Don’t Think of an Elephant

Frank’s Psych paper was due in the morning. It was on Rorschach and the Power of Association. He had done little reading and absolutely no research on the topic. He couldn’t afford an F, the paper was worth sixty percent of the year. Frank figured he better get to work.

“Can I use you as a test subject?” Frank asked his girlfriend.

Amy rolled over in bed. “What? Test subject? You’re not going to dissect me, are you?”

“No, just ask you some word associations, that’s all.”

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m afraid what I may say.”

“What do you have to hide?”

“Nothing. Forget it, sure. Word associate me.”

“You sure? I don’t-”

“Sure, sure. Go go.”

“You know, just say the first word that pops into your head. Don’t think, just speak.”

“Sure sure.”

“Blue,” he said.

“Ocean,” she said.

“Sun.”

“Ginger ale.”

“Paper.”

“Plane.”

“Cooking.”

“My mom.”

“Milk.”

“Cow.”

“Pen.”

“Scary.”

“Why scary?” he asked.

“When I was a kid, what’s that movie- Addams Family– there was a hand, writing. It was scary. Was that movie supposed to be funny?”

“Yeah.”

“I never thought it was funny. And Ghostbusters, because it was about ghosts.”

“Do you find it funny now?”

“Not the Addams Family, no. Ghostbusters, yes. Now I find it funny because there’s a marshmellow man.”

“Shower.”

“Your apartment.”

“Love.”

Amy leaned over and took the glass from the bedside table, drinking her orange juice.

“Love,” he repeated.

“Fish paste,” she smiled.

Frank then realised how dangerously close they were to having The Talk on the L word. “Hate,” he said to change topic.

“I love you,” she said to him for the first time.

He wasn’t ready to say the words back, and thinking of the integrity of his paper, said, “Thank you.”

Amy, hurt and embarrassed, kept playing along, saying, “You’re welcome,” like it was all part of the game.

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