By Tim Stevens
The following is an excerpted transcript of a couple's therapy session with Dagger (Tandy Bowen) and Cloak (Tyrone Johnson) overseen by Tim Stevens.
CLOAK (quietly): She's just so unhappy being here, I can tell. She's sick of being trapped.
DAGGER (quick and angry): Oh and are you happy? Ever?! (to the therapist) He's a moping champion...like Emo's patron saint or something. He's one to talk.
TIM STEVENS: Don't tell me how you are feeling, Tandy, tell Tyrone. And try to do so using the "I" statements we talked about.
D: Fine (slowly) I...feel...annoyed when you complain about me being sad considering how much I've had to put up with your attitudes over the years.
TS (quietly, pointing in Dagger's direction): To her.
C (sighs): Tandy, I don't mean to annoy you, it's just...I know you want more. And I feel guilty that I cannot give it to you.
D: How do you know what I want? We barely talk and when we do, we just end up fighting.
C: Because I know you. I know you love to travel and I still remember how much you used to smile when you talked about performing with that circus. Or how excited you are whenever we team up with the New Warriors or Spider-Man or Daredevil...whoever. I hate that I'm not enough for you and I hate that you are stuck with me out of...loyalty or whatever.
The room goes silent.
TS: Tandy, can you tell Tyrone how it makes you feel to hear him say what he's saying?
D (sadly): It's...Ty, you're right. I did love those things. And I do wish we could go more places and do more things and not be so...stuck all the time. But I love you. I love us. I'm not here out of pity.
TS: Come on, Tyrone, she is just trying to tell you something that is obviously very hard for her to say. Please do her the service of listening until she's done.
C: Why? So she can lie to make me feel better? Like she always has to do?
D: Oh, shut up! I'm not lying, you dope! I do love you. Yes, you are hard to deal with, a lot of the time. Yes, you are often a big whiny baby, like right now. (moves her chair closer to him, placing one of her hands on his arm, moves his face so he's looking at her with the other) That's all true.
TS: Do you feel Tyrone doesn't realize that about you?
D: Oh, definitely. He still sees me as that rich girl runaway, all naïve and kind. He does not seem to appreciate how much I've changed and how capable I am of making my own decisions now.
C: It's not that, Tandy. I know you aren't a kid anymore. But you can't pretend that this is the way you saw your life going.
D: Of course not. But it's not where you saw yours either, Ty. Just because we've had some bizarre stuff take us way off the courses people foresaw for us doesn't mean we're incapable of guiding our lives now. And I've guided my life so I can be with you.
C: Because you feel like you have to. To...to save me.
TS: What do you mean when you say that she is only doing this to save you?
C: It's my...hunger.
D (quietly): Is that why you think I'm here? Ty, we know some of the most brilliant scientific minds on the planet. If I wanted away from you, I could get them to whip up a machine for you that could give you all the light your darkness needs or wants.
C: But you said you did want to go more places...
D: And I do. But not by myself. I want to go with you. I'm not here to keep you alive and in control. I'm here because I'm waiting for you to trust that you are in control enough that we can go places together. Have fun together. That sort of thing. Our relationship...I wouldn't trade it in, but you have to admit it's been pretty miserable in places. (chuckles a bit)
D: Right. Exactly. And sure, there were times we were together, I think, just because we were, you know. It was easy. But, at this point, this is not easy. Almost anything would be easier. This is work.
TS: Do you agree with her, Tyrone, that this is work?
C: I...Well, yeah. It's hard. But I love her, you know?
D: And I love you. I just need you to trust me that I am adult enough to make choices about that love; that I'm not just resigned to it.
C: I just...you are so smart and so beautiful and...I don't know why you'd want to stay. We aren't exactly big, respected names in our field. And no one will ever invite us to speak to their kids in an elementary school or anything because of the whole drug thing ...I just can't help but think your life would be easier without me.
D: Maybe. Maybe not. But even if it was, I just don't think I'd enjoy it as much. We've been together forever, basically, Ty. Without you...I just don't think things would mean as much.
Doctors Stuart Moore and Mark Brooks will continue to help Cloak and Dagger work on their relationship on March 31. Details of their session will be available in file CLOAK & DAGGER #1.
Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Doctoral Intern at a college counseling center currently pursuing his Psy D.
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