I don't know how it started, this drinking habit of mine. All I know is that it helped immensely with 'solving' problems. Like so many others, I used alcohol to escape from myself, from the fear of confronting my past. I drowned out all the voices telling me what I should be doing, what I've done wrong, why I was who I was.
Drinking made me feel like I could stand being in my own skin, and every once in a while I could open up and express those horrible emotions and experiences that I had pushed so deep down.
I don't pity who I am, nor do I feel sorry for myself, so neither should you. I just deal with life differently to others, I take one day at a time and when I'm ready to tell my twisted tale of that which has plagued me, I will know and only then will I share it.
My name is Daneia, I work as a shop assistant in a small boutique called Bare Essentials in Subiaco where I spend most of my time fraternising with customers and 'creating' new clothing in the room out back. I'm just your average run of the mill 20 year old, who has unfortunately lost enthusiasm for the 'nightclubbing' scene and prefers to pub it.
I now had my eyes closed and was holding my breath, trying to keep from anything stupid being blurted out my mouth. Slowly I opened my eyes but he was still there, perusing through women’s lingerie located at the front of the shop, every so often slipping a gaze toward the counter. Toward me.
"Yum," came a breathless whisper behind me, it was Alice, the young spunky owner of the shop.
A sigh escaped my pursed lips. I agreed whole heartedly with Alice's comment. This stranger was definitely delicious. He was over six feet tall with short, straight blonde hair, deep-set blue eyes, which made me reminisce of the ocean floor, and an athlete's body. He looked to be early to mid twenties. He was dressed in jeans, sneakers and a rippled, black singlet that accentuated, well, everything.
This wasn't the first time that he had stopped to browse in the shop. Only for a few moments though before losing face and taking off. So no one ever had the chance to 'assist' him.
"Why don't you stop drooling and offer some assistance to our customer?" Alice spoke softly into my ear.
I opened my mouth but nothing came out, my heart was thumping against my rib cage and my eyes widened as I started to shake my head.
"I...no, I couldn't. He's, he's..."
Alice pushed me into the direction of this stranger, "Do your job or I'll be forced to fire you," she replied grinning like a cheshire cat.
Stumbling forward I managed to straighten my posture and plaster a smile on my face before I finally reached the customer.
"Excuse me, would you like some help?"
He turned to face me, holding in his hand a lace thong. My faced burned out of embarrassment as I took the article of clothing out of his hand.
"I don't think this would fit you."
The words practically fell out of my mouth before I could stop them. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Although I was completely shamed with a bright red face, he seemed un-nerved as he casually leaned towards me, reclaiming the underwear. His knuckles slightly brushing against bare skin, sending a warm jolt through my body.
"I'm really sorry to confuse you but these aren't for me," he grinned sheepishly, revealing pearly white teeth, "There actually not for anyone. Truth be told, I've been coming in here the past few days to, uh, see you."
My mouth inadvertently hung open, a gapping hole of disbelief. No one had ever paid this much attention or gone out of their way to see me. Little ol' Daneia, the girl with both boobs and nose too big for her body.
Hey, maybe I've finally grown the rest of my body to match!
I stood in my own little world, conversing with myself for goodness knows how long, before I realised that he was still talking.
"...If you're not doing anything tonight, would it be improper if I asked you to dinner?"
Alice sensing that somehow I'd screw up my reply or say no, cut into the conversation before I could re-open my mouth.
"Tonight is fine, great, here's Daneia's number," speaking brusquely Alice handed him one of my rare to be seen business cards that I had never wanted made in the first place. "What was your name?"
Taken back by the intrusion, he answered, "Timothy."
"That's a great name. Really. Pick her up at 7.00pm, her details are on the card"
Sensing the end of a short conversation, Timothy leaned to one side, glancing into my averted eyes, "I guess I'll see you at 7 then."
I smiled, a grin that reached from ear to ear, "I guess so."
He nodded, turned and strode calmly out of the boutique.
"Tell me Daneia, why have you specifically told me this memory of yours?" Came a soft monotone voice.
