Office Hours: No. No. Wrong.

“He called me heartless.” My grip on the pillow is so tight I think my fingers are going to break through the fabric and come free with fistfuls of feathers.

Fat leans forward over her notepad and scratches her chin before she replies. “Are you?”

I don’t have to worry about ruining the pillow anymore. It flies at Fat and knocks her off the table. Home run.

“You really have to stop doing that.” Fat leaps back onto the table and stares at her empty legal pad.

“Why do you have that anyways? You can’t write. You don’t even have a pen.” I cross my arms over my chest and sit back.

“It’s a prop that offers me a certain amount of credibility I like to think.” Fat readjusts the phony spectacles on her nose, “Now then, where were we? Yes. Heartless. Go.” She silently extends a paw though she were a director giving a cue for action.

“It happened not five minutes ago. You were here for the whole thing.”

She snickers. “I know. I just want to hear how it happened from your perspective.”

“What’s to tell? Bachelor number two was here. We were playing some Dutch Blitz (it’s a vonderful goot game) and he attempted to say something sweet. For some reason, what he came up with in the moment was an earnest look while he said, ‘I think you’re perfect.'” Fat bursts out laughing. “That was my initial reaction too, Fat.”

“I know,” She’s laughing too hard to catch her breath. “It was awesome.”

“See? I’m not a complete jackass. Who says that?”

“And then,” Fat tries to breathe through her nose to calm down, “and then that’s when he calls you heartless and bids you good night.” Another round of laughter bursts out of her.

I can’t stifle it anymore and I catch the giggles all over again; the laughter shakes me so hard I fall sideways on the couch. When that happens, we both laugh louder and the momentum continues for a few minutes.

When it finally subsides, Fat cranes her neck around like an owl. “Damn. Lost my glasses at some point. Oh well.” She curls up and resembles a furry sphere, “If it’s so hilarious, why were you pissed off by the comment?”

“His implication being that I don’t have a heart. Just because I haven’t let him have it doesn’t mean he should doubt its existence.” I push myself back up to sitting and sit cross-legged on the sofa.

“He does seem upset that you haven’t at least shown it to him. He just wants you to trust him with it.”

“It’s not a cheap knick knack at a garage sale, Fat. It can stay in the cage right now.”

“Cage is the metaphor you’re going with?” Her head tilts to the side with misunderstanding.

I point at my sternum. “Rib cage. Literal.”

“You can’t hoard it forever you know. It’s meant to be shared.” Fat gets up and goes over to the scratch post. Her nails dig and scrape the side a few times before she looks at me over her shoulder knowingly. “I told you so.”

“Told me what?”

“He thinks he’s your Boyfriend.”

Well shit.

You Can’t Get Insight From a Grocery Store

“How is the outside world?” Fat watches me struggle with a vast collection of bags exploding with groceries. I drop them on the floor in a heap; it isn’t until after my hands release them that I consider the breakables and bruisables that just fell victim to gravity. I stare at the mountain I’ve created then shrug. Nothing I can do about it now.

I hurdle over the barrier constructed of edibles, and grab some water from the fridge. After a few sips I’m ready to finish dealing with the disaster I left in the hall.

Fat’s head hides inside one of the grocery bags, leaving me quite the view of her ass. I deliver only the nicest of kicks.

“Hey.” She turns to sneer at me while the fur stands on end.

“Hey.” I point emphatically at the bags. The gesture says it all: back off bitch.

“I was merely looking at what you purchased.” Fat follows when I grab a couple of bags and set them on the kitchen counter. She waits until I start putting things away to ask, “Did he cry when you broke up with him?”

I attempt rearranging the tea cupboard to make the new additions fit. “I didn’t break up with him. We went on some dates; we weren’t dating.”

Fat sprawls on the linoleum. “The difference being…?”

“One connotes exclusivity.” My fingers drum along the lid of the chamomile tea in my hands when I stop what I’m doing to answer. “The other is just having fun. Enjoying each other’s company without the title or obligation.”

Fat gets up to investigate something on the floor by the fridge. When she sniffs it I turn back to the cupboard to figure out this tea puzzle. The moment my eyes are off her, I hear the crunch of her teeth on something stale.

“What did you just eat?” I whip back around.

“Not sure.” She lets whatever it is roll back and forth over her palate before she swallows. “Cereal, maybe?” She frowns when our sight lines meet, “Don’t look at me like that.”

