The business of the Man Detox was not over and I was, once again, sitting in my therapist's office, spending precious time and co-pay talking about this thing, this gift that fits in my hand, this possession that has a much bigger hold than it should.
It felt pressing and so I explained that I still had it, wrapped in pretty blue tissue paper, tucked haphazardly back into its box and then thrown into the back seat of my car. I needed to do something with it. I wanted it gone.
She got right to it, offering suggestions, just as my friends had, for what I could do with this gift I no longer accepted. But none of them felt right.
"What does feel right?" she asked.
"I want it to go back to the boutique." I felt very clear about that. The owner had rejected it as a return or exchange, but still, that store is its home.
I told her that I'd considered leaving it there anyway, handing back and bolting. I second-guessed myself. I held on to it because she said no.
"Oh," my therapist nodded. "This is big for you because you didn't stand up for yourself in that situation just like you didn't stand up for yourself time after time in the relationship with the person who gave you that gift."
I didn't have to say a word. Without pause, the tears came. A quiet, steady stream of tears made their way over my cheeks and into the palms of my hands, pressed into my face. Yes, that was it.
Too many times, I gave in. I yielded. I stood holding all of the stuff I no longer wanted to surround me because I wanted it to be OK. I wanted it to work. I wanted him to be someone he so clearly was not. I wanted to resist the whisper in my head that said, "Run. Run. Drop the bag and run."
That pause in the boutique lasted a few moments. The pause in the relationship lasted months. Sitting there, I felt free of hesitation.
"I'm going to take it back to the fucking boutique." I was clear. I felt like I opened the door and through the screen door, just a hint of freedom breezed across my face. The tears were there, but I knew now what I had to do. I just had to figure out how, when. I let the urge to drive out to the boutique and throw it in the door and drive away, tires squealing, pass. Twice.