Risa Denenberg would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Vivian's Disorder

By Risa Denenberg All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Mystery


Virgie was bored. Three years of therapy and nothing had changed. Nothing had gotten better; nothing had gotten worse. Things had actually gone better when she was working with Sylvie. That is, until she stopped dreaming, and their work together began to go stale. I’m drowning here, she thought ruefully. She glanced around the room— at Richard in his stained oatmeal-colored V-neck sweater leaning back in his black leather swivel chair; down at the worn brown wall-to-wall carpet; up at the Matisse goldfish, imperfectly matted and hanging slightly askew on the far wall. She would have far preferred Van Gogh’s ‘Old Man in Sorrow’.

“So. So, what are you thinking?” Richard asked finally.

“I’m swimming in circles. Like the goldfish.” And, after a pause, “I think I want to quit therapy.”

“Well,” Richard sat up and folded his hands together in a familiar gesture, one that always reminded Virgie of the church steeple in the children’s hand game. He touched the two joined index fingers to the tip of his nose. “We can discuss that. We can discuss that if you wish.”

“No. I don’t think I want to discuss it. I just want to quit.” She suddenly felt a slight twinge of excitement.

“We’ve been working together for three years, Virgie. Don’t you think . . . don’t you feel that we can process this together?”

“No. I don’t. Let’s face it, you’re not helping me. What I’m saying is, I guess I’m dumping you.”

“Dumping me? Hmmm . . . dumping . . . me? Now, that’s an interesting phrase to use, don’t you think?”

“Yes, it is. But you’re not.”

“Like Jonathan dumped you, I wonder?”

Virgie had to think a minute. Who’s Jonathan? she wondered. I guess I made him up, she realized. She was so bored she was making up people to talk about. But was she bored with her life or with Richard? Hard to say. “Look, Richard, it’s just time to stop. We’re obviously not getting anywhere. I really don’t think it will help to talk about it.”

“There’s something more going on here, don’t you think? You have a pattern of leaving relationships when you get too close. We’ve talked about this before.”

“I haven’t gotten close to you. I honestly have no feelings about you at all. And I haven’t gotten any closer to why I’m so stuck where I am. And if you know the answer to that one, you sure haven’t bothered to share it with me.”

Virgie’s mind wandered over the past three years. She hardly left the apartment. She hadn’t painted in months. Course catalogs had piled up among unopened mail spilling onto the floor in the foyer. Her kitchen was a ruin of uneaten meals. And the cats’ room was a mess she could hardly bear to enter any more.

“What are you thinking now?” he asked, inevitably.

“Ok,” she responded, feeling on more solid ground suddenly, an idea brewing. “I’m seeing someone else. I’m dumping you for a better therapist. Get it?”

He waited for a long moment and sighed audibly. Richard abhorred silence, and as usual, he broke first. “Well then, if you feel you must go, I suppose you must. I won’t oppose you. No. That wouldn’t be therapeutic. You know, it’s curious to me that this comes up now. I’ve just been reading R.D. Laing. You know Laing?”

“What do you think?” He knew quite well that she had read Laing. She was probably the only reason he was reading it, she had brought Lang up only a couple of weeks ago. What an idiot.

“Well, anyway, Laing was quite the heretic really. A true rebel in the field. Perhaps he would say that this is an inside-outside problem.”

“And that would mean . . . ?”

“You know, you’re split, ambivalent. To get closer or move farther away? We’ve done some good work, Virgie, but there’s a lot more work to do. So. Here’s the challenge. Do you want to do the work or not? Laing might ask, are you in, or are you out?”

“I guess we would have to call this an outie.”

“What I mean is . . . ”

“Richard, are you listening to me? I’m terminating this relationship. Could you come back to the present and just leave Laing out of it?”

“Well, that’s my point exactly. He doesn’t approve of the therapist telling the patient what to do. But now, of course, even Laing would say, that is, I think he would say, that termination is a process. Yes. Yes. We need a time period to plan a proper termination. Lets talk about that.”

“Try listening to me for a change, Richard. I’m saying bye-bye to you. Conclusion. Separation. Ending. So if there is something you want to say to me, some guidance, some truth about me or our relationship, or something that would help me survive in this godawful world, this would be the time.”

“Well, I don’t know what Laing would say about this,” he mused, distractedly.

“Laing would say that anyone as dumb as you should not be a therapist.”

“Now, it doesn’t really help, does it, to be so . . . so . . . hostile?”

“Actually, it helps tremendously.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

katskousen03: This book was so good! It was so real and emotional. I loved all the ups and downs and it showed how they were never perfect and fought! One of my favorite books by far!!! This book is one that everyone should read, it’s funny and real and has a bit of romance. The author does a great job showcas...

Rita Kovács: It is a brilliant post-apocalyptic story, and there is a lot of work in it! Also, I'm really happy to see, it got published with all its seqences, because this story deserved it, it is wonderfully written, it's imaginative and original.

William Elliott Kern: Interesting Story, with Jacob, the second Son of Baron Ironwood to learn his duties, provide his numbers and prepare for marriage to Anna......Along the way, the wise Monk, Francis came to Ironwood, filled the ears of Jacob with hope and positive direction, a gift for Jacob well needed. The Stor...

Deleted User: I love your use of writer's craft and how you use figurative language to enhance your writing. It great how you didn't have any spelling or grammar issues.

Nishant Jain: Plus points-* the story is quite interesting* well detailed(u can easily imagine andpicture what the narrator is trying to say)* huge twist in the endImprovements-- i feel the story unfolds a bit slowlyIt is definitely worth a shot. I have no regrets reading BREAKING POINT.

Jodee3596: I really did like this story. Lacey Amanda Jones is very well written. It's a story about a girl who didn't like who she was but wasn't really sure how to change that and still get what she wants. Then there's Finn. What or who is he? Her gay BFF, some stalker guy who takes pictures of her or the...

Jason Phang: I'm pretty new to Inkitt (this is only my 4th book) and I must say I've been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the authors here. Remnants of Chaos is an excellently written book that hooks the reader, and doesn't let go. There are some grammatical and typographical errors, but nothing too se...

Jim E. Johnson: Rarely do I find a mystery that peeks my interest, but Jack Huber's Pat Ruger reminds me of Parker's Spenser or Spillane's Hammer! Strong character with the right connections and plot drivers to keep anyone engaged and never putting it down.The encounters of the characters Ruger engages, continue...

More Recommendations

Muhammed Arfin: really nice.I m reading novel after a long time.it is really fascinating.those people interested in espionage will like this tale.if one needs to advance his know how about espionage this book is your destination

mray2174: I did like this story. I would totally recommend it to a friend, but it didn't seem like a book. Your writing style reminded me of a fan fiction writer, always adding in tiny details and making things like "Oh, my name is [name that no one would ever name a child] and here is my life story. Oh, d...

Pablo Rojas: Love the story, at the end it is a western story, simple, yet giving hints and pieces of the situation that is happening all over ravencroft´s universe. easy to read and always keeping with the main stream story I want to keep reading about, Olafson´s adventures.

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.