18 - Case in point.

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Now.

"Tell me, how was your weekend away a few weeks ago?" asked Karen. I was back, yet again, in her stuffy, overheated room with too many paintings and psychology book laden shelves lining the walls.

"It was good. My dad and Madden got to spend some time together and he's seemed a lot happier in himself since, which I have missed," I said.

"And what of you? What was your experience like?"

"Um . . . it was interesting. I went down to the beach on my own, sat on a rock for a while, closed my eyes and just chilled out. When I say it like that it sounds ridiculous, and I must have looked like a lunatic out there just sitting on my own on a rock with my eyes closed," I laughed wondering what people walking past must have been thinking.

"But how did you feel? What was your thinking? It doesn't matter what you must have looked like; and regardless, people meditate all the time in public. It's actually one of the best things you can do to calm your mind, as I'm sure you well know by now."

"It was actually really intense and kind of . . . spiritual, I guess, which I didn't expect. The weather coincidentally seemed to match my every thought and mood that day. As I started to feel calmer the sun emerged from behind the clouds and it was bright and warm and nice. And then my mind wandered back to Camden, and that brightness vanished again and it started raining. Pouring actually." I laughed again. "It seemed fitting."

"That does seem incredibly profound. What were the specific thoughts you had of Camden then?" she asked.

"Feeling powerless."

Then

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Then.

I was miserable when I ended my relationship with Ruben, and my friends and family couldn't make any sense of it. Tanner was around at my house as soon as he heard from Ruben, which was so unusual considering I very rarely had anyone over to my house with all the bullshit that went on so often there. It was always so humiliating.

But he came, and didn't understand, and I didn't know how to explain it so he could. We were sitting out on my front steps talking, and my stepfather inside started railing on my mother for there not being any more chilled beer in the fridge when he finished his last can, creating an unexpected but easy opportunity for me to elaborate.

"Case in point," I said, turning around and presenting the heated, one-sided discussion behind us. "This is who I am. This is what I have to live with. This fucking bullshit is never going away. Ruben doesn't need this, and I don't want to be responsible for pulling him into this shit storm of a life. He deserves a lot better than that."

"Just because this is your life now, Sadie, doesn't mean it always will be. And it definitely doesn't make us love you any less. He's an idiot, don't get me wrong, and I fucking hate him and want to go in there now and tell him what I really think of him, as I always have. But we would never judge you because of him," Tanner said kindly.

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