Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Outside the comfort zone

The temperature in the room seemed to shoot up 30 degrees in a split second. Her clothes suddenly seemed a lot more insulating than she’d remembered them being when she entered and a ring of sweat instantly burst into existence around her collar. It felt like all eyes were on her although chances were at least a few of them were looking at their computer screens or paperwork. Didn’t matter. The eyes she was concerned about belonged to the judge, and those were fixed on her.

“I’m leaving this up to your considerable experience and asking you if you think she can do treatment.” he said, the same authority in his voice he used for the courtroom.

She paused, unsure of where to go. Luckily she was bought some time by the interruption of the reliably loose-lipped probation officer who desperately tried to remind the judge of the more convoluted facts of the situation.

“We know all that, that doesn’t change it,” he cut her off. “Whether this is a delusion or we’re looking at a pathology the options are still the same. Either, we’re going to let her go back to that same environment we took her out of or we’re going to keep her there and try treatment.” He stopped, seemingly to make it sink in. “I’m asking the therapist what we should do. Can she engage in treatment?”

If he had any idea how unsure of myself I was, he wouldn’t be interested in my opinion, she concluded to herself. Why is it that everyone always seems to have so much more faith in me than I do? I’ve never encountered this sort-of thing before, I don’t even know if I’ve read about it. We haven’t even had the psych eval and he’s asking me to make a call about her status in the program.

She took a deep breath, placed her hands flat on the table, and forced herself to look up and make eye contact. “The honest answer is I don’t know. But I think we’ve got to try.”

She guessed that it wouldn’t work. Certainly that there wouldn’t be progress to report any time soon if at all. But she couldn’t write it off when she had no idea what the hell she was dealing with yet. Even if it ended up being another mistake that she would look back on later on in her career as she explained how she learned to make the judgment calls she would be making then, hopefully with more confidence and trust in herself. Give it a try, learn. And she knew with certainty that this was one of those moments when she knew what it meant to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.


  1. A few of your pieces have been about some early stage, or ended looking towards progress that might happen within the fictional world, but outside our view. Are you going to leave your comfort zone with this piece, and write about what happens when she tries? Perhaps it could be a serial.

  2. Intersting challenge. I'll have to think about that. I wrote this from my point of view and I don't usually think of fictional me. Then again, this i early stage writing, isn't it? This will take some outside the box thinking...


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