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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Other · #1851488
Phoenix's friend tells him a painful opinion about her thoughts on him learning guitar...
Phoenix's day just had not gone right.  At least he did not think so.  He had good intentions for the day.  First thing that morning, he had driven to Wal-Mart to buy a graduate student friend of his a prepaid cell phone because she could not afford a cell phone and did not have any way to communicate with anybody if she got stranded since she did not have a car.  He bought the phone and a 200-minute card, which would put 400 minutes on the phone due to a deal that came on the phone itself.  Satisfied with his purchase, he drove up to the college and parked in his customary spot.  The classes seemed to drag on and on, but once they were over, he headed toward his truck with his friend.  He had told her that he had gotten her a gift and she was excited about the prospect of such a happening.  Phoenix's friend did not have much.  She lived in a hay loft that had been poorly converted into an apartment and had no real insulation.  As Phoenix and his friend approached his truck, they saw a ticket on the windshield.  Phoenix was immediately angry.  What could the ticket possibly be for?  He was properly parked in the spot that he had been parking in since the beginning of the previous semester.  As they got closer, Phoenix could see that it was written for an expired parking permit.  Phoenix's parking permit was clearly marked "Summer 2012".  How stupid could people get?!  It was the end of February!  His anger got the best of him.  Phoenix did not deal well with stupidity.  After much profanity and slamming of truck doors as he put his school books and bag in the back, he remembered that he was letting himself be robbed of a good moment with his friend and the gift.  His friend closed her eyes and Phoenix got out the prepaid phone and card.  Presenting it to her, he told her that he wanted her to have it.  She cried and hugged him.  "That is so thoughtful.  I love you."  Phoenix gave her another hug.  "You're the first one I'll call with it."  They parted ways and Phoenix went to take care of the ticket.  Needless to say, Phoenix did not deal with the situation well in the parking office at all.  He was angry, and he knew better than to try to resolve problems when he was upset.  It ended up that he did not have the correct "specifier" on his permit.  The secretary put the correct sticker on his permit and did not make him pay the ticket.  Phoenix went home.  He had forgotten his phone that morning and there were two messages.  One was a request to swap psychiatrist appointment times with another patient.  After playing phone tag for an hour, he had that straightened out so that he and the other patient could swap appointment times.  His spouse took him to a late lunch and, upon returning home, Phoenix crawled under the covers of the bed and slept for several hours.

When Phoenix awoke at around 1900, he checked his phone.  There was only one text message and it was from his good female friend.  He had forgotten it was her day off and they were supposed to hang out.  Phoenix texted her and she confronted him about it, being very angry.  What a day, Phoenix thought.  He invited her to go to coffee with him and she agreed after a long phone conversation about the mistake.  It was 2000 by the time he picked her up.  She insisted that they were okay when Phoenix asked at the coffee shop and he was relieved.  He mentioned being excited about his new guitar, but that it would not be there until Thursday.  His friend replied, "Oh, and you're going to die?  All that's going to happen is that you're going to play it for two weeks, then your fingers will be bleeding, and then you won't play it anymore and it will sit there and rot, like with the  German.  You shouldn't spend $200 on something and then not do it.  If you're going to try things, you should get good at them.  You get super exited about something for two weeks or so and then you stuff it in a box and let it rot and never do it again, and it's sad."  Phoenix asked her how she could say something like that.  She just looked at him.  Phoenix was deeply hurt.  He did not know what else to say about it, so he sat in silence, unable to concentrate on anything as she sat cross-stitching across from him.  His enthusiasm was not only injured, it had been summarily executed in a public coffee shop by a person who always told him the truth of her opinions, which he normally appreciated.  Phoenix was having a mix of feelings about this particular opinion of hers.  First, he was hurt that she would kill his spirit in such a way.  Next, he was angry that she thought such a thing of him, because Phoenix was an explorer despite all of his psychiatric problems.  He loved to learn, and he was damn good at most things he tried when he tried them.  He worked hard at things to master them enough to be proficient at them and to have the experience.  Phoenix wanted to have as many experiences as possible, and this guitar endeavor was no different.  Did she not understand that, of all things, about him?  That was his basic character.  He wanted to have as many experiences as possible as to be able to relate to as many people as possible in order to help them.  If he could identify with someone who was hurting through having had the mutual experience of playing the guitar, then he wanted to have that experience.  That was not the only reason he did things, by any means, but Phoenix had learned throughout the course of his life that every little thing helps.  This guitar idea, though, was something more.  She knew that.  Phoenix was coming out of depression, having one ECT per month, and was trying to jump start himself into action and life again.  He had told her that.  Had she forgotten?  Had she said such a thing just to hurt him, knowing that would be a vulnerable spot to attack?  Third, Phoenix was confused about what he should think and how, or if, he should explain himself to her and express these things.  Phoenix told her that he gets depressed and he can feel the depression coming on when it did.  "Is that ever going to get any better?"  What?  It sounded as if she was asking why Phoenix should bother doing anything at all.  The conversation continued, but empty on Phoenix's part.  He had retreated deep into his chest and tucked his feelings inside where they could not be further injured, detaching from them almost completely as he always did when he was trapped in an impossible or painful situation.  He simply told her that he had not always been this way.  "Relevance?" she asked.  Phoenix told her that she had given him the I-don't-give-a-shit look.  "No, I was asking what relevance that has to our conversation?"  Phoenix felt like walking out of the coffee shop.  He was deeply hurt and now annoyed that he had to remind her that he had depression.  He wanted to remind her that he was so often suicidal that his psychiatrist kept tabs on him almost daily.  His psychiatrist was on vacation this week.  Now, instead of feeling the eagerness to learn the guitar that he was so enjoying, he felt as if he might as well just shoot himself because it was obviously no use.  Why bother?  Was that not what she was saying?  "I thought you were trying to justify your actions," she continued as Phoenix's internal dialogue took this dangerous dive into the underworld.  Justify my actions, he thought.  Why?  "You don't have to apologize for the way you are."  The way I was...
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