I’ve been re-watching “House” from the beginning, which I haven’t done in years. I just got to S1e21, “Three Stories,” where Sela Ward makes her first appearance, and I gasped.
There was a woman I worked with who left the firm about 18 months back. I had a serious crush on her, and we were actually very good friends for the first 14 months I worked with her…and then she turned on a dime and essentially stopped talking to me, followed by thinly veiled disdain, wrapped up with open hostility before she ultimately quit, putting me through 14 months of bullshit tension and anxiety. It took me at least a year to get over having been so badly burned by someone I trusted, but it also kept me from wanting to form any friendships beyond the most cursory interactions with coworkers. I felt like I couldn’t trust people when they said something kind to me because I suspected an agenda or passive-aggressive manipulation. I have been told from a few more objective sources that my coworker’s dramatic change in attitude was due to jealousy, but that didn’t make the situation hurt less.
Now, like I said, it’s been 18 months since she left the firm, but I’ve had a few interactions with her because now she’s working at another firm we do business with (opposing counsel, occasional arbitrator), and I am at a point where I can call or email that office and speak with her about case-related matters, but I keep it very brief, and it does take a modicum of encouraging self-talk to pick up that phone. I have not seen her, not even a photo, no Facebook stalking, no awkward run-in at a local winery—nothing.
But now I’m watching S1e21 of “House,” and the second Sela Ward pops on screen I gasp because of the remarkable resemblance between her and my duplicitous former coworker. It was not a problem before she turned on me because I liked looking at my coworker and was happy for a fictional substitute; having not watched the show since my friend and I parted ways, I was not prepared for the visceral reaction. In addition to the gasp of surprise, I felt my stomach clench with anxiety, and I had to look away from the screen until she was gone.
I guess the conclusion I’ve arrived at is, I’m not as over that experience as I thought I was. And that’s a little disappointing.