My therapist has helped me so much over the past almost nine years I’ve been going to see her. I went at my husband’s suggestion that my extraordinary fear of caterpillars was something that could perhaps be overcome if I understood the seed that had been planted somewhere in my childhood.
I sort of knew where it started; I was eight and my brother, two years older, told me he dropped one down my back. I screamed and hollered and ran around until he admitted he hadn’t and I calmed down. That night getting undressed, I found the big greenish-brown squish stain in the back of my shirt. The doctor was thrilled at this found memory. He felt it had to have been an absolutely traumatizing event that stayed with me. I didn’t think it affected my sex life but Dr. Johnson insisted it did.
“Way beyond fear of real caterpillars,” he said, “it nurtured a distrust of anything caterpillar in form.”
“Huh?” I said.
So that’s why he’s sitting over there in the corner of our bedroom, watching. I wasn’t crazy about the idea but the doctor and my husband agreed it might help if at that moment of giving way to the ecstasy we all shout “Caterpillar!” together as one loud voice.
It didn’t work, at least as far as I’m concerned, but my husband and Dr. Johnson seem pleased.