Transcript of 53rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, October 14, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sylvia. How are you?
Ms. Bows: Hello, Doctor Balis. It's been a very hard few weeks.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry about Richard.
Ms. Bows: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: Did you go to the funeral?
Ms. Bows: It was last...I mean the weekend before last, on Saturday. I don't know, Doctor, it's still hard to think of him as gone. I knew it was going to happen. In fact, when I got the phone call from Richard's mom, I wasn't particularly surprised--he was so ill and so weak. But still...
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Bows: Only a few months before, I would have given anything to see him die--get killed in a car accident, plane crash, chewed up by a shark while surfing...I mean I had vivid dreams of Richard's death. I even told Tom about them, and we would laugh at them together with Tom providing horrifically disgusting details. But's so different now, Doctor. Now, I have dreams of Richard holding Roald in his arms in the hospital bed--his face all distorted from pain and wasted away, but eyes still shining with love for his son. It's horrible, Doctor, I can't sleep at night. And then this whole mess with Tom...
Dr. Balis: What about Tom?
Ms. Bows: I told you how difficult he was making it for me to tell him about Roald and Richard.
Dr. Balis: It was my impression that you were not particularly interested in being very forthcoming with Tom either.
Ms. Bows: Perhaps not. But I was watching a friend and a father of my child die a very horrible death. I was hoping that Tom would be a bit more supportive or at least open to me. But it's all water under the bridge at this point.
Dr. Balis: Sylvia, try to put yourself in Tom's place. Richard might have been your friend, but he was also your lover--the father of one of your children, a man who sued you and Tom for the custody of your children, someone who purposefully tried to break you and Tom up...
Ms. Bows: I know that there aren't a lot of good reasons why Tom should be nice or understanding about Richard, but he's dead now.
Dr. Balis: I'm just trying to remind you that Tom is not really being unreasonable. He has a lot of good reasons not to like Richard. And you lying to him and sneaking behind his back to see Richard just didn't help.
Ms. Bows: Oh, he knows about that--apparently my babysitter told him about our little visits to the hospital a few weeks back.
Dr. Balis: So Tom knew all this time and didn't say anything to you?
Ms. Bows: You see what I have to live with? If he just confronted me, it would have been so much easier.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Bows: I love Tom, Doctor Balis, I really do. All this Richard stuff hasn't changed how I feel about Tom. But it's so difficult sometimes. He is so reserved, so secretive. I never know if he already knows what I'm telling him. It's like living with Machiavelli.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like you shouldn't try to lie to Tom.
Ms. Bows: But sometimes...
Dr. Balis: Has it ever yielded a positive result? Have you ever successfully deceived Tom for long?
Ms. Bows: I don't know. I find it easier sometimes to just not tell him the whole truth. It's like I have these conversations with him in my head--I play out the scene before it happens. And it always seems that presenting a particular version of reality would work better.
Dr. Balis: Particular version of reality? You mean lying?
Ms. Bows: If you insist on calling it that. I never actually lie, I just present information in a more favorable light.
Dr. Balis: Right.
Ms. Bows: It doesn't matter, Doctor. Tom knew I was seeing Richard and bringing the boys with me, and he never let on. Then when I told him that Richard died, he took it very matter of fact--no emotion, not even "I'm glad that son of a bitch is dead." I told him that I wanted to attend the funeral, and he said that it was my decision--whatever I wanted to do was fine with him. But the way he said it...I just don't know, Doctor. He's locking me out again--we're not communicating. And please don't tell me that it's all my fault, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Okay. I won't say that.
Ms. Bows: Richard had a very nice ceremony. A lot of people came. I sat next to his mom; she cried the whole time. She told me that she had a photograph of Roald next to her heart and that it was the only thing that was keeping her from losing her mind. And then suddenly I found myself crying, too.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Richard's dad came and held me close. I felt very uncomfortable, but I couldn't pull away. They all needed me somehow--needed a piece of me to give them a link with Richard. When the service was over, we all drove down to the cemetery.
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Bows: I thought I saw Tom in the parking lot of the chapel, but I wasn't sure.
Dr. Balis: Did Tom know where the service was?
Ms. Bows: It wouldn't have been that difficult to find out if he wanted to know.
Dr. Balis: That's true.
Ms. Bows: Richard's parents planned to plant a redwood sapling next to Richard's grave. They found one exactly the same age as Roald--eight months. They asked me to help them put it in the ground.
