Dr. Klein enjoyed an enormous sandwich during the beginning of the session - chewing slowly, then licking his lips for what seemed a very long time. This was the day Vivienne decided to talk about her concerns relating to adopting a dog, though her husband was allergic to animals, and hated disruption (he became irritable when she brought home a cactus with hair).

It was happening more and more frequently. His sandwiches always had raw onion. She couldn’t change her 1:00 appointment time. It was all he “had.”

“So,” Klein said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you - do you have orgasms?”

She felt her face redden, (she was actually planning to talk about buying a dog).

“Do you cum?” he asked, chewing. Masticating. In her mind, she spelled come both ways, thinking while spelling.

She hated the grunting, chomping sounds he made during silences. She missed being young, sprinklers in the summer, Slip 'N Slides. The sink that always leaked in the bathroom.

“Trying to remember?”

“Right,” she said.

“Good. You cum often, I hope?”

Many people wanted to work with Dr. Klein since he had achieved minor celebrity with his popular self-help book, “Becoming Your Own Muse,” and appeared on the Today Show.

He was the therapist who suggested she get a dog. But now he wouldn't talk about dogs at all. Every session, he brought up some part of her sex life - how she felt about her husband’s sexual performance, what her history was before her husband...

Vivienne noticed that Dr. Klein’s eyes would linger on her shirt when she was free-associating. This—mingling with the smell of onions, and his breath from four feet away, was making her shy, repressed, ill.

“I don’t come very often,” she spurted, spitting a drop, saying it.

He smiled kindly, almost priestly.

“What I really wanted to talk about is how much I want a goddamn dog,” she said, breathing through her mouth, shutting off her nose completely.

“And that I’m pregnant.” Her voice came from a lower place in her chest she'd never heard before, almost guttural.

He looked at her, wiping his chin with the back of his hand. He took his pad and pencil out from the hidden folding drawer inside the arm of his leather chair. The pencil was attached to the pad with a string – a set that came together, maybe a special order for therapists.

The onion smell was back even though the sandwich was gone -- now just a tiny invisible glop in the doctor’s colon. Vivienne looked at the rug for stray ringlets that may have fallen near her feet. Nausea came so quickly.

She pictured the dog as she heaved, protective and warm -- could hear his throaty bark.