I stack several tea boxes together and put them in the cupboard. I shove and balance the other boxes and tins to make these last few fit. This cupboard just became an overcrowded hazard. I keep the teas steady, blocking them from falling with my one hand while the other closes the door. Just before the door shuts, I slip my hand away. Success.

“I admire your forethought.”

I offer a sideways look at the cat while I drop one of the empty grocery bags; it gradually floats to the floor.

“Okay. Thanks.” I grab a box of cereal from another bag and put on top of the fridge.

“You didn’t tell me how it went.” Fat crawls into the plastic bag and sits.

“Huh?”

“Breaking up with bachelor number one.” She watches two more bags float and land on the ground beside her.

“Fine. And it wasn’t a break up. I just told him that I wasn’t interested in romantic progression and that if he was cool to still be friends we could, but if not, no big deal.” I grabbed the remaining bags from the hall.

“You really don’t care to define things, do you?”

When I kneel to put the crackers in a lower cupboard I’m at her level. “Why does everybody have this obsession with definition? It’s silly that everything has to be something. Just let things be what they are. Label not necessary.”

The bag crinkles when she shifts her weight. “One might speculate that you don’t know what you want.” She catches sight of my smile when I reload the fridge with vegetables and fruit. “What?”

“It just strikes me as funny when you get something right. I always take you for the dumbest of asses.”

“Thanks for the compliment. Now that you’re done with the chore of putting groceries away, perhaps you should make yourself some tea?”

I put my hand on the cupboard’s handle. “Brilliant idea, Fat.”

First Cuts and Second Dinners

“I can’t do this anymore.” I’m a little surprised that she doesn’t meet me at the door.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” I hear her shout and follow the sound into the bedroom. When I flip the light switch she hisses. I turn it off immediately; we’re fine with the light that filters in from the hall. I perch beside her on the bed.

“I have been up most of the night waiting for you. You weren’t around to feed me second dinner.”

“Second dinner?” My feet lift off the ground and I flop back on one of the pillows.

“No, nothing. You feed me the responsible amount. How was your date?”

“I’m exhausted.” My eyes close and I have to force them open. She’s staring, still waiting for an answer. “It was great. He made me pizza and we had some drinks and hung out at his place. Such an amazing apartment. Really great taste for a man.” My upper and lower eyelids are like magnets that I’m trying to keep apart.

“You really like this one, huh?” Fat climbs into the crook in my arm. I scratch the top of her head.

“He’s stunning. So clever and good-looking–”

“–The shirtless blond from the photo?”

I nod. “He’s funny, has this ambitious drive, well-travelled, full of great stories and insight. Really, the dude has it all.”

“I see. This is the one you’re going to pick. This polygamous nonsense can stop.” Fat starts purring, “It’s about time. He sounds like a great fit for you.”

“About that,” I yawn, “He’s going to be the first to go.”

The gentle hum of her happiness ceases immediately. Her neck snaps to look up at me. “What? Why?”

My palms rub my tired eyes, “There’s no chemistry.”

“How can there be no chemistry when the first thing I heard you say about him was, ‘hummina-hummina-hummina?'” Her tone is rhetorical.

“Chemistry and objectifying him are two different beasts, Fat.” I shrug. “I want to like him so much because he seems so right, but…” when I run out of words, I simply shrug.

She eyes me with disbelief. “No. It’s not that. It has to be something. Is he too short?”

“Not at all, he’s 6’3.”

“Bad laugh?”

“Great laugh.”

“Say things like ‘yo this’?”

“Nope.”

“Smoker? Lives with a creepy roommate? Is a white rapper?” I shake my head to the questions she fires off. Everything she mentions is a reason I’ve broken off relationships before. I start to drift as her list of possibilities goes on. “Pretends your stories are his? Has a mohawk? Is there a mannequin in his room with the world painted across its face?” My eyes close. “Tries to give you a gross pet name? Cries over silly things?”

Fat nudges me back from the precipice of sleep. “None of those things. Just no chemistry.” My eyes open long enough to see the confusion on her face.

“What comes to mind when I say self sabotage?”

“Fuck off, Fat.” The words fall languidly out of my mouth, extinguishing any fire they should have carried.

“I’m starving. Can you at least feed me before you fall asleep? You didn’t give me dinner before you left.”

“I’m so sorry. Of course I’ll feed you.”

Because They’re Freaky – That’s All That Needs to be Said

“What’s today’s headline? Did you see some clouds in the sky?” Fat bombards me before I even remove my key from the lock. I kick the door shut and toss my bag on the floor.

