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Needed Therapy

(You can listen to this post in S3E7 of the podcast)

Fanya couldn’t see past the oak front door of her friend’s home in Colorado, but she knew the woman on the other side unlocking the latch wore heels—even though she was inside her own home, had a full face of makeup—even though it was just a day with one’s college friend, and already had a cocktail mixer—even though it was only 9 a.m.



They both wrapped their arms around their old friend with the warmth and intimacy of college roommates turned best friends whose friendship had weathered the decades. Whereas Cassie reigned in glamour, Fanya thrived in simplicity, wearing ballet flats and an Ankara-print headband to hold back the tumble of braids that ran the length of her back. One a lawyer with celebrity clients. The other a wildlife photographer. But their bond was tried and tested.

“I can’t believe you came” Cassie said, smiling unnaturally wide.

Fanya narrowed her eyes, expression sober. “You know I’m here for you.”

“Well!” Cassie said, breaking from their tight hug, “let’s get you acclimated.”

Cassie pointed Fanya down a hall in the direction of her bedroom with its own ensuite. Then to the rec room. Then to the movie room. Then to the home gym. Cassie then guided them into the living room that was connected to the eat-in kitchen. She pointed out the formal dining room that she admitted to never using. Fanya settled into her friend’s soft, cream-colored sectional. The floor to ceiling windows made the room feel airy and bright.  

“You want coffee? Tea? Vodka?” Cassie asked after she’d finished the home tour.

“I’m fine,” Fanya said.

“What about pastries? I had my housekeeper pick up donuts, crumb cake, and Danishes.”

“I’m not hungry,” Fanya said.

“Or maybe you want to tour the grounds, too? My golf cart is parked out—”

“Cassie,” said Fanya. Her voice was calm but firm. “Sit.”

Her impeccably dressed friend started to resist, but sat next to Fanya as instructed. Fanya reached out her hand and grabbed Cassie’s in hers.

“How are you holding up?” she asked, searching Cassie’s face for answers she might not be ready to give.

“Great, you know, I’m great,” Cassie said with a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders.

“How’s he doing in rehab?” Fanya asked more pointedly.

Cassie flinched. “Okay… I guess.” Fanya nodded, prodding her friend onward, so Cassie continued. “He’s got 80 days left of his 90-day program. I miss him, but we agree this is the best thing for him.”

Fanya also agreed. She remembered the high-cheek-boned bright-faced Hans from freshman English. It was Fanya who’d introduced the pair who’d later become college sweethearts married just months after graduation. Life seemed so simple but so full of possibilities. No one ever would have guessed that such a smart, handsome guy would return to the recreational drugs of their experimental college days. Cassie couldn’t ignore it anymore after their teenage daughter caught him snorting a line off of their dining room table in full daylight.

“He’ll get better, I know he will,” Fanya reassured Cassie whose walls were finally starting to fall the longer they talked. “And while I’m here, I want you to feel better.”

“What? We’re going shopping at Tiffany’s?” Cassie laughed.

“Nope. I brought seeds. And from all this land around you, seems like you have dirt.”

Cassie’s face creased in confusion. “Wait, are you saying—”

“Yes,” Fanya replied. “We’re gardening.”



Cassie shook her head. “But I have a landscaper, Fanya. Plus, I don’t have any plants or seeds or—”

“I brought seeds,” Fanya protested. “And we can get some flowers already in bloom in town. Gardening is our happy place. Remember back in college?”

Fanya could see her friend traveling back through her memories. They’d been roommates all throughout college, and whenever term papers stressed them or finals weighed heavy on them, or relationship drama consumed them, they’d cut a soda bottle in half, steal dirt from a park, and buy some cheap seeds from a dollar store and plant, plant, plant. Basil, mint, tomatoes, daisies, wildflowers, whatever they could find. All the while reminding themselves that they would be fine.

“Remember, you’re going to get through this,” Fanya urged.

“Can I at least buy a cute gardening outfit?” Cassie said, expression morphing into a youthful giddiness.

Fanya rolled her eyes. “Fine. But then we get to planting.”

Cassie smiled brightly, genuinely before pulling her friend into a tight hug. “It’s a deal.”






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