Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I couldn’t stop right there
And be one traveler long I stood
And looked at the ground
Praying it would swallow me whole
Then closed my eyes and spun around and opened my eyes and walked straight ahead and got lost.
Has that made all the difference?
We’ll all begin by introducing ourselves, says the brown-haired-average-height-has-at-least-two kids-and-a-real-estate-agent-of-a-husband-both-of-them-nearing -midlife-crisis group counselor.
Dr. John Smith, Cardiac Surgeon, states the blue eyed blond haired man to her left, followed by redheaded Professor Mary Thompson, Historian who is sitting on crew cut Sergeant Bill Miller, Ex-Marine’s right who has his chair slightly turned to his skinny-as-a-stick wife Madame Angelique Dupont-Miller, World-Famous Baker who just smiled at dressed for a funeral Judge Claire Gessler, New York Supreme Court.
Jess, citizen of Planet Earth.
How about each one of us tells the rest of the group something about themselves, the counselor continues.
Been married for thirty years, with two lovely children. I’m currently just in the middle of a new research project, which has unfortunately coincided with the new house my wife and I are planning for construction in the summer, says the blonde, slipping his hand through his over gelled hair before quickly trying to smooth it down again. Just began writing my third book about my travels in Africa along with a team of archeologists. It’ll be published alongside a documentary film that follows my month long trip, the Professor announces, her red curls bouncing up and down as she speaks. I’ve finished my active duty and we’ve just adopted three year old twins from Japan. Hopefully, the big contract we’re trying to sign on the bakery will be finalized in June, sending us all on our way to London for a three year stay, the couple describes, cutting into one another’s words and finishing each other’s sentences. After finishing law school I went on to work as a criminal lawyer, starting with minors and young offenders. Promotions led me away from that area to more high profile cases and today I work with the leading court in the state of New York. I have three kids, all high school graduates, two in the army and one studying abroad, says the daunting judge, sounding more like she’s giving a speech to a courtroom than talking to a support group.
I have five cats and one dog. I spend most of my time writing spoken word poetry and trying to remember to get milk so that I can make my morning chocolate milk and survive the rest of the day. I own 543 CDs, a type-writer and all 46 Dr. Seuss Special Collector’s Edition books with a personal dedication and autograph. My favorite food is pizza.
Who would like to begin with sharing some of our main goals in life, asks Ms. Counselor, and then of course points to Dr. Blondie, as if he wasn’t first already.
I hope to be promoted to head of my department and hopefully receive a grant for my research, he shares, and then turns to the Prof who continues with her answer. My main goal for this year is to finish my basic plan for the book and to start meeting up with the movie producers and working on the layout of the film. We’re obviously aiming for the contract and our move to London along with our children, Crew Cut and his skeletal wife declare, yet again speaking in plural and at the same time, as if they were one person with two bodies. I’m hoping I finally get the vacation I’ve been waiting for and my husband and I can go visit our daughter in Venice. Of course I also have work goals which include completing and publishing a paper that I’ve been working on for the past two years, Colorless Claire says.
I once had a bucket list but I lost it while sky-diving, which was ironically enough the first thing on the list.
Now that we all know a bit about each other, how about we all tell the group why we’re here, the counselor says, taking on her reserved-for-important-subjects tone.
Well, the combination of research and intensive work in the hospital is very stressful and I haven’t been sleeping well lately so my wife advised I should go see a doctor, funnily enough, and he recommended I come here, Doc reveals. I, too, lead a very stressful life and my sister goes to one of these and told me I should try it out myself. The trip to Africa was very refreshing and spiritual, yet very demanding and tiring, Mary explains. Adopting two toddlers at once is the hardest job on the planet, and trust me – I was in the army, jokes the former soldier. My wife’s sister said I should try group therapy. She spent a couple of years in India and since then she’s all about healing the soul. Yes, the kids and the contract with the possible move have been making my nights a living hell. Bill’s sister recommended this sort of treatment to me. Our sisters became very close since the day they first met and I guess Amelie – Angelique’s sister, Bill intrudes to clear things up – and her incessant nagging about spirituality and India finally cracked through someone’s skull, the French toothpick says. I’m pretty sure most members of the judicial system have been to at least one of these sorts of meeting before, the Judge says, the corner of her mouth hinting at a smile but not quite reaching it, as if it’s forgotten how to. Life in court is very… tough on one’s soul, she says, embracing a quieter, more thoughtful tone – so unlike her previous short and sharp speech.
I was skateboarding down the path of life when I suddenly slammed into a tree and found myself at a dead end. I then proceeded to enter the first building I came across, which just so happened to be this one. No, wait, this was the second building. I first went to the cupcake shop just down the street.
The counselor glances at the clock hung on the wall behind her. Well, guys, I’m sorry but our time is out, she tells us, putting on an obviously rehearsed sad face, once she probably flashes at every single client, hoping to convince them she really is sorry to see him go and to make them forget how many houses they had to mortgage in order to afford the meeting in the first place.
Dr. John Smith pulls out his Smartphone and glances at the brightly lit screen. I have an appointment starting in less than an hour, he remarks. Pleasure meeting you all! The end of the sentence is left echoing down the hall is he dashes to his car downstairs. I have to go prepare my class for tomorrow, Professor Mary Thompson comments, pulling out her iPhone. She departs with a cheery farewell. Sergeant Bill Miller rolls up his sleeve to reveal a shiny silver watch fastened tightly ’round his thick wrist. He shows it to his wife who says, the girls should be returning from my mother’s soon. The two go around shaking hands with everyone who hasn’t left yet, before following in the footsteps of the Doctor and the Professor. My husband’s flight from DC should be landing soon, Judge Claire Gessler says after glancing at the face of a round gold pocket watch she pulls out on a long golden chain from her front suit pocket. She gives a short wave, one that looks just as unnatural on her as the attempted smile earlier on in the meeting. The tap of her heels lingers long past her departure.
So, the counselor says when just the two of us are left. Where are you going?