“It’s Vancouver, dumb ass. There are always clouds in the sky.” I walk past her and into the kitchen. Even though I know what I have, I open the fridge door and peer inside anyways.

She rubs her face on my legs. “You got what I was going for there, right.”

“Yes, Fat.” I scrunch my nose at leftover pasta, put a hand on the organic peanut butter jar, then let it go to grab the yogurt. “You’re trying to make me feel like an idiot for the bird thing. How long were you waiting to share that with me today?”

“I’m not sure. That clock of yours that goes counter-clockwise really fucks me up for time.”

“I’ve been thinking about it,” I eat a spoonful right from the container, “and you acted like a jerk the other day when I was telling you about seeing that imaginary bird.”

She leaps onto the kitchen counter as if she forgets that I’m in the room, before I can even raise my slapping hand, she jumps back to the floor. “You were being ridiculous.”

“Please. You know I think birds are freaky. Dick move, Fat.” After a few more spoonfuls, I put the yogurt away and leave the spoon in the sink. I look up at the backwards clock, “I gotta go, off with a bachelor.”

She doesn’t register my last sentence. She sits beside her food bowl and looks up at me. “Bitch, the moment I can escape from this apartment you best believe I’m going to hunt down some kind of blackbird and bring it to you half-eaten and half-alive. Then you can tell me that birds are freaky.”

Instantly, I feel like a tube of toothpaste in the grasp of a heavy-handed individual. “Please don’t.”

She smiles. “We’ll save that for when we move on to more drastic forms of therapy to cure you of your phobias.” Fat slides her food dish across the floor in my direction. “Don’t forget to feed me before your date.”

Shared Custody Agreements in the Real World

I pick up Mutt and tuck him under my arm. After the truck door slams I watch it drive away. When I put Mutt on the ground I look up at the balcony. Fat stares down, her face between the iron bars; she shakes her head slowly from side to side.

Making it a point to glare at her as I wander back up the concrete walkway, I trip over the area of uneven pavement. Fat snickers. That bitch.

By the time I get upstairs to the apartment, Fat is lounging in the hallway. Her tail flicks from side-to-side.

“Still trying to make it work, I see.”

Mutt races in at my heels, sees Fat, and gallops toward her.

“Shit.” Fat moves quick; she rolls onto her feet and tries to leap out of Mutt’s way, but he’s already built up enough inertia to body slam her back to the ground. He gnaws on one of her back legs while she does her best to kick him off. Her tail eventually catches his eye, and when Mutt stops to stare at it Fat shoots out from under him and jumps on the hall table.

I try to hide my smile behind my hand, but it doesn’t fool her. She scowls.

“What? It’s your fault for always play fighting with him. Now just seeing you evokes the response.” Mutt stares up at Fat and quickly comes to terms with the fact that she’s not coming back down anytime soon. A few seconds after he saunters away, we hear him lapping up water in the kitchen.

Fat stares at her slobber-coated hind leg in disgust. “You and your bright ideas.”

“Huh?”

“Just give the dude your dog. Then we wouldn’t have to contend with this.” She extends her back leg out to show me.

“You make it seem like a weird situation.” I point. “We can amputate if you’d like.”

Her head rolls to the side and she looks at me over her shoulder. “Shared custody of a dog IS a weird situation. You make it way to easy to convince people you’re an idiot.”

I pull the dog medication out of the bag that gets handed over when we shuttle him back and forth between our apartments. One of the pill bottles shakes like a maraca in my hand. “It’s not ideal, no.”

Fat smiles. “It’s just hilarious that even though you two haven’t been getting along, you still try to make this clusterfuck of a situation work.”

I pull out the drawer of the hall table and tuck the dog drugs inside. “I know, Fat. It’s ridiculous.”

“Stop being stupid and just end it. Give him the dog, or keep it.” Her eyes become slits when she looks to the kitchen. She turns back to me, “You know you hate this back-and-forth nonsense.”

“You’re not telling me something I don’t already know.”

“I just feel like I need to remind you of how you thought it would be: you’d stay friends, he’d come over and take care of the dog and everything would be super fantastic.” Fat tries to give me a thumbs up, her paw goes sideways in the air, then she awkwardly realizes that this act is physically impossible for a feline. In what she thinks is a good cover, Fat curls her paw into a small fist, “Pound it.”

I stare down at Fat, who waits expectantly with her furry fist extended. “You know I don’t do that. Especially for a situation in which you’re mocking my intelligence.”

