Capri Bryant, Contributor
Houston, 24 June, 2008
Felicia Norman was a thirty-five year old newly single black woman, and she sat on a grey couch across from her therapist. The room they were in showcased awards she had earned from prestigious universities. Her therapist, Dr. Adams, sat quietly and jotted notes on his legal pad. This was Felicia’s third session with Dr. Adams, and things had been going pretty well.
“So Miss Norman, how are things going with you today? How was your day?”
The small woman paused and held her chin in her hand. “Um.. I had a pretty normal day. I went for a run this morning and cooked myself some lunch so… pretty good day.”
“When you say normal, do you mean your new normal or your old normal?”
This was the question Felicia had been avoiding. She didn’t want to change her life. She liked her old normal, so she continued to live that way. Before answering, she shifted on the couch.
“Um… I I think the new normal is a bit too much, Dr. Adams. I mean I… I did try to shift, but the new routine just doesn’t fit me.”
Dr. Adams let out a sigh. He had tried to help Felicia turn her life around after she had pleaded for him to help her. Her addiction had ruined her life. She lost her job and her boyfriend because of it.
“Felicia, I am willing to help you but I can’t do that on my own. I need you to do your part and I will do mine. This is not a one way street, and it will never be.” Dr. Adams regarded Felicia for a long moment before writing something down on his legal pad.
“Still addicted to baby oil,” it read.
“What are you writing down now? That I’m still addicted? I think you’re honestly no help when it comes to people like me.” Felicia slumped with her arms crossed and furrowed her eyebrows.
The sun had moved from behind the clouds and the room brightened. Felicia had baby oil smeared all over her face and body. One could see that her t-shirt was stained, and Felicia tried to cover up the blotches with a scarf. Dr. Adams had noted this earlier on his legal pad. He thought maybe today she would proclaim an end to this ludicrous addiction, but she silently confirmed she would not be doing that anytime soon.
Felicia was glistening like rotisserie chicken when Dr. Adams asked her the next question.
“What do you think it will take for you to overcome this addiction?”
Felicia pondered for a second, and Dr. Adams thought she was genuinely considering his question.
“I think I’d need the strength of a thousand Roman slaves… maybe the slap of Jesus Christ, and for Moses to part the Red Sea again. And then… maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop looking at baby oil.”
Last week she had said something a little more realistic, but Dr. Adams couldn’t remember what it was. At this point her silly antics were just plain ridiculous, and Dr. Adams was sick of it.
“WILL YOU JUST ADMIT THAT YOU’RE A BABY OIL JUNKIE AND CHANGE YOUR DAMN LIFE?! I’M TIRED OF YOUR SHIT FELICIA! I NEED YOU TO HAVE A LITTLE MORE SELF CONTROL!” Dr. Adams yelled from the top of his lungs. He wanted Felicia to hear him. But she continued to stare into space.
There was a prolonged silence. He didn’t trust himself to say anything else, and responded by grabbing his coat and keys.
Felicia was satisfied to hear her door slam. Immediately, she burst into a hysterical fit of laughter, falling off her couch in the process.
She had gotten rid of pesky people in her life who wanted to see her change. For her, changing was comparable to Hell, worse than Hell; it was Hell with everyone watching. After years and years of hiding her true self, Felicia could finally live, and breathe, and smear baby oil wherever she wanted.
This article was originally published in the November 1, 2019 issue.