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After two more sessions together, Shawn and I were making tons of progress. The progress was on forgiving each other and ourselves and moving on from the pain. It was not progress in the sense that we were closer to getting back together. That never came up, which made it clear to me that it was not on his agenda.

At the end of the third session, Alice gave us the all-clear to talk outside of therapy. I guess we were more medium-rare these days instead of raw.

We took our usual route to the elevator. Shawn did not head down the stairs like he had before. We stood there quietly waiting for the elevator to arrrive.

"We're allowed to communicate, you know," he said.

"Nice weather we're having," I quipped.

He laughed.

The elevator arrived and we stepped in. We both reached for the L button at the same time and our hands touched. I felt that old electric feeling, but given how he pulled his hand back, it appeared he felt something less pleasurable. It was like my touch burned him.

We did not talk as we descended to the lobby.

Shawn and I walked out together and appeared to be going in the same direction. I realized he was walking me to my car again.

"So, uh, would you like to get coffee?" he asked.

"It's 6:15. A bit late for coffee. You know how it keeps me up if I drink it after a certain point."

"Oh yeah. Okay. See you next week," he said, turning away from me.

I reached out and touched his arm before he took a step.

"How about dinner?" I asked.

He smiled. "Dinner would be great. Want to go to that Greek place that kept changing names? The one on the corner near the apartment?"

"I'll meet you there."

I felt giddy as I made the short drive. I parked in the apartment lot and walked to the restaurant since it was silly to park on the street and then repark two blocks away. Shawn already had a booth for us by the time I got there.

"I ordered us some spanakopita. I hope that's okay," he said as I sat down.

"Perfect. Did you order me a Diet Coke?"

"Of course."

I looked at the menu. Shawn and I used to order two entrees to share. That was couple behavior, though. I hated having to pick the one item I wanted most, instead of getting a little of two things.

The waitress arrived with our drinks.

I went back to the menu and made a decision. If I got the chicken souvlaki platter, I'd have enough left for dinner tomorrow.

I took a sip of my soda. Shawn was still going over the menu.

The waitress returned again with our appetizer. "Are you ready to order?" she asked as she set down the little tray of spinach and feta pastries.

I gave her my order. Shawn ordered moussaka. I immediately wished I'd ordered it, too. I wouldn't even get a bite of his.

Over dinner we stuck to light subjects. Morgan was due this fall, so we joked about how nuts Kurt would be in the delivery room. We talked about our families. Our jobs. That took up all of dinner.

The subject of us did not come up until the end.

"So," he said. "Are you feeling better after joint therapy?"

I noted that he did not call it couples therapy. Was it because we weren't a couple?

"I think it's helping," I said. "You?"

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