“Your view of the world is just really fascinating to me. Growing up, Disney really did a number on you, huh?”

I whistle for the dog and he comes running. With a quick shove, Fat is back on the floor and Mutt is licking her face. I pretend not to hear the curse words as I shut the bedroom door behind me.

Office Hours: Books and Birds

“I saw a bird.”

Fat looks up from Fifty Shades of Grey and peers over the spectacles she pilfered from a plastic Santa Claus in the hall closet. She licks a paw and flips a page. “Have a seat, I’ll be right with you.”

I kick off my shoes and sit on the couch. I wait, and while doing so, watch her read. Her head moves as her eyes drift across the lines of text.

“Hmmm.” Fat’s eyes become slits as she gets to the end of the page.

“What?”

“Shhh.” Fat hushes me and continues to read, her head moving with the rapid pace of continental drift.

“Christ.” I lay on my side and tuck a pillow under my head. Fat nods a few moments later, licks her paw and flips another page. She is oblivious to life beyond that book. I pick up the television remote.

“I would advise against that.” Her eyes don’t leave the page. I’m pretty sure she’s talking to me and not offering input to the characters in the book.

“Are you freaking kidding me right now?” I reach and snatch the novel out from under her. “Where did you get this anyways?” I tuck it under the coffee table.

“I didn’t mark my place.”

“I’m sure you’ll remember where you were.”

Fat flops onto her side. “I find it peculiar that you want to talk. What happened today?”

I repeat my opening sentence, “I saw a bird.”

“Well you did just come from outside. I’m certain bird sightings are a common occurrence. Frankly, I’m surprised you haven’t noticed any until today.” Fat starts grooming herself, her grey paw swipes across her face.

“Funny. I was inside when I saw it.”

Fat whips her head toward the balcony window and stares at the tree out front with three birds in the branches. “You don’t say.” She turns back at me with her mouth curled into a bemused smile, “I don’t understand how that’s possible. Strange world out there today.”

A reply does not come from my mouth. Instead, my hands turn to fists and my jaw tightens. A few deep inhalations and exhalations later, I’m ready to try again.

“I was at a coffee shop. While waiting, I saw a small sparrow glide near the ground. It landed and did that strange bird skipping thing,” I try to illustrate the movement with my fingers, “across the floor tile and behind some man in a suit. When he walked away a moment later, there was no sparrow anywhere. I don’t think it was real.”

Fat, distracted by my twitching fingers, doesn’t register that I’m waiting for her input. The time delay catches up to her and she literally shakes her head to come back to the present.

“Ambien.”

“Huh?”

“This sleeplessness is catching up with you. Take the night off from your bachelors, house hunting and whatever else you do and get some rest. You’re acting like a damn fool.”

Because this diagnosis trumps a straight-jacket alternative, any rage that should have risen remains tranquil. I know, it’s weird, but Fat might be right.

I fire off a quick text as Fat squishes half her body under the coffee table to retrieve her book.

“Why are you reading that anyways?”

She looks at her chest. “I was originally trying to figure out which shade of grey I am. Not that kind of book apparently.” Fat flips through the pages, “Ah, here we are.” She resumes reading, then pauses. She looks up, “We’re done with your petty problems for today, right?”

Not My Boyfriend

When I get home from work, Fat is sitting in the middle of the hallway. Her tail curls around her rubenesque body; her saddlebags almost cover her feet. I toss my purse on the ground near her and she doesn’t flinch.

“What’s up, Fat?” I speed into the bedroom and wrestle out of my work clothes. I’m flipping through the closet when she finally saunters in after me.

Her green eyes chase me around the room: from the closet to the dresser to my jewellery box. I’m pulling on a necklace when she finally says something.

“Those pants make your ass look huge.” I look at the dresser mirror to see her, now on the bed, making a bitch face at my reflection.

“You want to see a huge ass, take a gander at the cat in the mirror.” If I was in swiping distance, the claws would have made me bleed for that one. “Oh Christ, I know why you’re acting a fool.” I turn around and pick her up. I literally carry her to her food bowl, and she waits while I fill it. “Better?”

She’s in there headfirst like she’s entered a contest at the county fair. I lean on the counter and watch as bits of cat food fly across the kitchen floor. Forever a lady, this one. A few gluttonous gobbles in, she looks up. “Which one are you seeing tonight?”

“Who says I’m seeing anybody tonight?”

