Transcript of 32nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, January 28, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis. Did you enjoy your vacation?
Dr. Balis: I did, thank you. I had a wonderful time. How have you been?
Ms. Lippard: Not too bad. I quit smoking.
Dr. Balis: Good for you. What made you decide to do that?
Ms. Lippard: Well, you can't smoke in the bars any more. So there's no place left to smoke but at home. But now I have to watch it when I'm at the jazz place; without a cigarette, I tend to drink more. I figured I only had two a day anyway, and it made the place kind of stale. So I just stopped. Strange thing, though--the evening news just isn't as interesting without a cigarette. I find that I constantly want to be doing something, so I work around the house, not actually watching television, just listening. It's amazing how shallow the stories really are without the video to engage the mind.
Dr. Balis: Well, they only have a short time. And we are a very visual society. Do you get the paper?
Ms. Lippard: I get Newsweek. But what I was getting at is that I've discovered All Things Considered. It's a radio news magazine show, very thoughtful, in-depth stuff. Runs on NPR from four to six. You should try it.
Dr. Balis: I've heard it, it's very good. Have you heard Morning Edition?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, that's how I found it. I have KALW programmed in the car and at home. They do interesting things late at night.
Dr. Balis: Well, I'm glad you've stopped smoking, and that you've made these discoveries. What else is on your mind?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, lots of things. That's part of what's exciting about the show, I find there's more on my mind. And I'm picking up more magazines and surfing the web. It's like I'm smarter now, more aware. I'm branching out. Life is about more than just work and my boyfriend. Oh, the neatest thing happened. Just as I was about to talk to Jake about putting the spice back in the relationship, he presented me with this sculpture. He's not much of an artist, but he says this is the best work he's ever done. It took him weeks. It's tulips. He sculpted this bouquet of ceramic tulips for me. And I said he never gave me flowers any more!
Dr. Balis: That's very nice. And what have you done to put the spice back in the relationship?
Ms. Lippard: We went and played LazerStorm. You have to have a group, so we took Alex out for his birthday. It was me and Alex's friend Tony against Jake and Alex plus some other people we met there. What a blast! I found this little tower in the corner and hid in there, playing sniper. Of course, Jake's a natural, slinking around like a commando, picking off his hapless victims with impunity. I think he was Viet Cong in his last life.
Dr. Balis: That sounds like fun. But if it was Alex's present, then it wasn't really for you and Jake, was it?
Ms. Lippard: Well, not entirely. But it was something exciting that we did together. As for just us, we're going skiing for a week next month. I told you about that, didn't I?
Dr. Balis: Yes, just the two of you at a lodge for a week. That sounds wonderful.
Ms. Lippard: I think it will be.
Dr. Balis: Anything else?
Ms. Lippard: I thought I was getting over my dad--you know, coming to grips with it, finding peace with it. But I think about him, and I find that I'm not there yet. It's still very sad.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, this is a big loss that you've just recently been starting to feel. It'll take some time before you can get used to it. As for being sad, you may always feel a little sad when you think about your dad. It was a sad thing that happened. But one day, you'll be able to look back on all that happened without being overwhelmed with sadness. And soon I'd hope you'll be able to balance the sadness with some of the joy that you feel remembering the time you had together.
Ms. Lippard: Well, I do have that. There's all the nice memories of holidays. And every time he came home, it was good. And all the things he taught me...I didn't know I had all these memories of him until I started talking to you. Now a bunch of stuff is coming back: daddy teaching me to fly a kite; riding on his lap as he drove the car. I even remember him teaching me to tie my shoes. Mama tried for days to teach me, and I tried to learn, I really did. Then daddy came home and had me doing it in a few minutes. I guess he always could communicate with me better. Did I ever show you this?
Dr. Balis: No, I haven't seen this. Is that your father?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, that's him. I guess he's about the age I am now, maybe a little older.
Dr. Balis: Fine looking man. He does look happy.
Ms. Lippard: Like he owns the world, doesn't he? You know...I kind of feel proud when I see him like this. I mean look at him. He's all jaunty and confident and happy. He's going after what he wants. I'm glad for him.
Dr. Balis: It's good that you can feel that way.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. Yeah. It's still awful goddamn sad the way we split up.
Dr. Balis: Yes, it is.
