It is the date and time for Marlin's session with Dr. McNeil and her mother has happily come along. She and Marlin arrived a little early and were shown to the counseling room where Dr. McNeil speaks with her clients.
Bonnie: This is a very nice office. I like the colors and quotes on the walls. What a career this Dr. McNeil must have.
Marlin: She's good at her job. I think she's really helping me.
Bonnie: I'm glad, Honey. I really hope it continues to help you to see her. I'm glad you found someone to help you figure out how to find a husband.
Marlin: But that's not exactly what she's helping me to do.
Bonnie (puzzled): But you said she...
The conversation is interrupted by Dr. McNeil entering the room.
Bonnie: Well, aren't you just gorgeous. Yes, I'm Mrs. Reynolds, but you can call me Bonnie. You're helping my daughter find a husband. Let's not be so formal.
Dr. McNeil: Thank you so much for the compliment, Bonnie. I'm glad you mentioned that, about Marlin finding a husband. That will help us to jump right into why you've been invited here.
Marlin: Hi, Dr. McNeil. I was about to explain to my mother. I'm glad you're here to help.
Dr. McNeil: I'll have a seat and we'll talk.
Dr. McNeil: People can get emotional when we talk about why they believe things, so let's all respect we each have a different perspective and point of view. Please try to refrain from accusing, name calling and demeaning someone else's point of view. Allow the person who is speaking to finish her thought. And above all else, please listen without rushing to form a response first. Can we all agree to that?
Bonnie and Marlin: Yes.
Dr. McNeil: Good. Then we should have a productive session.
Bonnie (interrupting): Our relationship?
Dr. McNeil: Yes. Please remember the ground rules and let me finish.
Bonnie: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Dr. McNeil: Thank you. For years, Marlin has felt immense and intense pressure from you to get married and have children. Because she is only focused on that one thing, she can go too far and get so desperate, she is crushed when her attempts at beginning relationships fail. Can you please articulate why you believe she must get married so that we can all understand?
Dr. McNeil: Did your parents tell you it was important?
Bonnie (pausing before responding): No. My mother was never married and I don't know my father. My mother went from man to man. We barely (pausing again)...we barely knew where a meal was coming from because she didn't have a husband.
Dr. McNeil: You believe it was because she didn't have a husband or a job.
Bonnie: I knew plenty of girls when I was growing up who had mothers who didn't work, but their mothers were married.
Dr. McNeil: Is that why you got married?
Bonnie: Yes, of course. I found a good man and I married him.
Bonnie: He has always paid the bills. You've always eaten and had decent clothes. You grew up in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. You should be grateful I found a man to do that.
Marlin: But where is the good father part? Yes, we weren't poor and living in a hovel, but he's never been a real father to me. I'm lucky if he even acknowledges me. Why does he treat me like that?
Bonnie: We all make sacrifices to be comfortable. I love you. I love you enough to make up for what I knew he couldn't give.
Marlin: What do you mean by that? You knew he wouldn't want me or love me?
Marlin: Did you know he didn't want me?
Bonnie (sighing): Yes. He never wanted children, but I just knew I could change that. I thought he'd take one look at you when you were born and change his mind. But it wasn't so bad. It's not like he divorced me. See? He's a good man because he took care of his responsibilities even when he had one he didn't necessarily want.
Marlin (tearing up): Wow! I always thought he didn't want me, but to hear you actually say it...I don't understand why I'm even surprised. I guess that explains why I'm an only child. Just one was honestly too much.
Marlin: Yes. I don't even know why I'm upset. I guess it's just the reality of what I've known all along being confirmed.
Bonnie: I know it sounds bad, but it really isn't.
Dr. McNeil: Does Marlin's father feel like you were dishonest with him in your intentions? Would he have preferred she not been conceived?
Bonnie (nodding): Yes. He was pretty angry when I told him I was pregnant. But I still thought he'd see her and change his mind. He was there when she was born, but he never really connected with her. I didn't care. I mean, she was here already and I had my baby to love. So everything could only get better. Besides, when you're married, you do that. You make sacrifices to keep your marriage in tact. I took care of Marlin, Mark took care of us. It's simple.
Bonnie: They way you explain it seems so...well so horrible. Listen, Marlin, I did what I did because I felt it was necessary. You don't understand, but I did set a good example for you by getting married. That's what I thought we were here for, to help you get a man, not a beat up on me session.
Marlin and Bonnie just look at each other in silence for a few seconds.
Marlin (tearing up again): Yes, Mom. You keep pushing me and making me feel like a failure for not being married yet when you are in a marriage out of desperation. You've put your desperation on me and I keep showing it. That's why I can't find a man. I'm too busy looking for one.
Bonnie: I didn't mean to make you feel like a failure. I thought I was helping you. You know, pushing you to do the right thing. I just think a woman should be married. You have to understand that I was doing the right thing.
Bonnie: It wasn't that bad, Honey.
Marlin: I'll say.
Marlin: Yes, I'm okay with it. I need to deal with all of this. I also really think you may need help too.
Bonnie: Me. What?
Bonnie (hesitating): Okay. Okay. We can do that, for your sake, Honey.
They finish up the current appointment and schedule the next one. Marlin is happy her mother agreed to come again. She feels she'll continue to do better, although she's not so sure her mother will be open to getting some help herself.
Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye