Transcript of 15th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Christina Herald, Thursday, July 10, 1997 at 12:00 pm.

Ms. Herald: Hello, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Chris! Feeling better?
Ms. Herald: Yeah, thanks. Damn, that's the happiest anyone's been to see me all week.
Dr. Balis: How's the tattoo healing up? What do you mean, the happiest anyone's been to see you all week? What's wrong?
Ms. Herald: I'm a bit of a pariah it seems now. Untouchable. Low man on the totem pole. I don't particularly like feeling that way. And after at least a month without a panic attack, I've had two whoppers in the last three days. I'll be glad to start work and have something to bury myself in. I still write, but art is imitating life and it's become less of a catharsis and more like the letters on the screen turning into little imps that mock me constantly, going ha-ha you're one stupid bitch! I guess I just did some really stupid things.
Dr. Balis: Oh, dear. What happened now?
Ms. Herald: Settle in, Doc. It's a long story.
Dr. Balis: All right, I'm settled.
Ms. Herald: All right. I told you I think that Drew Fraiser and I were part of the same Medieval Rec club back when I was in high school, right? Well, I didn't tell you quite everything there, I'm afraid. I left out one of the more important details. He and I had something of a thing.
Dr. Balis: Ah. Define "a thing" if you don't mind.
Ms. Herald: A thing. You know. A flirtation, an understanding, an attraction...just a thing. Well, that was one of the main problems when I ran into him at the high school. The attraction hasn't gone away. I didn't recognize him at first because he used to have really long curly brown hair, and he's since cut that off and grown a beard so I couldn't see his face too distinctly. The eyes should have been a clue, as well as the voice, but I didn't realize it at first. He was my first real emotional involvement, really. But I thought things were moving a bit too fast, and I told the girl who introduced us this. That's where the story gets weird.
Dr. Balis: Okay.
Ms. Herald: Nicole, that was her name. Supposedly one of my best friends at the time. She told me all the wrong things about how Drew reacted to the situation.
Dr. Balis: She lied to you.
Ms. Herald: Hole in one, Doc. She told me that he took the news that I wanted to slow down as an out and out rejection and that he didn't want to talk to me anymore. Which wasn't the case. Then she turned around and told him that I was just having fun, a summer fling and stuff like that, and that I didn't want to talk to him anymore. Which couldn't have been further from the truth if you had tied it to the mast of a ship bound for the Southern Cross. She lied to both Drew and I, and then she was conveniently there to pick up the pieces after I had shattered his heart. What the fuck ever. In a nutshell, she was jealous of the relationship that he and I were forging, and she broke it up in order to transfer his affections to her. It didn't work. She tried everything, threatening suicide, trying to make him jealous. She even got him to marry her by "forgetting" to take her birth control pills and ending up pregnant. They're in the midst of a very messy divorce, and their son Duncan is five now. But she could never inspire in him what I did. I know that sounds conceited, but it's not me who said it. It was Andrew. He came over to my house the other day without any notice, sat me down at my kitchen table and we had a long talk.
Dr. Balis: And he told you all this.
Ms. Herald: Yeah. It's all a lot to absorb and it's pretty hard to swallow, I know. I don't know what to think about it all either, Doc. I'm so confused, and I feel completely trapped. I think this vacation will be good for me. God knows I need it.
Dr. Balis: So you're going to visit the sheep after all.
Ms. Herald: Yup. I'm spending a week in London with Mom and Thaddeus El Twinko.
Dr. Balis: And the sheep crack didn't even earn me a smile. This must be serious.
Ms. Herald: Serious indeed. It's enough to make a girl want to sick up her lunch.
Dr. Balis: Hopefully we can quell some of that nausea. How do you feel about Andrew?
Ms. Herald: Drew is pretty amazing. He's brilliant, and utterly romantic. Some of the things he says to me can make my insides turn to absolute jelly. He can also push every one of my buttons as far as turning me on is concerned and he can get me so worked up that I don't even know or care what's going on around me.
Dr. Balis: Then you've slept with him.
Ms. Herald: No, not exactly. A lot of kissing and cuddling and romantic little whispers. It took an act of supreme willpower not to sleep with him, believe you me. But I'm just not sure of what's going on. I can't shake the feeling that he's looking for another mother for his son--he's fighting for custody--or that he just doesn't want to be alone, or that he is trying to get back at Nicole for all the times she screwed around on him. He tells me that he never stopped loving me, that we'd still be together now if Nicole hadn't interfered. I also have this unreasonable feeling that, in a way, Nicole took more from me than Andrew, that her son should have been mine on some sort of a level. How's that for irrational?
Dr. Balis: Chris, you've been very deeply hurt, and you're confused. It's all right for you to feel like you do, whether or not you think it's irrational.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, but...
Dr. Balis: But nothing. You know I'm right.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, Doc. I do.
Dr. Balis: So you have some unresolved emotional issues here with Andrew. I can understand at least wanting some closure. What about Malcolm, though?
