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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1854738
Phoenix has a day out of the ordinary that he could not have expected...
Phoenix sometimes worried that changing his routine even the slightest bit could throw off his whole day.  That did not necessarily predict a bad day, just a different one - one out of the ordinary.  Phoenix got up that morning at 0530 feeling rested, but not ready to go back to school.  He did not shower, nor did he change his clothing, except for his socks.  He took his medications and wandered around in the dark for a bit.  He wanted to play his guitar.  Why not?  It was not part of his regular routine on a school day.  Normally, he would get up, take a shower, eat breakfast, take his medications, load up his books and his bag, and drive up to the school, arriving around 0600.  He always parked in the same place up at the university and spent the first hour and a half in the cafeteria area of the second floor of the Liberal Arts Building.  From there, he would go up to the fifth floor and get the Psychology Department secretary Lynda to unlock the classroom for him so that he could study there.  Today was different, though.  Phoenix walked into the bedroom to let his spouse know he was leaving and his spouse asked why he was leaving and why he did not lie down and rest some more.  Phoenix said that he really wanted to play his guitar.  "Then why don't you?"  Phoenix thought about it.  He stripped off his jacket, turned on the spot lamp, got his guitar out of its black gig bag, and began playing.  He was enjoying himself and spent a full half an hour playing and practicing the transitions of various songs.  The improvement was noticeable.  After Phoenix had decided that he was satisfied with having played his guitar for the time being, he put it away and left for school.  He remarked to himself how much calmer and less agitated he felt having played his guitar for that short time.

The surprises would begin the moment Phoenix reached the fifth floor.  "Phoenix, I think I should tell you so that you can tell the other graduate students that I'm leaving.  Last week counted as one of my two weeks, so I've got until the end of this week," Lynda said softly.  "I got a kind of promotion and I'll be in the library, so I'll still be here.  I just won't be here in the department."  Phoenix gathered himself and congratulated her on her better position, wishing her well.  He gave her a hug and told her he hoped she enjoyed her new job.  "Well, you can still come and say hi."  Phoenix was in shock.  This was exactly what his previous case manager had done to him.  He was not prepared to deal with it without having issues.  He got through his first class and went to his second.  Wait.  Something was different.  Why was the professor there 20 minutes early?  That professor was never early.  And who was the guy in the suit and tie with the earring?  It turned out that they were interviewing candidates for the position of developmental psychologist because the professor that currently held the position was retiring at the end of the semester.  It was a guest lecture.  Another surprise.  Phoenix was hoping that the next surprise would be a great one, since the first surprise of the day had been a shocking loss and this second surprise had been a pleasant relief.  The third class was statistics and the first thing the professor did was hand back the midterm exams.  Phoenix got a 100% on his graduate statistics midterm.  He was so excited!  That made his day in the way that only a total academic success could.  He did not even mind all of the confusing talk about ANOVAs that followed during the lecture.

Phoenix took a nap after he got home from school.  He had noticed that his cell phone account would not allow him access, which he thought strange, but he disregarded the incident in favor of a nap.  When he woke up several hours later, he decided to go and get the mail.  In the mailbox was a letter from the cell phone company.  Another surprise.  His niece had taken over his cell phone account and the letter was to inform him of the creation of this account's password.  Phoenix was immediately angry.  He told his spouse to talk to his niece and find out what was going on.  She admitted creating the account and receiving blocked content through it.  Phoenix told his spouse that he could not afford more money, to which his spouse overreacted to severely.  Phoenix told his spouse about the overreaction and was accused himself of being the one overreacting.  It got worse from there.  "Just take the phone away.  That'll solve it."  That was not the point, Phoenix was trying to make clear.  His spouse would not hear a word of it.  Finally, Phoenix texted a friend to have her come and pick him up for a little while.  His friend and he went to a local fast food restaurant to allow things to cool off at home.  By the time they were done and his friend dropped Phoenix back off, his spouse was in the shower.  He had no idea what their status was except that it had better be calmer than it had been an hour ago.  Only time would tell.  His spouse was not in a hurry to get out of the bathroom.  That was probably not the best sign.  Phoenix decided to go in his office and work for a while until he could figure out what exactly was going on and, more importantly, what to do about it.
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