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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1886219
Phoenix finds himself contemplating going to the Community Crisis Center...
Phoenix and his psychiatrist had had a good session on Thursday.  "I read your letters, Phoenix."  His doctor explained to him that Phoenix had misunderstood what he was trying to say the week before.  What his doctor was trying to say was that he did not like that Phoenix was raising his voice and cursing in his presence.  "I don't want you thinking that I don't care about you or that I don't want to help you," his doctor emphasized.  "I do worry that there are things you haven't told me."  His doctor was right.  Phoenix told him about the buddy that committed suicide in front of him in the combat zone.  Phoenix was still numb to the feelings associated with that, which disturbed him.  He should feel something about it.  "I think you need to forgive yourself for that one, too, Phoenix."  Phoenix had not been thinking clearly at the time.  It was only a few days after another buddy of his had died in his arms.  It was overwhelming for Phoenix.  The appointment went well and Phoenix left with the feeling that he had his doctor back.  He had never really lost him, but his misinterpretations had gotten in the way of what he knew the facts were.

That evening, Phoenix's doctor left him a message on his cell phone asking him to call back because he wanted to know that Phoenix was okay.  Phoenix called him back.  "I get to worrying about you, you know," his doctor said.  Phoenix knew that he was worried.  "If you get to feeling like you're not okay, I want you to go to the Crisis Center or the hospital, okay?"  Phoenix assured his doctor that he would.

Now it was Sunday afternoon and Phoenix was not feeling okay.  He had driven by the Community Crisis Center six times, never turning into the parking lot, never stopping to go inside, never able to bring himself to seek their help.  He thought about the money it would cost and used that as an excuse in his own head.  He had the money to pay for it.  Phoenix was also using the excuse that he did not need help.  What would he say?  What would he say to someone he did not know and did not trust about his life, much less the reasons he was feeling like he was not okay.  Phoenix thought that he would be unable to tell them what was wrong.  He used the excuse that he was not in crisis, too.  Phoenix did not need to go to the hospital or the Crisis Center.  He was fine.  He could handle this himself.  He could wait until tomorrow, when his doctor would be back in the office.  Then he would have to tell his doctor what was wrong, though.  Phoenix did not know if he could do that.  It was not for lack of trust that he was not sure he could tell him what was wrong, but for fear that it would involve (and it would) his spouse.

The problem?  Every time Phoenix's doctor asked if he would be safe at home, Phoenix had to say yes, because he supposedly did not have any guns.  Technically, he did not.  His spouse, however, did.  Phoenix did not have to buy a gun.  He had access to guns - his spouse's guns.  But how did Phoenix tell his doctor that without involving his spouse and getting his spouse dragged into the situation?  The plain answer was that he did not.  He felt that he needed to tell his doctor, though.  He had access to firearms and that was Phoenix's preferred method of suicide if there was to be a suicide.  That was the essence of what his doctor was asking him when he asked if Phoenix had any guns and if he was going to be safe at home and if he needed to go to the hospital.  Phoenix knew that the essence of what he had been telling his doctor was a lie.  He could not live with that.  So now what should he do?  He was caught between a rock and a hard spot.  His spouse had a right to have guns.  Phoenix was not safe around them, though.  And he had access to them.  He had to tell his doctor something, but what?

What if Phoenix told his doctor that he had access to firearms and left it at that?  Vague.  What good was that?  That would not satisfy Phoenix or his doctor.  The next morning, he left a message for his doctor that, if he had a chance, Phoenix would like him to give him a call because he had a situation he needed to discuss with him.  Phoenix knew that his doctor would not likely call until late afternoon, if at all, because he had a hellaciously busy schedule.  Phoenix had, however, committed himself to telling his doctor something about the guns and their availability to Phoenix.  Now what?  What would he say?  It did not matter what Phoenix rehearsed in his mind.  It never came out that way when he talked to his doctor.  His doctor had this strange power over Phoenix that immediately outed the truth on him whether he intended to tell it that way or not.  Phoenix considered that a good thing.  A hard thing, but a good thing.  It was straightforward.  No room was left for shenanigans or half-truths, much less vague overtones.  That was the kind of relationship Phoenix and his doctor had, and Phoenix was glad for it.  It did, however, make things hard in the immediate sense.  Over the long-term, it was better for everyone.  It kept people alive and healed wounds.
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