Transcript of 14th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Thomas Darden, Friday, June 27, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Tom. Please have a seat.
Mr. Darden: Okay.
Dr. Balis: How are you?
Mr. Darden: Good.
Dr. Balis: It doesn't seem like that's true.
Mr. Darden: This whole Sharon ordeal is just getting ridiculous.
Dr. Balis: You're kidding!
Mr. Darden: I know, I know. You warned me. I feel like she's pulling my strings again. "Hi, I'm Tom, the magic fucking puppet! Look at me! I can walk and talk and kiss your ass!"
Dr. Balis: That's an impressive Pinocchio imitation.
Mr. Darden: She's doing it to me all over again, and I'm letting her. Fucking bitch. She doesn't give me the time of day for two years and now, all of sudden, she wants to talk to me again. I can't have any association with her unless she dictates it and it's convenient for her spoiled ass. I should just ignore her phone calls and e-mails.
Dr. Balis: Why don't you?
Mr. Darden: It's like what Eddie Murphy once said: when you're starving and someone throws you a moldy, soggy cracker, you scarf it down declaring all the while that it's the best tasting cracker you've ever had. It's the same idea with me and Sharon. I've been lonely for so long and then out of the blue she decides to call me and now I can't get enough of her. She's on my mind every day. I even have dreams about her.
Dr. Balis: Tell me about the dreams.
Mr. Darden: Well, in the dreams, I start off alone in what I guess is my apartment, only it's different from the one in real life. This apartment is all white and unbearably bright: the walls, the floors, the ceilings--everything.
Dr. Balis: Is Sharon there?
Mr. Darden: Not at first, no. The dream begins in a room I can only describe as a total blank. There isn't any furniture or any other articles there. All I see is the same penetrating whiteness that's so painful to look at; it compels me to shade my eyes. I start to get very frightened. I look around the room frantically until I can barely discern the silhouette of a person through the brightness. As I walk closer, I realize it's Sharon, but she isn't moving. She seems frozen in time and it's clear from her pose that she had been in the midst of talking and gesturing before she suddenly became still. I try to get her attention by yelling directly at her, but there's no response. I shake her violently, but still she doesn't react.
Dr. Balis: Do you have a feeling associated with her frozen passivity?
Mr. Darden: I feel frustrated and angry. I begin shouting obscenities at her. Finally, I pick her up and run with her in my arms to the bedroom. It is here that I see the only piece of furniture in the apartment: the bed.
Dr. Balis: Is there anything out of the ordinary about it?
Mr. Darden: The bed is very gaudy, incredibly large and it seems to somehow expand beyond the confines of the bedroom itself. The bedpost and headboard are ornately carved with tiny naked women in various poses, and there is a large mirror mounted over the mattress. I'm not sure, but I think the bed is heart-shaped, like you'd find in one of those honeymoon suites they show on TV.
Dr. Balis: What happens next?
Mr. Darden: I toss Sharon onto the bed. Suddenly, the intense whiteness of the room is replaced by a red illumination, much like what comes from the lights you'd find in a photographer's darkroom, only this is slightly brighter. Sharon's once frozen form now springs to life, and she smiles at me mischievously, sitting up on her hands and knees and tossing her hair back. She brings up her right hand and motions with her index finger to come to her. At this point, I'm quite aroused. I soon forget all the emptiness I felt with her in the other room when she wouldn't speak to me. Racing into bed, I claw eagerly at her blouse and she lets me remove it. We soon have each other's clothes off and I begin kissing her everywhere. Sharon points downward, signaling that she wants me to perform oral sex. Kissing her breasts and her stomach on the way down, I willingly do as she asks. After several moments, we return to kissing and begin to have intercourse. As she's on top of me, I look at the mirror and watch her movements. Then the mirror seems to fade away to reveal a group of people I don't recognize staring down at us. Sharon begins moaning, softly at first, then with louder cries. Finally she screams, "Oh, Antoine!" I am stunned by what she says, but continue to have sex. The people above begin pointing at me and laughing, as if to say, "Ha, ha! The joke's on you, dumbass!" When the both of us reach climax, Sharon and I hold and touch each other playfully. I ask her to take a bath with me, and she agrees. As we stand up, I begin talking to Sharon about all the things I want to do now that we're back together, only to find when I turn to her that she is once again frozen in time. I begin crying and the room turns white again. That's when I wake up.
Dr. Balis: Is this dream recurring?
Mr. Darden: I have variations of it, but this version is by far the most vivid and memorable. So what do you think the dream means?
Dr. Balis: Dreams are very helpful in determining one's state of mind, but it's my belief that they are best interpreted from the individual who experiences them. What do you think it means?
Mr. Darden: It seems to reflect my past relationship with Sharon. We never really had anything much in common except the sex. She used to ask me sometimes why we didn't talk more than we did, and I'd never really know what to tell her. We were so many years apart that it was difficult to see things from her younger perspective. I found the best way to communicate to her and show my feelings was through sex.
Dr. Balis: That sounds like the obvious comparison between your life and the dream. What do you think about the other aspects you described, such as the bright white light versus the red? What of the people laughing at you?
Mr. Darden: Well, during the periods in the dream when there was a blinding whiteness, I felt very helpless and alone, but during the time when I was in bed with Sharon, there was a lot more intense emotions going on: love, lust, joy, and ultimately, uneasiness.
Dr. Balis: The uneasiness came when Sharon cried out the name of her fiancé, right?
Mr. Darden: Well, yes, definitely during that time, but there was a constant level of it throughout the sexual episode. It was like a feeling of impending doom. I couldn't fully trust her, which prevented me from being completely satisfied. And the people laughing at me seemed to represent more my feelings of how other people felt about my relationship with someone much younger than myself.
Dr. Balis: Interesting.
Mr. Darden: I guess that's really the root of my problem socializing: worrying too much about what others think and not trusting anyone.
Dr. Balis: I agree that a lack of trust can make it difficult to open up.
Mr. Darden: Which is why I want to trust Sharon's intentions now. I want to believe she's not out to hurt me again. That's why I wanted to keep the lines of communication open until recently.
Dr. Balis: So you feel that Sharon intended to hurt you when she broke off your relationship?
Mr. Darden: I don't know. I guess not really intentionally, no. But she hurt me even if she didn't mean to.
Dr. Balis: It was the circumstances of the situation, Tom. The age difference and the beginning of her college life were the primary factors, as we've discussed before.
Mr. Darden: I guess so. So why does she want to have anything to do with me now, when we never had anything in common?
Dr. Balis: It's not uncommon for some people to explore past relationships in the midst of emotionally trying times. But these situations are almost always temporary.
Mr. Darden: Well, you've pretty much made up my mind that I'm not going to get back together with her. I'm not going to brush her off completely, but I will set some boundaries.
Dr. Balis: So long as you don't depend on her to provide you happiness, I don't see too much problem with keeping the channels open. I don't want you investing all your time in her when you could be working on improving your own social life.
Mr. Darden: I know, I know. Don't worry, I'm beginning to see that now.
Dr. Balis: Well, our time's about up.
Mr. Darden: Okay.
Dr. Balis: Let's see. Next Friday is the Independence Day Holiday. Why don't we skip our next session and I'll see you in two weeks? That would be July 11th, okay?
Mr. Darden: That sounds good.
Dr. Balis: And remember, if you need to talk to me before then, you can always give me a call.
Mr. Darden: Sure, I know. See you later, Charles.
Dr. Balis: Take care, Tom.
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