I opened my eyes and looked across the room at Lorrell, my therapist who for an older lady looked quiet youthful and full of life. She was dressed in a grey pant suite with a standard white button down shirt. Perched casually on a suede arm chair with notebook in hand, Lorrell looked elegant and sophisticated, both of which I was not. Both which I would love to be, even in the slightest.
"I'm not sure," I replied, lazily.
"Take a moment to think, to search deep down for a reason why this memory seems prominent in your mind."
"It was the day that I met Tim. I love him. He makes me happy, and I feel complete with him. I guess, looking back to that day, it was something of a turning point."
"Why a turning point?"
"He was the first man I loved, outside of my family. We've been together for over 4 years and I need and rely on him as much as he does me. I couldn't imagine life without him."
"Have you ever had trust issues with men, for example your father?"
I faltered, thinking back, searching.
"No, I don't think so."
Lorrell turned the page of her notebook.
"What is your relationship like, with your parents?"
Once again I faltered, feeling uncomfortable about discussing my parents.
Silence. Her eyes probed me as if trying to uncover some lost secret.
"I love my parents. They both have their faults but they are of course only human.” Pause.” I see them almost every weekend. I don't know what else to say really."
"That's ok. What were they like growing up?"
"Quite strict. I have two older brothers so naturally they were protective over me. Though while I was younger I didn't get much attention as they were more focused on my brothers because they were, well quite troublesome. As I got older I did get more attention from them although things always had to be done their way. I never fought against it, I did it because they knew best and I just didn't want to disappoint them. As I got older, we began to clash as I wanted to do things my way, but I didn't push for what I wanted and I guess I just yielded. That’s when I met Tim and living under the same roof with mum and dad became harder as I craved independence. Tim had unconsciously shown me a different way of living, which was what I needed at the time," I inadvertently smiled, remembering that experience as if it has just passed.
"Looking back, was there any significant event or occurrence that could possibly alter you life, for better or worse?"
I promptly shook my head, "No."
Lorrell glanced up at me and speaking slowly said, "Are you sure?"
A slight pain shot up the back of my neck and I closed my eyes. "Y...yes, yes I'm sure."
Looking back down she make a furious note before closing her book.
"Ok we'll leave it there for today and I will see you again next week."
After setting a time for our next session I stepped out of the small building, shielding my eyes from the bright sun. I walked forward then turned back and gazed at Lorrell's office. It was a beautiful building, old and rustic. Comfortable. Most likely it started out as somebody's home.
It reminded me of my parent’s house, of safety, warmth. Someday I would have a home just like it. With creeping vines, winding slowly up a chipped, red bricked wall. A garden filled with luscious wild foliage, both, signifying age, life and affection.
Awoken from my day dream I turned and saw that Tim had just arrived. Ducking into the car my eyes faded away again as I envisioned living with Tim in my dream home.
"Did you have a good session, bub?"
"Mmm," was my reply.
Tim grinned, "Are you tired?"
Tipping the indicator with two fingers, Tim turned the car left.
"We'll stop off and get some take away and a movie. Then we can snuggle up and have a lazy Friday night."
Looking over, I couldn't help but radiate love towards this one beautiful human being.
"I love you," my words came out softly and I closed my eyes, head lolling to one side.
I felt his lips brush against my forehead, a silent 'I love you too'.
The rest of the evening was a blur of hawian pizza and a string of classic 'Lethal Weapon' movies. I don't remember going to bed, Tim must have carried me from the couch.
Dreams for me, have a way of being more vivid and memorable than real life. Often
I find it hard to differentiate between the two and even wake up in hysterics covered in a cold sweat. But this dream tonight was different. This one I could not remember when I awoke, yet I was still terrified, beyond belief.
"Oh my God, what's wrong?" Tim sat up straight staring wide eyed at me, "Babe, stop screaming, it's ok. It was just a dream."
He reached for me, but I could not reach him.
Warm bile burned my throat, so I tumbled out of bed to the bathroom and lifted the toilet seat. My body convulsed as a mush of half digested pizza projected out of my mouth.
I felt Tim pull my hair back from my face and then slowly rub my back.
