Letters of Import: Private Writings to a Psychoanalyst
Coming Close 2
Written by Jennifer Kiley
Illustrations by j. kiley
© jennifer kiley 2013
First Posting 03.19.13
Posted Weekly Early Tuesday Morning
Second Posting 03.26.13
I feel a need to be a bit less formal in addressing you. So, from now on I will just use your first name Annie. It sounds so much better than writing: Dear Annie Haskell. That does sounds rather formal and weird.
Let me start out by telling you something of what I have gone through over the past year, to fill you in on me. If it were not for the support of the women from my therapy group, I don’t know what would have happened to me. To begin with, I am the only one that remains from the original group. As you could see from last week, everyone was so warm to me on my return after being away for over 8 months. And they really made me feel wanted, like I belonged. If you knew what world I came from you would understand how important that is to me.
When I was in the hospital, group members visited daily. I never believed anyone cared that much. It definitely made me feel good. My body was so weak. It was hard to find the energy to stay conscious while everyone visited. My health sucked. Dying wasn’t very far away. I had blood transfusions. It may have been exhausting to visit with my friends but I wanted them to be there. Some place inside of me and the help of their energy, I found an inner strength so I could stay conscious during their visits.
One special friend, Kristina, came every evening. We would talk or just hang out. We’d listen to the television. The nursing staff would check on me. Do their tests. Lots of needles. Hate needles. Kristina was a great friend. I never had to pretend with her. We talked about whatever thoughts came into our minds. Her friendship was open to any conversation and any topic. Nothing was taboo. She stayed until late just as I would start falling asleep.
I should mention that the hospital had open visitation twenty-four/seven every day of the week. Visitors sometimes slept there and joined in meals with friends or family members. It was an inviting place. I loved the nursing staff except one.
She would always wake me at 2am. One night, I could not believe it, a really bad night, I had finally fallen asleep. There she was, shaking my shoulder to wake me. She made me get out of bed so she could weigh me. If I had the strength I would have told her to GO FUCK OFF. But I was too tired and too polite. I relayed this story to another night nurse, she told me I should have told her to GO FUCK OFF. I could do that. Well, I did not know that. I was losing weigh rather drastically but please do not wake someone so ill when sleep is so precious and limited. I am surprised that murders do not happen in hospitals more often, but to the staff with people like that jack-ass.
My mate, Scottie, that I’ve been with for almost forever, wasn’t too partial to hospitals, so we spoke more on the phone, several times a day, and just before I went to sleep at night. She did visit me in the hospital every day but I could tell she was like a cat out in a rain storm, just not her place. Inside her head, the following words were reverberating, “GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!” And that is the correct volume level those words would make.
She was there for me completely, though. she was constantly on a deadline, an artist in great demand. She is a film director and writer. She was in editing during this time so she could be around more than usual. She was there for radiation treatments and three hours of chemotherapy. I usually fell asleep. Eventually, we decided I would contact her by cell phone a short time before chemo was over for the day. That seemed more than generous to me for her, then she wait with me all that time. I felt a touch selfish imposing on her, taking her away from her own time and demands. The studios weren’t going to so patient if she didn’t get her film edited by the deadline. Fortunately she was also one of the producers. So she did rule somewhat. But she didn’t need to watch me have poison dripping from a hanging plastic bag, coursing through my veins, gradually making me feel violently ill. Scottie didn’t need to be there for that. She needed the time off from me, too, and the things she needed to do for me that no one would want to ask anyone to ever do for them.
Unfortunately, the day came when Scottie was taking me to one of my usual chemotherapy treatments. She always waited until I was set up with my medicine bags and settled in before taking off. On this particular day, it seemed like it was taking forever for them to get things started. I had my usual blood tests before treatments. They always checked for blood counts and other important tests to be sure I was physically okay to receive the treatments. Scottie and I waited in one of the treatment rooms, which was near enough to the nurses’ desk. We could hear some of the words that were being exchanged between staff. We could hear the Doctor speaking. Not the specific words until I heard my name. Scottie looked at me. Both of us were puzzled. It was then I heard the word hospital. Plus no one had come to set up my medicine IVs. No one was coming to talk to us. It seemed like time had vanished. Nothing was moving forward. I was getting a bad sense that something was starting to move in the wrong direction. Motion stopped. Just sounds could be heard but nothing was making any sense.
Finally my doctor and nurse entered the treatment room. They faced Scottie and me. They revealed it was my body. The blood tests were not good. My body was not tolerating the Chemo. Instead it was close to killing me. (My words, not theirs. Their words were that I was extremely ill.) Scottie took my hand when the doctor told us that my blood count was basically nonexistent. My chemo had been cancelled and arrangements had been made to admit me into the hospital immediately. My condition was serious. I had a fever and an infection that they were unable to diagnose and no immune system to fight it. An expert from the Center from Disease Control was called in on my case. No one had any idea what was wrong with me. I was put into quarantine. Not sure if they were afraid my health would be compromised or whether I was a danger to the other patients in the hospital. All sorts of special procedures were initiated while treating me. No one was allowed to touch me or get too close to me. Any medical staff had to put on special clothing. It was all rather “House” or “ER.”
