Visits

by Uther Pendragon

Copyright 2009, Uther Pendragon

: Pamela is visiting the doctor for her eating disorder. He thinks something else matters as much. This is by far my longest all-dialogue story.

Tags: Fiction  

“Well, Pamela, do you remember any of your dreams?”

“Remember them? I can’t forget them.”

[5 min. 36 sec]

“Can you tell me one?”

“They’re all the same. I’m lying in bed with my nightie pulled up. Strange men are looking at me.”

“We’re almost out of time. We’ll talk about this next week.”


“On our last visit, you were telling me about your dreams.”

“Not really. I mean that I told you about the men looking at me. What I didn’t tell you is that I’m playing with myself.”

“You’re masturbating in the dream? And men are watching you?”

“Yes. And I can’t stop.”

“Well, these men. Are they merely an audience that you have made up of generic men? Are they people you recognize? Either in real life -- teachers or salespeople -- or actors in movies or TV?”

“What does this have to do with my eating anyway?”

“To eat more than you need and then vomit it out is contrary to the best nutritional advice. You knew this when you met me, didn’t you?”

“Well, duh?”

“So, if you do that when you know better, there must be a reason. I’d guess that the reason is something that concerns you.”

“It doesn’t have to be this.”

“No it doesn’t. But, usually, our dreams reflect what concerns us. You have this dream; it probably deals with something which concerns you.”

“Maybe the binge-purge is about something else.”

“Maybe. More likely, it’s how you -- subconscious you -- deal with any number of concerns. I’ve read fiction in which the client suddenly sees something. He’s instantly cured. I’ve never seen that in my practice; I’ve never read it in the psychiatric journals. I suspect it only happens in bad fiction.”

“Can we talk about something else?”

“Sure we can. If it’s something which concerns you less, though, it is less likely to be the cause of your problem.”

“I can’t talk about it.”

“What do you worry about when you’re in school?...”


“Have you had the dream again since your last visit?”

“Yes. Two, no three, times.”

“You know, you talk as if this dream bothers you. Even if it’s not connected to the binge-purge, talking it out might lay it to rest.”

“You really won’t let go, will you? The men are perfect strangers.”

“Are they looking on in disapproval? Getting a peek at a girl acting sexy? Just looking in your direction without expressing anything?”

“They are shocked.”

“You say ‘men.’ Are they all males?’

“Yes. They are all men.”

“You say that you don’t know them in real life. They are your dream creations; you might know a great deal about them even if they are not based on anyone in particular. Do you know what sort of men they are?”

“They are wearing business suits. Look, Dr. Barnes, this is as far as I can go.”

“Very well. Have your parents been pushing you in a way that you consider unreasonable recently?...”


“We were talking about your dream on our last visit.”

“Yes.”

“I should have asked you this earlier. Has anything like this happened to you in real life? Not the audience of strange men, but have you ever been caught masturbating?”

“Dr. Barnes!”

“That would cast the dream in an entirely different light. And that was neither a ‘yes’ nor a ‘no.’”

“I don’t play with myself.”

“Except when you are dreaming.”

“Well, yes.”

“And you say that you can’t stop. Does that mean that you reach a climax in the dream?”

“No. I just go on and on.”

“You say you have your nightie pulled up. I presume the sheet is put aside.”

“You know, I never asked what happened to the sheet -- and blanket in the winter.”

“Dreams involve what is important to the dream. Is your room not there, either?”

“I guess. The men aren’t standing on the dresser or anything.”

“And you share the men’s disapproval? I’m guessing from the way you expressed that you didn’t masturbate.”

“I’m a good girl. I’m not crazy for all I’m seeing you.”

“You’re not crazy. Craziness doesn’t have anything to do with masturbation in most cases. You don’t think that masturbation leads to insanity, do you?”

“No. Does it?”

“No, I didn’t think you thought so. It was a popular idea long ago, but before my time -- let alone yours. The other point is that lots of good girls masturbate.”

“You think I should?”

“I don’t mean that you should or that you shouldn’t. ‘Should’ isn’t my job. My profession avoids the ‘shoulds.’”

“You said I shouldn’t eat too much.”

“Yes. As an example. The idea is that you make your decisions. My job is to help you see the options before you and to help you see the decisions you have already made.”

“You sounded like you were suggesting it.”

“That’s because you have made a moral judgment that I haven’t made. I also haven’t made the opposite moral judgment.”

“You think it is all right.”

“Sort of ‘yes.’ I think it is a decision that many women make for positive reasons. They want sexual pleasure. For one of many reasons, they don’t want a sexual relationship at that particular moment.”

“Like what reasons?”

“We’re getting off the point. You’re talking about others rather than talking about Pamela. But I’ll go along this byway for now. Some women are in a relationship which can’t be sexual at the time; their chosen man is out of town, for example. Others are waiting for better choices than are available at the current time. Are you in a sexual relationship?”

“Certainly not.”

“While I avoid ‘shoulds,’ I do think that is the wisest course at your age.”

“I won’t ever.”

“Have you decided to never get married?”

“That’s not what you mean.”

