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What it's like to be a circle
And one hot, steamy geometrical threesome
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Barry, Jerry, Larry and Mary sat down in the living room. After some banter, in which the men were very careful not to use the words "bitch" or "pussy" in a derogatory way so they didn't offend Mary again like the last time they were together having some beers, the discussion started.
"Ok," she began, "I'd like to invite each of you to finish the sentence stem, 'what I most long for in my life right now is...'"
"Jerry, can you start us off?"
"Certainly," he said, taking a deep breath and stilling himself.
"What I long for most in my life right now," he began, "is to run for office. I want to speak to crowds and stand for circle rights."
Everyone in the group was a circle, so they all smiled. Mary said, "I can feel how much you want that. I love that. Thank you!"
Mary nodded to Larry to go next.
Fingers twitching, he said, "What I long for most in my life right now..." he paused, eyes darting around, "is to become a square." He took a sip of water, trying to wet his suddenly dry throat.
Some raised their eyebrows. And then "ahs" and "mmmms" were heard in recognition. They'd long ago learned to let go of judgment.
Seeing that it was his turn, Barry said, "What I long for most in my life right now is greater peace in my relationship with my father. He's the best circle I know, and I have so much respect for him, but we just have so much tension between us."
Everyone in the group nodded solemnly, knowing the pain Barry was feeling.
After a few silent moments, Mary said. "Ok great, thank you for your shares guys. Next, close your eyes." She paused.
"I'd like you to imagine in your mind's eye that you get what you want, tomorrow. It just happens. See it, and notice what feelings and thoughts come up for you for a few moments.”
The men sat in silent contemplation.
"Now,” she went on, “we're going to go around again and finish the sentence, ‘When I imagine myself getting what I tell myself I want, I'm afraid of...'
“Let's go in reverse order this time," she finished looking at Barry.
Barry, laughing and grinning widely, calmed himself and then said, "I'm afraid his health will deteriorate further. I tell myself a story that my constant checking in and pushing him to eat healthier and exercise prevents him from becoming more overweight. He looks more like a sideways oval these days," he chuckled. Continuing more sincerely he said, "And I fear for his life if I stop. I'm laughing because he blames our tension on my constant judgment of his choices." He paused, looking up as if searching for an answer on the roof. "Which is completely at odds with my desire for peace between us," he finished, every word weighing heavily on his tongue.
Mary felt a gravity settle within her, acknowledging the magnitude of what Barry had just shared.
"That seems like a big realization. Thank you."
She nodded to Larry to go next.
"First, that was amazing, Barry, thank you," he said, locking eyes with the circle across with him for a moment. Then bringing his attention back to himself, he thought about the prompt, and laughed again saying, "For years, I've privately thought I wanted to be a square. I've dreamt of what it must be like to fit snugly in corners and never have to worry about rolling off somewhere in your sleep. But now I see that a much bigger part of me is afraid of losing the freedom I have as a circle! Going down hills would suck, and squares can't even fit through round holes!"
There was applause and raucous laughter from everyone in the room. Even Mary, known for her characteristically rigid circle-therapist bearing, laughed out loud.
"Amazing, Larry, thank you. That's huge!"
Her eyes moved to Jerry who became suddenly quiet.
How will they react? He took a moment, trying to find the right words.
"I've never told anyone this," he said with trembling lips. "Back in college I met a couple of triangles at a bar. At the end of the night, I brought them back to my place. We were making out. I was touching every inch of them. I took my time on their hypotenuses. They took turns stroking my diameter. One of them even had a right angle.
"Ok TMI. That’s enough!" cried Mary.
"Things were really heating up," Jerry continued, "when one turned to me and said, 'we have to tell you something.' She shuddered. ‘It's ok,’ I urged her on. Then she blurted out, ‘We used to be hexagons!’"
He didn't see Larry and Barry's sideways glances toward each other.
"I gasped," Jerry continued. "I know it was inappropriate but it just came out.
"They curled up feeling terrible. 'So you have,' I said pointing down there, 'More sides in there?'"
“She said, ‘Oh god no, we had those removed.’”
“I thought about it for a long moment, and then said, ‘Fuck it, let's do this.’”
He paused, avoiding the eyes in the room.
"I... uh... anyway, I tell you this because when I imagine myself running for office, I just know someone will dig up my history and it will fill my family with shame. But I never realized that was what was holding me back until now. That's why I've told my wife of my dreams for years but never done anything about it."
Mary said, "Everyone take a deep breath in."
Everyone drew in an audible breath.
"And out. Ahhhhh.
"Jerry, that was the bravest admission,” said Mary. “Thank you for trusting us with your secret."
Then Barry said, "Seriously, man, thank you. For a second there, I admit I was judging you. But—and this is edgy for me to say—I know that I was only trying to cover up the fact that I've always wondered what it'd be like to be with a hexagon."
"Yeah thank you Jerry," said Larry. "That was very moving."
Jerry looked up, mollified.
The circles, feeling much more connected to one another, spent a few moments soaking up each other’s gazes.
Mary smiled and said, "Ok that's all for today, fellas. My intention was not to try and solve anything today but to help you grow your awareness.
"My late mentor," she continued, "was a great man. Very sphere-like. His name was Bryan Franklin."
The chatter in the room faded as the men exchanged glances. Did she say sphere-like? That's impressive as hell.
“In his wisdom he told me that if a circle isn't getting what it wants in life, she need only look at the arc trailing behind her. There's a part of her that is afraid of what she says she wants, and is actively resisting her getting it.”