Transcript of 9th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Christina Herald, Thursday, May 8, 1997 at 12:00 pm.

Ms. Herald: You know, Doctor, I'm going to start thinking that you and that desk are one entity before too long. Don't you get restless sitting like that all the time?
Dr. Balis: I never really thought about it. Does it make you uncomfortable? Would you prefer if I didn't?
Ms. Herald: I don't really have a preference. Your legs, your business, capisce?
Dr. Balis: Indeed. What's on your mind today, Chris?
Ms. Herald: Hair.
Dr. Balis: Hair? Why...oh, I get it. Very funny.
Ms. Herald: Sorry, I couldn't resist. I wasn't making fun of you, I promise.
Dr. Balis: Anyway...
Ms. Herald: Okay, okay, business as usual.
Dr. Balis: So you're down to about a week as far as school is concerned?
Ms. Herald: Yeah, and I can hardly wait. It will be such a relief to get this finished.
Dr. Balis: I know the feeling.
Ms. Herald: So...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Herald: You're looking at me funny.
Dr. Balis: Am I? It's probably the hair. It's quite a change.
Ms. Herald: What do you think? Too short?
Dr. Balis: No, actually I like it. But what I think...
Ms. Herald: Doesn't really matter, I know. It's what I think that matters. I think it makes me look more like a grown-up, actually. So I guess you'd say I'm pleased with it. Just got it done this morning. The stylist wanted to blow-dry it straight but I wasn't having any of it. I happen to like the curls, even though they make me look like Little Orphan Annie on my worst days.
Dr. Balis: Interesting mental image, that.
Ms. Herald: If you are picturing me standing on a stage in patent leather maryjanes and belting out "Tomorrow," you can stop right there. I was not a theater baby, despite my mother's zeal for her career.
Dr. Balis: Okay, Chris. It's still a funny thought though.
Ms. Herald: Think so? Then I'll put the collar on you and you can play Sandy.
Dr. Balis: No, that's okay.
Ms. Herald: Thought so.
Dr. Balis: Now, on a more serious note...
Ms. Herald: Aw, do we have to talk about that?
Dr. Balis: About what?
Ms. Herald: I assumed you wanted to know about what was going on with Malcolm.
Dr. Balis: It certainly was on my mind. Why do you suddenly look so guilty?
Ms. Herald: Um, well...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Herald: I'm remembering the eleventh commandment.
Dr. Balis: And that was?
Ms. Herald: Thou shalt not lie to thy therapist.
Dr. Balis: I like that.
Ms. Herald: And did that happen on the eighth day, when God said, in the words of the immortal genius Tom Robbins, "Let there be strict potty training and free enterprise"?
Dr. Balis: Chris, don't duck the subject.
Ms. Herald: Okay, okay. Fine. I'll give you all the dirt.
Dr. Balis: Do that.
Ms. Herald: Well, that damned ring was sitting on my dresser staring at me. It was giving me the creeps. I had to get it out of there.
Dr. Balis: So you threw it out the window?
Ms. Herald: No. I was a nice Chris and went downstairs to drop it in his mailbox. And he just happened to be walking up at the time. He gave me the look--it's impossible to explain, Doc. Suffice it to say that it gave me shivers from the beginning. He very quietly--humbly almost--asked me inside for a cup of tea, and asked for the opportunity to at least explain himself. He appealed to my logical side, not the vase-throwing screaming harridan side. I couldn't think of any reason not to at least allow him that much.
Dr. Balis: Because you didn't want to be around him would have sufficed.
Ms. Herald: Yes, but that would have been a decision based on emotion rather than logic. I was trying to keep emotion away from things--to be rational.
Dr. Balis: He directed his appeal to your sense of logic and fair play.
Ms. Herald: Yes, because he knew he wouldn't get very far by appealing to my emotions.
Dr. Balis: Which are?
Ms. Herald: Scared. Burned. Suspicious. I mean, when you think about it, no one in the area has known him for more than a year. He could have completely re-created himself when he stepped across the California border, right? But that whole story just sounds a little odd to me.
Dr. Balis: Why is that?
Ms. Herald: Come on, Doctor. I know that you are far from being a stupid man. Consider the situation. He's supposedly a suspect in the murder of his fiancée, the daughter of a wealthy powerful businessman with Mob connections. Like I said last week, it sounds like a TV movie. So the cops and, most likely, the Mob, would both be after him. It's not like he left the country or anything. Eliza, the friend of his from the club, says he changed his name and his appearance, but still. How can someone who's six feet five with black belts coming out his ass and such striking facial features be easily missed, no matter how he changes his name or appearance?
Dr. Balis: Why do I get the impression that there is more to your suspicion than you are letting on?
