Transcript of 7th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Christina Herald, Thursday, April 24, 1997 at 12:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Chris. What's all that stuff you're carrying?
Ms. Herald: Takeout from Szechuan Palace. Sorry, I haven't eaten yet today, and my stomach is getting angry with me. There's more than enough for two here. Want some?
Dr. Balis: Uh, maybe later. How's the studying going?
Ms. Herald: It's going. Where it's going, I'm not entirely sure. I'm procrastinating a little. It can be hard to study with a small gray-haired German woman making something that smells frightening in your kitchen.
Dr. Balis: Let me guess: Grandma Strauss?
Ms. Herald: She arrived early. Extremely early. And she's staying in my apartment.
Dr. Balis: I see. How is that working out?
Ms. Herald: One weird thing after another. First of all, I come home from work and the place has been cleaned. I mean spotless. Now, normally I wouldn't complain about this. However, I had notes and papers and Xeroxes strewn hither and yon for my term papers. Yes, papers. Plural. And when I got home from work they were gone. Grandma walks out of the kitchen, plants her hands on her hips, and says one word: "Clean." Then she goes on to inform me that I live like a pig in German. At least I think that's what she said. Who knows?
Dr. Balis: What happened to the papers?
Ms. Herald: I still haven't found them. She insists that she didn't throw them away.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Herald: Oh, that's just the beginning.
Dr. Balis: Really? Now I'm intrigued. What else happened?
Ms. Herald: She chased Malcolm out of my apartment with a meat cleaver.
Dr. Balis: She didn't!
Ms. Herald: I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. Malcolm has a habit of dropping in unannounced. If it isn't late at night and I'm home, I usually leave the door unlocked, in case Jonny or whoever stops by. But I was out having a drink with Bessa, and Grandma didn't lock the door when I left.
Dr. Balis: Who's Bessa?
Ms. Herald: Remember my mentioning Dr. Graham, the Victorian Lit professor?
Dr. Balis: I see. Her first name's Bessa, then?
Ms. Herald: Yeah. Weird, huh? I tried to find it in a book of names and their meanings and couldn't. Her father was a poet, so I think he just made it up because he liked the way it sounded. Depending on how into the beat poets you were, you might have vaguely heard of him.
Dr. Balis: I'm not, really, so let's skip it. Now, you were in this bar...
Ms. Herald: Oh yeah. Okay, well, Bessa is playing darts with another of her friends, I'm just sitting at the bar, cursing the sick mastermind who came up with the concept of seasonal beers so I can't get a double-bock when I want one. Talking to the bartender, who was really very nice and just nodded and smiled as I rambled, which I am wont to do. I go home later, and Malcolm is waiting outside. He pulls me down the stairs--Malcolm has the basement studio, I have the first floor. He then proceeds to tell me that my grandmother, the woman who will not even squish a spider, picked up a six inch meat cleaver and screamed at him in German. I guess she thought he was a burglar or something. He said he was actually frightened of her.
Dr. Balis: Wonderful. Now if we can just keep your grandmother stationed in the kitchen with a meat cleaver...
Ms. Herald: Doctor!
Dr. Balis: I'm just kidding, Chris. It is a pretty funny image, though.
Ms. Herald: If you ever meet her, you won't think so.
Dr. Balis: Yes, well, maybe not.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, I don't know what I'm going to do with her Friday night.
Dr. Balis: Why, what's Friday night?
Ms. Herald: Well, apparently some friends of Malcolm's have a band that's playing on Friday night. The Dosy Posies or something like that--I was only half-listening when Malcolm started growling about it. Anyway, they gave Malcolm tickets and backstage passes, so he invited Jonny and me to go with him. Jonny's underage, but Malcolm says that we're on the guest list so it won't matter. What's the matter, Doctor? You look like your shirt collar is suddenly too tight and your head's going to explode. Would an egg roll make you feel better?
Dr. Balis: No, no...I'm all right. Please, continue.
Ms. Herald: Well, Malcolm seems to be a lot less enthusiastic about seeing his friends perform than I thought he would be. He just sort of growled that he had to go, and he'd like to bring Jonny and I if we wanted to come too. Jonny absolutely glowed when I told him, and I can't very well disappoint my baby brother, so I guess we're going.
Dr. Balis: you and Malcolm are officially a couple, more or less?
Ms. Herald: I don't know. I guess so. Not really. It's kind of complicated actually...
Dr. Balis: How so?
