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by K. Ray
Rated: E · Fiction · Psychology · #2153238
Josh Anderson
If you choose to review, please ignore highlighted/colored text when choosing a rating -- but still, I would appreciate comments regarding this dialogue. This is something I am working on currently.

On a side note, copying this item from Microsoft Word taught me a LOT about using features of the site, such as {c:} to change color. I suggest every WDC author mess around with Word and upload a text that uses italics, boldness, a centered title, and various colors... it will enhance your works. I am using color in this work to narrow down which version of different scenes worked best.

CHARACTER FILES: Joshua Anderson

Josh Anderson looked across his desk into the expectant faces of Paul Harris and Sapphire Demille. Each wore the mask of bliss, holding hands to solidify the image. An unobservant person might not notice the subtle clues that signaled all was not well. She is holding his hand possessively (and unconsciously). Briefly, he considered being honest with them. He wanted to scream, “You are not going to be happy together. You’re not compatible!”

He recalled this couple’s first counseling session. They came to him reluctantly but sat patiently through each of the sessions and answered a barrage of questions, even if they didn’t answer truthfully or completely. This was normal – it is human nature to hide from others the things we perceive to be flaws in ourselves. They gave the answers they were able to and now, at the end of their last session, it was his job to declare them Fit to Marry.

Fit to Marry, that was the language of the Utah law which mandated that each prospective husband and wife submit to ten sessions of premarital counseling. If he would not attest to their marital fitness, they could still marry, but they would have to wait ninety days and would pay more for the license. Having himself been married once, Josh had concluded that no one is ever Fit to Marry. Being married for the first time was like putting two uncooked loaves of bread into one pan, shoving it into an oven, and letting the heat take its course. The bread, fighting for limited space, will either harden and crumble, or join into one loaf. His own marriage had crumbled.

It was not this experience though that made him hesitate to approve the couple’s union. It was the Calling. With the sound of a trumpet and a splitting headache, the realm of the Spirit had opened to his senses. Nearly a decade had passed, and he had not lost the gift the Call had given.
When he first set eyes on Paul, he saw a fierce lion tamed by a collar around his thick neck and a muzzle around his snout. Josh recalled a very unprofessional fit of giggles after he braved a closer look at the metal tag on the giant cat’s collar. It said, “I belong to Sapphire.” When he turned to Sapphire, he saw a dominatrix in a form-fitting black leather suit. She held a leash attached to the lion’s collar and carried a slender whip with the confidence of an experienced sadist.

Joshua was able to see into the inner chambers of the heart, and what he Saw there was translated by his brain into a Vision of how things really were. He was also able to hear the voice of the soul, and it could not be muzzled. The lion, despite her Herculean efforts to control it, roared aloud the things Paul really wanted to say but had learned not to.

VERSION 3 Insert
Version 4 Insert
VERSION 5 Insert
“Paul, I understand that you love Sapphire and want to make the relationship work, but tell me what you feel might be a future roadblock to a happy marriage.”
Joshua studied the couple as he posed the question. Sapphire held the hand of her husband and her grip tightened, a gesture Josh knew indicated a desire to control her environment. This message was subliminally passed to Paul. His free hand moved from the armrest and folded into his lap. He was visibly shrinking and having trouble forming and answer that would convey his emotion but still be acceptable to Sapphire.
His spirit was having no such trouble. In the form of a lion, it had been roaming next to Paul, pacing, testing the limits of a fibrous spongy cord that connected body and spirit at the navel. It had been very subdued until this question was asked. “Tell the good Doctor how we feel. We feel put-down. Controlled. Emasculated. We rebel against her because we resent her acting like she’s our boss. We want to go out with friends, maybe hang out at their house and play video games, maybe drink a few beers and not come home to veiled accusations. That is our effing roadblock!”
While Paul’s spirit expressed himself, Paul’s mental filter processed this and what came out was: “She doesn’t like my friends. I invite them to our house to play Call of Duty, but my internet is slow and it’s better to play at Eli’s or Tony’s. I want her and my friends to get along. And I want to hang out with them – but I’m fine if I don’t. I love spending time with her.”
Josh leaned forward, holding his arms disarmingly across his desk, “Do you resent her for not letting you hang out away from home? It can feel controlling, but I think Sapphire is just afraid to lose you. She thinks you’re a great guy and probably would feel more comfortable if you let her get to know your friends—by playing at the house until she knows them better. And maybe she doesn’t like video games because she’s not used to them. She might feel awkward having you teach her in front of other people how to play.”

“Sapphire, what would you say is the biggest roadblock to a happy marriage? What obstacles does Paul put in the way?”
“He would rather spend time with friends than with—”
“That’s not true, I spend lots of time with you.”
(“Too much,” the lion roared.)
“Paul, let Sapphire speak. Respond after she’s finished.”
“As I was saying… he always wasn’t to be anywhere but with me.”

Sapphire says, “Paul, you are a slob and I always have to clean up after your messes. You’re in front of the TV all the time and never want to do anything with me.” Sapphire’s double continues where she left off, “Your friends are no good for you. They only want to get drunk and act like idiots!” Then Sapphire herself begins anew, “You aren’t like your friends, honey. You’re so much better and I don’t understand why you hang out with them – neither does your mom! You’d rather hang out with them playing those stupid video games than be with me.”
Paul is patient, and at this lull in the rant-storm he takes a chance to speak. “I am like them! I like to drink once in a while. I like video games, and I like my friends! Tony doesn’t drink, so I don’t know what you have against him. Eli only gets drunk on the weekends, he doesn’t drink and drive, and his wife gets as drunk as he does! I don’t go to bars and get wasted, like Tiffany or Bianca. I invite friends over and drink after we all get off of work, but I’d like to go to their houses once in a while, too. And my mother, well, my mother wants a son more like my brother Clint. I’m not Clint and I don’t need her to approve. Can’t you let me be who I want? Do I try and change you?”

Now, after nine completed sessions and at the end of their tenth-and-last, the only change in the vision was the addition of a saddle, mounted on the lions back, which carried the spirit of dominant woman Paul was still set on marrying. Their relationship was doomed, with a capital D. He ignored the scream in his head, rubber-stamped their paperwork, and scribbled his signature on it, declaring them officially Fit.
© Copyright 2018 K. Ray (writerk at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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