I walk slowly up to the department store doors, squinting at them through the sun that has beamed down on me as I made my way here. The doors take their time to part for me. Typical I think. The cool air from the shopping center hits me in the face, the store looks empty. It couldn’t be because it’s the middle of the day in the middle of the week. I wander down the towel aisle, the cushion aisle, the blanket aisle, my shoes squeaking on the floors as I turn down each one. Still no one. I’m a tad confused.
I am searching for something, I feel desperate and out of control. Frantic, my heart is hurting and I need it fixed, my brain hardwired for devastation that oozes from my breath as I begin to panic. Anxiety fills my body from my toes, rising slowly to my stomach where It winds me temporarily. It rises and the panic takes over my chest pushing it from the inside out, the anxiety is bursting to be released.
Anxiously I walk to the front of the store. Again I wait for the doors to open and search for a new entrance to the same department store. I find one and stand in front of the doors. Hesitant to go in, knowing that whatever it is i’m searching for could change everything.
Suddenly it becomes clear to me that I need to find a particular woman to help me. I walk in to see hundreds of busy, hectically paced women bustling around. They’re all searching for something as well and I can’t help but feel like they’re hindering my attempt to find the woman with the long blonde hair that for whatever reason I know can help me.
I look across the sea of woman to see her standing across the store with some other women crowded around her. These woman are chattering incessantly at her. They want help with their hair, shoes, and new foundation.
I duck and weave through the women, politely at first, then as the crowd thickens forcefully pushing my way through the bodies as though they are leaves from a tree and I am the rake.
But this woman isn’t a sales lady, she’s my psycologist.
And I know that I am so close to ending it all that I need to see her because my life really does depend on it, because at any moment I will snap and no one will know when it comes and I fear I won’t know when I have gone too far and that will be it.
It’ll be the end of me.
She sees me through the wash of women, watching me. She comes to me, grabs my arm and pulls me off to the side.
Finally. Together. The woman is in her late 40’s with minimal ageing, her hair is long, soft and blonde with scatterings of grey. She’s no taller than me but her slender frame makes her appear taller than she is. She is almost regal, powerful. A king or queen yet humbled and calm.
We’re standing in a cubical now, and she’s speaking to me quietly,
“Excuse me?” I say not quite catching what she says.
“How is your dog?” she asks again
“She’s okay I guess?” I need your help”
She doesn’t look at me but stares at her hands as if to say she can’t help.
She continues to ask me irrelevant questions
“What food does your dog eat?”
“What? I….I need you to help me. I need… something!” I beg her.
“How are the children?”she replies
“I don’t feel myself, I need ….”, I trail off, she isn’t listening
“How are the children?” She repeats “What have they been doing?”
I am desperate, I look into her eyes but she seems empty inside. Automated.
“You can’t help me” I say to myself in desperate acceptance.
I stare at her in disbelief. I beg her again with the anxious fill of tears streaming down my face. The anxiety escapes from my eyes and I feel a glimmer of relief before it fills me again and fades.
The woman brushes her long hair off her face in a long sweeping motion and a flutter of her hands.
She looks at me, unapologetically, as though I barely spoke at all. As though I am a stranger.
The other women in the store are scurrying around me, their chatter filling every corner of the store. Not noticing the woman they so desperately needed before, not aware of who she is anymore. The woman I felt I trusted to help me can’t. Because she can’t hear me. She can no longer see me.
I feel desperate. I stare back up at the woman who I was certain could help me. She’s just standing there lifelessly now, seemingly unresponsive, silently observing the chaos around us.
I slowly sit on the floor and cross my legs in front of her and sob into my hands, my hair falling into my face.
Helpless and alone. In a room full of women.
I wake up, feeling like part of me is missing , I have got to start listening to myself.