Here it is! A little early. Thanks to Darren, my editor. Hope you enjoy it! R.
Doctor's Notes: This is the first face to face meeting I've had with BK since he went to Pittsburgh to visit his partner, JT. He looks a little tired, but was on time, as usual, well dressed, as usual, and drinking his usual Starbuck's cha. (I have become addicted to this tea since he put me onto it, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I do seem to be drinking less coffee.)
Excerpt from Transcript:
Doctor: How did it go? The marrow extraction.
BK: (Winced.) Frankly, I feel a bit misled.
Doctor: In what way?
BK: We were told, by Jeff and others, that it's not a big deal. But his ass looks like he got grabbed by a giant octopus with super suction tentacles and no plan to let go! Every puncture site is purple and raised and sore. He's being brave about it, but I know he's in considerable pain.
Doctor: Temporary, Brian. He'll feel better soon. And what a wonderful gift he's given his sister.
BK: I know, I know. I just don't like seeing him in pain.
Doctor: Of course not. I know I prompted this face to face meeting. Thank you for coming here. Are you going right back?
BK: (Tensely.) No. I have some business to take care of.
BK: I was there through the procedure, and stayed until they released him. He's staying with Debbie for a couple days. She'll spoil him rotten. Molly is in isolation because of the conditioning she's going through. I can't go in there to see her right now. So my presence there is temporarily redundant.
Doctor: You seem agitated. What's wrong?
BK: I had a little problem in Pittsburgh.
Doctor: What kind of problem?
BK: A melt down kind of problem.
BK: I misunderstood something I saw. I made an idiot out of myself.
Doctor: Keep going.
BK: I saw Justin having lunch with his ex. They appeared very chummy. I lost it.
Doctor: In the restaurant?
BK: No, I walked out. I just wandered, not sure how or where. I walked into an alley and threw up. I couldn't breathe. My heart was racing. I had to sit down on the curb.
Doctor: Panic attack. Serious one. Did you try the biofeedback?
BK: I was just trying to keep from passing out. I've never felt anything like that and don't want to again. It was debilitating. I couldn't think, I couldn't move.
Doctor: What happened?
BK: Justin found me, and I just pulled away from him and backed my ass into the traffic to avoid him. I could have been killed. What an idiot!
Doctor: I've told you before, Brian. When you have a panic attack, stop. Don't try to drive or work or do anything but sit still until it passes. Practice your biofeedback. It will pass, but until it does, you can get in a lot of trouble. Panic means just that. Panic.
BK: It was terrible. I can't bear being out of control.
Doctor: I know. What happened ultimately?
BK: My friend Emmett found me, took me away in a cab. I got out of that cab and started walking. I wanted to walk it out. I eventually wandered back to my car.
Doctor: Were you in control?
BK: No. I wasn't in a panic mode, but I was definitely not in control. I tried every trick I know to feel better.
Doctor: Such as?
BK: Drugs, alcohol, sex, nothing worked.
Doctor: That was not the brightest thing to do.
Doctor: What happened next?
BK: I went to see the boyfriend.
Doctor: Do you mean Ethan?
Doctor: Did you ever think to go to a phone and call me instead?
BK: Yes, but I knew you would nag my ass and I was not in an ass nagging mood.
Doctor: What were you in? An ass kicking mood?
BK: Yes, as a matter of fact, I was.
Doctor: Not good.
BK: Anyway, I confronted him.
Doctor: Was Justin there?
Doctor: Did it get physical?
BK: In a girly, bitchy, fag sort of way. He tried to crown me with a candlestick so I took him down and told him the way the aardvark eats the artichoke.
Doctor: Forgive me for laughing, but that's a colorful phrase. What does it mean?
BK: (Smiled.) Thanks, I write phrases for a living. Update on how the cow eats the cabbage...it means how it's going to be done. Anyway, I never hit him, never hurt him. Just told him to stay the fuck away >from Justin. That's when he told me he doesn't want Justin, he just doesn't want me to have him. He told me he wanted me to see him with Justin. Then Justin informed me that Ethan told Justin that he, Ethan, and Jeff worked this out together.
Doctor: Jeffrey Walker? How does he know Jeff?
BK: I'm not clear on that concept and I'm also not sure I believe Ethan, the little skank.
Doctor: But how would he know to even mention Jeff?
BK: I don't know. Maybe Justin let something slip. Not sure. But I intend to find out.
Doctor: Why would Jeff do that, Brian?
BK: If you believe what the skank says, it's to ensure a break up so he can have me.
Doctor: How do you react to that?
BK: I'm insulted on two fronts. First, that I can be manipulated, and second, that if Justin was not part of my life, I'm a lock for him or anyone else. I do have free will, you know.
Doctor: I think both of those reactions sound valid. What do you intend to do?
BK: Talk to him.
Doctor: Good. Direct route is always best.