She stops chomping her food long enough to throw me the perfect don’t-take-me-for-a-fool facial expression. Her cheeks protrude with kibble and with a full mouth says, “Let’s just assign them numbers.”

I half-smile, then realize this might not be a bad idea.

“I’m going out with bachelor number two tonight.”

She swallows. “The one that thinks he’s your boyfriend.”

I open a box of Cheerios and shovel a handful into my word hole. Mouth full, I reply, “He’s not my boyfriend.” Clearly, we’re both ladies in this house. “What happened to just casually dating? I just want to have fun, Fat.” It comes out a little more whiny than I intend.

The door buzzer sounds.

“He’s here.” I scarf another mouthful of Cheerios and replace the box on top of the fridge. “I gotta go.”

“Hey, boss.” I’m searching for my keys and look up when I hear her.

“Yeah?”

“You’re getting better at this. Ready to head back to the office for another session?”

Let the Hunt Begin

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Fat demands when I click on another thumbnail and the picture takes up the laptop screen.

She struts across the desk and glares at me until I answer. “Looking at hous–”

“–Don’t answer me like an idiot,” she interrupts. My gaze moves from the computer screen to instead become the victim of her wide, unblinking eyes. “I can see perfectly well what you’re looking at.” She shoots a dirty look to the picture of some living room.

“You’re in a terrific mood today, doc.” I collapse the photo and pull up one of a slightly small bathroom.

Fat shows her fangs. “Your facetious attitude is sometimes too much to take. Want to tell me why you’re planning on uprooting us?”

“Calm down. We’re not going far. We’re staying in the same city.” I click on another link to a different house. “Check out the space in this one.” It’s a little older, but flipping through the copious amount of pictures, it looks massive.

Fat doesn’t regard the photos; her tail flicks back and forth as she watches the cursor move across the screen. When I click on another listing, she dives, paws-first, onto my computer.

“Are you kidding me?” I pick her up and set her on my lap.

“Killer instinct. Can’t fight it.” Her nails dig into my thigh when I move the mouse again. “When are you starting to look at places?”

“We saw a place yesterday.” I click on another link. A picture of what can only be described as a shanty comes up. That window can’t close fast enough.

“What was the best part about it?” Fat curls up on my lap.

“The firemen that live there right now.”

Fat’s comfort doesn’t last long. She shoots back up to sitting and gives me that freaky wide-eyed look again.

“No. No more bachelors. You have more than your share. I’m putting my paw down. Intervention.”

I tug on her tail. “I’m not a complete fool. Look at me. The only person that would appreciate my pallor and edgy sleeplessness right now is Tim Burton. More bachelors would just make it worse.” I click again, “What do you think of this one?”

“So the place yesterday…?”

“Not for us.” I think about the pink teddy bear lynched in the stairwell. Bad, bad house. I shake my head.

“Us?”

“Yeah. Moving in with my best friends.”

Her ears fold back. “The ones with the baby. That other guy too?”

“Yep. Us, a married couple with a kid and a single guy. It’s going to be awesome.”

Fat pauses and her eyes dart around as they chase a thought. She softly mutters, “I’m going to have to start charging for sessions.”

The Hummina-hummina-hummina Reaction

It was a beautiful morning to avoid Fat’s incessant need to offer an opinion. After I kick the door shut and toss my keys on the bed, I grab some water from the kitchen. When I get to the couch I flip my sunglasses onto the table and stare out the window. I was just outside, but I already miss it. The sun never shines like this here. I should go for a walk or something.

Fat jumps up beside me and I absent-mindedly start petting her. That is, until I’m stroking her behind the ears and she pushes against my hand and whispers, “Oh yeah. That’s the spot.” Sweet moment of silence ruined. She makes me feel both sexually abused and like I want to introduce my breakfast to the carpet. My hand stops mid-pet; I swallow the bile in my throat and move to the other side of the couch.

“How was your date with bachelor number one?” Fat rolls onto her side and her gut spills out in front of her like any number of obese cartoon men.

I don’t even acknowledge her tone. “Bachelor number one is great. He’s quite stellar. Makes me laugh. Good looking. Tells great stories. Knows where to find a good eggs florentine.”

“So it was a date.”

“Fat, it’s been two-and-a-half months. I’m allowed to be back out there.” I sip my water and try to hide the smile that’s threatening to overtake my mouth.

“And you’re a polygamist now?”

Offense takes up residence in my reply, “No. Just dating around.”

“I don’t think bachelor number two thinks this is just dating around. Bachelor number two seems to take the situation rather seriously.”

