(Vern meets up with Tabitha)
I looked out at the number of cars parked at the Luna Fresh Fruit Stand. There were way more than there were last week. I thought to myself as I placed my head down on the Steering wheel.
I looked up and saw a young lady with blonde hair holding a Teacup Chihuahua. Wearing what looked like a tennis outfit, cross from the parking lot heading to the Fruit stand.
I noticed my friend Tabitha making her way towards me from behind them. She opened the door and sat down in the passenger seat. I smelled the coffee in her hands and I instantly reached over and grabbed my cup from my cup holder.
Taking a nice slow sip I realized that my coffee was almost gone. I watched her as she closed the car door and turned towards me."How are you feeling today?" I couldn't help but smile.
She's always working, even though she's not my therapist anymore. I couldn't continue to pay for her services.
She continues to help me which speaks highly of her and makes me respect her even more. Not to mention the fact that she's the closest thing I have to a friend. I'm so grateful that she's still helping me. Even though I’d never let her know that.
I thought, as I gulped the last of my coffee down before placing the empty cup back in the cup holder. "I'm okay, just taking everything one day at a time," I said, as I placed my hands in my lap not wanting to make eye contact. "We talked about this Vern you can't keep avoiding..." I could feel the lecture coming.
So I stopped it before it started by cutting her off. “I know and I'm trying not to but... it’s hard." I blurted as I turned the car off and opened the car door. Grabbing the keys and placing them in my pocket.
I pulled the handle that opened the trunk and waited for the trunk to pop open. As I exited the car, I could feel her hand on my shoulder then she quickly asked me "Are you taking your meds and eating like you're supposed to.
I knew she would not like the answer, but i told her the truth anyway "whenever I can remember. I mean, I'm trying too. I'm just so busy, Like today there is this big meeting that I just must go into the office for." I said, as I sat back in the driver's seat "remember us talking about that Vern?”
“Did you do what I suggested you do?.” Tabitha asked as she took a nice big gulp of her coffee. “Yes, I tried that meditation that you gave me to do last night before I went to bed. It just gave me intense dreams." I said, but I wanted to tell her that I think that had something to do with what is happening to me.
I'm not sure if I should say anything out loud. People will think that I'm crazy. I thought to myself, it’s best to just not say anything. However, who else would I tell my dad?.
He would never understand, I thought as I took a deep breath and after slowly releasing it. I looked down at my fingernails as I spoke.
“Yes it's a little easier for me to sleep during the day, but.. I feel kind of strange at night. Almost like something’s watching me." I instantly stood up and exited the car.
I closed the driver's side door before heading towards the trunk. "Did you tell your doctors what you're telling me?" I heard Tabitha ask as she followed behind me as I opened up the passenger side door.
"No, why would I do that? I don't trust them, Tabitha. You know that...'' I said as I opened the door of the car wider before grabbing a few files.
Before closing the back door back. I walked around her and lifted the hach of the trunk. Entering the code on the keypad, I quickly glanced over at her while I placed the forms in the trunk of my car.
She was wearing a nice white buttoned down shirt and a pair of blue jean pants with black and white sneakers.
She had pulled her light brown shoulder-length hair up in a ponytail in the middle of her head. She was pretty with sky-blue eyes and ebony colored skin, but I felt like she had way too much makeup on.
The orange hue of the makeup wasn’t blending well on her skin. I wonder what she's covering up under all that makeup I thought.
Trying to clear my mind and my thoughts I looked up at the bluest sky I had ever seen. Taking a deep breath and trying to calm my nerves. I couldn’t stop thinking that I should hurry home before the sun goes down.
Everything in me is screaming run, but I'm slowly telling myself that no one is out to get me, but I'm overcome with a crippling fear that someones coming.
I knew this was my anxiety coming back. I could sense it as my negative thoughts seemed to be louder than normal.
I could barely breathe as I stood there. My face was already covered in sweat. As I felt fear all around me. I felt exposed and vulnerable and unable to protect myself.
I didn’t know how long I stood there crying and waiting for this feeling to pass. I don’t know when I sat down on the ground and placed my head in her lap but after a while I felt Tabitha's fingers in my hair and a cool cloth on my forehead.
she was there telling me to breathe as she slowly rubbed my back. "I feel like we should just file another claim with the insurance company and start your sessions back up?" She said as she continued rubbing my back while encouraging me to breathe.
I felt sick as the fear continued to paralyze me. I was trapped in a negative downward spiral. I couldn’t stop myself from feeling like someone was watching me. The pressure to perform was intense as I closed my eyes and embraced the noise that I heard in my head.
Instantly a positive affirmations track that I remembered from years earlier came to mind.I began saying out loud the affirmations that I heard from the recording that I had remembered.
At first I couldn’t hear myself over the noise so I started to sing my favorite song first to get my body to respond. After I sang the chorus a few times I started saying my affirmations.
After a while it was like someone turned off the light and my tears stopped flowing and I was able to calm myself down. I could feel the sweat still forming on my forehead as I sat up and turned my face toward hers. I took a few long deep breaths.
