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“So what do you want to talk about today?”

It’s a benign question, handing me the control. The conversation starts off light-heartedly and is interspersed with laughter. But before long it turns into a tangled handful of threads, intersecting and knotting and severing and looping. I leap forward and backtrack and forget a whole slew of important facts and retrace my steps and sink into conjecture.

Then, deftly, it’s like she flicks the lights on. “Well that makes sense, looking at it like this,” and as she begins to rephrase my own words, suddenly it’s clear that what I thought was a tangled mess is a bizarre tapestry of sorts; it’s not pretty, it’s not elegant, but there is a picture there, a story in tableau. As a writer, how could I have missed such a clear narrative, such a strong sequence of cause-and-effect? It’s been there all along.

Staring at it, starting to make sense of it, it begins to hurt me anew. Unexpected tears clog my attempts to speak. She looks levelly back at me and reassures me. And somehow I know there will be a way through this, even though the very prospect exhausts me.