Jane could barely see the concrete of the alley beneath her. In the dark, the space under the wooden balconey seemed like an abyss.
Abyss. She remembered a conversation she had with Dr. Patel, not during her first or second session with him but certainly early, perhaps the third. She had used that word abyss, had talked about staring into it — he had asked a question, she remembered now, about the future, where she saw herself going in the next five years. “No idea,” she had said. “Maybe I’ll have my current job, maybe not. I may not even be at Crasob, for all I know.” If Gary became a partner in the firm, she knew their working relationship would change.
“When I think about the future, all I see is darkness. Like staring into an abyss.” She had instantly regretted chosing that word.
Dr. Patel’s response was quick. “An interesting word, Jane. Most people look down at abysses — literally.” His right index finger was pointing down, the tip planted on his desk. “The word has many other negative associations.”
She had waited a moment to make sure he was finished, then had replied that she hadn’t meant to sound so negative. She was uncertain, she’d said, not pessimistic. It was one of the few times that she had withheld the truth from Dr. Patel, and she’d done so because that truth had scared her.
In those weeks immediately after her world had suddenly changed, she had been staring down, into a dark foreboding abyss. If her life could change so dramatically, so instantly, and for no apparent reason, how certain could she be of anything? On more than one occassion, she would ask herself (and always, by herself) how she could continue acting as normal in this new world, when she had no idea how’d she’d gotten there in the first place? What if tomorrow she was back to her old normal, or faced yet another new normal? She’d asked questions like that many times in those first few weeks — and when she realized that no answers would be coming, she felt herself edging closer to the abyss.