“Jenny, I don’t see why we have to go see him again,” I started, for what must have been the twentieth time that day. Her once kissable lips pursed, as her beetle black eyes flashed. I wondered vaguely how I had ever been drawn to her eyes – they just seemed creepy, now. I tried to ignore them as I looked for a parking space in the catastrophe that posed as a parking lot. The damn thing was always crowded.
She huffed out in exasperation, and I tried not to wince at her shrill tone as she gave me the same answer she’d given me the first time I’d launched my complaint. “Steven, I told you before; Dr. Mallory is very respected by my family. He saved Dayla and Fred’s marriage, and if I want to keep my trust fund, we have to at least try to work things out. My family simply doesn’t get divorced. I’m not going to allow you to ruin this part of my life, as well.” Nice, I thought, noting the open windows. Why don’t you say it louder, so every random stranger can hear you.
“The guy is a quack,” I sneered. “The only reason he ‘fixed’ their marriage is that Dayla is afraid of what a divorce would do to her political campaign. You can’t run off a family first podium and be divorced.” Jenny visibly ground her teeth, obviously gearing up to defend her sister, when I interrupted. “Look, nevermind, we’re here now. Let’s just get it over.” I maneuvered into a spot, and slammed into park. We got out of the SUV, the doors slamming shut in a kind of unison that years of practice between partners can grant, then trudged through the oppressive August heat to the counselor’s office.
We took our customary seats and waited in silence until being ushered in to the fung shuied room. Dr. Mallory had explained in his strangely high pitched voice that the room was decorated to encourage harmony, but I had a theory that he’d just bought whatever felt good to him while he was stoned. He gestured to the pillows and bean bags on the floor, and we obediently took up residency on the floor.
“Ah, good to see you children,” he started. He was always calling us children, and between that and seating us on the floor, I wondered if he had repressed urges to be a school teacher. “Steven, I believe we were last discussing how you felt sexually frustrated. I had some ideas on that, that we might try.” I had some ideas of my own, but it didn’t appear that anyone but me was interested in them. I waited for him to continue, when he reached over and pulled out two dolls. Gave one to each of us. “Here, you use your little dolly and pretend to be Jenny,” I looked down. He had given me the female. “Jenny will pretend to be you. This will give you some insight in to what each of you are thinking.”
I gazed at him in sick fascination. He couldn’t have been serious. He simply smiled back, blue eyes peering at me from old scholar’s glasses. Pure evil shouldn’t have looked so convivial. I looked at the female doll again. Then, in disgust, I threw it across the room. I would have leaped from the bean bag, but it was sucking me in. I had to settle for simply rolling out of it, and then standing. “No.” I panted. “I am not pretending to be a goddamn woman.” I stared at my wife. “I tried. Honestly tried. But, this guy is a quack and I’m through. I want out, and I don’t care how it’s done. Blame me. I don’t care. We’re done.” With that, I stormed out of the office to begin what was certainly going to be the worst few months of my life.
I looked at my father’s best friend and smiled at him. “Thank you, Jack. I don’t know how you came up with the doll idea, but it was perfect. I couldn’t have gone to daddy saying that I wanted a divorce, after not getting a prenup, but having Steven walk away first is going to make things so much easier.” He simply smiled and patted my hand. Everything was going to be just fine.