In Treatment -- Laura, week 6

Paul's daughter opens the door to the office calling for him. The couch has not yet been made up. We hear the shower. She puts his glasses in their case.

Laura arrives and her phone rings before she opens the door. Apparently it is the hospital. She hands Paul a bag and says it is for him, maple syrup from the farmer's market. Your kids eat pancakes, she says.

She called early, before her appointment time. She thought her hour would be filled, but Paul says no. He asks about her father, who is in ICU.  They both sit on the couch, at either end. She is weeping as she tells Paul how small her father looks. He puts his hand on her arm then withdraws it. 

She says she took Paul's advice and told her father about David last week when she left her last session.  Her father said he thought so when she tells him about David. Paul asks if she told him the full story. Paul reflects that her father didn't sound surprised, that maybe he knew all about it. And how does she feel about that? She denies that it could be that way.

Laura says it feels different being there, like she hadn't been there for a year. She remarks on his shoes. Paul says he is glad that she called. She asks if he missed her and he says he did. He says that the prospect of not seeing her again scared him, that losing her is a big deal. Laura asks why he is saying this now. And says she doesn't really believe him.

Paul tells her he thinks she deserves to know how he feels, that he has deep feelings for her. That he thinks about her often and misses her. Laura akss what happens now -- that it isn't therapy so it's okay? And she thinks it feels weird.

She sits down again. He asks what now. She talks about how it was with Andrew, that she slept with him two hours after she met him. She says this is the longest foreplay she has ever known, that she has taken a year getting to know him. He asks what she knows about him. She says he has children. That once or twice he hasn't worn his wedding ring. She takes his hand and caresses it. He asks what she is thinking about.

Paul talks about a crush he had when he was 14, a teacher he fell in love with. That one day he was alone in the lab with her and he said he had to kiss her. She turned out the lights and faced him and said go on. And he got the hell out of there, ran away. He says he thanks her for showing him that what he felt or thought he felt was a fantasy. 

She starts to talk about David -- that he didn't turn off the lights and told her how beautiful she was. He told her how proud he was of her, that she was ready and started whispering to her. She starts to cry when she says he spit into his hands. Paul tells her that none of what happened with David was her fault. She says she just wanted to get away from that house not to have sex with him. Paul comforts her.

Laura says she ruined it and that he doesn't want her anymore. Paul tells her that he will not do anything to hurt her. He thinks that David spoiled her ability to have anything but sex with a man. Paul says he will not betray her, will not be another David. She angrily tells him he is just afraid. Her phone rings and she answers because it is her brother reporting that her father is a bit better. Paul kisses her forehead and holds her to comfort her. She leaves.

As Laura is walking to her car, Kate is emptying the garbage. Laura says hi to her and drives off.

Oh shit. Paul has the right idea and executes it in the wrong way, sending incredibly mixed messages. He has it right about Laura and David. And draws the right parallel between his experience with his teacher and hers with him. But totally undermines that by telling her how he feels about her, which she of course hears as an opening to having him as her lover. It was not clear even to me that he was not going to take it further when he was talking about how he felt about her, so it is a very safe assumption that Laura heard it as promising what she thinks she wants. It may still be that she will be as he was with his teacher and back away having come to the brink. But given her history, I don't have a lot of hope and I am quite certain it will have to be Paul who prevents this from becoming worse. And worse it will become before it gets better because now Kate knows who Laura is and that she is still seeing Paul.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.