Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 11/15/96

Saturday, November 9, 1996

Sunday, November 10, 1996

Monday, November 11, 1996

9 am. Telephone Call from Sarah Wright. Sarah called to cancel our appointment this afternoon. However, she actually sounds desperate to talk to me--I noticed something akin to panic in her voice. Jeff told her that Robby has AIDS. Jeff had himself tested and he is negative. Sarah has an appointment with her doctor to get tested herself. Furthermore, Jeff has asked Sarah not to divorce him. In fact, he has requested that Sarah consent to allowing Robby to move in with them now while Robby suffers through the later stages of AIDS. So if Sarah consents, she will find herself living with her own and her husband's lover.

12 pm. Ninth Session with Phylis Birch. Phylis is becoming obsessed with sexually transmitted diseases. She is doing research on STDs and reliving her experience with Mazurka. She remembers him as a sleazy character and so she is having a battery of medical tests performed for her own peace of mind. She again thought she saw him at SII, but passed it off as a delusion. She said that if she had really believed it was him, that she would have physically confronted him in some manner. We spent much of the session talking about STDs, their symptoms or lack thereof, methods of detection, the prognosis for those who catch these diseases, methods of eliminating vaginal warts, the history of syphlis, and the terrible effects that chlamydia has on the Australian koala bear population. Phylis described her previous sexual activity as "wild" and went to have an AIDs test performed, realizing that it was too early to detect any potential AIDs transmission from Mazurka. Near the end of the session, Phylis produced three photographs that she said she took recently, although she didn't specify if it was before or after the rape. My guess is before--she has just been too busy after, I suspect. They are all in black and white. The first was a stark photo of a non-distinct figure in what I took for rain. Phylis corrected me and told me that it was motion blur. I'm not sure what the second is. I think it is a double exposure of a flag on a rooftop with a leafless tree nearby superimposed against the side of a house. The top third of the image is much darker than the rest, as though some of the light was blocked on the enlarger during printing. The third image shows what might be a narrow hallway with a dog lying asleep (dead?) on the floor, surrounded by nude paintings in different styles. A sign that is barely visible says "No Visitors Permitted." The images are bleak and cryptic. And like so much of modern art, they are clearly not meant to be communicative.

Tuesday, November 12, 1996

4 pm. Eighteenth Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia is halfway through with her pregnancy now. She defied the court order which Tom obtained and went to live with Richard for a few days. Apparently Richard is doing some careful analysis of the dates when he and Sylvia had a relationship and has come to the conclusion that he is probably the father. He is delighted and wants to marry Sylvia. Sylvia surprised me by saying that she would have accepted under other circumstances--I thought she had more contempt for Richard than that--and that even now she is considering it. But Sylvia said that she couldn't accept the offer right now because of the "chess match" that she is in with Tom. Sylvia referred to it as a chess match, and I can see how it might take on that character. Sylvia's strategy is to force Tom to appear unreasonable to a judge in a courtroom. When Tom accused Sylvia of kidnapping (!) when she stayed with Richard, he was playing into Sylvia's hands. She believes that taking positions like that will diminish his credibility in the ultimate custody fight, and she might be right. Tom and Sylvia are both chess players, it appears.

Wednesday, November 13, 1996

Another anonymous fax arrived today, and this one is the creepiest yet. From the severed neck of a male body floating in space comes a flock of butterflies while the blood drips into what may be a grail. The drinking of blood could be a reference to vampirism, where the drinker lives forever as a living dead at the cost of having to consume the blood of the living. Or it could have to do with communion--the symbolic drinking of the blood of Christ. The cup looks like a grail reminiscent of the Last Supper and the body is in a rough crucifixion pose. The butterflies seem to represent the soul, perhaps flying towards heaven? Butterflies only live for a couple of days and they are all about sex. I don't even think that they have stomachs--their transformation is brief, beautiful, and ultimately deadly. Actually the picture is rather disturbing. Could it be that the faxer is considering self-mutilation--i.e. a sex change operation? Hopefully, this is not a suicide note of some sort--freeing the soul through death. Looking again, that is probably the most facile interpretation. Again I find myself wishing that I could actually talk to this person. Perhaps I can set up some form of device to trace back the fax when it is arriving--like a phone trace. It is worth considering.

11 am. Telephone Conversation with Hal Mainor. I was surprised by a call from Hal today. He has been working at home for the past few weeks and dreaming up a scheme to transform himself into a successful writer. He wants to dump his wife and marry Sylvia Bows. He can be the father of her child and at last be with someone who understands his talent and has the money and contacts he needs to succeed. He has no doubt that Sylvia would jump at the chance to be his bride. How do I explain to Hal that this scheme has nothing to do with reality? If I leave it to Sylvia, I don't think she would be especially kind. Hysterical laughter followed by a swift termination seems the more likely response. I urged Hal not to take any precipitous action although it is not unthinkable for Hal to go off half cocked--or quarter cocked, as the case may be.

Thursday, November 14, 1996

10 am. Telephone Conversation with Cassandra Evans. I finally heard from Cassie this morning. She is still very sick and is staying with her grandmother. She took a leave of absence from work and is even sub-letting her apartment, so it sounds like she feels that her convalescence is not going to be brief. She sounded confused and dispirited. I asked her if she had talked to Dr. Halsey and she had not--she said that she had left him a message but might not have included a return telephone number. Instead, she has been investigating alternative therapies recommended by another CFIDS sufferer. She went to one doctor who suggested aggressive treatment including some combination of blood removal and sterilization, radiation and chemotherapy. Cassie believes that the doctor was just a predator who saw her as a profit center. She may be right, actually. I'm really worried about her and feel impotent in the face of her physical medical condition. I wish that there was a way to keep in closer touch with her, but for now I must take whatever time Cassie is willing to give me.

4 pm. Twentieth Session with Anna Green. I got the feeling that Anna is still trying to entertain me in my sessions, although she has taken a different tack. Now she is trying to demonstrate some insight into her own behavior--she is analyzing things utilizing a psychological framework. My impression is that it is for my benefit. Anna is still seeking my approval and praise. While this may be turned to her benefit perhaps, I must recognize it and be careful in how it influences our future sessions. Anna has given some thought about her feelings towards Bill and has decided that her primary feelings are motivated by jealousy and rejection. But she doesn't want Bill back, she merely wants him to pine for her, wallowing in his mistake in losing her, until his lonely death. Anna has an ability to take things to an extreme--fantasizing about ultimate consequences. She is afraid that the rest of SII is feeling her pain and loneliness when they look at Bill in the embrace of another, and she doesn't like feeling pitied. We talked about whether ex-lovers could ever be friends and she felt strongly that they could not. She thought that once the separation occurs, each wants the other to suffer or disappear from the face of the earth. She also mentioned Sylvia as a future single mother. I guess there is a lot of gossip and speculation at SII about Sylvia's current condition.

Friday, November 15, 1996

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