Tuesday, July 26, 2011

facing my demons - 8

We all have demons that at some point in our lives we must face.

"There's no couch!" I say, jokingly, to Dr. Allery, a rotund woman in her late fifties.

"No. No couch," she smiles. "I don't want my patients falling asleep on me."

She motions me to a leather swivel chair. It feels soft and smells new and I see the reason for the absence of a couch. The cold air and the comfortable chair make me want to fall asleep.

She pulls a thin dossier from her side drawer and opens it. She adjusts her reading glasses so that they sit atop her nose. "Hmmm." She smiles. "This is very interesting," she says as she taps her well-manicured fingernail on the paper in front of her. I had sent her a long e-mail, three pages of single spaced text with small font, explaining the circumstances around which I would like to see her for a consultation.

"Tell me about your father," she says after a while, taking off her glasses and putting them on top of the dossier and leaned back on her high-backed leather chair.

I squint my eyes, not understanding why she would want to know about my father when I needed to understand why I had buried Richard's memories and get upset over them after thirty-some years.

"I don't have a problem with my father." I am telling her the truth in the context of my present problem.

Dr. Allery nods and smiles, but says, "What was he like and what was your relationship with him like?"

Monday, July 25, 2011

facing my demons - 7

We all have demons that at some point in our lives we must face.

I had a recurring dream since I was seven.

In the dream, I am swimming in a large swimming pool with very blue and clear water. Once in a while I would stop and I could see, beyond the trees lush with green leaves and their fruits, the blue waters of Laguna de Bay. The pool slopes down the hill and I wonder how the pool water does not flow out at this sharp slope. Someone jumps on the pool and I am in the middle of an endless sea. There is no land in sight and despite the calming blueness of the water I panic. I try to swim until I get tired but I do not give up. The sky changes from blue to gray as dark clouds gather and a fierce wind blows. I panic some more. Sometimes I feel a force pulling me under but I fight it because I know I must keep my head above water. The force gets stronger. I see Richard swimming calmly a few feet away. I try to call him but no sound comes out of my mouth. When finally he looks at me, his eyes look angry and he swims away. I swim, too, frantically now, but towards the opposite direction. Now I could see the outline of mountains and trees. And an island. I swim towards it but no matter how hard I swim the island just seems to move away. Suddenly, I hear a voice.

"Here," and I see a large white hand.

Just as I am about to grab it, I see Richard, now on a small boat but he is not looking at me.

The force underneath me swirls and I feel myself sinking. I call Richard's name but he turns his head away. I desperately grab at nothingness and the water starts to pull me down.

"Take my hand," I hear the voice again. The voice belongs to an old man with fair skin and a beautiful, engaging smile.

"I can't," I say, but I grabbed his hand anyway.

I forgot about that dream until one day when Richard and I had just finished making love and I remembered it. Richard did not appear in the dream until we started dating. In my culture, we had the belief that dreams were the harbinger of the opposite things to come. He told me he did not believe in dreams and he attributed it to my strained relationship with my father. The conversation was forgotten promptly. It would be months before I would have met Dave and the dream would come back two more times.