“That’s part of what I mean. A marriage is usually a sexual relationship. Some of the women who don’t want to be in a sexual relationship right now are engaged. They don’t want to participate in intercourse until after their wedding.”

“And you think?”

“That this is their decision. Theirs and the grooms’, of course. I don’t get a vote. I don’t get a vote on your behavior, either; but, as I said, I think that a girl your age is wise to delay intercourse. The results are seldom positive.”

“But you don’t say it is immoral.”

“Never say ‘never.’ Many high-school girls having intercourse are being exploited by the boy. Almost all of the rest are in a relationship in which both are acting destructively. Can there be sexual relationships before high-school graduation which are healthy? Certainly. The problem is that every high-schooler in a sexual relationship -- every one in a romantic relationship, for that matter -- thinks that they are the exceptions. Almost none of them are. But we’ve wandered far into the general, and this time it’s my fault.”

“You don’t think kids are very smart, do you?”

“‘Smart’ has nothing to do with it. Having destructive relationships has nothing to do with IQ. For that matter, it has nothing to do with age. I’ve seen couples in their fifties locked together in mutually destructive relationships. Experience has a little to do with it. Sometimes, people say: ‘I’ve felt like this before.’ Sometimes they say: ‘I’ve known other people like that.’ Society has a lot to do with it, too. I don’t think marriages were less successful when the average groom was 16 than they are when the average groom is 26, but 16-year-olds could get a decent job in those days. Today, a couple as young as 16 are heading for trouble. Anyway, you are smart; does it help you?”

“Not very much. It just lays more demands on me. But that is school-smart; it isn’t smart.”

“Maybe. That is something to talk about on our next visit.”


“Have you had the dream in the past week?”

“Yes. Aren’t we going to talk about being smart?”

“You are an intelligent girl. That helps you a great deal in understanding books. It can help you to understand yourself, but you have to work at it.”

“It doesn’t help others understand me.”

“No. What we are seldom helps how others behave. What we can handle is how we behave.”

“I don’t see how understanding myself will help with how my teachers treat me.”

“Maybe not. It does help with how you treat yourself. And, after all, your English teacher has you in her power for five hours a week; she’s worrying about a score of other students in that time. You are inside your skin 168 hours a week and pay attention to yourself most for almost every one of those hours. Besides, if you understand yourself, you may start understanding the behaviors that the teachers respond to.”

“So you think it’s all my fault.”

“Not at all. I think that you can control Pamela. You can change how Pamela acts. When you see others reacting to you, you can decide whether to change the way you act to change that. But, anyway, the problems you’ve laid out to me don’t concern those others directly. Your parents and your teachers aren’t stuffing your mouth; they aren’t sticking their fingers down your throat. They don’t make you have that dream.”

“I can’t change having that dream! I’ve tried.”

“Maybe you can’t. Maybe you can. What methods have you tried?”

“I’ve told myself not to. I’ve tried to keep awake. I’ve prayed. I even tried to keep the light on.”

“The last is an interesting point. But having tried some things doesn’t mean that there are no things that could work.”

“I’ve tried everything I can think of. What else is there?”

“Good question. Let me get a little clearer on the dream. You mentioned that you normally sleep with the light off.”

“Well, duh?”

“In the dream, the watching men are shocked. That implies that they can see you.”

“I suppose. I don’t know where the light comes from.”

“On the other hand, you’re in your bed -- both in reality and in the dream. What other parts of the dream agree with reality? The sheet, as you’ve said, is not there?”

“No.”

“In the dream, your nightie is pulled up. Is it really pulled up while you are dreaming?”

“I suppose so.”

“In the dream, your hand is between your legs. Is it there in reality?”

[2 min. 23 sec.]

“I guess.”

“In the dream, you’re rubbing yourself. When you lie there in bed while dreaming, do you think you’re really rubbing yourself?”

[6 min, ]

“Do you think you’re really rubbing yourself?”

[1 min, 17 sec.]

“Maybe. I can’t talk about this.”

“All right. Think about this for the next week. What do you need that the dream supplies?”

“I said I wouldn’t talk about that!”

“We won’t talk about that today. Change of subject. Do you lock your door when you go to bed?”

“No. My room doesn’t have a lock.”

“Does your parents’ bedroom have a door which locks?”

“Yes. What do you think?”

“How does the lack of a lock on your door make you feel?”

“I have complained about it. They treat me like a little girl, a prisoner. That’s not the only way I’m treated like a little girl. Most of my friends have their own numbers in the phone book.”

“And you don’t?”

“No. I have a cell, but you only know the number if I tell you.”

“Back to the lock. You remember that I told you that I wouldn’t repeat to your parents anything you told me without your permission.”

“You want to talk about what I’ve told you?”

“No. The truth is a little stronger than what I express at first. I don’t tell them anything unless you ask me to. Do you want me to mention that you resent the lack of privacy that not having the lock symbolizes?’

“Um?”

“Well, I won’t bring it up until you ask me to...”


“Have you thought about the dreams since our last visit?”

“I’ve had one. What’s to think about?”

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