‘And how did that make you feel?’
Miriam sighed. That was the kind of open-ended question that her therapist loved to ask. She considered her response, watching as Dr Bertram turned a page in his notebook, pen poised.
‘As though it was the end of my life as I knew it.’ It sounded dramatic but she was surprised by the truth of it.
Miriam watched as Dr Bertram scribbled down some words. She knew it wasn’t worth trying to glimpse the page as he seemed to write in some kind of hieroglyphics which was legible only to himself. She’d asked once if it was a kind of shorthand. He’d been momentarily flustered and shook his head.
‘Can you tell me more about that?’
Miriam looked down at her hands, folded neatly in her lap. ‘It felt as though all the times I compromised on what I wanted or needed was a complete waste of time. That maybe if I’d been the one who shouted and bullied that I’d be in a better position. Different, somehow.’ She looked up and met Dr Bertram’s eyes. He nodded slightly, which was as much encouragement as she needed.
‘And it made me think that my life doesn’t have to shrink now that I’m on my own. If anything, it can be bigger, larger, more true to who I am.’
Dr Bertram cast a rare smile in her direction. ‘It sounds as though your view of the world is expanding.’
Miriam breathed deeply, surprised to feel a little lighter than she had in quite some time. She closed her eyes and pictured her heart. For so long it had been clenched tight, not like a fist but like a small bud, gathering strength and biding its time. She could feel the slightest shift inside, a shimmer of petals unfurling, preparing to open itself to the world.