Transcript of 23rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Thomas Darden, Friday, May 1, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Mr. Darden: Hi, Charles.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Tom. Please have a seat.
Mr. Darden: Thank you.
Dr. Balis: How have things been these past couple of weeks?
Mr. Darden: Better on some fronts, worse on others.
Dr. Balis: I see. Let's start with the good news.
Mr. Darden: I've made some progress with Rachel, or maybe I'm just being humored, I don't know.
Dr. Balis: What sort of progress?
Mr. Darden: I got up the nerve to ask her to lunch.
Dr. Balis: Great. That's very encouraging news. It must have been very difficult for you to approach her.
Mr. Darden: Well, it wasn't too difficult. I wimped out and asked her via e-mail.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: I guess I'm lucky to have gotten that far. I was sitting in my cubicle, only half-minding my Help Desk tickets, when suddenly I found myself opening up a new e-mail message and asking her if she'd like to have lunch with me sometime. And before the more rational side of me was able to catch up and realize what I was doing, the message had already been sent.
Dr. Balis: Did she accept your invitation? Or is that the bad news?
Mr. Darden: She accepted. I couldn't believe it. I had expected her to whip back a quick reply with some excuse not to go, but instead she simply asked me where and when. So we picked a time and a place, and there I was, sitting in a booth in a restaurant across from a woman I've wanted to be close to for months.
Dr. Balis: How did it go?
Mr. Darden: I felt it was a little strained. I was probably visibly nervous to her. It's ironic how we had joked and flirted with each other over the course of several months, yet once we were alone together, there was this great tension between us. The flow of conversation was a bit choppy. I wish I could have remained in flirt mode when we had gone out to lunch. Maybe then, she'd feel more comfortable hanging around me instead of Mr. Collavito.
Dr. Balis: That's the gentleman you sent the computer virus to, right?
Mr. Darden: Yes. In fact, that subject came up during my conversation with Rachel. She said she didn't understand why I had felt so jealous when Scott already has a girlfriend. Well, if he has a girlfriend, he must be planning to cheat on her.
Dr. Balis: Why do you say that?
Mr. Darden: Because Scott loves to go over to Rachel's cubicle and talk, and vice versa. They are at each other's cubicle so often each day, that it is driving me insane. How could he not be putting the moves on her? Rachel admitted herself that he was a flirt. But apparently, she's been doing a little flirting of her own. I can't help but think that she's doing it on purpose, just to make me feel frustrated.
Dr. Balis: Much like Karina had been doing, right?
Mr. Darden: I don't know. All I know is there are times at work--when I'm watching Scott talk to Rachel--when I feel like I'm close to losing control.
Dr. Balis: Losing control in a violent manner?
Mr. Darden: Yes. It's the most disturbing feeling to experience: the burning sensation that swells at the base of my skull, that shot of adrenaline that leaves your face flushed with rage. It's all very frightening for me. I truly believe that if things continue between those two like they have, I may lose my temper in ways only Clive Barker could dream up.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think it bothers you so intensely that Scott talks with Rachel often?
Mr. Darden: Because he can and I can't. And it is particularly disappointing to me that Rachel would rather go to Scott's cubicle to gab than to mine. I feel hurt. I've known her longer than Scott has, yet he gets to spend more time around her now. What the hell am I doing wrong?
Dr. Balis: Does this sound at all familiar to you?
Mr. Darden: What do you mean?
Dr. Balis: I seem to remember you describing a similar situation between you and Karina. You felt that another man--who had known her for a shorter amount of time--had less claim to her attentions than you did.
Mr. Darden: This is totally different.
Dr. Balis: I'll agree that the circumstances were different. I believe Karina may very well have exploited your affection for her to a degree. But the jealousy factor is clearly similar in both cases. And, of course, such intense emotion is going to distort the reality of the situation. There may very well be a mutual interest between Scott and Rachel that goes beyond friendship, or maybe it's completely innocent. But jealousy will only show you one possibility.
Mr. Darden: I just wish it was me talking to her all the time and Scott getting jealous.
Dr. Balis: Well, why don't you go over to her cubicle and talk to her?
Mr. Darden: I've already told you why--I can't talk to her around everybody else in my department. Rumors would start flying.
Dr. Balis: So what if they conclude that you and Rachel are seeing each other? Isn't that your goal with Rachel after all?
Mr. Darden: Well, yes, but I want to do it discreetly.
Dr. Balis: I don't think that's true. I think you could care less what your co-workers think. You want to be with Rachel, and you want to be able to feel more comfortable talking to her, but you're afraid.
Mr. Darden: Yes. I guess so. I...
Dr. Balis: Tom? It's okay, Tom. Take a minute. Would you like a tissue?
Mr. Darden: No, damnit. No, I wouldn't. I want her. But I'm not the type of person that can succeed with someone like Rachel. It's all doomed to failure. I'm doomed to fail. I just want this one fucking good thing to happen in my life, just this once. Goddamnit, Charles! She's so much like me in so many ways, but just different enough that I...I just don't know where it's going to lead. And I can't even muster enough courage to walk up to her and strike up a conversation, unless the whole thing is planned in advance. And even then, it's a chore. If only I could be Scott for a while, maybe I wouldn't have all these fucking problems.
Dr. Balis: Personally, I feel you have a better shot at winning her affection than Scott does. After all, she did readily accept your lunch invitation.
Mr. Darden: I'm sure she was only being polite. If I ever ask her on a date outside of work, I'm sure she'd turn me down. It seems like the only time I get to go out with women is when they are feeling particularly charitable.
Dr. Balis: Well, let's put it this way, Tom. If Scott and Rachel speak to each other off and on throughout the day as you suggest, it's likely to be very light, brief conversation, assuming they have normal job functions to attend to. However, Rachel devoted an entire hour solely to you, with no interruptions. Who do you think spent the best quality time with her?
Mr. Darden: I want more, Charles. I don't just want a conversation. I want emotion and romance. I want to fall in love with her. And I want Rachel to fall for me. I don't want to play games. I don't want to second-guess my actions any longer. I just want to walk into the proverbial sunset with her at my side. And if I have to beat the shit out of Scott to get to that point, then I'll do it.
Dr. Balis: How will hurting Scott get you any closer to Rachel? If anything, you will have undermined all your progress.
Mr. Darden: I want him out of the picture. I hope the bastard dies, preferably by my own hands.
Dr. Balis: Tom, you're really starting to concern me with these statements.
Mr. Darden: I'm sick of being derailed by some third fucking party who comes into the picture just to screw my chances, Charles. I want to get even. I want to fight back. I want revenge.
Dr. Balis: I think we both know you don't want to hurt anybody.
Mr. Darden: We'll see. Fuck this. Session's over, Charles.
Dr. Balis: Tom, come back! We need to...
Mr. Darden: Goodbye, Charles!
Dr. Balis: Tom!
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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