David stepped into the doctor's office. He felt guilty, although he knew he shouldn't. A lot of people saw psychologists. A lot of his colleagues saw psychologists. A lot of his colleagues took antidepressants.
Nothing wrong with needing a little help.
Although his mother thought it was wrong. And when your mother thinks something is wrong, it's hard not to question it, especially when your ex-girlfriend agrees.
"Have a seat," Dr Wallace said. She seemed so calm, so relaxed. Unfazed by who he was.
David sat, apparently in a stiff way because Dr. Wallace chuckled a bit and urged him to relax.
He leaned back on the couch.
"Would you like a drink?" she asked.
"No," David said. "Thanks." His voice trembled; the same voice that had spoken in front of millions without a hitch.
"Let me start by reminding you that anything you say in here will stay in here. Kind of like Las Vegas." She laughed at her own joke. He tried to smile. "I cannot and will not tell anyone."
David didn't say anything.
"Okay?" She prodded.
"Oh. Okay." he said.
Then they were both quiet. David waited for her to talk. She didn't. So, he did. "Well?"
"Do you want to tell me why you're here?" she asked.
"Well, this will probably sound stupid."
"I doubt it," she said.
She smiled. "Why don't you just tell me what it is and then we'll decide together if it's stupid or weird."
"Well--" He spoke just to break the silence.
"Whenever you're ready."
"I have weird dreams."
She didn’t laugh.
"And I know everyone dreams. And I know many people have weird dreams."
"But you think your dreams are even weirder?" Bingo. This doctor was pretty smart.
"Well, yeah," David said. "The dreams seem very real."
"Are they very vivid?"
Yeah. And the characters in the dream keep insisting they are
“Fascinating.” No trace of sarcasm. David realized she was very beautiful when she smiled. He hadn't noticed before. He had been too nervous. Not that he was any less nervous now, but well now he noticed.
"Sounds kind of fun," the doctor said. "Sounds like the dreams of an extremely creative person."
He found himself blushing at the compliment.
"Not a weird or stupid person," she added.
"Definitely not crazy. You seem perfectly sane to me."
"I guess that's good," he said.
She laughed. "Yes."
"So, why am I having these dreams? I mean what do you think?"
"Only you can know for sure what your dreams mean, David. "I can just guess."
"Well, what do you guess?"
She thought for a moment. "Remember, just guessing?" He nodded. "Maybe it has something to do with you being an actor. Playing different parts. Taking on the persona of a character, making them real, making millions of people feel that character is real, and then having to let go of the character and move on. Maybe the characters in your dreams somehow represent the different part of yourself you've let grow while playing different characters. And maybe a part of you is angry about losing those parts of yourself."
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. David was impressed.
They talked a bit more after that because David's time was not up. It was mostly just small talk. The doctor asked if he wanted to make another appointment and he said he'd think about it.
On his walk back to his apartment, David thought about the doctor's explanation. It made perfect sense. And he was very relieved that she didn't think he was crazy. She didn't even think he was foolish. She actually made him sound quite intelligent and creative.
But to his surprise, David found himself disappointed. He thought about it and realized what he truly wanted was for the doctor to act completely shocked, and then to suggest that maybe his dreams were real. He wanted a suggestion that maybe this went behind normal science, and that he was visiting real people in his dreams. He wanted it to be something mystical and magical.