Future Time Now

As if I’d never been in this situation before, I arrived at her office door and doubted what to do next. Action preceded thought and I knocked on the door, which was ajar, and then opened it enough so that I could glance inside. She was unprepared for this moment. This moment of introduction should’ve happened a minute or so later, when she would’ve been ready for me. Our initial phone conversation returned to me. How many days had passed since then, when I’d sensed that I was about to become involved in psychotherapy again. For a moment nothing came to mind. Then I remembered: four days ago at around 3 pm. The time when I phoned her seemed important. Wait, I said to myself, that’s not what happened. I left her a message and she called me back at three o’clock. I was about to walk out the door when the phone rang. Tension, hope, and uncertainty were part of that phone conversation, or that’s how I remembered it as I entered her office a minute or two early for our initial session. Maybe meeting would be a more accurate way to describe the fifty minutes we were about to spend together. Neither of us knew if I would return to her downtown Seattle office. I imagined, or maybe feared, that we would sit across from each other a few or perhaps many more times before it would become clear to us if this treatment had a future. Psychoanalysis would be a major commitment. Those initial fifty minutes didn’t constitute a meeting. Each moment was the definition of what a session should be. In retrospect, I glimpsed part of my future during those minutes, and she uttered what for me were magical words: I should say whatever came to mind, and that this way of speaking would form the foundation of our work together. I tried to do this in my writing, let the words come to me on their own, and after dreaming of experiencing psychoanalysis for twenty years, I was going to free-associate on the analytic couch. There would be enough time for both action and thought. I felt as if my life was moving with time into the future.

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