Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Monday, 8 October 2018

Dear Vincent, Love you. Good-bye.

Saturday, September 22, 2018 

Dear Vincent,

The new phrases on my wall are,
Weep no more, my thighs, and
I is for Inconsolable. 
Love you, Goodbye.
Weep no more, my thighs.
(By the way, my thighs are the best I can do.)

What I think might help is if you could somehow write me a formal sandwich rejection letter. If you are able to do this, I will not tell the government, or post it on the internet. Or you can sign the eloquent letter I have composed on your behalf this morning. Or I will pretend you wrote and signed the eloquent letter I have composed on your behalf this morning. 

In the meantime, I will strive not to propel myself by the misguided delusion that your face will appear on Bumble, we’ll match and then, my heart and cells will melt as finally, after all that longing, we eat the fairy tale sandwich. In fact, I know that you are not on Bumble. I joined at 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning after our appointment, and already I have swiped all of the Montreal men between the ages of 33 and 51. 

Tonight I am going on a bowling date with a 34-year-old Vincent who works in informatique. His incessant messages indicate anxious and irritating attachment patterns. It’s almost certain he’s too young for me, and quite possibly the evening will be mostly mediocre, but I suppose that at least it will be real.

Love, Erica.

Monday, September 17 was my last Monday with Vincent.

We shook hands.
He did not walk me to the elevator.
I left him with an envelope, and a yellow winky faced stress ball, to replace the stress ball apple, whose stem I once broke.

In the envelope was a birthday card, covered with faceless beards and the words, Joyeux anniversaire jeune homme. Someone told me Vincent’s birthday, and the date remains, one of my very few secrets.

The purple words inside the card are,

Dear Vincent,

I could not find any, Farewell to My Most Beloved Therapist Card, so this one will have to be good enough. Thank you for seeing me, and for caring more than you had to.

Joyeux anniversaire, jeune homme.

I hope that somehow this sincere adulation will bring you at least a touch of warmth and comfort at some point along this strange and beautiful life.

Love, Erica.

Then there was a lottery ticket, and Line 26 of the Code of Ethics of Psychologists, according to the Government of Quebec, which I always tried to interpret to mean that after our last session, Vincent could kind of invite me out for a sandwich if he really wanted to.

Imaginary Sandwich Rejection Letter: 

Dear Erica,

It is always nice to hear from you. Thank you for your Joyeux annniversaire, jeune homme card. It made me laugh and shed approximately three tears. As I have mentioned before, it is not usually standard or appropriate for psychologists to email their patients; however, our relationship has taken a few un-standard turns, and as such, I feel you deserve to hear some of my final remarks.

Included with your card, I imagine the psychologist’s ethics about the end of the professional relationship was meant as a last-ditch and possibly humorous attempt to extend the narrative of your eventual brilliant screenplay Mondays without Vincent. Nobody can wait for this screenplay. While most people I know would have done the same thing as you, I want to be clear that I will never be contacting you to invite you out for a sandwich, or to the blood donor clinic, or to bowling. Despite the potential ambiguity of what “the end of the professional relationship” entails, I could never go there, and will not ever go there. Professional boundaries aside, it’s an ethically shitty thing to do, and though I hesitate to perpetuate your schema that everyone else knows what’s in your best interest better than you do, my pursuing a romantic relationship would not be respectful or fair to you at all.

I remain not as at ease as you with words, but I hope you will patiently receive my further thoughts on this matter.

Just as you do not love all your cleaning clients equally, I do not exactly love all my patients equally. I think we did enjoy a certain chemistry and complicité. Due to our ages, genders, and what I might humbly refer to as, relative charms and good looks, I can see how this might have been misconstrued to mean something else, particularly after the Bumble incident. This incident was among one of the most awkward and embarrassing things to happen in my entire career. I absolutely understand how natural it would be to believe the match was not accidental, but I absolutely assure you that it was. This is what happened.

It was a desperate, lonely, horny, and cold Saturday night in January. Lonely, horny, hungry, tired, psychologists get like this too. So I drank my feelings, joined Bumble on a whim, and got to swiping, drunk, fast, and haphazardly. I came upon a cute girl with an interesting shirt and hair, and excellent legs that were suspended in a compelling and athletic position. I was barely looking at the names and somehow I did not realize that I had in fact, sat across from this person every Monday and then every other Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday afternoon for nearly 1.5 years. Hungover and hazy, I woke up the next morning to your charming and clever message about professional boundaries and taking you out for a sandwich. I stared at my screen in horrified paralysis, shocked and humiliated that I’d somehow managed to fuck up this hard. Once again, I wholeheartedly apologize for the three agonizing and confusing days during which you had to wait to discover what the fuck was going on. One blessing, I suppose, was that the incident did precipitate for you expressing your feelings for me. Although this seemed like it brought you some relief, I truly wish the context had been more far appropriate, and I’m so sorry for how the ordeal may have tainted our therapeutic relationship.

My inability to date you is not something you should take personally, nor does it mean that you are not loveable or datable. Your emotional challenges do not disqualify you from being in a relationship. If anything, your emotional acuity and transparency could make a potential relationship deeply rich and healing and growthful, if that’s what you want. You have a delightful sense of humour, and are wonderfully creative and charming. I’ve no doubt you’ll make some lucky dude’s world and that your beautiful blogging fairy tale days are not over yet.

As for your love for me, while undeniably flattering, I have to say that, with your exquisite imagination, it is almost certain that your vision of me is far too generous and nothing I could ever live up to. Though I cannot concretely prove this to you, please believe me when I tell you that I am merely a person with the same wounds and desires and flaws as every other mediocre and disappointing human. I do not watch golf and I am not fond of cats, but as you suspected, I often leave dirty dishes in the sink, all day and even all night. I’ve been known to drink my feelings, which alongside your spectacular health routines, would surely become tiresome after not very long.  My bathroom sink and floor are hardly immaculate, and my last girlfriend dumped me for being avoidant and opting to play video games instead of having sex.

The next dude you fall in love with should totally feel like he’s won the lottery. In the meantime, I wish you a life filled with love, laughter, healing, joy and creativity. May you enjoy countless sandwiches in the company of delightful and deserving and available friends and suitors. Working with you was a pleasure and a privilege. You are not someone I will soon or easily forget. Take good care of yourself.

Love, Vincent.  
Up-close God is not as exquisite. F is for Face.

Dear Vincent,

When I get old, I think I will do Sudoku, and if my vision holds out, I have always found jigsaw puzzles to be rather soothing. You will remained a cherished part of my journey. I also hope the next person who falls in love with you makes you feel like you’ve won the lottery. We have no idea how we might end up changing someone’s life.

Love, Erica.

p.s. In person, 34-year-old Vincent had funny shaped ears and sad wisps of hair around his oddly shaped head. While we were buying bowling shoes, I smelled him and it was not the best. He smelled like I'm horny and lazy and also very lonely. I totally creamed him at bowling and somehow got three strikes and two spares with my granny bowl techniques. I felt a little embarrassed about how pleased this made me and had to turn my head several times to hide my smile.   Love you. Goodbye. 

If you're wondering how life without Vincent is going, it is not so terrible to sometimes pretty great. I bought a new shower curtain, and I'm pleased with it. Soon this blog will attempt to embark on some kinds of brand new adventures. In the meantime and forever, please feel free to write to me, or to Imaginary Vincent at the secret email address, ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com. If applicable, we'd be pleased to read or help you with your sandwich rejection emails. The next person you fall in love with should totally feel like they've won the lottery. Love, Erica.  

Love you. Goodbye.

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