“Oh I thought I was late.” Danny said as he walked into the waiting room of the therapist Tracey had chosen to see.

“You’re close, Francis is running a bit late but she said she’d be ready soon. Come and sit down.” Tracey replied politely as she patted the seat next to where she sat with the palm of her left hand.

She wasn’t annoyed at Danny’s later than scheduled arrival because she knew that she’d made the appointment for 2:15 and told him it was 2pm to allow him a fifteen minute buffer. It was something she often did when they had appointments, something she was sure many husbands and wives did around the world.

Danny half heartedly waved to the receptionist, who had obviously heard the conversation and knew what Danny was there for, as he made his way to the seat beside Tracey.

“Guess this is better than walking in late and making a fool of myself.” Danny said without actually offering an apology for his late arrival.

“It’s not about making a fool of yourself Danny. Turning up is a sign of strength, not weakness. I’m sure you know that from the times you’ve had to see the team doctor.” Tracey’s voice was calm and slightly hushed, not that it needed to be because the receptionist was the only other person in ear shot and she was on the phone.

“Yeah I know,” Danny said quietly, “but you know what it’s like walking into a room last. It doesn’t matter who is in the room.”

Tracey agreed with Danny then added, “Thankfully we are not here to judge you or me Danny, just talk and since Francis isn’t ready yet then we’ll both be walking into the room together.”

Danny nodded but said nothing, he did agree with Tracey but that didn’t mean the feelings he had were not valid. Just like the nerves he had about sitting in the waiting room of a therapist were completely valid. However in fairness to Francis, who he’d never met, the nerves he was feeling weren’t all related to her, he felt the same the times he waited for the team doctor to read his mind and tell him how he was feeling. The biggest differences between the team shrink and Tracey’s shrink was that the team shrink had the power to take him off the track, stop him racing, and he usually had several days of sweating before seeing the team shrink not just hours.

Trying not to make it to obvious Danny sat in the chair and began his breathing exercises, they didn’t work just to calm him down, they also helped to take away thoughts and clear his mind. Although he didn’t always like therapists, or even the idea of therapists, he did appreciate the breathing exercises the team doctor had shown not long after he first started racing for the team. The issue he’d always had was remembering it wasn’t a technique for only the track, it could be used in every day situations rather than flying off the handle and losing control.

When Danny saw the clock on the wall of the waiting room, something doctors of all persuasions really shouldn’t have in view of patients given how late they run, tick over 2:16pm he felt a little better. But at 2:17pm when the door of Francis’ office opened and she called the two of them into her room Danny immediately felt his heart rate pick up again. He knew he shouldn’t be feeling that way, well at least he hoped he didn’t need to, hoped the session wasn’t going to be just about kicking him, but he couldn’t help it.

He took several deep breaths, got up from his chair and followed Tracey into the room.

“That wasn’t too bad was it?” Tracey asked Danny an hour and a half later as they stood in the car park next to Danny’s dual cab ute.

“No I guess it wasn’t.” Danny replied honestly.

“I’m so glad you came.” Tracey said and then in a move that surprised Danny she stepped closer to him and kissed him on the cheek.

In his mind Danny flinched but in reality he stood there and let Tracey kiss him, it was only a peck and lasted only a fraction of a second but it was still something his mind jumped at quicker than his reflexes.

“Are you headed home now or do you have to go back to work?” Tracey asked.

Danny answered in a single word, his mind still caught up a bit with the peck on the cheek. “Home!”

“Oh good, I can do something special for dinner.”

“Uh-huh” Danny replied. “Want me to get anything from the shop?” He added not really thinking about what he was saying.

“How about some wine?” Tracey asked.

“Ok.”

Danny was still not fully present in the conversation but he knew what he was saying and after they bid each other farewell he knew he was going via the bottle shop on his way home while Tracey was heading straight home.

With some time to himself in the car Danny couldn’t help but think about the therapy session. It had actually gone really well, his fears about it being a session to kick him had been completely wrong. He wasn’t entirely sure what it solved, if anything, but he felt happy he had gone, so happy in fact that he agreed to return with Tracey the following week.

In many ways Francis seemed better than the team doctor, Danny suspected that had something to do with the team doctor having a slightly different allegiance to Francis but it didn’t matter because he felt comfortable with Francis, something he was almost prepared not to do when he first agreed to seeing her. Not being an expert on such things Danny suspected there was still a path to travel but he felt maybe that path did have an end and maybe since he didn’t know what that end was Francis was the one to help them find it.

Previous Racing story here.