Dr. Balis: How nice.
Ms. Bows: When I was finally able to move a bit out of the way, I felt someone put a hand on my shoulder. It was Tom.
Dr. Balis: He was there the whole time, then.
Ms. Bows: He saw the whole thing. He looked at me and asked how it felt to be Richard's widow.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Bows: It was such a cruel thing to say. I was already so crushed, he didn't need to do that.
Dr. Balis: Try to think how Tom must have felt at that moment.
Ms. Bows: You'd think he'd be happy.
Dr. Balis: You don't really think that.
Ms. Bows: No. I know he was angry and upset with me. But there's just so much I can cope with at any one particular moment. He could have chosen to confront me the next day. But at the funeral?
Dr. Balis: I agree, Tom's first priority clearly wasn't to make Richard's death easier on you.
Ms. Bows: And the final straw was Lloyd.
Dr. Balis: Oh. I guess Lloyd would have gone to the funeral.
Ms. Bows: He was there for the services, too. But he came over right then--just as Tom accused me of playing the role of Richard's widow.
Dr. Balis: What did he want?
Ms. Bows: He congratulated Tom on the million dollar trust that Roald just inherited.
Dr. Balis: Lloyd chooses his moments well.
Ms. Bows: Bastard! He must have watched us and timed it just so.
Dr. Balis: Did Tom know about Roald testing positive for Richard's paternity?
Ms. Bows: I don't think so. I'm not sure. He didn't act surprised, but...
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Bows: Tom was actually very gracious to Lloyd. I wanted to tear Lloyd apart. He was playing us like violins, trying to torture us to evoke all the subtle nuances of emotion.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Bows: He could see I was physically and emotionally disintegrating right there before his eyes. He was playing a game and watching me fall apart was his prize. Thank god for Tom.
Dr. Balis: What did Tom do?
Ms. Bows: He was just super smooth. Tom said that it had been a trying day and maneuvered me out of there. Lloyd was obviously disappointed that he didn't get to wring me out a bit more.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Bows: Then Tom took me and drove me home. It's funny.
Dr. Balis: What's that?
Ms. Bows: In some way, Lloyd did me a favor by being such an asshole. It's like he managed to direct Tom's anger away from me. But I still feel like I got Lloyded.
Dr. Balis: Lloyded?
Ms. Bows: You know, like Steved.
Dr. Balis: What are you talking about?
Ms. Bows: Steve Jobs of Apple? Everyone in the valley is talking about programs and people that Apple cut--they say they've been Steved. I've been Lloyded.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. How are you and Tom now?
Ms. Bows: Things are very strained. I showed him the deal with Lloyd and Richard--to get the million dollar trust, Richard's parents must have grandparent-like visitation rights to Roald.
Dr. Balis: And?
Ms. Bows: We're still trying to work things out. But Richard's mom has been calling me several times a day for the last week hoping to arrange to see Roald.
Dr. Balis: How does Tom feel about that?
Ms. Bows: He hasn't said no. He told me that he needs time and space to work through his own feelings right now.
Dr. Balis: That sounds fair.
Ms. Bows: I agree. But I feel like he's testing me.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Bows: He knows just how great the temptation is for me to let Richard's parents see Roald, and he's watching, waiting, and testing me.
Dr. Balis: I think you might be over suspicious of Tom and attributing to him emotions and motivations that just aren't there.
Ms. Bows: I don't think so. But I'll do what he wants--I won't let them be with Roald until Tom's ready. I better go now, Doctor. It's getting late.
Dr. Balis: Okay, Sylvia. But...
Ms. Bows: I won't damage my relationship with Tom any further. You don't have to caution me, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: What I was going to say was that you should try to keep an open mind regarding Tom. Don't just assume from the start that his main purpose is to try and push you down. Tom's surprised you before. I think Tom has quite a number of issues that he has to work out, and you shouldn't be resentful of him for that. Do you understand me, Sylvia?
Ms. Bows: I do. I got to go, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Shall we set up our next appointment?
Ms. Bows: Actually, I would rather call you about that. I just feel so pressed for time right now. I don't want to commit to more than I can handle.
Dr. Balis: That's okay. But please keep me informed on what's going on with you, and you can use me to help you reduce and resolve some of your frustrations and resentments.
Ms. Bows: I know, Doctor. Thank you.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Goodbye, Doctor Balis.
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