She hates the waiting room for this office. The walls are a disgusting red, too dark to be appreciated. It is menacing. The couch is old and it sags in the middle, so she always chooses one of the hard plastic chairs which flank the water fountain whose presence in the middle of the opposite wall seems inexplicable to her.
The room is too small, the seating is too close together, and even though there is never anyone else here when she comes to see Dr. Waldron it makes her feel claustrophobic. As though the people who normally keep these places warm would disapprove of what she comes to talk about.
“Lana?” the receptionist slides the glass back and indicates the door ahead, “She’s ready for you.”
“Good morning, Lana, please make yourself comfortable,” there is a pause as Lana settles into the much newer leather couch.
“I’m glad you decided to reschedule. I was worried when you cancelled after our last session that we might have touched on some subjects that you weren’t quite ready for.”
She hesitates for a moment, then shakes her head.
“No. You said some things I needed to hear. And I have been thinking about it a lot on my own lately.”
“What have you been thinking about?”
Lana turns towards the window. She realizes she hates the window in this office as well. She feels like it should look towards something idyllic and peaceful, some place she could lose herself in while she gathered her thoughts. Instead it overlooks the parking lot to a hotel. Nothing cheap and tawdry, but nothing high class. The kind of place she often finds herself in with Dean, tangled in his sheets and wishing she was closer to him. She looks back to Dr. Waldron.
“Did I ever mention the time I bought a blonde wig? Something I thought I could surprise Dean with. I thought it was beautiful, it made me feel sexy.” She toys absentmindedly with her own hair as she talks, speaking slowly and purposefully.
“I remember my hands shaking briefly as I knocked on the door. Being shy and nervous, hoping he would like it; it was always so important to me that I pleased him. And when he opened the door, he looked at me, and he laughed.”
Lana smiles sadly, “I had nearly forgotten that. But he laughed. So I took it off and put it away and that was the end of feeling spontaneous and sexy.”
“Lana, just because he laughed, doesn’t mean that you couldn’t be spontaneous or feel sexy anymore. He could have been startled by your unexpected change in appearance or-”
“Oh, it wasn’t that he laughed. I asked him later why he didn’t like the wig, since he’s had me wear one before. And he explained that the other wig belonged to another woman that he fucked. That’s why he liked me wearing it.”
The room is silent.
“What I’m trying to say is, I’ve realized recently, that I don’t love Dean.”
“This is a big step, Lana. What does this mean for you?”
“I’m not entirely sure…”
“Okay, well let’s start with the practical aspect. What do you intend to do about your physical relationship with Dean?”
“I want to end it.”
“You’ve said that before.”
“I mean it this time.”
“Then, if you really intend to end things with Dean, where do you believe that puts your relationship with your husband?”
Lana is quiet.
“I don’t know. I don’t know who he is to me anymore.”
“What does that mean?”
“We’ve spent so much time being invisible to each other, I don’t know if we could ever really see each other again. Does that make sense? When I was with Dean, I didn’t want to see Reese. Even when he was across the dinner table from me. So I made him invisible any way I could. I made myself angry at him, I made him undesirable, I made him cruel.”
“And how did he make you invisible?”
“He didn’t have to work very hard. He is hardly ever home. His job is all he cares about. I bet he wouldn’t even notice if I didn’t come back one night.”
“Do you really think that’s true?”
The room grows warm in the ensuing hush. The women can feel the weight of the words that have been spoken.
“I feel like I am making myself invisible too. Like, without Dean, without this need that I have defined myself by for so long, I won’t know who I am. And I am afraid I will just disappear.”