Well, I’d say that’s enough for now about the cancer. I want you to know that today I noticed you again, Annie. I couldn’t help but want to look at you but I didn’t want you to know that or anyone else to. I don’t like people to see my feelings on the outside, even in a therapy setting. It makes me feel too shy. Looking at you makes me feel shy. And it makes me feel awkward wanting to just watch you but feeling I couldn’t and shouldn’t. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not a stalker. It’s just you. You’re hard not to look at. It’s not objectification. You must know that you are beautiful and there is something deeper than that. You have an aura of tenderness that surrounds you. I know I must not be the only one that feels this way or senses something really special coming from inside of you. I know I am really highly sensitive to other people. I feel what’s going on inside of them. That’s why I often need to block people out.
But let me put a question to you. Is there anyone in your life that tells you how beautiful and amazing you are? I mean on a regular basis? If you answer no, than I need to say that there should be. I, also, noticed how very quiet you are. It seems you are as shy as I am. But then, this was only the second time we were in the same room together, I could be wrong about the shyness. We’ll have to wonder about that for another time.
I saw my therapist later after group and I asked him about you. The first thing he told me was that you were there more as an observer, trying to learn about group dynamics. How they functioned in a real setting. Sometimes, he said that you would participate, but not that frequently. I must say that was a disappointment to hear. I was hoping for more but for now, simply your presence will have to be enough. He did inform me you are working on a college degree and training to become a psychoanalyst. That was the best part of what he said. That is somehow comforting to me. I am delighted to know you are working on becoming a psychoanalyst.
But even better for the present, I would be seeing you in our women’s therapy group every week. That to me made my day complete. I love that idea. But then he came out with the best part, he told me that if he wasn’t able to cover a group session, you would take over in his place. I held back my enthusiasm. He didn’t need to know how much that statement thrilled me. Just to have someone else cover a group session would have been enough but to have that person be you, well, that brought my day up to the highest level possible.
He, also, finally got to the place where he told me that last week, the week I returned, was coincidentally your first session with the group. That really surprised me. It made me wonder why he hadn’t introduced you last week to the group. But then I remembered I was a few moments late arriving. Anyway, I let it go.
Back to you entering into my life the same day that I entered into yours. I enjoy when serendipity happens. It creates a sense of magic in my mind and an opening up of so many feelings inside me. The best part is feeling the excitement that maybe someday I could actually ask you a super important question. It might sound strange coming from me right now but I’m going to ask it anyway. Here goes, I would like it if some day when you have completed your studies and are finally registered as a professional psychoanalyst, if you could or would see me in a professional capacity. Sometime in the future, I would like to be your client.
Surprised? At this moment, I will not explain why I would be asking you that question. Wait patiently and in some future letter, I will go into more detail on why, I feel, that question is appropriate.
Ps. I believe in my next letter I shall drop the formality of signing my letters to you, using my family’s name. I will just use Madison. Let’s see how I feel then before I definitely decide.
ATTENTION: (This I add to each letter I write to you, so that you know they are all written in the strictest of confidence.) To Annie, at this moment I am not trying to be a coward, but I feel if I hold back now or never send this to you, then I am freeing myself up to write whatever I wish with sense of censorship. Maybe someday, when I am feeling more familiar with just who you are and what you might mean to me, this parameter will be altered and a copy of this and future letters will be relayed to you. For now I want to maintain secrecy, to protect you, Annie, and to protect myself from over testing the barriers or boundaries of what the potentials could be between us and the development of our relationship. I am adding this in order that you, Annie Haskell, will know that I am trying to protect you and also myself from any humiliation. It will free up my words as I speak them upon the page. And on some future date, if I feel trusting enough, I will release to you what I write in honesty, but for now I will keep my words confidential. On my honour, no others shall see these pages, I promise you that. Regards, Madison Taylor.
Maksim — Somewhere In Time
Theme Song For “Letters of Import”
Dmitri Shostakovich — Jazz Waltz No.2 Theme #2 Letters of Import: Coming Close 2QUOTATIONS from: LETTERS of IMPORT: Private Writings to a Psychoanalyst
The beginning always starts out with a dream.
It is all a dream
And we are all players
In our own nightmares”
— Madison Taylor
“For that fine madness still he did retain,
Which rightly should possess a poet’s brain.”
“Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?”
Christopher Marlowe for “Hero and Leander”
“A therapeutic relationship is often more psycho-emotionally intimate than a marriage, or a romantic attachment. I know things about my patients that they would never dream of revealing to their spouses or families. Why is that? One word — trust. If you do not have a connection with a therapist, you cannot trust them. If you do not have trust, you will not expose yourself, and if you do not expose your innermost being, what good is the therapy?” — unknown but ask any great therapist
“Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence…whether much that is glorious–whether all that is profound–does not spring from disease of thought…” — Edgar Allan Poe