Dropping Therapy

“I had the craziest dream last night,” Aaron stated after he chugged nearly half his Snapple.

It was a sweltering Sunday in Maine.  The best friends were seated on their favorite bench next to the river, and they were sweating.  There was nothing they could do to make it stop.

“I like crazy dreams,” Holly remarked with a smile as she sipped her iced coffee.

“I was in therapy.  And don’t even think about making a comment on that,” he warned.

Holly shook her head and had another drink of her beverage.

“My therapist told me I was doing such an excellent job that she wanted me to take her place at a session for another patient,” he continued.  “She had a scheduling conflict, but didn’t want to cancel the appointment as it would have been detrimental to the client.”

“More detrimental than having a non-therapist lead the session?” Holly quipped.

Aaron just glared at her and drank more iced tea.

short story, humor, Modern Philosopher“As soon as I entered the room for the session, I knew it was a set up.  There were four women sitting in a wide circle, so it’s a group session, rather than a one on one…”

“And that’s a problem because your specialty is individual therapy?” she asked with a giggle.

Again, Aaron chose not to reply to her comment.

“The problem was that I knew all four of them, even though they didn’t seem to recognize me,” he explained.

Holly sat up straight on the bench.  He had her full attention now.

“Who were they?”

“Women I once had serious feeling for, but had never said anything or did anything about it for whatever lame reason seemed practical at the time,” Aaron confessed.  “Even though it had been some time since I’d seen them, they all looked as exactly as they did when I thought I loved them.”

Holly raised an eyebrow.  “Very interesting.  Yet they didn’t recognize you?”

Aaron shook his head.  “At the very least, no one let on that I was a familiar face.”

“So what did you do?” Holly was now on the edge of her seat.  “Did the therapist bring them all together and arrange this ruse to force you to face your commitment issues?”

flash fiction, relationships, Modern PhilosopherAaron shrugged.  “I was clueless.  The therapist hadn’t told me the reason for the session, but I had to assume there was a single issue that linked the women.”

“Yeah,” Holly chuckled.  “You!”

Aaron sighed and chugged the rest of his Snapple.

“That’s not even the craziest part,” he warned her.  “You know how I’m always babbling on about time travel and how I’d love to go back and fix certain things in my life?”

“Know it?  Your incessant ramblings about time travel on our first and only date was a key factor in my deciding that there should not be a second one,” she replied with a roll of her eyes.

Aaron paused before replying.  Most likely because the sting of the comment hurt too much, even after all these years.  The outcome of that date had always been a thorn in his side.

“Well, the important thing about time travel is that you have to know the right moment to return to in order to right the wrong.  If Marty McFly had taken the DeLorean back to a moment after the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, it wouldn’t have mattered that Doc had perfected time travel.”

“I get it,” Holly assured him.

“When I looked at the four women in that room, I immediately knew the exact moments in time to which I would travel in hopes of changing my life for the better,” he explained.  “That’s not an easy thing to calculate, but it was crystal clear precisely when I needed to be to make an impact with the four individuals waiting for their group therapy session to begin.”

“So what did you do?” Holly asked anxiously.

“I don’t know,” he told her.  “I woke up.”

“Are you kidding me?” she yelled at him.  “All that build up for no pay off?”

“That’s life,” Aaron explained.  “Sometimes, you set the table beautifully, but you don’t get to sit down and enjoy the meal.”

“I’m not talking to you for the rest of the day,” she vowed and turned her attention to the river.

Aaron glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, and flashed a sly smile that Holly could not see.


NOTE FROM AUSTIN: I want to leave you with something to ponder, Modern Philosophers.  Did Aaron really have this dream, or did he make up the whole story?  If he did make it up, why would he do such a thing to Holly?

I have been reading a lot of mysteries lately as research for my novel.  I’m about to finish my second novel  by Anthony Horowitz.  He writes about a novelist who puts messages and clues about real life people in his mystery novels.  Just something to consider as you think about my questions...

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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13 Responses to Dropping Therapy

  1. Bill says:

    I write this with all seriousness.

    I think the dream was real, but was it about going back to the point in time where he could have changed things with the women in the therapy session, or about going back in time to change things with Holly? Maybe he was telling her about the dream in the hopes that she’d realize it. Also, what was the dream about? Having feelings for women but not being able to pull the trigger, which is almost a theme in this series or something.

    As I’ve read these over the past several months, I’ve been trying to just let the story go where it’s going to go, but this seems like it’s going somewhere a little different.

    • Austin says:

      I think we’re coming to the end of an era on the blog.

      The contracts for both Aaron and Holly are about to expire, and neither has expressed an interest in continuing on in a weekly feature.

      So, I’m probably going to have to wrap up their story soon with the hopes of continuing it in a novel. I’ve also got my fingers crossed that they will agree to appear sporadically on the blog after this month…

  2. kristianw84 says:

    Hmmm… I am very intrigued about your thought process.

    So, Aaron is creative enough to make up this story and portray it to Holly as a dream, but why lie? Originally, I believed he had the dream, but your question “why would he do such a thing to Holly?”, eludes me to believe he made it up. Also the sly smile at the end.

    So, why would he do such a thing to Holly? Well, taking your information about the novelist in Horowitz’s novel into consideration, perhaps he was leaving a clue for Holly? Maybe the part about knowing exactly what point in time to go back to? Especially since the topic of time travel is what made her decide a second date wasn’t necessary…

    Then, I think about his final thought, about how sometimes we set the table but don’t get to sit down and enjoy the meal. I understand the point he is making, but I’m not sure why. Is he telling her that life is full of disappointments and the sooner she accepts this the better her life will be? Or, is he dropping some sort of clue that if she wants to enjoy the meal after setting the table so beautifully, it is up to her to sit down and eat? Or, perhaps, I am just overthinking things as always. 🤣

    Regardless of all the why’s and my overactive imagination, I really enjoyed this conversation between the best friends. 🙂

  3. beth says:

    interesting, I feel he made it up to see what her response would be ?

  4. cbiz50 says:

    What! No More!!!
    Are you serious?

  5. markbialczak says:

    Yes, Austin, I think Aaron made it up, setting the table for another course …

  6. Pingback: Oh, that happened: Aug 14 – A Silly Place

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