The Drake’s exist in a post-modern San Francisco. They are undergoing family therapy, but this is not going well at all. Darryl seems antagonistic, even cruel. Behind the closed doors of their sessions a very secret view of their life becomes apparent. It seems that Dina Drake is the victim of infidelity, or is she?
To the outside world, they are a perfect couple. It seems they have it all – success, money and true love. But the real Darryl is a workaholic, and Dina is a binge eater. Their careers take different paths, and they often wake up separated from each other by time and travel.
The story cascades back and forth, between past and present, between young Darryl and Dina interspersed with mature Darryl and Dina, and we get to know them as they struggle to find their feet in their relationship after being married for such a long time.
To cope with the loneliness created by their pressured lives, they each start filling in the blanks, imagining infidelity and secret freedoms. These flights of fancy become the more real the longer these two live past one another.
We have to figure out their different truths in the same way friends of the family will have to. By getting to know them and deciphering the truth. The real truth about Darryl and Dina is only revealed at the end, when they finally break down the barriers to get in touch with each other again.
Chapter One: Therapy
“When we met the third time, he was a finance student, and I was doing drama at Berkeley. We lived on fourth street, and he was living near Tilden Park and I went there with my nephews every weekend.”
“I didn’t like her at all” Drake said softly.
“What? I’m sorry?”
Doctor Benson turned her head in a gesture that signaled that she didn’t hear Drake.
“Don’t be sorry. It’s not your fault Doctor.”
“Drake! He gets like that. That is what I am speaking about. Did you see that Doctor. He pretends to misunderstand people just to satisfy his antisocial view of life.”
Doctor Benson was in her late forties, a tall woman with long legs dressed in brown silk stockings that she crossed and uncrossed just a bit too often as far as Drake was concerned.
“How do you feel Drake?” she asked in her typical overemphatic voice.
“With my hands I suppose.”
“Off he goes again” Dina Drake exploded. “Do you see what I have to deal with every single day of my life? Do you? We had an agreement Drake. You promised to do this. Now look at you. You are – I can’t take this anymore.”
“Drake?” Doctor Benson prodded again.
“So you said you didn’t like her at all?”
“Yes. But I think I like her even less now.”
Dina Drake picked up her purse to look for a tissue to wipe the tears that were forming in her eyes, but Doctor Benson stretched out her long right leg and pushed a huge box of tissues from under the glass table and towards Dina.
“Thank you” she sniffed.
“So Drake, ever the comedian I see.”
“Actually no, I am a writer.”
“Oh! My bad.” Doctor Benson flipped through some of the pages on her clipboard, looking a b it puzzled. I thought you were…in advertising.”
“He’s lying Doctor. Blatantly.”
“Actually, that is my second job. My first job is to write” and Drake almost lifted himself from his seat by pressing on the armrests while he raised his voice to something akin to a snarl “checks. I am a check writer to finance little Dina over there in her abundant lifestyle.”
“There. I told you Doctor Benson. He is sarcastic. He’s fat-shaming me, can you believe it. I spent the best years of my life bearing his children, raising them, and looking after him” and she indicated Drake by closing her palm in a thumbs-up which she used to point to where Drake was still growling at her.”
“I don’t have to fat-shame you. It’s pretty much the only thing you can do for yourself.”
“Drake!” Doctor Benson raised her voice slightly, and Drake felt a shiver go down his spine. She is one good looking woman, he thought.
“I will not tolerate any form of abusive behavior here. Please acknowledge to me that you understand this.”
“One hundred percent Doctor. Tell her. Did you hear that Deans?”
“Doctor. Doctor Drake. I have a PhD in mathematics.”
“Eh, what? O yes, I apologize, Doctor Drake.”
“Apology accepted” Drake answered her with a straight face.
“Doctor Drake, did you just wink at me?”
“You would like that would you?”
“I HATE YOU. I TOTALLY HATE YOU!” Dina screamed and then she started crying, blowing her nose and making a quite unpleasant gurgling noise through her nose as she did it.
“No further questions Doctor? You see what I have to cope with. Hatred. Unadulterated hatred. And all I said was that I actually don’t like old big Deans over there very much. “
Doctor Benson got up and pressed her skirt behind her to make sure it was folded down properly. Drake’s eyes followed her unabashedly, a big grin on his face. A real fine looking woman, he mumbled to himself again, and that was when Doctor Benson blew her whistle.
Drake’s ears became numb and he could hear popping sounds that felt as if big fat wet drops of oil were dripping from his eardrums. Dina just cried harder, and as Drake turned he could see the tall Doctor Benson with both her arms raised just like a NFL line judge, whistling away.
“End of the game?” Drake asked impassively.
“Mister…Doctor Drake, this is untenable. There are rules of engagement, I explained it all to you. If you cannot behave yourself, I will have to end this session and refer you to another practitioner.”
“Thank you Doctor. That is fantastic news. Can I go then?”
Drake got up, and turned at the door. “Come on big one, you staying or going?”
Dina was by now sniffing quietly, and she looked angrily at Drake, her blue makeup forming crude dark blue circles around her teary eyes. “I’ll wait in the car, honey-BUN” he snarled again.
“Did he just actually growl at you?”
“Yes. He is terribly abusive before strangers. He is not really like that at all at home. He can actually be quite gentle.”
Drake was smoking when Dina finally came down to parking level three. He leaned back against his black Crown Victoria, and smiled gleefully at his chubby wife as she turned around the back and opened her door to get in.
“Good session, I thought” Drake smiled sweetly. Benson does have some kind of WOW factor. I feel like a million dollars – and a cheeseburger. You hungry my nudgy-pudgy?”
Dina sat back into her seat. She was all talked out after Drake’s brouhaha. She looked at her hands. They weren’t shaking anymore. The session as more like a bloodletting than a therapy setting, she thought.
“Cheeseburgers?” Dina looked up at her husband. He was a real bastard, she thought. He makes me sick. She felt that strange shiver going down her spine. Bastard. Sexy bastard. She repressed the thought, and realized that she was ravenous. I am very hungry Mr. Piggy.”
Drake turned towards her and smiled slightly. “Shall we have it your way, or shall we say I’m loving it?”
“Have it your way” Dina answered in an demure voice.
“Burger King then? Not MacDonald’s?”
“I’m not loving it right now, just have it your way.”
“Anything to please you bubble-but. Burger King it is.”