There were two ways to find out:. Here we go again. Lori, ever intently, peers into my eyes, wrinkles her mouth and slightly shakes her head. We both know the answer to that question. All I can do is stare back. I see what she means. When our sessions finally resumed, I could not wait to tell her about my budding relationship with Shauna.
Plans happened magically without anxiety-inducing, twenty-four-hour waits between texts. Her quick wit kept me entertained, and I could tell by the way she so seriously spoke about dancing, her chosen profession, that she is passionate about the art form and mighty talented too.
Archive for July, 2018
Shauna is beautiful, with flawless hazel eyes and straight dark hair, spunky bangs and a bob that matches her always-upbeat character. She is a snazzy dresser and enjoys a glass of whiskey with a side of fried pickles and good conversation as much as I do.
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- ‘It makes me cry:’ Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War wounds will never heal - The Washington Post.
- ‘It makes me cry:’ Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War wounds will never heal;
So upon the precipice of my return to therapy I told Shauna about Lori, and admitted to having mixed feelings about what I was getting back into. The first two sessions of my therapeutic reboot had gone great. Lori appeared genuinely thrilled that I was dating Shauna and could see how happy I was. I stuff the cat food back into the Tupperware and toss it into the refrigerator.
I make my way into the living room, angry at myself for not changing the settings on my new iPhone to disallow text previews on the locked screen. I can tell she regrets looking at my phone without my permission, but I completely understand her feelings. On my walk home, instead of being angry at Lori, I understand her thinking behind the text. A patient may in turn contemplate that a love is blossoming between them, and, in fact, it sort of is. This takes genuine care and acceptance on their part. In employing countertransference — indicating that she had feelings for me — she was keeping me from feeling rejected and despising my own thoughts and urges.
Atlas has an upcoming book titled The Enigma of Desire: Atlas explains that there are certain boundaries that cannot be crossed between therapist and patient under any circumstances — like having sex with them, obviously. What do you do with that?
Jesus in Vietnam Ministries » » July
Do you deny it? Do you talk about it? How do you talk about it without seducing the patient and with keeping your professional ability to think and to reflect? I ask her about the benefits of exploring intimacy in therapy, and Dr. Atlas quickly points out that emotional intimacy — though not necessarily that of the sexual brand — is almost inevitable and required. Atlas says this topic speaks to every facet of the therapeutic relationship, regardless of gender or even sexual orientation, because intimacy reveals emotional baggage that both the patient and therapist carry with them into the session.
In order to be able to be vulnerable, both parties have to feel safe. After I briefly explain all that has gone on between me and Lori, Dr. Atlas steadfastly says she does not want to judge too harshly why and how everything came to pass in my therapy. Maybe I wanted to interview Lori about erotic transference in my therapy sessions for that same reason as well…to stand out as the most amazingly understanding patient ever.
In order for Lori to advance in her field as a social worker, she has to attend 3, conference hours with another professional to go over casework — kind of like therapy quality control. We talk about all of this during one of my scheduled sessions, for the entire hour — and go over by a few minutes, too. It can become a cycle of behavior that Lori seeks to break. I refer back to the time when, unprovoked, she brought up my attraction to her.
The Son in My Eyes: Seeing the Light of Jesus in Vietnam
There was no in between. Lori noticed that I was frustrated with myself and wanted me to know that an attraction to a therapist is so normal and happens so frequently that there are technical terms for it. I turn my attention towards the presence of countertransference in our session. Lying in bed with Shauna a few months into our relationship, I ask her what she thought about me the moment she first saw me. She says she liked the fact that I was wearing a blazer and a tie on a first date. She adds that I was a little shorter than she anticipated, but was content with the two of us at least being the same exact height.
I explain that my insecurity could often get the better of me in dating situations. It seems my emotional workouts in erotic transference were just beginning to produce results. But, so you have a full understanding of how this works, we can date. The difference this time is the answer I want to give is on par with all of my involuntary urges. Would Lori and I really be compatible in every way?
Would she ever see me as a lover, a partner, an equal, and not a patient? Could I ever reveal a detail about myself, or even just a shitty day of work, without wondering if she was picking it apart and analyzing it?
Frankly, all those questions could be answered in the positive. Work payments that were past due are finally finding their way into my bank account. As it turns out, my short-term money troubles were not an indication that I had no business being a writer, or that my life changeup was as irresponsible as unprotected sex at fourteen years old. I took a mental step back from my current situation and realized that in spite of my recent hardships, I was succeeding.
At first, the quiet girl from Craigslist seemed like a great match—we had just the occasional tangle over cats and cleanup. And then the men started coming over. It was late morning, and I was putting up a fresh pot of coffee when I heard the first meow. It sounded awfully close, as if from inside the apartment instead of the backyard one story down. Then I heard it again, and there was no doubt.
I texted my roommate. You got a cat?! I suffer from allergies — through spring and summer I have a persistent itch in my nostrils, and the lightest bit of pollen or dander or even a freshly mowed lawn sets off sneezing spells that leave my entire body sore. I was also concerned about the smell. And besides, the landlord forbade pets. I have a tendency to overreact, to exacerbate conflict. Instead I went for calm and firm, and maybe slightly paternal.
We need to talk. Later that afternoon, in the kitchen between our bedrooms, we talked, leaning on opposite counters. I was left somewhat unsettled. In the end, I told her she could keep the cat, but she better take care of it properly. We were unlikely roommates, a Craigslist arrangement: I, a near-middle-aged man, several years divorced, with adolescent children of my own. She, a twenty-year-old recent college grad. At first, I had a parade of eccentrics, men who seemed to have something to hide, smelling of whiskey, with slurred speech, crooked teeth, telling me about jobs as investment bankers or corporate accountants, claims I found dubious.
He left just as I was about to call the cops. So when Jenny showed up, I was inclined to like her. She looked like a typical post-college young woman: Her speech tended to the monosyllabic. I showed her the room. I showed her the bathroom. Then she asked what she needed for moving in, and I told her: I assumed this meant she had all those things, and at first, it appeared that she did. She told me she worked two jobs, as a clerk in a stationary store in Midtown Manhattan and as an art-school model. Several days later, she brought documents attesting to her claims, and it all seemed to check out.
She moved in a couple weeks later, with the help of her dad, whom I found affable in a way that put me further at ease. Some time after she moved in, I met her boyfriend, who seemed about my age. I did have some mild concerns. I wondered why she would choose to live here — a part of town where she had no friends or family — and with me, a man twice her age.
But I needed a roommate, and for the most part, she matched my criteria: There was something familiar about her, almost bland, like an unremarkable extra who might appear repeatedly in so many movies, which meant she was safe and normal and predictable — exactly what I needed if I was to share my home with a stranger. It was soon after the cat incident that I began to notice she was home more. In fact, she rarely seemed to leave her room. She was always on time with rent, and she appeared to have enough money to buy groceries and order in meals. One afternoon, a couple weeks after Jenny took in the cat, I heard her voice and then a male voice I did not recognize.
It was definitely not her boyfriend, whose voice was high-pitched; this one was deep, almost gruff. I was in my room, working, and I heard someone enter the bathroom, and then the toilet flush, and so I opened my door a crack for a glance. In the hallway, emerging from the bathroom, was a short, squat man, gray-haired with a bald temple.
I felt a kind of indescribable rage, almost like a personal affront. How dare she — in my home?! An hour later, I watched her escort the man to the door. Another part of me was so angry I wanted to evict her immediately. The rest of the day, I wrestled with my thoughts, my mind feverish with indecision: Should I say something? Should I tell her boyfriend?
Should I call her dad? Was it any of my business anyway? I decided to wait, see if it happened again, and just a few days later, it did. This time, it was a tall black man wearing an ill-fitting suit and tie, like thrift-shop formalwear. He, too, emerged from the bathroom and disappeared into her room, and after an hour or so she escorted him to the door, again in the blue pumps and rumpled ivory dress.
I took to Google: What to do if my roommate is a prostitute?
