Sunday, December 9, 2012

L.A. 101

The room was lit with dull lighting. The word "room" didn't even really justify this damp, echoey space we were in. As people filtered in, their footsteps resounded on the floor and bounced around the walls. I was one of the first ones to arrive. Ah, the likes of the rest. Sordid looking faces, one by one taking the eighteen chairs that made up our circle, not counting the podium. Some sat with their hands folded into their laps. Others sat twitching and fiddling with their thumbs, nervously glancing around at the others.

Soon, all eighteen seats were filled. I waited for some kind of sign that the session was about to begin. It was eerily quiet. Then we heard the faint sound of footsteps, becoming louder and louder. And there she was, the supervisor. I can only assume she was the supervisor, she was the only one who looked happy to be here. Sharply dressed in heels, a pencil skirt, a black vest and light purple shirt, and her hair tightly pushed into a bun, she defined the goal we were trying to achieve. The ability to look at life straight in the eyes that none of us had anymore.

She walked up to the podium and began speaking.

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman, and welcome to your first session of Lovelorn Anonymous! My name is Linda Goodwill. LA was founded two years ago when I, realized that it isn't just alcohol and narcotics that people can be addicted to, but dependency as well. So we began to gather people, to help them talk about the love they have become addicted to, and help them move on. Now, we don't judge. Love is strange, and it can be blind, but there is no such thing as "better love." We'll begin today by introducing ourselves and our stories, and those who touched us so deeply we found we had to be here today. So then, let's begin!"

We all tried to avoid her gaze, but she picked one out anyway to begin. A skinny man, with pants up to his chest, and thick framed glasses. He was one of the twitchy ones. As he came up to the podium, he started visibly shaking.

"Hello," he stuttered, "my name is Carl, and I am in love. I met her three years ago, at a coffee shop. She was... Oh, she took my breath away. And it seemed like we were perfect for each other. We went shopping for our cats together, we made wheatgrass smoothies for each other. We even discussed the possibility of working as accountants at the same firm! But then she left me." His voice started choking. "And for whom? For a brawny marketer with a motorbike! He doesn't even like cats!" Carl started sobbing uncontrollably into his handkerchief.

Linda quickly went to his side and helped him back to his seat.

"There, there Carl. I'm sure many of our members have gone through the same experience. Love is not fair, and sometimes it is fleeting, but we have to learn what it has to teach us, and move on as braver, stronger, wiser people. Now, who's next?"

The next person was a woman, who looked around 30. Long disshelved brown hair, short, tired looking eyes, and, in the only way to say it, the size of a small elephant. She walked to the podium holding a chocolate bar in her hand.

"Hello everyone, my name is Monica." She took a bite out of the chocolate bar. "I met him in a weight watchers class. Yes, believe it or not, I wasn't always in the good shape that I am now." Bite. "We seemed meant to be. Our eyes met in the mirrors in our Pilates class, and it was love at first sight. It was as if when we found each other, we didn't need food to be happy anymore. Collectively, we even lost 300 kilos." Bite, bite. "We were engaged to be married when, two months later, he ran away with the wedding planner! That anorexic bitch! Who eats salad with light dressing for lunch anyway?! If I ever meet the two of them again, I'll tie them both up and stuff them with my Grandma's Thankgiving pudding! Let's see how they stand each other when they're both fat and ugly!" And that was the end of the chocolate bar.

Monica went back to her seat, and started digging in her purse for what I could only hope was a Valium (it wasn't, alas, another chocolate bar), and Linda took the stage again.

"Thank you for sharing Monica. As you can see, a dissatisfied end to a relationship can lead to lots of pent up rage and frustration, which can be the undoing of a person. Also, as Monica demonstrated, when leaving one habit, we can be prone to the dangers of cross addiction." Monica's brow furrowed in confusion.

The fourth man went up. Middle aged, paunchy. A little balding on the top.

"My name is Peter," he began, "and my wife and I divorced six months ago. No, it's not what you think, she was a downright witch. But she took away the love of my life, my baby, my pride and joy. The only one who would come running to me when I'd come home every evening tired from the office. Who'd want to spend time with me no matter how much hair I lost or weight I put on. Who loved me as much as I loved him." He took out a picture from his pocket and showed it to us. "My dog, Mr Crumbles! Isn't he adorable? It was his birthday yesterday and my wife wouldn't even let me bring him his favorite chew toy!" Peter held in his sobs till he got to his chair, and started passing around the picture of Mr Crumbles. A daschund, no less.

Like this, people kept going up and telling their stories, each unique from the rest. But the same heartache, the same sorrow. Finally it was my turn.

Let me tell you, it's weird trying to express the severe anguish that your soul is going through in a room with a man in love with his dog. And yet, off I went.

"Um, hi everyone, my name is Angie. My story isn't as spectacular, or unique, or all that different from any of the usual stories you here. In fact, it's quite a common story. And to be honest, I fall in love all the time. I've been in love with every man I've been with. But I was in love with them, for them. Because I knew I could be there for them, and because they needed me. Then I fell in love for me, and it was really different from what I expected, because for a change, I needed him too. We were together for a year, and it was something else. I guess it was a bit of a learning experience for me, because I'm not that great with the relationship thing. We had our ups and downs, we laughed and cried, and the year passed by in a daze. But then we had to end it, even though somehow we still love each other. There isn't much I can say about grief that hasn't been said before. It's just  that, months later, I feel out of breath when I think about how I won't see him for a really long time. I've stopped listening to songs that remind me of him. I think sometimes that I'm getting better, but all I'm doing is filing things away in the hope that they'll eventually disappear. It's just, I'm tired of feeling sad now. That's about it."

Silence. Pretty awkward when you've just poured out your heart.

"That's it? No rage issues?"

"He didn't leave you for someone else? Why are you complaining!"

"So you can't listen to a few crumby songs, big whoop! There's lots of other crap out there to listen to!"

"Why don't you just get a dog?"

"Eat cake, that satisfies like no man ever could!"

"Sit down! Atleast he didn't cut off your limb!"

"Or eat your hair!"

Linda intervened. "Now, now, just because Angie is not going through something extreme in terms of the situation than others, it does not mean we should underestimate her emotional upheaval. Angie, that was very brave of you to share. Thank you."

I sat down somewhat confused about what had just happened.

"Next class, we will discuss ideas of channeling our energies to more proactive activities such as kickboxing and yoga. Some of you will be recommended to not join in any martial arts activities till further on in the recovery program. Good night everyone!

Had an idea. Overdone rant in a new format. 

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