Now I hear him at the front door, scraping his boots on the boot-scraper.
“So how did it go?” I ask.
“Fantastic!” He hauls off his boots, pulls off his backpack, plunks himself down on the recliner, and up go his feet. “Look what I have received!”
From his backpack he pulls out magic markers of assorted bright hues. He holds them up, a cheerful rainbow of colors. “These are the twelve tools of recovery!”
“They are very nice. Will you go back now once a week, twice a week, what?”
“I don’t have to go back at all!” he says proudly. “I have only to use the twelve tools with perfect faithfulness, and I am victorious!”
“My goodness!” I marvel.
“And it is a good thing, because she costs five hundred dollars a session.”
“You found a lady analyst?” I ask. (I have sometimes harbored ambitions toward that profession myself, because I have noticed that ladies are good at these things.)
“Not just a lady!” he marvels. “She went even to Barnard! Now should we make our supper?”
I have a surprise for him. “Tonight I cooked the whole thing myself, in case you would be tired from being analyzed. It is a roasted chicken.”
“You got also some livers?”
I remember the night it was decided he should see an analyst.
Harold and Rose were here for our weekly bridge. My little husband and Harold had one of their altercations. Usually these end without violence, but this time my little husband overstepped the bounds and threw some strawberry meringue right in Harold’s face. He even refused to apologize.
“You need to see somebody,” Harold says. He wipes the pink fluff off his chin and licks it off his fingers. “You are a sick man, and a crazy one.”
Rose says: “An analyst. That is what he needs. The kind with a lot of degrees.”
They leave in a huff. We don’t even finish the bridge game.
My little husband and I sit quietly for a while.
He says softly, “Do you think they’re right? Am I a crazy person?”
“Well,” I say. “Maybe a little bit. But there is many kinds and also degrees of crazy, and I read a book that said….”
He interrupts. “Yes or no.”
“Well, since you put it that way…….”
Anyway, it is nice to have him home now, eating the roasted chicken and the livers.
I say “After the meal, shall we play some Parcheesi?”
“I gotta go out and do the twelve tools,” he says.
“All at once?”
“Why wait? First I got to write my name,” he says.
I give him a piece of paper, but he shakes his head. “On the tablecloth,” he says.
He writes only his first name, in green. “I will use each time only my first name. Because, when it gets to the truck part, you have to consider the police.”
He inspects the name he has written on the tablecloth. “You see how small I wrote it? The analyst, she pointed this out to me. It looks all squooshy-up together. Like it couldn’t breathe good. “
“I think I remember that is the way you have always written it.”
“That is the whole point!” he fumes. “Never altering! Never growing to be something new and wonderful! Staying all tight and squooshed all these years! And yet– I believe her statement: ‘Change is hard, but a man can change.’”
“What next?” I ask.
“Step One: I have just done it! Step Two is: I go outside and I write my name on a window in the back of the house. Then a window in front. I try to make the name a little bigger; more open. I cross the “T” with a kind of devil-may-care. Make the loop of the “G” more round. And how I write it, I become it!”
“Next,” he says, “I write my name on the neighbor’s window. Our car. Their car. Bigger every time! More devilish the T! More loose the loops!”
His gestures get bigger. His voice gets louder. He gets more and more excited.
“And finally I’m walking down the street, and I see a truck! A big, clean truck! And I write my name on the side of it! My big, big name!”
I see that he is already victorious. “And I am become a big, big person! So big he can always be nice! I am going now.”
“I will go with you,” I volunteer. “Then if the police come, I can tell them there is something wrong with your brain and you have seen an analyst.”
“Come on, then!” he cries joyfully.
It is a wonderful evening of name-writing, and at the end of it, on a beautiful dark street with such lovely majestic trees, we find a truck, and he writes his name on the side of it, with the bright red marker. He writes his name in great big letters, each one a foot high.
A police car comes around the corner.
It has lights and loud sirens.
(My next shlog is entitled: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain on the Bus)