Ms. Herald: Um, well, okay. Fine. Okay okay okay. I'll tell you.
Dr. Balis: You don't have to if it makes you that uncomfortable.
Ms. Herald: You're going to read about it anyway.
Dr. Balis: Read about it?
Ms. Herald: In my journal. I might as well prepare you for the shock. Be ready to lose all respect for me.
Dr. Balis: I doubt that will happen.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, well, I slept with him again.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Herald: Yup, I thought that would make you happy.
Dr. Balis: Okay, so what happened?
Ms. Herald: I went down to return the ring; he was coming in, I went in for tea. He apologized about the scene at the club, explaining that he and the underage wench had had a brief assignation before he had come across me, and that it was virtually impossible for him to have fathered her child because he never had unprotected sex with her, and he intends to demand blood testing if she wants to stick him with paternity. Yay rah. I was thinking a bit more rationally about the whole evening by that time. It was the bit about committing murder and being a fugitive that really bugged me. We were sitting on the couch, and the next thing I know, he's holding my hand. Just like we were teenagers at the movies on a Saturday night date. He was really slow and gentle about the whole thing, like he was a totally different person. It seemed more natural to him, too. It always seemed like that, though. The violence he displayed at other moments--except when he took after Kevin--seemed almost contrived. So afterwards, I fell asleep downstairs with him in his apartment, and when I wake up he's already gone for work. But he left me a rose along with fresh orange juice and bagels from the deli down the street. I was lying there considering my dilemma when I heard the answering machine pick up. I guess he turned off the ringer on the phone so it wouldn't wake me. It was a female voice, older, warm and motherly, definite a New Yorker's accent, talked really fast: "Michael, it's Mom. Just calling to see how you were, but you're probably at work. Call me back when you get home. Oh, Elise Jacobsen said to tell you hello, and that she hopes you're doing well. I saw her in the market. I told her that you were doing a lot better and that you had a girlfriend, finally. She said that it was about time, two years was a long time to grieve. Anyway, I'm running your tape out so I'll leave you be. Call me, Honey. Love you!" I played and replayed that message so many times that I memorized it. I can't understand it. Could it have been a wrong number? And wouldn't the answering machine message have given that away if it was? Gods, Doc. I'm really confused now.
Dr. Balis: Understandably so.
Ms. Herald: What reasons could he have had for doing something like this?
Dr. Balis: Let's consider the possibilities. Say his girlfriend really was murdered. It's entirely possible that he felt the need to become someone else, to get away from New York where all his memories were.
Ms. Herald: Like he's creating his own mythology.
Dr. Balis: Right. If he were really on the lam, he probably wouldn't be getting long distance calls from his mother.
Ms. Herald: But he said he loved me. Didn't he think that this would catch up with him sooner or later, that sometime I would catch on to all the bullshit?
Dr. Balis: It's possible he thought to break the news to you slowly when you were already committed to him.
Ms. Herald: Or in an asylum. Gods, this is making me crazy.
Dr. Balis: I understand your confusion.
Ms. Herald: Do you think I should confront him?
Dr. Balis: Do you want to salvage the relationship? To try to work past this and move on together?
Ms. Herald: I don't know. Probably not. But I'm not sure.
Dr. Balis: If you do, I'd suggest talking to him. This is something that has to be confronted if you're going to continue the relationship. If you're not, I would advise just breaking things off clean, moving out when your lease is up, and start fresh with a new place. This has all taken quite a toll on you.
Ms. Herald: What I don't understand is how he could have so completely buffaloed everyone who knew him--all the guys in the band, even Eliza to some extent, although all she knew was what he told her, and she said that she tried not to make judgments.
Dr. Balis: You still talk to her, then?
Ms. Herald: Had lunch with her yesterday. She's in therapy too, though I don't know with whom. She's having man problems as well--her ex is a real prick. I suggested journal writing as a wonderful catharsis.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad it's working out so well for you.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, it's certainly helped. Anyway, Sarah and Gavin are waiting for me, so I'm going to have to get going.
Dr. Balis: Oh really? They're in town now, then?
Ms. Herald: Yes. Sarah was the one who gave me the courage to get my hair cut off. And she was the first to tell me it looked great afterwards. So Grandma Strauss is out of the apartment for now. She's staying at Sarah's condo, which Sarah kept for business and recreational purposes when she moved to San Diego. The nice part is that if I can find a roommate to split the rent, Sarah says she will rent the place to me so I can get out of that cramped little studio. Anyway, I'm going to go. Thanks, Doctor!
Dr. Balis: No problem, Chris. Take care of yourself.
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, May 2 to May 7, 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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