“This is kind of late for you, isn’t it Dear? Shouldn’t you be well into the morning’s chapter of reading by now?”
“I know, Audrey. I know. This is late. I’m hiding. I’m playing the role of the ostrich today.”
“I see. So because you received a call with some unsettling news on Saturday, and slumped around in a funk all day Sunday, you think what you really need to do today is sleep in and avoid the rest of the world?”
“Well… yes. I am going to fold my tent. I will fold it neatly and tuck it away. I’ll spend the day in bed with the covers pulled over my head and wait for everything to blow away in the wind.”
Audrey takes a long, delicate drag from the filter and exhales while staring back at me.
“What? What are you looking at? It’s my tent to fold if I want to.”
“Yes, dear. It certainly is your tent. I’m sure your children will learn quite a lot by watching the way you deliberately give up.”
I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head and said, “That’s not fair.”
“Listen to me, Dear. You’ve handled many things as difficult as this. You’ve handled them with grace. You’ve shown your children that you don’t have to buckle under pressure. Think back to how you’ve handled similar situations. What have you done to get through?”
“I don’t want to deal with this anymore.”
She gently taps the filter with a manicured nail to deposit ashes in the ashtray on her dressing table. “That isn’t an option, Dear. What else can you do?”
I sit up in bed so I can use my hands to emphasize while I yell at her. “I don’t know. I don’t know what I’ll be expected to do. I can’t fix this. This isn’t my mess to fix.”
“I know that, Dear, but if you act from a position of strength rather than weakness, you’ll get your power back. Tell them what you are willing to do. Don’t wait on pins and needles for them to tell you what they want or expect you to do. Darling, be proactive rather than reactive.”
She takes another drag and raises an eyebrow while saying, “You are going to get out of bed, aren’t you?”
I throw back the covers and say, “You know, you really should give up that nasty habit.”
“We’re talking about you, Darling.”
“So I’ll get out of bed. Then what? What do I say? What will I do?”
“Take a shower, Dear. Get cleaned up. Have some coffee. It’ll come to you.”
While I was in the shower, the fog cleared. My wits returned. I composed the email. I made a plan for me, based on what I am willing to do. I clearly and politely stated what I will not do.
I had three strong cups of coffee.
I typed the email and proofread it.
I hit send.
As I walked back to the bedroom with a fourth cup of coffee, I felt my power return.
Was it my power returning, or was it caffeine surging through my veins?
Audrey heard my thoughts and said, “It’s not caffeine, Dear. Your power is back because you took action. You needed a couple days to process. That was long enough. You can’t let this be a setback. You mustn’t lose your momentum. You are capable of dealing with this in the same manner as past issues, and each time you do, you get stronger. ”
She pulled another cigarette out of the silver case on the dressing table and placed it in the end of the filter. “Now, isn’t it time you found a proper frame for me?”