When I didn’t practice going to the supermarket or went to OPUS or the commune, I stayed in my apartment. My severe anxiety kept me from going out. Luckily, I had some wonderful people at home. I fell more and more in love with T and R was a joy to live with. The three of us spent a lot of time in the kitchen, considering how little food was being cooked. We just hung out. We only used the living room, when we had company over.
Autumn came and left and before we knew it, it was our first anniversary. T invited me on a little date. Mulled wine and apple puffs at a local cafe. I was looking forward to it, but apprehensive. The anxiety had a firm grip on me at the time, and I really wanted for T to have a good night. He deserved that. We had chosen that particular cafe because I knew it well. It was a ”manageable” room, where it was easy to count the tables, chairs and pictures on the wall. I had done it before. However, it was December and they had put up Christmas decorations. There was Christmas balls everywhere, in every size and colour imaginable. I started sweating. We sat down, and I began counting them. T was talking, but I couldn’t focus. I had to count all of the Christmas balls before I could relax. It was impossible, there were too many. T understood what was going on, he put his hand on mine and gave it a little squeeze. Do you want to leave?, he asked. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. It was a mixture of shame and disappointment, but most of all gratitude. It was so nice to get out and feel the cold air, I could finally breathe again. We walked home, hand in hand. I counted my steps all the way.
December was also the month where I was going to meet T’s parents for the first time. Why I hadn’t met them earlier, I don’t know, but now was the time. We were meeting them at a restaurant down the street. It was snowing as we were walking there, which was just fine with me. I was so nervous and feeling so warm inside. T had grown up in a completely different environment than me, north of Copenhagen, and I didn’t know what to expect. All prejudices I may have had were put to shame the moment I met them. They were so nice and accommodating. As luck would have it, we were placed in the back of the room with our backs to the rest of the restaurant, which meant the counting was over quickly and I could relax. We had a ice evening, and I was so happy and relieved, when we walked home. It had stopped snowing.