Client C1A.84 - Session 3


(Beep. Music fades in)

The young woman whose hair that fluctuates between blonde and brunette didn’t just struggle with business calculus, did she? She struggled with feelings of aimlessness, of being adrift in an endless ocean. But not in a cliched way. But in a way that felt personal to her. She used to watch the ocean when she was at her family’s summer house each year. It was a way to pass the time during those weeks when she didn’t have the rigor of her academic life to ground her.

She took her education seriously enough during her time at university, but it didn’t help so much. In university she was more free than she had ever been, only to find that it was freedom she struggled to handle. She could do anything, and yet, she wasn’t doing it well. Not like everyone else. They were all thriving. She wasn’t, but rather than fixing that, she spent all her time worried about how obvious it was.

Now, as your narrator, I would venture to say that it wasn’t as obvious as this young woman might have feared. After all, there were others who felt that way. Many, in fact. And no one, especially not her knew it. They hid it just as well as she did. Not that the effort yielded much but a gilded image and overwhelming paranoia.

The young woman whose hair fluctuated between blonde and brunette experienced an added side effect: the perception of loneliness made real by her withdrawing from her peers, from her friends, from her family, and from --well--everyone.

Business Calc, as the kids would call it, made everything worse. Or at least, it made it all so much more obvious. It was the first class she had ever truly struggled in. Her veneer of academic mastery was fading quickly, further wiped away by what felt like--how did you put it at the time--a torrential downpour of misery and despair? Poetic. You did not want anyone to see what was underneath that facade, did you? To see you? Not that you knew what was underneath and could therefore make an informed decision.

You were just doing the best you could. I understand. I probably would have done the same thing. A lot of people did.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

When he sat beside her on the day he finally had the nerve and expertise to act on his plan, she was startled at first. It was a new face that hadn’t inhabited that seat before. There was no formal seating chart, yes, but university students--and all people in fact--have their habits. You did too. They are comforting after all. It’s one of the few things an overwhelmed student can control. Like you were. Especially like you were.

He saw the expression on your face and understood. It helped that you have always been a bit more emotive than everyone else. He saw you were caught off-guard by his sudden appearance in that space and didn’t know how to proceed from there. He hadn’t considered that part. So he simply smiled. And even though the plan had been to introduce himself, he didn’t. He kept back. He gave you space.

And you were happy about that. It was a relief and endearing.

He could be patient. In time, he knew you would speak. And he wasn’t wrong about that.

(Music fades  out and new music fades in)

Is it hard being around him now? Or is it like the two of you are on different planes of existence? Does it feel like you are living parallel lives that happen to be trapped together on a contained grid. You’ll never come together, but you'll drift further apart.

That’s what it feels like, right? But then you look around and see the overlap between your lives, and that metaphor doesn't make sense anymore. But it can be adapted. It's almost like if you took out graph paper and drew two parallel lines on it with a pen, a strong pen that couldn’t contain itself. The resulting bleeding creates an artificial connection between two entities meant to be distinct.

But there’s something permanent about ink, right? How could you ever begin to pull the lines apart. But that’s this metaphor. Not your life. And I need to remind you that there is a difference.

Take stock. Not even of what it yours but where you are in the apartment. You aren’t in the coffee kept out of your reach or the guitar amp you begged him not to buy until he had more time to devote to this desired hobby. It lays around now, in front of your bookshelf, intruding on what is your space.

What about the plants he never looks at never mind tends to? Not that you ever wanted him to touch them. But sometimes you need him to be in the moment with you. Like when your favorite succulent was dying, and you couldn’t figure out why. Did he even glance in your direction as you spoke? As you voiced your fears for the first time

You always struggled to articulate that part of you. And just when it seemed like you were making some sort of progress. Nothing. That was your reward. Nothing.


Would it surprise you to hear that he knows something is wrong? Because he does, but he thinks space and silence is something vaguely akin to a solution. After all, it worked before. And there might not be another option this time.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

He waited for a chance. It was something that was easy for him to do. partially because that he was still getting something out of it. There was a particular wish to be around her, around the woman whose hair fluctuated between blonde and brunette. There was a thrill that came from being close to her--this vision of a bygone dream with the unkept curls.

That lecture was a particularly bad one for her, though many of them were bad and she wouldn’t remember--no one would--what the topic of that particular session was. She does remember furiously tapping her pen against her notebook, doesn’t she? As a pen, it wasn’t very good at holding its ink back, and with each tap, spots would fall onto her paper, to be smudged each and every one of time she moved her hand or turned her wrist.

When her hands ran across the cool ink for not the first time, she started wondering if this was where she had gone wrong. Was it simply a matter of her chosen writing utensil? Was this the thing that had sent her life awry? Out of desperation and its mirror--unfounded hope--she reached for her backpack as if a solution would be inside. Despite the very relevant fact that she never used pencils. Not since her sophomore year in high school. And this was a brand new backpack.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

You know I had an epiphany about myself the other day. Or it felt like one. Personally, I hate transitions. Which is not particularly noteworthy.

The old saying is something about the devil you know being preferable to the one you don’t, but that doesn’t seem like a great illustration. Because sometimes they aren’t both devils. In fact, maybe neither is one, some could say. I should say. I need to say.

It’s complicated, you would say. And that might appear to make a decision more difficult but also not.


A familiar presence is grounding--for better or worse. It’s an anchor to the earth, to the moment.

You had concerns about him, right? Even from that first moment. But he wasn’t threatening in anyway. He was just there when someone else could have been a better fit. And there’s no sin in that. It’s not that nothing is wrong but that nothing malicious has happened. Not from those who acted but yes maybe from those who lied. Those who spoke untruths because of the comfort they found in believing their words were insignificant.

He’s still there. When maybe someone else would be a better fit. Or no one. Or just you.

But how well will that go over with other people. (Pause). We both know the answer to that. But I also know how badly you don’t want to answer that. Not yet. So don’t. Not right now anyway. I think I need to give you time to think about it.

(Music fades out. Beep.)