More than what to do , I was seeking clarity on why it bothered me. Who was I to judge if Jenny chose an unorthodox profession? Why would I care if she used her room to ply her trade? On Yahoo Answers and in Google Groups and various other forums people wrote about similar experiences, and the consensus was: I wondered about the practical aspects of her work: Does she have a Backpage ad?
Did she use Craigslist? Could I find her on The Erotic Review? Sit her down for a talk. Point her in the right direction. Instead, when we met in the kitchen the next afternoon, passing between the refrigerator and the trashcan by the sink, I decided to bring it up. I was washing a dish, the water running lightly, and she was behind me, waiting for something in the microwave. She turned slowly to face me, nonchalant, with a thin smile. What are you going to do about it? She offered no further explanations, and we both retreated to our rooms.
Let us, as adults, discuss this situation. In return, she took me for a fool. The words infuriated me, and I began to plot her eviction. Several days passed, however, and still I did nothing. We had just finished dinner at a SoHo restaurant, paid the check, and were about to head to her place when my phone rang. It was my landlord.
There was trouble at the apartment. My thoughts went to the men. My date raised an eyebrow to me. We were outside the restaurant, in the cool night air on a quiet street, a jittery yellow cab passing over the uneven cobblestone. Landlord says someone called The response came a few seconds later. I stared at that text, uncomprehending. She had been dead, in fact, for the past twenty-four hours, in her bed, in our apartment. My thoughts in those moments would later seem incongruous with the event itself, but at the time they were automatic, a cascading stream of impolitic ponderings.
I hung up the phone and looked at my date, who was gripping my arm and staring. My date reacted as I expected. Of course I was O. Mostly I was just annoyed that her death was getting in the way of my evening plans. Jenny and I had lived together for four months, but I barely knew her. An overdose of what? I called my landlord, and told her what I had learned: No, she need not worry about a thing. The police will take care of it all. I was out of town, I said — not a lie, although not entirely the truth either.
My date gripped my arm tighter, as if the news of death created some erotic charge, at once frightening and gripping, and we went off together to her apartment a few blocks away. In the morning I took the subway home, and remembered: My roommate was dead. It felt surreal, and I found myself ruminating on the nature of death, and youth, and the way we often know so little about the people living just several feet away from us.
It appeared that someone had taken the cat. Later in the afternoon, my phone rang.
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I felt momentarily caught off balance. She had seemed like a rootless child, unattached, unaffected. I knew she had parents, a little sister, extended family somewhere, but I knew so little about them they were almost unreal to me. Her entire life seemed confined to her room across the hallway, as if she mattered to no one but herself.
I am so, so terribly sorry. This must be so devastating. I could hear him sniffling on the other end of the line. There were the signs, of course. It was heroin, Steve told me. Her boyfriend, who was an addict, had introduced it to her. When I hung up, I felt guilty for feeling as unmoved as I did. Her father, at the same time, seemed to expect exactly that.
As if he knew that someone like me would be affected only by the trouble of it all. Here were people reminiscing about her, friends writing about the time she helped someone with a college essay, or about high school adventures, or that time they got passed-out drunk and high on that crazy spring break trip. Two days later, her aunt came.
She packed some of her clothes into a few large trash bags. The bed that was ordered online just four months ago. The easy chair Jenny had brought from her childhood home in Westchester. A bunch of keys on a key ring, a bracelet of blue beads, a MetroCard, a bag of cosmetics. It looked just like it had before she moved in: I closed the door to look behind it, and noticed a taped-up card, from HashtagThePlanet. I thought about how our physical possessions are like phantom lives: It made me sad, but I had little use for the rest, and ended up putting most of it out with the trash.
The stuff sat on the edge of the sidewalk for a day or two, and through the window I watched as people passed, glancing at the items. Some stopped to pick through them, holding up items for inspection, taking what they pleased, until the pile was about half the original size. Then the trash collectors came and tossed it all into the monster-mouth of their truck, until nothing was left but a shattered light bulb that slipped out of one of the bags, now spread in tiny bits of glass among the fallen leaves of a nearby honeysuckle tree.
