I walked into our home. It was silent. Entering our bedroom I found Michael sprawled out on the bed. I gazed at his sleeping face and heard the front door open followed by feet shuffling in the house.
It's happening. There's no turning back now.
I rubbed his back and whispered good morning. He stirred slightly. I asked him if he would like to come have coffee with me. He actually nodded yes. As he rose from the bed I heard clanging from the kitchen. He still did not notice the noises. Thank gawd.
Walking behind me with just his boxer briefs, I turned and suggested putting on some clothes. He looked at me and I saw the moment he noticed the noises from the kitchen. He asked what was going on and I casually said we had company for breakfast, get dressed and come join us. In his eyes flashed anger and then a slight interest.
I quickly moved back into the main living area where the others were busily milling around. We all had nervous movements, scurrying around placing food and drinks out. Calmly, Kay directed us to sit in our assigned spots and wait.
We were all holding our breath. Or maybe I was holding everyone’s breath for them.
Michael came around the corner and as he looked up his eyes scanned the group. They held onto and Then stopped at Kay. I could only imagine what he was thinking…who's the outsider? She said hello and introduced herself, although she didn't tell him her credentials or why she was there. Kay asked him if he would like to sit down and join us. I figured Michael would have said something awful and stormed out. He didn't.
As he sat down, I shifted in my seat. I knew the next place his eyes would land would be upon me. And they did. His look was a mixture of confusion and contempt.
As planned, my Dad opened things up and so, it began. There was a calmness in the room. The morning light shined through the blinds. When it was time for me to speak, I felt Michael’s eyes searching me up and down, piercing through me.
What the hell?
My eyes searched the room and landed upon bewildered glances. I got up and went to the kitchen where the boom originated.
Kay called to me to see if everything was alright.
"Yes. I forgot to put the stupid basket in the coffee pot and it exploded all over the counter."
My sister and friend came to my rescue and we giggled as we cleaned up the volcano-esque disaster that was now my kitchen. I couldn’t have been more relieved to be removed from that circle. And the explosion definitely broke the tension. Momentarily.
Settled back in with the group, we neared the first offer for help. I knew in my heart he would say no. he did. So as instructed by Kay in our rehearsal, we began the second round of conversation. He declined our help the second time.
It was over. He refused and left the room.
Slowly, the disappointed group disbanded and ascended on the kitchen to eat, as Kay had instructed in our rehearsal. We sat talking idly, ignoring the elephant that left the room. After a short while, one-by-one, the group departed until just our friend, Michael’s mom and I remained. I went to the bedroom and invited Michael out to the kitchen for some food. He declined. I returned alone to the disappointment of our friend and his mom.
A few minutes later, to our relief, he came back to the kitchen. I prepared breakfast tacos for him and we ate. We made small talk and soon thereafter our friend left.
Now it was just the three of us – Michael, his mom and me. Kay instructed us that, should he decline the offer for help, not to discuss the intervention with him unless he initiated the conversation. He did not. It was like it never happened. The bogus family breakfast grated on my nerves. I felt lost and defeated. His mom nervously moved about the house making small talk and we exchanged worried glances. Michael went back to bed for the remainder of the day. When he woke up, the three of us went to dinner. It was like the twilight zone. Not one mention of the events that took place earlier that day.
The following morning we picked our kids up from my parents' house and we all spent some time with Michael’s mom before she returned to New Mexico. It was an emotional goodbye. Her eyes searched mine. I didn’t have the answers for her. She left. And again it was just us. No resolution. No change.
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Photo Credit: Michele Tardivo