Transcript of 20th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, November 26th, 1996 at 4 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello Sylvia. How are you today?
Ms. Bows: Well Doctor, where shall I begin?
Dr. Balis: When my patients start their sessions that way it's usually not good news. What happened?
Ms. Bows: This Thursday is Thanksgiving.
Dr. Balis: The family holiday.
Ms. Bows: That's right. So let me start by filling you in on how the Bows' used to do holidays.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like it was a big deal.
Ms. Bows: You got it. For a long time my mother used to do all the holiday dinners and we would all go to my parent's house and celebrate there as a happy little family. This included Rene and Robert flying in from New York and, of course, my brother would be there with his latest flame--or victim, depending on your point of view--and sometimes even my uncle would come all the way from France. The last three years this changed somewhat--my mom decided that it was time for me to take over the holidays.
Dr. Balis: Did you want to host these celebrations?
Ms. Bows: Oh it was fine. In fact I used to look forward to these gatherings. In was especially great on Christmas when Robert was still a little boy.
Dr. Balis: He is the only child in your family?
Ms. Bows: So far. So my mom taught me how to make all the traditional holiday family recipes and we would all get together in our house. It's a good party house--there's lots of room. We have several guest rooms so Rene and Robert always stayed with us. Tom's parents were also getting older and, since his sister got a divorce, they would fly in from New York as well and join us for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
Dr. Balis: That's a lot of people.
Ms. Bows: Yes we had a full house. But it was happy and fun. I like large family holidays. Well as you can imagine, this year things will be quite different.
Dr. Balis: This Thanksgiving will be the first holiday after your break up with Tom.
Ms. Bows: And it will be ugly.
Dr. Balis: Obviously you can't host Thanksgiving dinner this year even if Tom wasn't a problem. Can someone else take over your family duties for this year?
Ms. Bows: My mom can't do it. She hasn't been feeling well and that kind of pressure just wouldn't be good for her.
Dr. Balis: What about Rene?
Ms. Bows: Rene can hardly boil water and her apartment is too small to host that many people.
Dr. Balis: And your brother?
Ms. Bows: Don't make me laugh Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Bows: I'm not sure you do yet.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Bows: Tom's parents and sister are coming tomorrow.
Dr. Balis: Are they staying in your house?
Ms. Bows: Yes.
Dr. Balis: Did you know about this?
Ms. Bows: Well, honestly Doctor, I just assumed that given my current situation with Tom, they would not come out to San Francisco for the holidays. In fact, I thought that maybe Tom would fly out there to join them. Silly me.
Dr. Balis: When did you find out that they were coming?
Ms. Bows: Tom started preparing for their visit last weekend.
Dr. Balis: Did you confront Tom on this?
Ms. Bows: He said that just because I was pregnant, it didn't mean the world had to stop spinning. He said that he was perfectly capable of hosting the dinner himself. In fact, he told me that he invited my parents and my brother, even Rene and Robert. Oh and I was welcome to join them as well.
Dr. Balis: Tom's parents know about the divorce, right?
Ms. Bows: I didn't tell them. But I'm sure Tom did.
Dr. Balis: And they know you are pregnant?
Ms. Bows: I think so. Tom does talk to them on occasion. I imagine he would have mentioned it.
Dr. Balis: But you are not sure?
Ms. Bows: No, I don't know this for a fact.
Dr. Balis: Did your parents receive a formal invitation?
Ms. Bows: That's what they said.
Dr. Balis: Are they coming?
Ms. Bows: My brother is. I couldn't really talk to my mother, she is so easily upset now that she starts crying right after I say hello.
Dr. Balis: Is she getting worse?
Ms. Bows: You mean is my mother feeling worse now than a couple of weeks ago?
Dr. Balis: Yes. I remember asking you about your mother and you said that she's been feeling better. Has that changed?
Ms. Bows: It's on and off. Bad days and good days. She stopped working at the restaurant completely.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry to hear that. I understand her business was very important to her.