Ms. Herald: Look at these.
Dr. Balis: Pretty. Are they real?
Ms. Herald: Oh, most definitely. About a month or so ago we were walking through some shops, and he pulled me into a jewelry store, and I was eyeing them then. He said he wanted to give me a special present, and he wanted to see what I liked as far as jewelry went. He didn't buy them that day, but the other night was five months exactly since the night we met, and he gave these to me as a present. Any man who gives you emeralds is not one to be taken lightly.
Dr. Balis: Having never been given emeralds by a man, I wouldn't know. But I think I understand the sentiment.
Ms. Herald: Yeah. Well, I was in my apartment with Andrew that afternoon, and things kind of got flaky.
Dr. Balis: I thought you said...
Ms. Herald: I did say. That's not what I meant. I was at the house with Drew, and Anders stops by to return some lipstick he borrowed for his performance. The damned man never knocks!
Dr. Balis: Anders walked in on the kissing and cuddling that you referred to.
Ms. Herald: Well, all he saw was me giving Andrew a hug goodbye, but Andrew had his arms wrapped around me in a slightly more than casually friendly manner, with his face all cozy nuzzled against my hair. So Andrew left, and Anders just stood there and looked at me, tapping his toe on the floorboards with his hands on his hips. I squirmed. I couldn't help it, and I never squirm, Doctor. After a moment Anders lets loose with this huge tirade of accusations, and I started yelling back, I told him the whole story and he wasn't at all sympathetic. He said that I had better tell Malcolm the truth and make up my mind what I wanted, or he would tell Malcolm what he saw. Some friend, huh? He just tucked in his chin and said that he was doing it for my own good, the whole mommy complex: I yell because I care sort of thing. So I pitch a screaming crying hysterical fit and he starts clucking, gives me a hug and wipes my cheeks dry, then he takes me shopping and makes me buy yet another impractical outfit, this one a short skirt made out of this rubbery stuff that I think looks like hefty bags, with this lace up vest type thing to match. It was on sale at least. He's the ultimate bargain hunter. I think he likes to play that I'm his life-size fashion doll--dress it up and fuss with the hair. But he still says that I had better tell Malcolm or it'll be my ass. Tough love again. Then he says that until I do tell him, I'm on my own.
Dr. Balis: That seems kind of harsh.
Ms. Herald: Well, Malcolm is his friend too. He doesn't want to see either of us get hurt.
Dr. Balis: So you're going to tell Malcolm what's going on.
Ms. Herald: Yeah. Yeah, I owe him that much. I trust Malcolm, Doctor. I know that he'd never screw around on me, that he'll always be there when I need him. I feel secure with him, like I can let my guard down and I don't have to constantly be wary of opening up. At this stage of my life, I feel like that's more important than a torrid, secret love affair chock-full of passionate whispers and romantic canoodling. Damn, though, I wish I could find both in the same man. Now that Malcolm is himself rather than the Malcontent, he's still a great lover, but apparently the real Malcolm is a lot drier, a lot more practical and stationary. He doesn't tell me that I'm beautiful or that I have always held his heart in my hands and how vulnerable that he feels around me. But he is loyal, will cuddle me through a panic attack and not ask me why, rub my stomach when I have cramps, and scratch under the straps of my bra right where it itches. At this point I can't give up that kind of security, because it restored my faith in relationships. Malcolm proved to me that I won't get burned every time I open my heart to someone. Maybe one of these days Andrew will be in a position to offer that same sort of trust, but he just isn't right now. It's not worth it.
Dr. Balis: It sounds as though you've made a descision here, Chris. And if you want my honest opinion, it's a good one.
Ms. Herald: Thanks, Doctor. That makes me feel better.
Dr. Balis: Okay, now as far as the panic attacks are concerned, I'm sure you know the drill. Keep up with the journal, lay off the caffeine...stop rolling your eyes, young lady. Try to relax, and for what it's worth I think this vacation will really help you out. And get some sleep. You look exhausted.
Ms. Herald: Thanks. I will. Listen, I know there are about five minutes left on the clock, but if it's all right with you...
Dr. Balis: Sure, Chris. So you're going to miss next week?
Ms. Herald: Unless you'd like to fly to London and conduct my session there, yeah. I should be back for it the week after.
Dr. Balis: All right then. Have fun, and take care of yourself...
Ms. Herald: Ah, sorry. I know that was probably bending the rules, but I guess I wasn't thinking. I kiss all my friends goodbye. Hey, at least I wasn't wearing lipstick. Damn, Doc, your ears can turn red. Relax, I'm not proposing or anything.
Dr. Balis: It was just unexpected. I...what are you snickering at?
Ms. Herald: You. You're overreacting, and you're the color of a pomegranate. I kiss all my friends on the cheek, Doc. If you don't believe me, ask Eliza. It's just a habit of mine, my way of saying goodbye. Later, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Have a good vacation, Christina.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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