Soul Bringer

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Dr. Wheeling

Andreanna routinely kept monthly, and sometimes weekly, appointments with her therapist for nearly ten years - almost as long as she had known Grayson, although that coincidence wasn’t as apparent to her. With her mother being a psychologist hailing from and still teaching at Princeton, as well as having a successful practice in New Vernon, keeping a healthy mind by keeping regular visits with a therapist was as normal as seeing the dentist regularly in her family.

In her warm, conservatively decorated office, Dr. Diana Wheeling conducted the session from her therapist chair across from the couch where Andreanna sat, cross-legged, shoes off, in her usual relaxed manner. It wasn’t ever a confrontational conversation between the two of them, and in fact, it was a visit Andreanna was happy to make each time. That said, this particular visit had grown a little complicated as they shifted the discussion around a familiar, more complicated subject.

“Why am I picking up on some trepidation from you, Andi,” she asked in her soft-spoken, direct voice; Apple iPad tablet in hand and hot cup of Kava tea nearby on the small table by her chair. “We’ve discussed this topic many times before.”

Andreanna dropped her head back on the couch and let out a long, drawn-out sigh. “I know… I know!” she admitted. “I’m regressing, aren’t I?”

“Or perhaps you never fully owned up to the feelings that brought you to this place previously? We have spent numerous sessions talking about the anxiety you have around Grayson’s impending wedding proposal to you. I am unclear as to why you’re still wrestling with this, Andi. You have admitted that your feelings for him are true. You said many times before that you love this man.”

“I do, Diana, I really do,” she interrupted, as she often did, looking back at the doc. “I told you, he’s the perfect gentleman - and sure, it’s true he’s a restless billionaire who likes his toys and it just so happens that he can talk to the dead, but he is faithful to me. I know he loves me and he’s so good to me. What the hell is wrong with me?” Andreanna tended to swear more when she was feeling stressed.

“As we discovered in therapy, your desire for independence feels threatened by your need to settle down with him. You are a confident, strong-willed woman, Andi, who doesn’t need any man or anybody to tell you what to do in life, but when it comes to love, with this man, for some reason, that independence feels threatened, and it’s the one time in your life you are truly conflicted.”

“I know, damn it!” she exclaimed, almost whining about it.

“You said before that he’s not an overbearing man, correct?”

“Grayson Montgomery is a confident man who doesn’t need to micro-manage or belittle others to prop up his ego. He is probably one of the few men with money that doesn’t walk around with any sort of inferiority complex, and he most certainly is not overbearing. He respects me as his equal.”

“So, he doesn’t challenge your independence?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Yet, your independence feels threatened by the concept of getting married to him?”

“It makes no practical sense, I know.”

“If life made practical sense, there would be no need for people in my profession, my dear.”

Andreanna cracked a smile, “true that.”

“Thank goodness for that,” the doc added.

“My therapist bill may disagree with you,” she cracked back.

“Well, the good news, unlike other women faced with a similar situation, you have chosen to stay in this relationship with this man and face your fears, rather than cut bait, destroy the relationship and run.”

“I can’t see my life without him, Diana,” she confessed as she clasped her hands together. “He truly is part of me. The marriage, really, is just a formality.”

“Then why is it such a source of anxiety for you if it’s just a formality, as you suggest?”

“I don’t know,” Andi shrugged.

“Perhaps because marriage makes it official?”

“Maybe.”

“Perhaps your love for this man has conquered you, and your strong-willed mind can’t deal with it?”

“I just don’t know why it has to be so hard for me?”

“Something about the concept of marriage is a stumbling block for you.”

“Marriage is very important to Grayson - he’s old fashioned that way. He’s said many times how much he wants to marry me. I don’t see an end-game here where he’s content without being married.”

“And what does marriage mean to you?”

What does marriage mean to me? Andi wondered. “I don’t know, I mean, my parents have been married for forty years, and they still seem happy, so my parental influences have been positive.”

“This isn’t necessarily a situation based on psychological influence, Andi.”

“I don’t know. I mean, we’re great together, and most days, away from the studio, we live our lives like a married couple. I seem to have some sort of hangup about actually being married, I guess.”

Dr. Wheeling took a sip of her tea. “Well, you’ve already turned him down once before. You don’t have answers as to why you feel anxiety about the formality of his marriage proposal, despite our discussing previously how this formality does not threaten your independence. The way I see it, you have got to do some soul searching to figure out what’s more important to you, Andreanna - your relationship with this man or your insecurity of being married to him.”

“I thought that’s what we’re working out here?”

“Among other things, yes, but I think a good part of this requires some quiet time, alone, to work some of this out. What are you going to do when he asks you again in the near future? You say he’s patient. Will his patience weather the storm of another rejection from you?”

Andreanna put her head back and stared at the ceiling a moment, letting out another long sigh, “I honestly don’t know.”

“What about children?” the doc asked.

“Grayson isn’t sure he wants kids. He’s concerned about them inheriting his ability to speak with the dead.”

“Would that be such a bad thing?”

“He thinks it’s a curse. So, yeah, to him, it is.”

“And you?”

“Kids? I would love to have children one day with Grayson,” Andreanna started, “Sure, it would be a challenge if they inherit his curse, but I think that’s the risk we take.”

Dr. Wheeling tapped on her tablet and made a note. “This is probably the first time I’ve ever heard you refer to it as a curse. Usually, you call it a gift or his ability. Any reason for that?”

“I suppose he’s rubbing off on me. He always calls it his curse.”

“Do you see it as a curse?”

“Not really,” Andi started, “I mean, it has its days, sure. We have to monitor where we go at all times and steer clear of certain places like cemeteries, so he doesn’t have a chance encounter with an evil spirit, but for the most part, it’s just part of the man I love. It’s part of what makes him Grayson Montgomery.”

“Hmmm,” the doc murmured as she made another note on the tablet.

“I’m getting exhausted. I feel like we’re beginning to go in circles a bit.”

“Well, perhaps this is a good place as any to stop. We’re just about out of time for this week anyway.”

Andreanna rubbed her face, worked her long hair back into a knot, and exhaled again. “You know, some days I leave here, and I feel more fucked up than when I did when I walked in.”

“I’m guessing today is one of those days?” the doc replied, not missing a beat. She’s heard this comment from her client before.

“Yep.”

“See you next week, then?”

“Yep,” Andreanna sighed again, working her feet into her shoes and standing up. “God, help me if he proposes to me again before then.”

“You only have to choose one of two responses, Andi.”

“Shut up,” Andreanna replied with a smile. “You’re lucky we’ve been friends since kindergarten.”

“Love you,” Dr. Wheeling smiled back.

“Love you, too.”

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