Breaking the Spell

Breaking the Spell

A Good Boy Learns to Become a Man

By Stephen Lyons

March/April 2004

"Close your eyes and try to find that little boy," my therapist, Sara, suggests, gently moving me through my first guided meditation. "Do you see him?"

"Yes," I say, but I don't, not really. I see no one but an anxious man who rarely sleeps anymore, who wakes up at one, two, and three a.m., filled with fear, rage, and unquenchable guilt. I've finally left my wife, who abandoned me years earlier for alcohol. "I'll never divorce you," Maria once hissed. "You'll have to leave me." She was right.

"Approach that little boy. Is he happy to see you?" Sara presses. From the note of quiet urgency in her voice, I know we're approaching catharsis. Should I cry like a guest on Oprah? Or perhaps tremble like a born-again Christian who's finally seen the Light?

But all I can think of are Sara's hands. I've never been attracted to a woman's hands before. Hers are strong, thickly veined, the fingers adorned with turquoise and silver. When she talks and moves her hands, the rings make jeweled contrails across the room. I imagine those hands kneading bread, shaping the clay pots that sit on her shelves, massaging my sagging shoulders. Can she sense my attraction? Does she notice the way I look at her lively blue eyes, her streaky blonde hair set off by sparkling earrings? Sara is the first therapist I've ever seen. She appears to be happily married. I'm about to become unmarried. I'm vulnerable and lonely.Concentrate, Lyons!

"The little boy is angry," I…

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