Character: DOUG, 30s-50s.
DOUG: I know that no matter how things turn out between us, eventually I'm going to wish that I had sliced open my stomach, sewn snake eggs inside and let a nest of snakes grow in there instead of starting this. That's where these things always end up. But, you really make me feel . . . Less bad. I'm not good with women. Even with Suzy, there's an awkwardness. We have this thing we do. I tuck her into bed and read her a bedtime story at night. And it makes me very anxious. I break out into a sweat. I sweat onto the pages of the book. I get ink stains. She's like a large cat watching a mouse and flicking her tail. And I'm the mouse, under her paw, and she's playing with me. Making me dance for her amusement, just out of reach of her teeth. Dance faster, Daddy, dance faster. So, I drink a lot after she's in bed. And I watch internet porn.
Character: CHERYL, 30s-50s.
CHERYL: Okay, you want to face fears-- we will let the girls out of their room!
And then we'll watch old movies together on the couch with popcorn. We will use those ominously animated voices people use when talking to children as we watch Swiss Family Robinson. The voices that make people sound like crazy people who think the toaster is talking to them. We'll tell the girls it would be fun to all get stranded on an island together and build a treehouse! Two tree houses. One for them and one for us. With rope ladders that we can let down and pull up when we need to.
And you'll say something fatherly and wise-- just the way you never do, like "every family is its own island." And I'll say "that's beautiful, sweetheart," and we will kiss in front of them, even though we decided showing affection might be seen as a sign of weakness and swore we'd never do it.
The girls will see through all this shit. But they'll instinctively understand that we are desperate, delusional and possibly dangerous at this point because our back is to the wall. They'll play along.
That is facing our fears!