Hazel Scott was a piano prodigy who wowed the worlds of music, TV and film. But when she stood up for her rights, the establishment took her down. Failure to respond would be seen as an admission of guilt. But her appearance at HUAC had a greater purpose than personal exoneration. She believed she had a responsibility to stem the tide of paranoia that gained momentum by the day.
Speaking with a voice that simultaneously conveyed clarity and nuance, strength and warmth, she knew what she was doing. She had been rehearsing for this moment her entire life. B orn in Trinidad, Scott was raised on music. Her whole family played and her mother, Alma, an aspiring concert pianist, taught music to help make ends meet. Unbeknownst to her family, Hazel Scott absorbed everything she heard until one day she woke her grandmother from a nap by playing a familiar hymn on the piano, two-handed and with perfect pitch.
Her grandmother woke thinking, not wrongly, that she was witnessing a miracle. At three years old, she played parties, churches, and gatherings. When word got around that, in her house, a child paid the bills, a gang of white teenagers broke in and demanded money. Scott refused to give them any. They beat her black and blue, and Scott still refused to turn over the cash. Finally, as police sirens grew nearer, the boys ran off with her blood on their hands. They were involved and they resented it and me.
She kept playing piano, kept stunning audiences, and impressed one person in particular. German-born, wearing a meticulous goatee and a pocket watch, and steeped in the traditions of European classical music, Juilliard founder Frank Damrosch was the very model of high culture in New York City. It was sacrilege, he thought, until he saw who was playing. No one taught her how to do this. It was in her living room. In turn, they shone on young Hazel. Piano legend Art Tatum became a close family friend and mentor to Hazel, advising her to dive deep into the blues. Lester Young and Billie Holiday came over after hours.
Holiday became like a big sister to Hazel, taking her under her wing as Hazel ventured out into the life of a working musician. While still a child, Hazel Scott played piano for dance classes and churches. When she outgrew the gig, her mother secured her a spot playing piano after the Count Basie Orchestra at the posh Roseland Ballroom.
The crowd adored her. From there, she took flight. A t the time, the majority of jazz clubs were segregated. Blacks and whites almost never shared the stage. But in , a shoe clerk from Trenton, New Jersey, opened a different kind of club. When Holiday canceled a standing engagement three weeks early, she insisted Scott take her place. As it turned out, not only was Scott a brilliant pianist, she also had a hell of a voice: And, she was beautiful. She wore floor-length ball gowns on stage and gazed out into the audience with almond-shaped eyes that seemed to communicate a deep knowledge of everyone they fixed upon.
Like watching a painter paint or a sculptor sculpt, when Scott sang, you saw the song traveling through her, taking shape before emerging from her lips. And when she played her boogie-woogie, she grinned ear to ear, looking like self-possessed joy manifested. She was, in a word, irresistible. Audiences flocked to see her. Fan mail flooded in. Josephson decided to open a second Cafe Society location, uptown for a swankier audience, with Scott as the marquee performer. After the show, Mrs.
Roosevelt asked Scott to join her for a late supper. Because she had already changed from her evening wear to streetwear, Scott begged off the invitation.
Jesus in Vietnam Ministries
She was the reigning queen of jazz, a friend to some of the most famous names in the country, and all at just 22 years old. Hazel Scott had conquered New York. Jokes are funnier, green is greener. You love the musty morning air. You love the miracle of your own enduring capacity for love. He wrote letters to my sister, I wrote letters to his sister.
In the rear, back at Gator, Chip and I would go our separate ways, by color, both of us ashamed but knowing it had to be that way. In the bush, though, nothing kept us apart. In May of , Chip was blown high into a hedge of bamboo. I loved the guy, he loved me. An old story, I guess. For the most part they carried themselves with poise, a kind of dignity. Eight Vietnam POWs were charged with collaborating with the enemy.
Does that soothe you in any way? Vietnamese families suffer from deprivation, lacking sometimes even the necessities of life. In obedience to the many Scriptural commands to help the poor they are enabling families to survive in difficult circumstances. When shown mercy these families are very receptive to the Gospel.