Wiping my mouth with a wad of toilet paper, I flushed the remains of my dinner and tried to stand on shaky legs, one hand levered on the bathroom counter. I quickly brushed my teeth and washed my mouth out.
"I can do it," I choked, swatting Tim's hand away and walked out of the bathroom putting one foot infront of the other.
We both sat on the edge of the bed. Silence. Tim wanting to know more and I not yet willing to explain.
Squash it. Push it down. Now is not the time to fall apart. Focus on more important things. I took a deep breath.
"I'm sorry, it was just another, silly dream."
"Why wont you be honest with me, Dan?" He didn't look at me when he spoke, "Why won't you tell me what's going on?"
His voice, sad yet laced with disappointment, cut through my heart. Yet I couldn't speak, out aloud. My mind however was furiously screaming every secret every feeling every emotion that was swirling through my body. And still I couldn't open my mouth, as my entire life I'd worked so hard to be able to keep myself safe, my screwed up emotions would frighten off even the most devoted partner.
"Because nothing is going on. I'm fine, really," without making eye contact I reached over and clasped his hand. "I love you."
I looked up at him, expecting to see hatred in his eyes.
"I love you, too," he murmured, pulling me toward him in a bear hug.
I held onto his strong bodily frame so tightly for fear he would fly away. As I squeezed my eyes shut, I knew that one day I would have to share these...these horrible dreams and emotions and, well, absolutely everything with him. But only when I would be strong enough to confront them, and thats were Lorrell comes in.
"I love you so much, please don't ever leave me," Tim whispered through a layer of hair, into my ear. His grip tightened.
I pulled back, stared into his deep-set blue eyes, the calmness of the ocean reflecting back, and kissed him. Slowly, deeply. He responded with a fiery need that surprised me. Through one kiss, we communicated more than words could ever. Each movement, each graze of the lips, ment something different, something more.
Pulling back, we both smiled. I leaned in and gently nuzzled his neck.
"Would you like to watch the last Lethal Weapon?" Tim asked, a glint of hope in his voice, obviously wanting me to say yes.
We cuddled together in bed and watched the movie until we both again fell asleep.
In childhood, I had always disliked doctors and therapists. In general I feared anyone who could get close enough to discover what really dwelled beneath my exterior surface. I was petrified of someone seeing who I really was.
That unfortunately was why I was sitting silently across from Lorrell. Not moving a muscle. The only difference being that I had sought after her to help me uncover my past and finally get over it.
“Tell me why you're here?”
"I have issues that need to be sorted," I replyed.
"Take a moment and try to expand on that for me. I need to understand if I'm going to be able to help."
I took a deep breath and looked toward the ceiling, searching white plaster for answers to life.
"Something is tormenting me," I said finally, "I just don't know what. There's something there that I just can't reach, it's always been there and I don't know if I can't see it or if I just don't want to. When I sleep I have the most vividly horrifying dreams, that don't make sense."
For the first time since I'd walked into the office, I looked at Lorrell as I spoke.
"I love Tim so much that it hurts and I'm going to spend the rest of my life with him. But if I can't be honest and truthful with myself, how can I ever be with him?"
Finally it was out. A sentence that dropped to the bottom of my stomache like a giant log of wood, rotting as time passed.
There was something in my past that I refused to give recognition to and it was surely tearing me away from Tim.
And then I cried. A slight stream of tears.
"I don't want to press too hard but what, if anything has made you believe that something has happened in your past yet you can't remember?"
I looked into her inquisitive eyes, feeling slightly stupid.
"Well, years ago when I was younger, I think 17 or 18 I have no recollection or memory of a huge chunk of time. I know what your going to say, I can't ask anyone, especially not my parents. I tried, but I just couldn't. And I've tried to resolve this by myself but I can't."
I laughed softly. A throaty laugh. "It sounds pathetic and I'm not saying that is what has happened, but this is why I need your help. I need to find out why I have these dreams, why I can't open up to Tim, why I wake up in a cold sweat absolutely petrified, of nothing!!"
Lorrell stopped writing in her note book and glanced at me, sensing the fright and desperation that was exuding from my voice.
"Do you have trouble expressing strong emotions, such as anger?"