“Jesus, Vern how long has it been since you’ve had your medicine? And I can tell that you still haven’t been leaving your place.” She said as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“You’re just not taking care of yourself Vern and it’s getting worse. You’re Panic attack and anxiety seems to be just as bad as they were on day one. I’m no help to you like this Vern.” She stated as she turned to me shaking her head.
Quickly I said "I just need another prescription for anxiety so that I can make it through this work meeting today.” I stated as I stood up off the pavement and dusted my clothes off before helping her up as well.
“So now I’m your pill dealer? I mean come on Vern you’re not even trying here, I should have known that you needed something. It’s been at least a month since I’ve seen or heard from you.” She said as she placed her hands on her hips.
“What’s really going on? I told you that you could stay with me and you freaked out. Now I see you again only to find out that you haven’t been anywhere this whole time.” She said looking at me with tears in her eyes.
“Just sitting at home with your demons and ghosts and you couldn’t even call me until today of all days and I see you like this.” She stated as she started walking towards the car.
I turned and quickly caught up to her, turning her around to face me before saying “ I would love to try the insurance companys again but we both know that they have already denied us multiple times, and I only need it this one time.” I said
“I know I’ve been gone and at home but this crap is unpredictable and crippling all of these mental things that’s going on inside me. I mean damn, I’m one person and it’s hard sometimes but I’m trying.”
“I don’t care if no one else sees it but the fact that I wake up every day is me surviving and I’m sorry if that isn’t good enough for you. You’re not my pill pusher, you’re my best friend.”
I said as I wiped her tears away not wanting to touch her but I could hear her inner voice screaming hug me, hug me like a child. Longing for attention so I embraced her in a hug.
Wow I’ve never seen her this emotional. I thought as I hugged her. For the first time I could smell something coming off of her.
It smelled sweet like roses. I instantly knew as if I had always had this knowledge that it was compassion. It was spilling off of her in some intense waves as she hugged me.
“I just worry about you, that's all.” She whispered into my neck the feeling alone was foreign to me. I thought as I pulled back and I looked up at Tabitha's face before saying
“then just say that, no need for this dramatic display. You’re my only friend and if anything changed you would be the first to know.” I said
I felt a light breeze that seemed to cool off my face, as I felt the previous attack passing.
Tabithas always telling me it’s about what I tell myself and I know better. I just have to slow down my mind, meditate and listen to myself.
I often wonder who I am and why I am here. What did I do to deserve this life? I thought as I took a deep breath and looked over at Tabitha if she knew all the things that I see and hear all day would she even be my friend? I thought as I watched her turn and started heading towards the car.
"Okay, Vern I’ll do you one better than that.” she said as she walked over to the front seat of the car and opened the door and removed her purse. Closing the front door back she slowly started walking towards me. I could tell that she was thinking about something.
I watched as she dragged her hand out of her purse to show me she already had a bottle of pills. I could feel my sweaty palms already calming down. “just promise me you will get out today.” She said
“I know you had an anxiety attack and I can see that you're getting better at handling them. You have come such a long way" She said as she smiled and slowly offered me the pills. As soon as I reached for them, she quickly pulled her hand back shaking her index finger at me.
"Promise me first, then I'll give you the whole bottle just make sure you only take two at a time." she said as she smiled even bigger "Well i was actually thinking about walking to this meeting today it’s only a few lights away.” I stated
“That's something i haven't done in a long time and i can promise you that right now." I said as I walked closer to her. I'm sure I'll be safe in the daylight, I thought as I did a quick scan of the area.
"Okay, that's better than nothing. How long has it been since the last time that’s happened? She asked as she placed her purse back on her shoulder.
“About a month since the last time I came out to meet you.” I said as I looked at her. She couldn’t hide the amazement on her face. “ so, you have managed to not have them only when you leave your comfort zone, so is this another one to add to the list?” She asked as she looked at me.
“This one I think isn’t a new trigger but an old one that I forgot about when I was a child. That after months of being home now I’m afraid of almost everything and everyone.” I stated as I looked at her and headed back towards the truck of the car.
“Wow.. okay well this can be something that we can discuss in my office tomorrow and I don’t care about the charge I’ll do your session for free you need me and I want take no for an answer" she stated as she smiled at me “So, do you want them or not? that’s the terms” she said as she smiled over at me. “Fine” I said slowly smiling “9am tomorrow no excuse Vern!”
she said as she handed me the prescription pills "okay" I said as I sat on the edge of the trunk and grabbing a bottle of water quickly downed a few pills before looking up at her. she instantly looked down at her watch.
"Wow, it's already noon, I better be going, I don't want any of my clients waiting on me," she said as she embraced me in a hug and quickly whispered in my ear. Her smell had changed somehow, I thought.
"Take care of yourself and call me if you need me for anything, and try to get some type of rest," she said as she released me and looked into my face before heading back across the parking lot and back into the office building where she works.