the present.

I came to a point to pause. Mr. Lewis looked down, looked up, sat back, trained his black eyes on me and said, “Has it ever occurred to you, Mr. Poole, that what happened in your childhood could be affecting your relationships today?”

I spoke of this, not though not identifying Gillian, at the Thursday Corlears meeting.

“No shit, Sherlock,” the red-headed nurse said.

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