BK: (Looked away from me, towards windows, crossing, then uncrossing his legs in a nervous gesture.) I guess.
BK: (Met my gaze.) Jennifer really depends on him now and Molly is at a critical point. I won't let something as lame as my sex life interfere with her recovery.
Doctor: How would it interfere?
BK: If Jeff and I had a major falling out, what if he decided to fuck his participation in Molly's recovery?
Doctor: Then I would be very disappointed in his view of the Hippocratic oath.
BK: I can't risk it.
Doctor: So where does that leave you?
BK: Maybe I should just let it cruise for awhile. Confront him when she's on the upswing.
Doctor: Brian, don't use Molly's illness as your excuse for not wanting to know about Jeffrey. She won't get well tomorrow. This is a long arc of recovery. Months. You can't put your life on hold for that long. If you don't want to know the truth about Jeff, ask yourself why?
BK: (Frowned.) Why do you think?
Doctor: Doesn't matter what I think. What do you think?
BK: I think I don't want to lose Jeffrey, and if he's as big a horse's ass as Ethan describes, then I've been wrong about him all along. I always believed we would at least be friends, even if the romance thing wasn't going to happen.
Doctor: What's your alternative? Terminal denial?
BK: I get your point.
Doctor: Brian, did you resolve whether Justin was rekindling a relationship with Ethan?
BK: He wasn't. He was na´ve, but not duplicitous. I truly believe he loves me.
Doctor: Time out.
Doctor: Don't you dare lose that pronouncement in the midst of a conversation. Let me play it back.
(Played tape: Doctor's voice:...did you resolve whether Justin was rekindling a relationship with Ethan? Brian's voice: He wasn't. He was na´ve but not duplicitous. I truly believe he loves me... End playback.)
Doctor: You believe he loves you. Go back thirteen sessions. How did you feel then, even after he left Ethan for you?
BK: Yeah, I get it. I still doubted his commitment.
Doctor: Big time. You don't now?
BK: (Long silent pause. Looked out windows, leaned back, crossing hands across his stomach.) I don't. And quit smiling at me.
Doctor: You are so transparent. You can take a minute to enjoy this, you know.
BK: (Smiled.) What should I do? The Snoopy dance of joy?
Doctor: If you'd like.
BK: (Laughed.) It's still not where it needs to be, so don't get so smug. The only thing that's changed is that I don't have an overwhelming fear of his leaving me for someone else any time soon.
Doctor: And that fear blocked your ability to commit. What lies ahead is dealing with your own demons, Brian. You still have plenty.
BK: He has to remember the dance, Lydia. He has to remember what flowed between us. He has to see that I gave him my heart that night, and he slipped it back to me unused. If not, there will always be a missing beat.
Doctor: I see, but in the mean time, we can work on what issues you have, not what issues you attribute to his inability to remember.
BK: Short lived victory.
Doctor: Big victory, but the war's not over.
BK: I know.
Doctor: What will you say to Jeffrey? Let's discuss.
BK: I'm meeting Friedrich first.
Doctor: The ex lover?
Doctor: I was hoping you had given up on that idea.
BK: I'm meeting him tonight, for drinks.
Doctor: On what pretext?
BK: I pulled my ad agency out of the bag. We are using him in a campaign, so that helps.
Doctor: That seems a little dishonest.
BK: (Wicked smile.) Hey, I'm in advertising. It's what I do.
Doctor: Very droll, Brian. I still advise against this meeting.
Doctor: You are a very stubborn man.
BK: So I've been told.
Doctor: Don't say that so proudly. An ass is stubborn too, but it doesn't go around bragging about that fact.
BK: (Laughed.) You calling me an ass?
Doctor: If the long ears and tail fit....
BK: Got to be an ethical complaint there somewhere.
Doctor: Take your best shot. Brian, I'm just trying to help you see that sometimes the most direct route is still the best. You don't have to do ten hours of research to figure out you need to change a light bulb.
BK: Ok, Lydia. I see your point.
Doctor: Well, that means you'll do it your way, of course. That seems to be your pattern. You have to experience everything, learning from someone else's knowledge or experience is a cheap substitute for you.
BK: Yes, that's true.
Doctor: Did you see your mother?
BK: Yes, I told you. Remember? She called me down with Craig Taylor.
Doctor: I meant on a more peaceful basis.
BK: No, ran out of time. I will, however. Next time.
Doctor: Are you avoiding her?
BK: My life has been so out of control. I really don't want to deal with my mother when I'm out of control. What's up with that, anyway? I take off on Craig Taylor, I push Ethan around, I put the moves on my best friend's boyfriend...
Doctor: Hold on. What was that last part?
BK: (Sighed.) Oh yeah. The night of the long knives, when I had the melt down. Ben, Mikey's boyfriend, came looking for me at the hospital. He's been a good friend to me on this trip, and we have a history.
Doctor: What kind of history?
