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Dr. Miriam Rosenberg appeared just the same as the last time George saw her.
Same dress, same shoes, and same open, welcoming demeanor.
It’s like she’s been sitting right there all the time – another avatar . . .?”

“Sorry we’ve not been able to meet, George – my schedule has been curtailed by unexpected developments – an important conference in the States, and an appointment to appear before a faculty committee at Harvard.
I’ve been invited to be a guest lecturer at the medical school there next year.”

“Congratulations! I understand – it’s not a problem – things have been going well enough for me . . . until recently . . . just in time for a session with you.”

“I appreciate your patience – I rarely ever cancel an appointment for any reason, but I felt you would be just fine without seeing me every week for a short period. And so, it seems, you have. Except, as you say, for recently. Tell me about it . . . “

“Well, being a Mender of Destinies has been an interesting experience with intriguing outcomes – a little strange and puzzling, but I just went along with whatever seemed to unfold, and I had no trouble going with the flow.
I began to know how it worked and so I wasn’t so much troubled as fascinated.
I think I actually managed to mend some destinies– at least it seemed a reasonable possibility.”

“Yes, I see – tell me more . . .”

“I’ll begin at an oblique angle – sorry, but it’s how my mind works.
I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary physics – not as a scientist, mind you, but as an amateur who is interested in edgy ideas.
Quantum physics opens the doors to amazing possibilities.
Multiverses, for example.
It’s theoretically conceivable that there are an infinite number of other universes parallel to our own. Visually it looks like a sheet of bubble wrap – a gazillion bubbles that are somehow inter-connected – and it’s possible that sometimes one universe leaks into another.”

“I see . . .”

“That’s one way I’ve thought of explaining my intruder – the avatar – the hologram persona that seems to come into my life – a creature from another universe, maybe.
Ha. As crazy as that sounds, though, it’s as much an explanation as anything else.”

“Yes . . . I suppose so.”

“I had only one visitation – that first one I told you about – and then again last week it happened again. I was hoping for that, actually. My role as a Mender of Destines had gone quite well, until . . . “

Silence.

“Until . . .?

“Until Vera . . .”

“Tell me . . .”

George unpacked his whole experience with Vera, from beginning to end.

“Amazing. That’s quite a story. Is there more?”

“Yes, when the . . . I still don’t know what to call it . . . vision, hallucination, avatar, whatever – when the image of the persona that appeared the first time came again it agreed with me that I had overstepped the boundaries of my responsibility and power – that I had tried to change Vera’s life instead of mending her destiny.
That was it – the heart of the problem – I had tried to change Vera’s life instead of mending her destiny.
Not OK.”

“And . . .?

“The avatar – I like that word best – said some things that puzzled me – that Vera was not what I thought she was, and that she would not come back into my life, and I should not try to pursue Vera any further.
And . . . this is what really shook me . . . That it was possible that Vera had mended my destiny.
That really had me thinking.
And finally, that now that I had learned the plus and minus side of being a Mender, I was on my own to continue without supervision.”

“How did you feel about Vera’s sexual activity – did you approve or disapprove?”

“Neither. Whatever consenting adults do in private is acceptable, and doesn’t surprise me, really. My own sexual inclinations are pretty standard and unremarkable. Vera’s bondage activities don’t appeal to me, but I can suspend judgment on her life at the club and her escort business. It’s her life.
Still, I regret that we never got beyond being good friends.
And I’ll always wonder how much of what she told me was true.”

“You didn’t feel jealous or resentful – you didn’t want to have sex with her?”

“Maybe unconsciously . . . but my attempt at intervention in her life was protective – I just didn’t want her to get hurt or in serious trouble. I wanted to rescue her.
That’s all . . . and I guess I’ll never know what happens to her. . . .”

George sat back in his chair – deep sigh and shake of his head.

Silence.

“You paused – Is there more, George?”

“Well . . .Yes . . . there is . . . Luci-Milena, who began as Marcela.

“I don’t understand.”

And George unpacked what he knew about Luci-Milena – how he first met her on the train– how she came into his life again through Vera, and how she was stopping by for coffee every morning now, and how they had been meeting for beer in the afternoon at the The Nine Dragons And A Sheep, and then going for long walks in the evening, and how she had become an Assistant Dragon and how involved he had become in the novel she was writing, and how much her idea of living a life of fiction charmed him, and . . .

“You’re blushing, George, and you’re talking so fast I can hardly keep up,
and you’re sitting on the edge of your chair.
Please continue – take your time.”

George laughed. “Luci-Milena spent the night with me – recently.
We made love. Not just had sex. More than that. We made love.
There’s a big difference for me – and her. And we’re still making love – not just sexually – but in a much larger, deeper sense. I’m completely absorbed in her way of thinking, and she understands about my being a Mender Of Destinies.
She wasn’t fazed at all when I told her.”

“So your really big news is that you’ve fallen in love?”

“I know I’m blushing – not because I’m embarrassed – because I’m ecstatic.
I blush every time the subject of Luci-Milena comes up. It feels like I turn beet red. That’s what happened when I told my friend Marcus about her, and then again when he had a beer with the two of us. He just kept looking at me and grinning.”

“Does Marcus have an opinion about you and Luci-Milena?”

“Yes, he says she’s is the real deal – a fascinating woman – and I’d be a fool not to go along with her as far as it can go.”

“And where do you think things are going with Luci-Milena?”

“The immediate answer to that is that I need to cancel my next two appointments with you to tend to unexpected business of my own.”

“And that would be?”

George laughed – sat back in his chair – and sighed with pleasure.

“Luci-Milena and I are going to Vienna by train, and then bicycle down the Danube to Bratislava. Do you mind if I am there and not here?”

Dr. Rosenberg laughed, stood up, and held out her hand.
When George responded, she put her other hand affectionately on top of his.

“George, this all feels good and right and healthy to me. Luci-Milena seems as unique as Vera, but she opens your life in a new and positive direction, I think.
I’m here if you need to see me again. Meanwhile . . . go on mending destinies in a careful way, and enjoy the possibility that your own may well have been mended.
That’s very important.”

George smiled, released his hand, put his arms around Dr. Rosenberg and hugged her, much to her surprise.

‘I’ve never . . . been hugged by a patient before,” said Dr. Rosenberg.

“Well,” said George, “It’s about time you were. It’s what Menders of Destinies are supposed to do in certain situations.
Don’t give up private practice for academia, Dr. Rosenberg.
Keep doing your good work – people need what you have and are.”

Miriam Rosenberg was wiping tears from her eyes as George walked out the door of her office.

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