The meeting was in a church basement. Joy felt some last minute jitters as she made her way to the room Deanna had told her. There were maybe a dozen or so women milling about; talking and getting coffee. Joy didn’t see Deanna, so she just took a seat.
“Hi ladies, how are we all doing tonight?” Deanna said as she swept into the room. “Why don’t we all have a seat as we have a new member tonight and we should introduce ourselves to her.”
The women all came to the circle of chairs and sat down. Deanna started, stating her name and giving a brief bio. As each woman took her turn, each was unique in her own way and some were friendlier and more open than others. Joy began to have serious doubts about her attending this affair.
When it came around to Joy, she mumbled her name; stated she was a housewife and mom, and rushed through the explanation that she’d been recently ‘assaulted.’
“You’re the one that was on the news.” One woman observed.
“Yes, I’m afraid so.” Joy said quietly. She had taken two Xanax in the car, but they were having no effect as her anxiety level was through the roof.
“So tell us what happened.” A younger girl asked.
“Trish, you know we share when we are ready, don’t push.” Deanna admonished.
“It was pretty much how the news stated.” Joy said, hoping to get the focus away from her.
“So he really held you at knifepoint? I see the cut on your neck. Man, that is rough.” Another woman voiced and several others nodded in agreement.
“Okay, let’s give Joy a breather. Joyce, what happened on your date this weekend?” Deanna deflected attention away from Joy, but she still felt her face burning and her heart beating out of her chest.
The meeting continued on without Joy having to say anything more, and broke up around eight-thirty. As the women made their way out of the basement, Joy approached Deanna.
“Deanna, I want to thank you for inviting me into your group. I don’t think this will work out for me; I am just such a private person. Daniel has me set up with a therapist in the city. Have you heard of a Dr. Mayer?” Joy rushed on to get past her not wanting to be a member of the group.
“Actually, Joy, yes, he is one of the doctors we use as a referral for those wanting to go into the city. I think you will find him very warm and open-minded.”
This was a relief to Joy as she didn’t think she could face another woman with her story.
“I’m sorry I just don’t feel comfortable with the group, Deanna. But I did feel really comfortable talking with you the other day, and, well, perhaps we can get together for lunch sometime again. I can totally work around your schedule.” Joy was sweating as she felt like she was asking Deanna for a date.
“Sure Joy; I’d love to. One can never have too many girlfriends.”
Or at least one, thought Joy. She waved off and smiled as she exited the basement. She was relieved to be putting this experience behind her as quickly as her car could drive her away from there.