Ms. Herald: Well, he handed me one of his rings, said he thought it would look nice on my hand. But it's too big to wear anyplace but on my thumb. I suppose one way of looking at it is like we were in high school and he just gave me his class ring to wear, but Malcolm is no meatheaded football player. Instead he's a hotheaded martial artist. He's also more than a little posessive, I've noticed. I'm beginning to think I should cool things off. It can be so frustrating though. Because every time I think I've had enough and I want out, he does something that's either really tender or just turns me on a whole lot. All I can think of is, "Here we go again." Same shit Kevin started pulling. But Kev took a lot longer going about it, and he's not nearly as odd as Malcolm is.
Dr. Balis: When you say he's odd, why am I hearing dangerous?
Ms. Herald: I'd be lying if I told you he was an absolute angel, Doctor. He scares me sometimes. He's hinted at why he had to leave New York, and it sounds like he could be in a lot of trouble. The perverse part is, it thrills me in a way. I guess I'm substituting one sort of adrenaline rush for another. I already know he's a criminal.
Dr. Balis: Uh, what sort of crime are we talking about here?
Ms. Herald: Not murder. At least I don't think so.
Dr. Balis: You don't think so. Great.
Ms. Herald: I know I'm being an idiot, but I can't seem to help myself. Have you ever just had this urge to do something totally inappropriate and possibly dangerous, to just cut loose and live in the dark for awhile?
Dr. Balis: Not quite to the same extent, but I know the impulse you're talking about.
Ms. Herald: Sometimes I take a look at the situation and say to myself, "What the hell am I doing?" I would like a stable secure relationship with an intelligent thoughtful man. Yes, I would. I know it's hard to believe. Someone with a good job, family-oriented; someone I can trust and depend on to be a good partner and help me raise a family, because eventually I do want a family. But right now I feel like I want to have at least one more fling, throw caution to the wind, live in the whole 'bad-boy cliché.' I don't think it's so wrong to want that. One more wild dance before settling down and being the good little wife, mother and teacher. This could give me something to write about for the rest of my life, and I intend to enjoy it.
Dr. Balis: There's nothing that says that you have to live the domestic life, Chris.
Ms. Herald: Oh, I know that, Doctor. But I want to have it. I want the adoring husband and the two kids and the black Lab in the backyard, and Lancelot as an adult purring in my lap. It's not that I don't. I just want to know what I'm giving up, you know?
Dr. Balis: Just a normal mundane little sitcom lifestyle? This from the same woman who railed not too long ago about practicality as opposed to art? What does that smile mean?
Ms. Herald: Just that you underestimate me, Doc. The life that I'm describing will be the life according to me. The husband probably won't be something staid like an accountant or lawyer, but a bit more funky. The children raised on fairy tales and music, rather than MTV. You know what I mean? Like looking at a typical family only idealized for my personality. I'm not someone who can be entirely domesticated. I'll probably get kicked off the PTA committee for saying that the principal is a narrow-minded bigot or something. Whew, that was deep. I'm really starting to get too philosophical sometimes. It's like there are two voices inside me, one daring me to go wild and push things until they break. That side likes Malcolm a whole lot. The other side thinks that I need to find a nice architect or engineer or something else Dad would approve of and stop this nonsense that could get me hurt. It gets so tiring. And no, I don't actually hear the voices, Doctor. That was just a metaphor.
Dr. Balis: I believe you. I just don't want to see you get hurt, you know.
Ms. Herald: It's okay, Doctor. I'm fireproof.
Dr. Balis: I doubt that. No one is, entirely.
Ms. Herald: Damn close to it.
Dr. Balis: Okay, if you say so.
Ms. Herald: I'm also stubborn.
Dr. Balis: That I can believe.
Ms. Herald: Tut tut, such a smartass. Anyway, I brought the notebook finally. You can read it if you want to, but I take no responsibility for anything you may see in there. I also apologize if some of it makes no sense, because it's very stream of consciousness in its style. Sometimes my conciousness stream is not the most fun place to be. It gets decidedly muddled.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure that I'll get by. How has the panic business been?
Ms. Herald: Read all about it. It is finals season, and business is booming in the panic market. I'm ashamed of myself, though. I must admit it. I fell off the wagon the other night.
Dr. Balis: Fell off, or jumped off.
Ms. Herald: More like dove off, right into a lake of cappucino. At least I'm off the hardcore stuff, right?
Dr. Balis: True. Were you studying?
Ms. Herald: You guessed it. Curled up in a corner of the Roma with Keats. It was a happy evening. I love the Romantic poets. But I'm going to pack up my cartons here and go home. We're almost out of time.
Dr. Balis: All right, Chris. I'll see you next week. We can talk about the journal then.
Ms. Herald: All right, then. Have a good one, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Chris.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session
Button to Christina Herald's Diary & Log Journal, April 17 to April 23, 1997

Button to Christina Herald's Transcripts Transcripts of Christina Herald's Communications
Button to Christina Herald's Patient File Christina Herald's Patient File

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