“Hello, Sir, it’s nice to see you today,” she says to me in a cheerful, professional voice. “Doctor Ibis is running a little behind. If you don’t mind having a seat in the waiting room, he will be with you as soon as possible.”
She smiles at me fleetingly, returning her gaze to her computer screen.
The hint of her perfume reaches me, and it reminds me strongly of our last few hours together, three days previous. I return to the waiting room, where even the depressing sight of four year old Sports Illustrated’s and Ladies Home Journal’s in the waiting room can’t dampen my suddenly elevated mood.
Some minutes later, engrossed in an article on how long the Jimmy Johnson / Cowboy dynasty would last (he’d been fired years before) I hear her say “Sir — the doctor will see you now.”
The door closes.
“So how was your week?”
“Not too bad.”
“No, none at all.”
“Did you do the exercise I set for you last week?”
“Yes, I thought of all the ways I could think of that love is shown, then tried to figure out if I was using the most appropriate ways to show it.”
“And what did you come up with?”
“Here, I wrote it all down, and brought you a copy,” I say, handing him my notes.
WAYS TO SHOW LOVE (OR AFFECTION):
- Kind words
- Physical affection
- Doing things for others
- Gifts or presents
- Giving people time and attention
WAYS I SHOWED LOVE (OR AFFECTION) THIS WEEK:
- I called my parents and talked to them for an hour (category 5)
- I helped my elderly neighbors change their air conditioner filters (category 3)
- I spent a few hours with category 2, no details
- A (category 4) gift or two might have been given at the same time as the immediately preceding bullet
It seems to me each one of these was appropriate for the situation. I also guess I didn’t have any kind words for anyone. I might want to work on that.
He put the paper down after reading it. “I see you’ve read ‘The Five Love Languages’,” he said.
“Are you seeing someone?”
“You never talk about her.”
“The first person you’ve dated since your divorce?”
“Why are you reluctant to talk about her?”
“She’d rather I didn’t, I think.”
“How are your parents doing?”
“Great. My dad’s about to retire; my mom retired just this year. They plan to do as much traveling as they can.”
“Do you often help your ‘elderly neighbors’, as you call them?”
“No, I don’t, because I’m horrible at fixing anything. But installing ceiling filters I can do. And they’ve been really good to the boys and me.”
He decides to go back to the earlier subject. “You do know that sex and physical affection are two different things, right?”
“They are not coterminous,” I say, reverting to my own form of professional voice, “but sex is arguably a subset of physical affection.”
“Or can be,” he corrects.
“Or should be,” I assert.
We return to the subject of my parents for the remainder of the session. They had high expectations for me that were never really met…
= = = = =
“How long can you stay?” she asks from the other room.
“I need to be at work early, so, maybe… two or three hours,” I say, unbuttoning my cuffs and sitting down on the chair in her bedroom.
She comes in and lays down on the bed. She looks overpoweringly beautiful.
“You should be with someone your own age,” I say.
“So should you,” she says. “Now get over here.”