Friday, November 9, 2012

Control

It’s the end of the day and this meeting is supposed to be routine. I’m supposed to go over the papers and explain what happens next. The client is supposed to sign the papers, express relief that the process is almost over, and then go home.

It almost goes according to script. She sat there with a smile, her back kept straight, and her head held high. Drawing on years of experience in high-pressure jobs, she sought to portray the image of a successful woman, in control.

She almost made it.

Just as the waves of the incoming tide go higher and higher, eventually, her emotions surprised even her, as they came crashing over the wall she had so carefully built. She apologized again and again, covering her face with her hands, almost as if by doing so, she would disappear into some quiet place of peace.  And just as suddenly, the dam broke.  Her story poured out, in between sobs.

This week was supposed to be different. And yet, here she is. Alone. Somewhere in her house is a box of invitations, no longer needed. The dress in the closet will not be worn. Guests from out of town are headed back, taking with them different memories than they expected.  Plans for a future together have been replaced with debts of the present, now hers alone.  She has many questions, but no answers.  She cries out, but gets silence in return.  It's a dark, hopeless, lonely place.

But she cannot dwell there. Years of acting have made such a place uncomfortable for her.

With a strong effort, she gathered herself, pushed back the tide, and placed the smile back on her face. The papers were explained and signed. She stood up, offered a confident handshake, a firm smile and headed out the door.

I headed back to my office, deep in thought, thinking of the old Twila Paris song:

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

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