He replays their last encounter, replaying each scene, rewriting the dialogue in hopes of a more favorable ending. What he observed that afternoon defied explanation and is impossible to articulate to anyone who lacks context and insight. He enters her townhome and sees her cowering on an ottoman;a woman he thought he knew. He asks her what is wrong, and she replies “I don’t know what to expect”. Why was she so scared? What had happened to her before? Her abrupt personality shift and detachment would be alien to most men but not to him. Her nonverbal cues, her script, her desperate need for isolation echoed that of his mother. She conjured up emotions that he had not experienced in decades. Her pathology sparks his.
Shortly after he departs she texted, “you need to know something about me, too. My mom attempted suicide right in front of my eyes…”. Impulsively he has to connect with and protect her, recanting his mom’s own suicide attempt. His failure to do so as a child haunts him, draws him to distress, dysfunction reflexively. Counterintuitive to most, but mandatory for him. This would cost him dearly.