He teased her. Ha, ha very funny, she thought but she couldn’t say it. She knew it was a joke. Yet she felt criticized. The opportunity to react differently, slipped through her tired fingers.

With anyone else she could have laughed. Not with him.
Every time he jokes or teases her, she reacts strongly. She feels hurt.
Something pulled her into the familiar steps of taking everything too personal. She watched herself as she physically and emotionally retreated . She couldn’t stop the sequence. She felt the cold coat of silence enveloping her and creating an invisible wall between them. She stepped into her cell of detachment to protect herself.

All evening long he asked her if she was okay. “Yeah, I am okay”, she responded, not looking at him. Both knew it wasn’t true. She wanted to step out of her self imposed prison. Her old patterns kept her trapped. She could have taken the hand he offered to pull her out. She wondered why she couldn’t, even though that’s all she wanted to do.