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Shit. She darted to the top of the stairs and saw Wendy peering up, the banister in one hand and a cane in the other.
‘You found my photos,’ she said, looking pleased.
‘Yes,’ Bette replied. Then her face broke into the mega-watt smile that had blessed her her whole life. ‘They’re amazing!’
Bette nodded, trying to think of a way to stay up where she was. But Wendy simply inclined her head towards the consulting room and went away again. She’d been summoned. It was fine, though. Almost a relief to know reluctance had been factored-in.
She started down the stairs, then remembered the throw, and soon she was back on the sofa, her legs cosy under red tartan wool, and, it seemed, finally out of excuses.
‘We can add time on at the end for that,’ Wendy said, gesturing at the stairs with one hand as she looked with suspiciously intense concentration at her notebook.
Bette put her tongue in her cheek. Tina was right. She liked Wendy.
Wendy had enquired whether Bette associated therapy with failure. She waited for Bette to elaborate but she didn’t, so she asked, ‘What about non-intellectually?’
Bette sucked her teeth. ‘I don’t see a lot of people celebrating their bliss by going to see a therapist, do you?’
Wendy chuckled. ‘Touché.’
Disarmed, Bette suddenly felt contrite. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, fussing with the throw, tugging the folded edges to be completely in line. ‘I shouldn’t be treating this like a pissing contest.’
‘Therapy is pragma, and romance is eros,’ Wendy said, ‘deliberation versus alchemy. We’re conditioned to seek magic rather than work.’
‘I’ve met artists who embody all permutations of that idea,’ Bette said, seeing a chance for a digression. ‘The most interesting aspect is how a person moves from one type of energy to the other and back again. There’s an artist called Allen Barnes, who – do you know of her?’
‘Oh. Well, she’s exceptionally talented, I studied her at Yale, but she has long periods – years and years – in which she claims she barely thinks about art at all. And these are not traumatic for her. She’s not blocked, she’s just under a different energy than the energy that governs creation. It’s very interesting.’