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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1852736
Phoenix misunderstood his friend's opinion about him playing the guitar...
"I know it bothered you when I said it.  And then you brought it up again later, and I thought, 'Oh,' but I didn't know how to correct it.  I didn't mean it that way and I'm sorry.  I didn't mean for you to take it that way."  Phoenix easily forgave his friend for the comments she had made a few days earlier concerning letting his guitar rot in the corner after two weeks.  She had told him that he would play the guitar for two weeks until he had bloody fingers and then let it sit in the corner and rot, and that she thought that was sad.  It had really put a damper on Phoenix's excitement about his new guitar.  Thankfully, he was right when he had assumed that she must not have meant it that way.  "It's good to try new things.  I just think that when you try something, you should get good at it and use it so that it's well-loved."  Phoenix agreed.  "I'm sorry."  Phoenix let her know again that it was okay and that they were okay.  He did not know how to talk to her about it, and he was glad that she had perceived the problem.  It may not have been dealt with effectively otherwise. 

Phoenix was somewhat embarrassed about his inability to confront people, especially people he knew.  In the past, he had been confrontational in the Service and it had gotten him a lot of heartache.  He had fought for his principles and the integrity of the military, though, and that was worth it to him.  It almost got him killed.  His body and his subconscious remembered the stress and the damage of those experiences and sought, against Phoenix's will at times, never to have such experiences again.  That made Phoenix bad at confrontation these days, good or bad.

"You need to confront your brother.  You have a right, because he's your brother and your landlord and you pay for that apartment, to complain about him stealing your tools and not turning up the heat.  Maybe talk to your parents and get their advice on how to approach him.  They know how to handle him better than you do.  Then, if they approve, it won't be such a big deal for you.  But you need to call him on it.  And if he does something to retaliate, like turn down your heat more, you need to call him on that, too.  He's gotten away with it and he thinks he can because nobody's called him on it.  It's a pattern he's developed because he thinks he can get away with it."  She was right again.  Phoenix's friend was so often right.  The idea of rocking the boat with his family was frightening, though, because they did tend to retaliate, and in cruel yet subtle ways.  "If it was any other landlord, stealing your tools and the heat would be huge problems."  Yes, they would.  "So, why is it okay if your brother does it?  That should be worse because he's doing it to his own family."  True.  It was worse to Phoenix, and it made him so angry he could not see straight at times.  The worse that could happen was that he would have to move out.  That would cause family hell, yet Phoenix had wanted to confront his brother for a long time on these issues.  He was tired of freezing and having to dress like an Eskimo in that basement.  He was also tired of his brother "borrowing" his tools and never asking beforehand or giving them back.  Once they were gone, they were gone forever, never to be seen again.  Phoenix was missing a lot of tools.  He needed to find his spine and talk to his brother about it.  Talking to his parents about it first was a good idea, though...

Phoenix did 45 minutes of Tae Bo with his friend that night.  His friend was so excited that he was willing to try it with her.  She had been trying to convince him for weeks to do it with her and he finally agreed.  "I'm so excited!  I really hoped you would like it."  Phoenix did.  It was not the drudgery type of workout that you kept wondering every second how much longer it would be until you were done.  It was a fun workout, especially with someone else, and it did keep you moving.  There was enough coordination and variety to it that Phoenix had to focus much more on technique than on speed, which was unique.  Phoenix did enjoy it.  When they were done, they sat and talked for a bit, cooling down some more.

"Wanna teach me to read music?"  Phoenix was glad to.  His friend got a "Piano for Dummies" book off the electronic keyboard and sat on the piano bench while Phoenix looked over her shoulder at it and explained everything she asked about.  "What's this mean?"  Phoenix carefully explained so that she could understand and it went well.  She was satisfied to stop after the first 80 pages or so, which covered a lot of ground, but she grasped it all pretty well by Phoenix's estimation.  Phoenix collected his clothing and bade her farewell for the evening, thanking her for a good time.  As he drove home, he thought how fortunate he was for his doctor and his spouse and his friend.  He prayed to God that he would never lose any of them.  He also thought that he needed to get back into judo.

Phoenix walked into his apartment, looking at the moon briefly before closing the door.  It was bright and beautiful.  He thought about playing his guitar, but he was tired and took his sleep medication instead.  Sitting down to write some of his thoughts out, he shared his friend's thoughts in his writings as well.  Thoughts.  What odd things.

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