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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1884915
Phoenix and his doctor have it out and Phoenix is devastated...
"Sure, I can do that.  1530, then.  No problem."  The appointment with Phoenix's doctor had been rescheduled to be a half an hour earlier than originally planned, but Phoenix had nothing else to do that afternoon.  He showed up fifteen minutes early, as usual, to the mental health clinic.  His psychiatrist was actually on time, which seldom happened, but Phoenix did not notice much.  His doctor led the way back to his office and asked how Phoenix was doing on his way to his chair after closing the door.  Phoenix told him about the bill collectors calling, how he had not done anything wrong, and how they might as well just shoot him.  His doctor commented that Phoenix must be pretty angry with them.  He was.  It took Phoenix a few minutes to calm down and then, unexpectedly, his doctor told him that he felt that Phoenix was taking out his anger on him by being suicidal all the time, and that he was unwilling to put up with that.  Phoenix did not have his glasses on, but gave his doctor a long, hard look, right into his eyes.  His doctor was perfectly serious.  His doctor told him that he felt it was a threat that Phoenix was hanging over his head.  Phoenix looked hard into his eyes for a while longer, and finally said, "Those were never my intentions," feeling his relationship - this deep trust relationship that they had built through years and years of honesty - slipping away, no, falling away.  Falling.  Away.  Fast.  Phoenix did not know how to take such a challenge to his intentions.  He had always intended, as he next told his doctor, to be honest with him.  Phoenix wondered now if he could be honest with him, if he could share his true feelings or if he would have to lie to his doctor if he ever asked about suicide feelings again, which he no doubt would...  The rest of the session was long and difficult.  Phoenix broke down and sobbed uncontrollably for most of the rest of the mostly one-sided conversation.  He felt that he had lost his role model, father figure, friend, and mentor of a doctor.  All within a few moments.  It was so sudden, and Phoenix was so shaken, that he could not deal with it.  He was most upset with himself and whatever it was that he had done wrong to lose such an important relationship, all in the blink of an eye.  His doctor commented that he felt that they were closer together, not farther apart, but Phoenix was questioning in his mind the entire idea of trust and life.  What was the point of either anymore?

Phoenix lied outright to his doctor when he asked at the end of the hour they had spent together if Phoenix was safe to go home.  His doctor asked what Phoenix would do if he did not feel safe and Phoenix replied, "Nothing."  Phoenix fully intended to go straight to the gun store, buy a gun, and shoot himself.  End it.  Why bother with the pain of PTSD and Depression anymore?  Why screw up anymore important relationships?  Phoenix did not even know what he had done wrong.  That was the most painful and upsetting part of the problem.  What the hell had he done wrong?  He had been honest.  Phoenix had had the same problem all his life.  That honesty had always - ALWAYS - gotten him into trouble.  In school, in the military, with his psychiatrist...  What else was he supposed to do.  He walked out of the mental health clinic numb.  He got in his truck and drove toward the gun store.  Halfway there, Phoenix realized that he did not have two forms of ID with him, and so he could not buy a firearm.  "Tomorrow," he thought.  "I will have to wait until tomorrow." 

The wait was agonizing.  In the midst of this wait and this incredible pain, he wrote his doctor a letter expressing his feelings, at the risk of his doctor taking it wrong.  Since it was likely to be his final communication with his doctor, though, Phoenix figured that, if the man even read it, it would be worth possibly understanding Phoenix and his feelings.  Or not.  Phoenix would not be around to find out.  That was okay with him.  No more pain.  No more screwing things up.  No more.  Phoenix would be no more.  Phoenix would deliver the letter the next morning.  His doctor did not work on Fridays, so he would not receive it until Monday.  Oh, well.  It did not matter.  Phoenix would have his gun by late Friday morning and it would be over.  All over.  Phoenix would never hurt anyone ever again, inadvertently or otherwise.

Friday morning.  Phoenix, not wanting to raise any suspicions, went about his business as if he was just fine.  He went to the VA lab and got his blood drawn.  He then delivered the letter to his psychiatrist's office and visited a friend at the university library across the street.  It was there that he broke down.  He could not handle it anymore.  He told her what had happened.  She sensitively asked, "Do you want to disappear into the hospital?"  No.  Phoenix would never be able to carry out his plans.  He did not belong in the hospital.  He belonged in the morgue.  Dead.  So that he could not hurt anyone anymore.  He quickly regained his composure and assured his friend that he would be fine.  He next met with his thesis/internship professor and discussed thesis plans with her as convincingly as possible.  After he finished with that meeting, he was free, or so he thought, to go to the firearms dealer.  Not so.  The lab called him while he was on his way to the gun store and asked him to submit a second urine sample because the first was contaminated and had a lot of leukocytes in it.  Phoenix drove past the gun store on his way to the lab.  After he got done at the lab, Phoenix went straight to the gun store.  He had just shut his truck off and was preparing to go inside when his spouse called and wanted to take some lawn chairs out to his parents as soon as he got home.  Again, Phoenix did not have the opportunity to buy the gun that he so desperately needed to end his life.  He went out to the rural town his parents lived in and that took up the entire afternoon.  "Tomorrow," he thought.  "I will have to wait until tomorrow."

Another night of agony passed.  His spouse did pry out of him what was wrong and why he was so depressed.  Now his spouse knew.  His spouse, however, had to work at 1100 the next day.  The gun.  That is all Phoenix thought about and dreamt about all night long.  The gun.  Phoenix had his two forms of ID ready and in his wallet and all he would have to do was wait until his spouse went to work around 1030.  Then he could go to the gun dealer, get his pistol, go to his chosen place to die, and shoot himself.  He would not have to sneak around anybody or worry about anyone following him or finding out.  It would be easy.

At 1030 the next morning, Phoenix's spouse left for work.  Phoenix decided to go and have one last iced tea at the bookstore cafe before he went to the gun dealer.  It was during this "last rite" that he thought of something.  Maybe he was taking his anger out on his doctor for being a man respected and loved enough by Phoenix to promise not to harm himself no matter what.  Phoenix had a notebook with him in case he needed to write any last thoughts down for anyone.  He began writing.  By the time he was done writing this second letter to his doctor, he realized that he had not lost his doctor, but instead had indeed gotten closer to him rather than farther away.  He knew now why he was taking his sub-surface anger out on his doctor.  It was because his doctor stood between Phoenix and death by his own hand.  It was Phoenix's fault, though, for making the promise and being a man of his word.  His doctor was right.  He did not deserve Phoenix's anger.  His doctor had not figured out what exactly Phoenix's intentions were, but he had been right about Phoenix taking his anger out on him.  Phoenix still wanted him to understand that he could not control his suicide feelings, but he now recognized that they had been used more as a weapon than a form of honesty.  Phoenix wrote all of this in his letter.  Peace came over him.  Phoenix knew he was bound for the duration of his own life by the promise he had made to his doctor.  He could feel suicidal, but he could not act on it.  Phoenix would deliver the letter to his psychiatrist's office Monday morning.  Phoenix went for lunch with his spouse instead of going to the gun dealer.  He no longer needed to.  He knew he had his doctor no matter what.  What a relief...
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