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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1893910
Phoenix sees his psychiatrist and finds out that he had not read Phoenix's letter yet...
Phoenix was relieved.  It was finally time to see his psychiatrist.  He was glad because he had been having such a hard time.  His thinking had crashed the week before and the time had passed agonizingly slow because he was in such emotional pain and turmoil.  Phoenix was reading his neuropharmacology book when he heard his doctor's voice call his name.  Phoenix walked back to his office with him and sat down in his customary seat.  His doctor asked him how he was doing.

Phoenix, for once, had good news to tell his doctor!  He told him that his lecture presentation had gone very well.  His doctor asked him if he was sweating it, and Phoenix replied that he had only been anxious when the professor raised her hand to ask him a question.  Phoenix, at that time, had thought, "Oh, shit."  His doctor laughed.  Phoenix told his doctor that his spouse had bought him a shirt and tie and a pair of nice dress pants for the occasion as well, and Phoenix knew he looked good.  His doctor smiled.

Phoenix then told his doctor that he had had a rough week and that his thinking had crashed the week before.  "I got your note.  I haven't had a chance to read it yet.  Is that what it was about?"  Phoenix replied that it was.  "So what does that mean?  Your thinking crashed..."  Phoenix told him that he was contemplating the value of his existence and was overwhelmed.  "That seems to be pretty chronic for you, doesn't it?"  Phoenix had to admit that he was right.  Phoenix was relieved but worried that his doctor had not read his letter yet.  He was relieved because it was not out of anger that his doctor had not called him, but out of being busy, as Phoenix's rational thoughts had concluded.  The fact that he had not read it yet worried him, too, though.  Phoenix had needed help.  His doctor had been too busy to know that because he had not read his letter.  Phoenix could have acted on his suicide feelings and no one would have known.  He did not translate that into his doctor being uncaring, though.  That thought had not crossed his mind because he knew how much his doctor cared.  His doctor had told him that many times, and his actions had always demonstrated that.

The rest of the meeting went well.  Phoenix told his doctor some more of what had happened to him in the Service and it was always helpful to get things off his chest with his doctor.  Phoenix had lost a friend that week to the knowledge that Phoenix had killed people in the War.  His doctor advised him not to discuss his problems with anyone outside.  Phoenix shook his hand and said, "Don't worry.  I can't."
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