BK: We met each other a couple years ago in Miami and spent the weekend together.
Doctor: I see. And Michael knew this?
BK: Not at first.
Doctor: When did you tell him?
BK: I never did. Ben told him. After they were together for awhile.
Doctor: Why did you never tell him, Brian?
BK: Gay etiquette. You don't discuss your tricks, especially with the trick's current boyfriend.
Doctor: Is that all it was with Ben? A trick?
BK: ( Long pause.) I don't know.
Doctor: What are you thinking?
BK: At the time, it was really hot sex. Ben is beautiful and sexy. I planned to spend that weekend on a forty-eight hour cock hunt, but I ended up with a trick I met at the airport. Ben. We seldom left the room.
Doctor: And then?
BK: He lived in Philly at the time. We talked about getting together but we never did. I found out later, Ben was diagnosed as being HIV positive shortly after our fling.
Doctor: Did that worry you?
BK: No, we were safe. And by then, I had already tested negative several times.
Doctor: Did he try to contact you?
BK: No. When he moved to Pittsburgh, he said he looked me up but I was already with Justin, and he felt there was no room for him in that scene. He said he could never build his happiness on Justin's unhappiness.
Doctor: That's a very loving view.
BK: Ben is very Zen.
Doctor: I see. So when did this "moving" on him take place?
BK: In my car that night. It was stupid and thoughtless, on my part.
Doctor: Ben resisted?
BK: Yes. Thank God.
Doctor: Why do you say that?
BK: Wrong thing for me, for Mikey, for Justin, for Ben. Just wrong.
Doctor: How do you feel about it in retrospect?
Doctor: Towards whom?
BK: Justin, Mikey, Ben.
Doctor: You realize how that would be a terrible risk to your long term friendship with Michael?
BK: Yes, I know.
Doctor: Worth it?
BK: No, it's not worth it. But see, this caring about guilt is new to me. Just like trying to beat people up, and throwing up in the street and being unable to trick are also new to me.
Doctor: When were you unable to trick?
BK: Same night. After Ben. I went out with the singular idea of getting laid.
BK: I pulled tricks, no problem. I got hard, no effort. But I couldn't get off.
Doctor: By that you mean you couldn't reach orgasm?
BK: Right. I had the arrow but not the bow. Nothing to launch it.
Doctor: Has this happened to you before?
BK: (Shrugged.) Sometimes. (Played with French cuffs on his shirt, needlessly straightening them, obviously uncomfortable.) Usually, it's if I've been boning someone all night, and my dick gets hard again, as if it wants one more go, but when I agitate it, nothing pops. I just can't quite get over. Sometimes too much disco drugging can give you an eternal boner, and I took Viagra once and ended up shagging Justin for hours to get rid of the starch. But this was different.
Doctor: How so?
BK: All that was physical stuff. This was in my head. It was as if my brain was willing my body not to fully enjoy the sensation. Not to reach a climax.
Doctor: Why do you think your brain would do that, Brian?
BK: I don't know. Is it part of that anxiety attack?
Doctor: If so, it's new symptoms to me. What else could it be?
BK: Are you trying to get me to say it was guilt?
Doctor: I'm not trying to get you to say anything, Brian. You tell me.
BK: I really don't know. It's all part of this emotional roller coaster you have me riding. Up and down and all around. Nothing is predictable, nothing is sure. I hate unraveling my emotions. It sucks!
Doctor: You have to understand what it is to feel before you can learn moderation, Brian. You've encased your feelings in ice for so long, the thaw is inevitably painful as the nerve endings come alive. But the pain is transitory and the return of feeling is divine.
BK: I'll be the judge of that, Lydia. Right now it feels more hellacious than divine.
Doctor: Which is a good sign that it's working. You're doing well, Brian. Let it happen. Don't stop now.
BK: Interesting to see if I have one friend still standing when this ends.
End of Transcript.
Doctor's Notes: BK has just endured a traumatic visit in Pittsburgh. His internal defenses are coming down too fast and too furiously for his psyche to handle the onslaught. Thus, he has had at least one significant panic attack. His fall back medications for emotional pain are not performing. Even anonymous sex has become routine and unfulfilling. He sought to bury that pain in the kindness of a former lover, who is now living with BK's best friend, Michael. The friend declined, which was a break, because I fear that BK could not handle the misery of infidelity with his best friend's lover.
He has also found out some unpleasant truths about Jeffrey, the man he viewed as his one safe harbor. He will be investigating the likelihood of those doubts, but I disagreed with his method of seeking information from Jeffrey's former lover. BK is not currently emotionally equipped to sift through this man's point of view and apply the appropriate filters to the words of a rejected lover. BK is either at or very near to the crisis point in his relationship with Justin as well as his relationship with Jeffrey. At this point, I'm not sure even Brian could say in which direction he was leaning. Perhaps by the next session, some clarity will have entered his life.
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July 25, 2004