Ms. Lippard: I find I'm still wondering about him: whether he's alive; what he's doing; if he ever thinks about me. And I have this fantasy that he's keeping track of me, watching my career, telling his buddies in the bar about his rich, successful daughter.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: And I want to talk about him. Now when people ask about my family, I tell them that the last time I saw my father was when I was eleven and I haven't heard from him since. Everybody goes, "Oh, how sad." Crap. I don't want to be a sad case. I want to be proud of my daddy. I want to say my mother's a banker in South Carolina and my father's a bush pilot in Alaska.
Dr. Balis: So why don't you say that?
Ms. Lippard: It's not true.
Dr. Balis: Sure it is. At least it was true the last time you knew.
Ms. Lippard: So am I supposed to say, "The last I knew, my father was a bush pilot in Alaska?"
Dr. Balis: Why not?
Ms. Lippard: Because then they'll want to know why I don't know.
Dr. Balis: Tell them you lost touch.
Ms. Lippard: See, that's just it. I don't want to be out of touch with my father. It's like not having one at all.
Dr. Balis: You know that's not true. You have a very clear connection with your father. You have pleasant memories; you retain the influence he had on you.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, yeah, I have all that. And I'm trying to be satisfied with it, I really am. But there's still this gap. I just don't know what happened to him, whether he found what he was after, and how he feels about me.
Dr. Balis: You don't know how he felt about you?
Ms. Lippard: Well, okay. I know how he felt back then.
Dr. Balis: And how was that?
Ms. Lippard: Haven't we done this already?
Dr. Balis: I know, but I think it would do you good to hear it again. Humor me.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. He loved me.
Dr. Balis: How do you know?
Ms. Lippard: He didn't want to break us up. He wanted me to come to see him, maybe even move there. He kept calling and writing until my mother made him stop. And he told me he loved me every time we talked.
Dr. Balis: Do you think that's changed?
Ms. Lippard: You don't stop loving your kids, do you?
Dr. Balis: Not usually. How do you imagine he'd feel about what you've achieved?
Ms. Lippard: He'd be proud. He was always proud of my accomplishments. Grades, awards, school plays.
Dr. Balis: So what about the rest of it? Did he find what he was after?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I guess the picture tells the story. And he kept telling me how good he felt about what he was doing. He always sounded excited when he talked about it. That's part of what got me so hot to go.
Dr. Balis: So you're confident that he loves you and would be proud of you, and you're sure he found the dream he went looking for.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. Yeah, I feel good about that. But I still don't know what happened after that. I suppose I could pretend he was dead. But that doesn't really close it.
Dr. Balis: Why not?
Ms. Lippard: Because I'd always know I was pretending. I work with numbers, Doctor Balis, I've never had much of an imagination. I examine the books, I analyze the plans. I need evidence.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: I could get the detectives back on the case.
Dr. Balis: That's an option.
Ms. Lippard: I'm pretty sure I could find something to say to him if we did meet.
Dr. Balis: And what if they can't find him?
Ms. Lippard: Then I'm no worse off than I'm now, except a few grand lighter. The other possibility is that he's dead. And then at least I would know. I mean I'd have an end point.
Dr. Balis: It sounds to me like you have an end point now.
Ms. Lippard: How so?
Dr. Balis: You're comfortable with how he felt about you. You know where he went and what he found. Katherine, how do you feel about him?
Ms. Lippard: He's my daddy. I love him.
Dr. Balis: Good. But what about his leaving? Any resentment there?
Ms. Lippard: Um, a little. Not much. You've got that expectant look. What are you getting at?
Dr. Balis: You know he'd be proud of what you've accomplished. How do you feel about what he's done for himself?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, I see. Well, I've said I'm happy for him. Looking back on it all, he was stagnating where he was. Hmm. I'd hate to see Philip stuck where he wasn't comfortable. And I'm happy that he's happy, whatever his living conditions are. So I guess I'd feel the same way about daddy.
Dr. Balis: Good for you. So you know he loved you. You know he'd be happy for you. And you know he found what he wanted, and you're pleased about that. Do you think it can be over now?
Ms. Lippard: I don't know. I never really know what I'm feeling when I leave here. I get all mixed up.
Dr. Balis: I understand. Well, our time is up anyway. Think it over, let things settle down, and we'll talk more about this next week. Okay?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, okay. Remember to say happy birthday to Alex.
Dr. Balis: I will. Good night, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: Good night.
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