The thing about therapy, at least in its effective form, is that it makes you feel things. Things you didn’t expect, and things you had forgotten. Like that one summer when you suddenly realized you had hormones and stalked a boy and then wrote a book about him. You named it, “Getting Over Curls,” and wondered if it would ever make it to the big screen. If it did, you hoped you could afford to buy the rights to “Build Me Up Buttercup” because clearly that would be the film’s anthem.
And while recalling this middle school ditty during one Tuesday morning session you begin to cry because you realize that’s the most action you’ve ever gotten (and you never even touched him). You were the PG kind of stalker. And despite the fact that nearly a decade has passed you are not one step closer to figuring out the whole relationship thing, or yourself.
But every so often you do try to move forward. You embrace chance, go out to a dinner, drink, or mermaid parade, and watch as another one– slowly but surely– bites the dust. You ride the train home alone, listening to Ingrid Michaelson’s “End of the World” and attempt to hold back pockets of tears, but G-d damnit, you can’t.
And when contemplating your next therapy session, you anticipate the inevitable question: “And why do you think you felt that way?” You know the answer, though. Because not since Curls (who distributed your book throughout his public school) have your attempts at romance resulted in anything but loneliness. Loneliness of the urban variety; the kind where you are surrounded by 20 people who claim to have a stake in your well being and all you can think is, “I need a coffee… with rum.”
You realize that the only two people who have any sense of how you feel are retired 70s folklore singers named Simon and Garfunkel. They somehow intuitively knew that the pain of disappointment was worse than that of any another variety, and so they composed “I Am A Rock,” with the deeply moving lyric, “If I never loved I never would have cried.” And while you are quick to tell your Tuesday listener that you have never loved, per se, you still feel the lyric relevant.
But after two months of these sessions you can also predict her response to your 45-min self-deprecating interlude, “And? What’s your solution? Feel like the perpetual fifth wheel as your boyfriend-bound roommates galavant around the city? Take long walks in the West Village and hope to encounter the one straight, single Jewish male roaming about Perry Street?”
And this is when you realize you have 36 hours to think of an appropriate and equally witty comeback.