Ms. Bows: She is too weak to be there now. But she says that she didn't give it up; she's just putting it on hold for a while. We all know better though.
Dr. Balis: I'm very sorry.
Ms. Bows: Me too.
Dr. Balis: So you don't know whether your parents are coming to Tom's Thanksgiving dinner?
Ms. Bows: I have a feeling that that's up to me.
Dr. Balis: You're planning on being there?
Ms. Bows: I'm considering it.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Bows: I like Tom's parents and I used to be friends with his sister until all this.
Dr. Balis: Don't you think you would be...
Ms. Bows: Strange?
Dr. Balis: That's one word for it.
Ms. Bows: I can try to get Rene to go and then it would be really bizarre.
Dr. Balis: I can see that. Rene is not a big Tom supporter, is she?
Ms. Bows: No, Rene is not really Tom's fan. And never was. This has been her big opportunity to say, "I told you so."
Dr. Balis: So why would you do this to yourself and your family? Why not just go out somewhere if cooking and hosting is too hard to do? Let Tom take care of his family and you can celebrate your way.
Ms. Bows: That does sound nice. But I think I'm going to do it my way.
Dr. Balis: Your way?
Ms. Bows: Tom's been filing a lot of petitions with the court lately citing my negligence and irresponsibility. If he forces me into going to his Thanksgiving, don't you think it would be a point on my score card?
Dr. Balis: So it would all be for the judge's benefit? What about your family?
Ms. Bows: The only ones who would really hate it are Rene and I. My parents will probably enjoy even a pretense at normalcy. As I said, my brother is going anyway. And Robert likes it. Tom was always good with him. After our conversation last week about imaginary fathers...well I think it might be better this way.
Dr. Balis: I have to say Sylvia this is not an evening that I think will end well. I think you should think carefully about it before committing.
Ms. Bows: I will. I've been thinking about it since Sunday.
Dr. Balis: You know if things blow up--get out of hand, it would not be good for your mother or Robert. Not to mention that I would definitely recommend that you avoid this kind of excitement yourself.
Ms. Bows: I will really think about it, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Sounds to me like you've already made up your mind.
Ms. Bows: I will call you if it gets bad.
Dr. Balis: I will be out of town, but of course my answering service will know how to get ahold of me if you need me.
Ms. Bows: Going to spend the holiday with your family?
Dr. Balis: Yes. I'm going to New York to see my parents.
Ms. Bows: That's very nice. I'll try not to disturb you. I wouldn't want your parents to think you are working with a bunch of lunatics.
Dr. Balis: Oh, they'll never think that!
Ms. Bows: Of course not. And I almost forgot.
Dr. Balis: Hmm?
Ms. Bows: Tom put a restraining order on Richard.
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Bows: Tom put a restraining order on Richard--Richard can no longer come within 100 feet of our house. I thought you might find it entertaining.
Dr. Balis: Did Richard do something to Tom?
Ms. Bows: Richard called again when Tom was home. The conversation got a bit heated and Richard threatened Tom. It's not like Richard would ever do anything to Tom. It was just a convenient excuse to keep him out of the house and prevent me from seeing him when I get on bed rest.
Dr. Balis: How did Richard take this bit of news?
Ms. Bows: How do you think?
Dr. Balis: I see. Well at least your life is never boring.
Ms. Bows: True. But boredom is good every now and then, don't you think Doctor?
Dr. Balis: Is there anything else you want to tell me about?
Ms. Bows: Not really. It's same old, same old. Oh, Hal was in today.
Dr. Balis: How was it?
Ms. Bows: Creepy. He kept looking at me funny and at one point even put his hand on mine--in that "I really like being with you" kind of way. I shudder just thinking about it. I don't know what that man is thinking.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure he is just trying to be supportive.
Ms. Bows: I don't think so Doctor. But it's time for me to go home. Have a good holiday Doctor. I'll see you next week.
Dr. Balis: I wish you all the best with your Thanksgiving. Call me if you need to.
Ms. Bows: Thank you Doctor. Goodbye.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye Sylvia.
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