I give her what can only be described as a John Wayne stare and seconds go by before I figure out how she knows so much. “You’ve been reading my texts again.”

“Wouldn’t have to if you kept the television on when you left the house.” She playfully paws the remote beside her.

Now I’m ruffled for two reasons. One, invasion of privacy, and two, lack of consideration for conserving energy.

“You’re a cat, all you do is eat, sleep and be a bitch. You require television for none of those things.” I slap the remote away from her and we watch it land in the middle of the living room floor.

“You know I love those housewives,” Fat scowls then stands up and does that crazy arching of the back that felines are known for. “I’m just suggesting that maybe you should tell him that you’re not his girlfriend.”

“That’s not something that needs to be said. He knows I’m not his girlfriend.”

“Does he?” A Cheshire cat smile shows off her teeth and her head shakes when she lets out a low chuckle. “For a smart girl you sure are stupid.”

Before I lunge over and wring her neck until her know-it-all head pops off, iPhone interrupts. Photo message. Interesting.

I open up the message and Fat saunters across the couch to peer at the screen. We both gawk at the photo of the shirtless blond fella. Two words: One, wow. And two, hummina-hummina-hummina. Even Fat caved to the hummina-hummina-hummina reaction.

“Well that’s unsolicited and appreciated.”

“Who’s that?” Fat peels her eyes from iPhone’s screen to ask.

“That, Fat, is bachelor number three.”

Office Hours: Session One

I think I’m having a heart attack. My chest feels heavy; there’s immense pressure weighing on my ribs. This is not a good start to the day. My eyelids pull open like curtains and I stare at the ceiling and wonder how to proceed. Not being a doctor and not knowing anything about what to do in the situation where your heart feels like it will explode I check to see if I still have a pulse. It seemed like a legitimate place to start at the time.

“Waking up in a panic. Not good. Offers valuable insight into your guilty subconscious.”

I follow the sound of that wretched cow’s voice, and she’s curled up comfortably on my chest. I watch her rise and fall with my breath. Reaching out, I press my palm against her face until she’s forced off of me.

“Fat, what the–” I catch a glimpse of my friend, still sleeping, in my periphery and lower my voice to a whisper, “hell are you doing?”

I kick my feet over the side of the bed and point to the hallway. She leads the way, making sure to rub her face and body along the length of the door frame. Cats are weird.

“We have a session this morning. This was the only time I could fit you in.” She continues to saunter down the hall to the living room where she jumps on the coffee table.

“I imagine you have quite the full schedule. I see your patients traipse in and out of my apartment all the time.” She stares at me, questioningly. “Sarcasm, dumb ass.” I sit on the couch and put my feet on the table where she sits, making her move over a few inches.

“Calls me a dumb ass when she thought she was dying only a minute ago. Interesting.”

“I didn’t think I was dying. I thought my heart was going to explode.”

She scoffs.

“That’s professional.” I see the wine glasses from last night still on the table. I see no reason not to drink the Shiraz that’s left in one of the glasses. When I move to reach for it, Fat furiously scratches my hand. I recoil, cross my arms and lean back.

“Let’s get started.” Fat’s personality does a bipolar flip and her tone and facial expression become ridiculously nice.

“You are some kind of mutant.” She pretends not to hear me.

“Should we start with the person that’s sleeping on my half of the bed? Keep in mind that I live here, so lying, though entertaining, is a waste of both our time.”

I sigh. My eyes drift back to the unfinished glass of wine.

“You know he’s just a friend of mine, Fat.”

She interrupts, “While we are having a formal session, please address me as Doctor Fat. Continue,” she prompts while I roll my eyes.

Ugh. “There’s really nothing to tell. We went for dinner, walked around for a bit, and came back here to have some wine and hang out.”

“You had a date.” She labels it definitively.

I pause before I answer.

“No. We didn’t.” Fat throws a look over her shoulder in the direction of the bedroom, then faces me with judgemental laughter in her eyes. I pull at the collar of my t-shirt and fan my fingers in front of my jeans to provide evidence contrary to the accusation roaming around inside of her undersized head.

“This was a bad idea.” I stand up and walk-out before we even scratch the surface.

She shouts after me, “I’m here when you’re ready to talk. I’m especially ready to listen when you tell me how you think you’ll manage juggling this new bachelor with the other one you’ve been seeing.”

Damn. I can’t see a fake shrink if the situation doesn’t let me get away with lying to her. I might have to start telling the truth as payment to preserve my sanity.