Augmented Life Therapy E2

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Psych Out


Six months transpire before Beverly works up the nerve to phone Ronald. Professional etiquette guidelines suggest an appropriate length of time has passed. But she will feel like the one receiving psychotherapy when answering Ronald’s tough questions about their choice to pursue romance. After running several scenarios through her mind, she opens the conversation as if the call is happenstance.

“Hello, Ronald? This is Beverly… Richardson. I came across your phone number and wondered if there is still any interest in furthering a prior conversation?”

“Will you allow me to save your phone number?”

“Yes. If you’re busy, I’m sorry. I should have asked.”

“No, I’m not busy. I just want to call you right back.”

“Okay, I’ll hang up.”

Ronald then initiates his call. “It seems more appropriate for me to call and ask you out to dinner. Would you mind joining me at 5 o’clock this Saturday evening at Chateau Fagioli?”

“Well, I’m not sure what I expected. But yes, it would be nice. I will meet you there. All right?”

“That eliminates first-date door drop-off pressure.”

Diminutive Dining

“This place is lovely. I’ve only been here once before during lunch with workmates. It has a more romantic ambiance in the evening.”

“I do love the atmosphere. The restaurant name suggests a combination of French and Italian cuisine. So expect thimble-size decorative fresh pasta dishes.”

“Perhaps we can go somewhere for a milkshake afterwards.”

“Now you’re catching on. Tell me, what you enjoy besides milkshakes, Beverly.”

“I love fine art, mind-stimulating literature, intellectual conversation, a sense of humor, good food, and traveling.”

“It sounds like you were reading my file. Could we possibly have the same interests?”

“In a professional setting, my purpose is not to inject commonalities with my personal life into patient dialogue. But, yes, we seem to have common interests.”

“Since good food is on your list, allow me to put the order in. Which thimble would you like?”

“Please do the honor of deciding. With it, I’ll have a sweet blackberry wine.”

“Very well. Garson? May we have two orders of the house special Fagioli with fresh bread and dinner salads? Also bring a bottle of Manischewitz blackberry wine, thank you.”

After the waiter leaves, Ronald tells Beverly, “You do realize that the inexpensive wine I ordered comes in a screw-top bottle? A fine sherry could be is just as sweet.”

“Screw tops are easier for me to open at home. More importantly, I like the taste of blackberry wine.”

“Hence, I shamelessly ordered an entire bottle. The waiter will probably run out the back door to the corner liquor store to retrieve it for us.”

Uncomfortable Seating

“So far, we are avoiding any awkwardness about our former professional relationship or your intent for dating me.”

“We can’t have that. Can we? May I say that you look absolutely enchanting this evening?”

“I appreciate it, thank you. Considering that I am interviewing for the role of Nichole, I question the sincerity of your compliment.”

“With or without my augmentation implant, I have interest in you. The ability to trigger the perfect embodiment of Nichole is icing on a sweet cake.”

“It will take more time for me to stop thinking of you as a patient with whom I may be violating societal norms. Only about 30 percent of professionals believe 6 months is adequate time to begin a personal relationship.”

“As long as you don’t introduce me to people as your former patient, there shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Point taken. Here’s our bread and salad.”

“Ah. The bread is warm. Do you prefer olive oil or butter?”

“I’ll try a little of both. Mmm…. This is good.”

“With what you know about me, this might be more like a fifth date. Do you agree?”

“More equivalent to my tenth date with you, but your second with me. The mental shuffle is that I fully understand your intention as it relates to intimacy and even marriage.”

“And yet, you’re here.”

“So it implies my agreement with your intentions. Let’s assume all that is correct. Can we jump to a more awkward discussion?”

“The more awkward the better, if that means progress.”

“Okay. Our meals are here. Surprisingly, they are larger than thimbles.”

“Yes, more like shot-glass portions on large plates. Would you care for more wine?”

“A half glass more, please.”

“I believe you were in the middle of making this an awkward dinner. Please continue.”

“Fast forward many months into the future, not tonight. If we are intimate, would you want to see someone else’s face?”

“My awkward meter is detecting levels of radiation. The flavor of the fagioli is intense.”

“I agree, as intense as this conversation. Sip more wine but don’t avoid the question.”

“Out of curiosity, yes. As an ongoing practice, I should think sleeping with a magnet attached to a metal socket on my skull would be uncomfortable. Did I fail?”

“You can’t fail with an honest response. My lie detector registers truth.”

“If you don’t mind getting more awkward, my magazine cover photo of sexiest man alive was scrapped. I lost to Morgan Freeman. So would you consider an augmented face for me?”

“That’s actually, a somewhat amusing proposition. Two people marry placeholder bodies for fantasy faces. I’m sorry if that’s offensive to your therapy.”

“No, that’s okay. The notion does belie valid attraction.”

“You’re handsome enough to me. I don’t want it to go to your head. If neither of us is satisfied with the other’s appearance, we are in a disastrous relationship.”

“Our visit here was purely for ambiance, not satiation. Unless you want anything else here, we can stroll to the corner burger restaurant for a milkshake.”

Shake Up

“A decadent milkshake with a big straw makes an appetizing chaser to blackberry wine. Let’s stroll. You haven’t said anything about my hair tonight.”

“It makes no difference to me whether you wear braids or not. I’m just happy to be with you. If we average my credit of ten dates with you and your two with me, we are somewhere in the middle of say, six dates?”

“That’s mathematically correct.”

“Regarding public and private displays of affection, does that move us to the level of hand-holding, kiss on the cheek, or something more?”

“Was it your intention all along to inquire after imbibing me with two glasses of wine?”

“My intentions, as you earlier mentioned, are quite transparent.”

“I was under the assumption that beyond preliminary reconnaissance, pre-implant affection is off the table.”

“I never intended it to be on a literal table. But your implication is noted,” Ronald says softly while holding Beverly’s chin and tenderly kissing her lips.

“My answer is that kiss was within acceptable limits.”

“Let’s see how much further I might get after plying you with a milkshake.”

Sipping on icy beverages, they stroll back to their cars, Beverly inquires, “I still can’t tell if there is genuine interest. Leaving myself vulnerable to a test subject can emotionally devastate me.”

“You explained this technology to me with excitement. Under the assumption of compliance, we anxiously waited 6 months. It’s something we both agree to, right?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“But you sold me on the non-permanent aspect of the implant. I can satisfy the curiosity of viewing someone very familiar to you. Rather than behaving like her, you’ll behave as you normally do. I have no desire to permanently erase your existence. You’ll remain my true interest.”

“That’s interesting. So is the progression of our relationship on hold until you get your implant?”

“I’m not certain. How long does it take for the prescription or whatever?”

“It takes 6 months on average. Maybe longer. The reason I didn’t initiate it earlier was because you were still my patient. Now it’s something we can view as more of a suggestion between two friends.”

“I have strong feelings for you. If they’re mutual, meeting in another 6 months seems ludicrous.”


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