I walk into the conference room and sit down across from the client.
He is huge. His muscles have muscles. He is sitting down, hunched over, as if trying to make himself as small as he can.
I start the conversation and have to strain to hear him because he is soft-spoken.
“I need a divorce because I don’t want to hurt her.”
?! “What do you mean?”
There is a battle going on in his mind. His face shows no emotion, but his eyes are brimming with tears he won’t release, and his shoulders sag, no longer held up by the determination that left him long ago.
Over the next few minutes, he tells me his story. He returned home from the war several months ago, a new person. He is not the person his wife married and they both know it. Now suffering from PTSD, he has destroyed his marriage and his wife is afraid of him. He understands. After all, he is afraid of himself.
He tells me, “I have seen things I hope you never see. During the day, I try hard to forget them, and during the night, I close my eyes only for those thoughts to fill the darkness.”
Over the next several minutes, I lay out a map for him, giving him several options, as well as directing him to some places to get help. I can tell by the way he speaks that he loves his wife, and yet...
We finish, and he walks away. I know I won’t see him again. He’s not coming back. He knows what he has to do, but he still has some hope. He wants to wait. Just in case this monster gripping his mind will tire of him and finally let go.
Just in case.