Monday, August 19, 2019

Chapter Seven: Kimberlee

Dr. Sloane and I sat there for about a minute in silence.  I had always had a strong desire for proof and now I could see that I was expecting that desire to be in everyone else.  I was waiting for her to say something else, remembering that she was supposed to interview Kim and me together soon.  Finally I realized that her patience and silence and receptivity were a demand that I respond somehow to the fact that we all take it on faith that everyone else also has experience, that we are all experiencing.

"Is she here?" I finally had the courage to ask.  I see now that it took courage, and as I write this, I wonder why it took courage.  What did I fear?

"She is.  I'm finished interviewing you alone, but if you have any questions before she comes in, now is the time to ask them."

There was another very long pause during which I slowly realized that it was my turn again.  For a few more seconds after realizing that, I enjoyed it.  She was waiting patiently for me in case I had questions.  I couldn't think of any, and I really wanted to see Kim, so I said, "I can't think of any, and I really want to see her."

Dr. Sloane nodded and smiled and concentrated on her phone for a few seconds.  "She'll be here in a minute or so."

She looked at me as if to study my state of mind, and I looked at her the same way.  I think she was the first one to look directly at my eyes, or we did it at the same time, but I was overcome with some kind of connection.  We both smiled and I looked away.

"Thank you," I said, near a whisper.

Kimberlee had come in the front door and was there when I looked up, looking at me the same way Dr. Sloane had.  I stood up to hug her, and she received me warmly and held me long enough that I felt we might be using Dr. Sloane's time inappropriately, but I didn't stop holding her.  Then I felt her kiss my neck and tilt her head back to kiss my cheek and then my lips.

I wasn't ready for the kind of intimacy where I'd kiss her back, especially in front of Dr. Sloane, but I understood it as a very good sign and it made me really happy.

We sat next to each other facing Dr. Sloane and turned toward each other.  We both started speaking at the same time, her saying "How are you doing?" and me saying "What have you been up to?"  She smiled to let me go first.

"I missed you.  I feel weird because, ... I guess because this," I said, curling my hands to point all my fingers at my head and body and sweep down it, "isn't really me.  I think I'm okay though."  I looked at Dr. Sloane for confirmation and she nodded.

Kim said "I was talking to Rod.  He said you were worried that I might think you're just a machine."

"Yeah." I looked at Dr. Sloane for help, and Kim then looked at her too.

"Kimberlee, will you share what you told me was your primary concern?" She asked.

"I said that if he's really here- Okay, wherever he is, I want him to be happy."

"Right," said Dr. Sloane, "and you also said you hoped that- ...?"

"I hope that's really you," she said to me, quietly.  We gazed at each other and then Kim looked at the psychologist, who said "... because ...?"

Kim took a deep breath and blew it out and said, "Because I miss you and you help me so much and... you hold me up."

We sat in silence for a few minutes after I rested my head on her shoulder and held her hand.

I said, "Thanks, babe.  I remember the first time you said that.  And... umm... I'm sorry for my shitty driving skills.  I'll be more careful from now on."  I giggled a little at the end of saying that.

"It's not funny," she said, but Dr. Sloane was visibly stifling her amusement.  Then Kim said, "Okay it's a little funny, but I'll kill you if you do it again.  Kill yourself in a car accident, I mean."

"Yeah," said Dr. Sloane, "I think you two are fine.  Do you have any more questions?"  Neither of us said anything, and she just got up and left.

Chapter Six
Chapter Eight

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