“What exactly do you mean by ‘willful disdain’, Mrs. Johnson?”

“Well, I mean that he goes out of his way to disrespect me.” She glanced over at the subject of their discussion, but he was looking at his feet. “He leaves his dirty clothes on the floor. On the floor! Can you believe that? It doesn’t matter if it’s socks, shirts or even underpants, he just leaves it lying there. And he never puts toilet paper on the roll when it runs out. You think that would kill him?”

Dr. Denard drew a few squiggles and circles on his notebook as she spoke.

“And he never compliments me. I can’t remember the last time he told me that he liked my outfit.”

“You look nice today, dear.”

“You see that? He’s being a smart aleck while I’m trying to take this seriously. I happen to know he hates this outfit. He said I looked like a creamsicle. You know, those popsicles that are vanilla on the inside and orange sherbet on the outside?”

Dr. Denard quickly doodled a palm tree as he stifled a laugh.

“When did I say that?”

“Three years ago, when I was trying to decide what to wear to my bridge club?”

“I don’t remember that, but I might have said it was a bit too much orange.”

“You see, Dr. Denard? He doesn’t even care how it makes me feel. And another example? I got my hair styled two weeks ago and he hasn’t even noticed yet. Two weeks! See? See how he’s looking at me? He’s shocked. He had no idea.”

“How much did that cost?”

“Is that all you have to say? Trying to change the subject are you?”

Dr. Denard drew a heart with an arrow passing through. Realizing there had been a few moments of silence, he pointed with his pencil as he spoke. “Well, Mr. Johnson, what do you have to say about all of this?”

“Nothing really.”

“Nothing? You don’t have anything to say? See, Dr. Denard? This is what I have to live with. It’s beyond ridiculous.”

Dr. Denard drew a bow and string, turning his heart into a balloon. “So why did you come to marriage counseling, Mrs. Johnson? What is it that you would like to accomplish with these sessions?”

“I want you to fix him!”

“Fix him?”

“Yes, we can’t go on like this. Something has to change.”

Dr. Denard closed his notepad and placed it in his lap. “Well, if you mean for me to ‘fix’ him in the sense that people take dogs or cats to the vet to be ‘fixed’, I’d say you’ve already done a fine job of that yourself.”