A Breath of Fresh Air



“So, how did that make you feel?”

“Well, obviously… sad. And a bit tired.”

“Tired? How do you mean?”

“Let’s face it; you have a bit too much of something and it begins to lose its initial appeal. I mean, at first, all I wanted to do was ‘go with the flow’. If the opportunity came along, I usually just took it and asked questions later. It’s not that I was boy-crazy or overly curious, it’s just that… I didn’t find the one who would inspire me to give up searching and just sit still.”

Dr. Henry looked at her over his glasses, nodding encouragingly, like every good shrink does.

“Why don’t you just keep talking till you feel better, Kate.”

She twisted her fingers and sighed deeply.

“I’ve always wanted male attention.” She laughed and looked straight at him.

“But after a while, it all got a bit… old, you know? It’s all so superficial, really. And what kills is that I regret most of the stuff I’ve done and half the time I wasn’t even enjoying it to begin with. I read this novel, and in it the girl classified guys into two; meals and snacks. The snacks are the ones you have in-between meals. They’re not really satisfying, sometimes don’t even taste that great. Maybe it’s just the wrapper that caught your eye. And then there are the meals. Satisfying. Fulfilling. Good enough to make you give up on snacks. And that’s what I feel for Mike.”

She took a big pause here, blinking rapidly and staring wide-eyed at Dr. Henry.

“Go on,” he urged.

“He’s just great, really. He can listen to me and take me seriously, give me advice, make criticisms, make me laugh… and other lovely things with his hands…”

Dr. Henry noted her smile, the laughing eyes.


The smile faded quickly, replaced by a mixture of fear and worry.

“But I’m so scared that now that I’ve figured out what I want, I’m so scared that he’ll be the one looking for the snacks! I guess it’s some kind of guilt thing. That I feel I must be made to pay for my past, but that’s the way I feel.”

“So, what are you going to do about your fear?”

“Well, I’ve actually made a decision, And I’m going to stand by it.”

He saw the determined gleam in her eyes and inched forward.

“Oh? What decision is that?”

“I’ve thought it all out. I’m not going to back out of this because of the fear that I’ll get hurt. If I do get hurt, it’ll be devastating, but I’ll pick myself up eventually. Life goes on. But…what if I don’t get hurt? What if this is real? It’s the principle of the glass being half full, if you ask me. Not half empty. Not at all.

“You see, I love him. And I always want to be with him, even when we’re fighting. I know that relationships these days are full of lies and deceit, but I want him, all or nothing. And I think we just might be that exception to the rule.”

For the first time in forty-five minutes, he watched Kate lean back fully, casual, at ease, yet with a calm inner strength seeping out.

“So what’s your conclusion?”

“Hmm. You see, people often tell me I act older than my age. Now I’m ready to be my age. With Mike. I’ve run away from stability for far too long. I think I’m ready to start rearing my armpit hair.”

Dr. Henry watched her laugh and couldn’t help but join in.

“So why’d you come to me? You seem to have it all figured out, you know what you want and you’re ready to go for it.”

“Well, sometimes you just need to let it all out. And it helps a lot more if your listener’s someone who doesn’t know you and won’t judge.”

“I like that.”

“So, Doc, do you think I need another session?”

“Yes, with Mike.”


“Go ahead, and please invite me to the wedding.”


Her laughter and childishly excited face are still fresh in his mind even after she waved goodbye and walked out.

He wishes all his cases were so damned easy.

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Spill the tea, sis.

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