“I was checking him out!” Mike exclaimed. “Oh God! Then later that night…”
“Calm down, Mike…” Dr. Rigby said, calmly looking down at her note pad as she scribbled furiously. “Remember to breathe. We talked about this, remember?”
“Yeah, but Paris?!” she said. “He’s my best friend… It’s like looking that way at a brother or something. I mean… And then to…. to… to…”
Dr. Rigby looked up from her notes with a crooked smile and a raised eyebrow. “Masturbate?”
“Ugh! …Don’t say it that way! That sounds so… clinical.”
“I’m a doctor. We speak that way –especially when we’re with a patient. Listen, Mike. What did you expect? Paris is the person closest to you besides your family. Even before the accident, you had a special emotional attachment to him. You value him more than your other relationships. Now that you are a young woman, you have to put those feelings into a different perspective. You have feelings for him –it’s only natural for them to affect you.”
“But that was the first time I really… --You know…”
“You’re enjoying this!”
“I am.” She chuckled. “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to laugh at your expense, Mike, but it’s really because I’m watching the woman you are becoming unfold before my eyes. It’s fascinating from a clinical perspective, but also as a woman, it’s like experiencing that first love all over again. It’s very romantic.”
Mike sloughed in her chair, hanging her head in defeat. “My life has become a Manga…”
“Mike… As a doctor, I can tell you that you’re not experiencing anything abnormal when it comes to your feelings. I told you this was going to be something difficult, especially at this time in your life. Your biology is as much a part of you as your mind is. The two of them together make up your heart –not just one or the other.
I wish I could tell you whether or not what you’re experiencing is the real thing or not. But to be perfectly honest, you’re the only one who will know that for sure. You already know that you love him. Now you’ve got to decide if what you are feeling is romantic love or not. But I’d just advise you to not say anything until you know for sure.”
Mike looked up, visibly worried. “But what if he doesn’t feel the same way? Worse off, what if he does feel the same way? What if he is just being nice to me because he feels sorry for me?” She got up and paced behind her chair while fidgeting with her hands.
Dr. Rigby relaxed, reclining in her chair and shrugging. “Welcome to the human condition, Mike. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl –we all have the same kinds of doubts when it comes to love. I wish I could tell you something more helpful, but it is what it is.”
After a moment of silence, the doctor leaned forward over her desk and with a wry smile asked: “What brought it out?”
Mike’s whole face turned red. “I was giving him a hard time for opening the door for me as I got out of the car. I didn’t think much of it. I thought he was just being chauvinistic, which kind of irritated me. He stopped me when I was getting out –put his hand on my knee like this…” She mimicked the motion while she told the story. “I actually tried to move my leg but his grip was like a vice. I couldn’t move anything. When he was pointing out what I missed, he was so intent on making sure I understood why he’d do such a thing. I would have tried to sneak a peek at least if our positions were reversed, but he wasn’t looking at my panties. He was really concerned. He was looking into my eyes the whole time and I felt like he was looking out for me. I felt so –“
“Special?” Dr. Rigby guessed.
“Yeah…” She said dreamily. “I didn’t realize that he has this whole other side to him that is gentlemanly and attentive to things I wouldn’t even notice. And he did it like it was natural –like it was something just for me.”
“It sounds like he made you feel like a woman…” Dr. Rigby added.
Mike looked thoughtfully out the window, while fiddling with a chain about her neck, leaning on the sill. “Part of me was so angry… I didn’t want him to look at me like that. But then when he did look at me like that, I felt like I didn’t want him to stop…”
Dr. Rigby sighed heavily while she listened, adding insight with her observations. “Oh Mike… You’ve got it bad…”
“I know…” She sighed.
“The question is what are you going to do about it?”
Mike’s smile faded as she continued to look out the window. She turned her attention toward the street level below, breathing slowly in and out while she mulled over what to say next. “I convinced myself that no one would want to be with someone like me –despite the pretty packaging. I didn’t think that romantic love was going to be something I would be able to have.”
Dr. Rigby got up from her chair, and walked across the room to Mike’s side, placing her hand on her shoulder. Mike continued to stare out the window at the scene below. “Mike, love isn’t a privilege. It’s a need built into the very fibers of our being. It’s as necessary as water or the air we breathe. Don’t sell yourself short… I think you’ll find more love than you ever guessed possible as long as you don’t close yourself off from believing.”
Mike looked up at Dr. Rigby with questioning eyes. “Is that your medical opinion as a doctor?”
“No, Mike. That’s my experience as a human being.” She replied with certainty.