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Therapy, she assured him, wasn’t the tidy packaging of problems, assembly-line style, so that they were more pleasing to the world. It was an individualized process–the course it took would be guided more by the indivuidual himself than any principle of psychology.

“Intimacy’s a two-way street,” she says. She turns to look at me, smiles in a way that’s at once wary and indulgent. “Don’t even start.”

“What?”

“‘Are you sure?'” She cocks her head in playful imitation of a journalist’s  inquisitiveness. “‘It’s not a one-lane road? A four-lane highway? A footpath?'”

” I was, at the time, a young and eager fella, choosing ties in emulation of someone else’s taste and convinced that once i’d hit upon the right combination of arrogance and raw talent, i could simply shoulder my way through life.”

She surveys him with some unclassifiable but disconcerting emotion. After careful intrspection of her face i was able to identify it as compassion–the sort of compassion accorded to a dying houseplant. “Sit down,” she  says. “You look anxious.”

“I wasn’t about to say any of that.” my fingers shudder in the midst of the path they’re trailing up her arm. “Although now that you mention it, the road imagery does possess a certain appeal. Intimacy is a tollway–”

“My point–”

“Ah,” I interrupt darkly. “One of those.”

“If you want a woman who makes you feel wanted, who attends to your needs, who accepts you for who you are, it’s probably best that you extend the same courtesy to her.”

My fingers fall away from her skin. I shift onto my back, shut my eyes. “Yes.”

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About Humbug

My past has a way of making my present feel jealous of the future.