Therapy

Image by Crew via Unsplash.

“How are you feeling today, Aiden?”

“Quite fine, Doc.”

“Good. Let’s see, I want to do something different today. I’d like you to talk to me about something that scares you, but I don’t want you to go for the thing that crosses your mind.”

“Ah. So, nothing like… spiders, say. Or being buried alive.”

“Are you afraid of those things?”

“Not really, no. They were just the first two things that came to my mind that were scary.”

“Alright then. Think carefully, now, and tell me: what are you scared of?”

“You know, Doc… This is a difficult one. I’m not going to say I’m not scared of anything; that would be absurd and, I guess, false. I suppose everyone fears something. But scared… scared I simply don’t do.”

“So, does the question make you uncomfortable?”

“Not at all. In fact, it’s a good question, Doc. It’s making me think… OK, I think if I were to choose what scares me most, I’d have to go with losing my family.”

“You are here because of your family life.”

“Yes. That’s why I chose it. Yes. Losing my family.”

“How could that happen?”

“I’d have an affair.”

“Do you have an affair, Aiden? You never mentioned it before.”

“I don’t have an affair. I never have. I’m just imagining how it could happen. Losing my family.”

“Alright. Please go on.”

“Thanks. If I had an affair I guess everything could go down the drain rather quickly. I mean, if Kayce discovered it.”

“There’s something else. You’re frowning.”

“Yes… I just thought, how can losing my family be so important but at the same time I do go and have an affair? Why do people have affairs?”

“All kinds of reasons, Aiden. Sex is one.”

“Ah, Freud is still at large, isn’t he? Well, my sex life could certainly be better.”

“Do you think so?”

“Yes. But it could also be worse, I guess. I don’t know. Everything would have to be much worse for that to be the only reason.”

“Affective reasons, then.”

“That… that might be. We could possibly have some kind of falling out. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. And maybe some problems at work that would reflect at home… And my lover… perhaps I met her there.”

“Interesting. Don’t you consider the possibility that your wife might be the one having the affair?”

“No. This is me here. My responsibility. My blame. If anyone’s going to blow it, it’s me.”

“Are you?”

“What?”

“Going to blow it.”

“We’re talking hypothetically here, Doc. I have an affair, my family life goes to hell, because that’s something I fear. And we’re exploring how that could happen. Hold it. I just had a thought…”

“What is it?”

“The contradiction. How come, if my worst fear is losing my family, I go and have an affair?”

“That’s part of why you are here, Aiden. Think about it. Could you do it? Could you really do it?”

“I don’t know. I guess. I think so, yes.”

“Why?”

“Oh, we’ve talked about that already, Doc.”

“No, Aiden. We’ve talked about how it could happen, not really about why.”

“OK, I’m not satisfied. My marriage doesn’t satisfy me. Are you happy, Doc?”

“Whether I’m happy or not doesn’t matter, Aiden. You being happy matters.”

“Oh, great.”

“You don’t need to be sarcastic, Aiden.”

“Pardon me. Sarcasm is part of my way of life.”

“Is that what your wife doesn’t like? Your sarcasm?”

“Yes. Hey, wait there! I never said anything about that.”

“Yes you have. Several times. In this and previous sessions. I have indeed noticed the fact that you use sarcasm permanently as a barrier to hide your feelings, as a defence. What do you want to defend against?”

“I’m not sure I like this any more.”

“You can leave whenever you want. It’s your prerogative. I’ll charge the full session anyway, as you well know. You may as well use your time with me.”

“Thanks Doc. You’re very modest.”

“Modesty has nothing to do with it. It’s my job. I help people.”

“Making them feel bad?”

“Making them understand and confront their own shortcomings. Usually that makes patients feel bad, yes.”

“Then why do you do it?”

“Why do you think?”

“Can’t you give me a straight answer, Doc? Do you always have to answer my questions with another question? What’s that, shrink tradition?”

“Actually, Aiden, I wasn’t doing that. I was reminding you that I already answered that question. I help people. People like you. You need to understand that you keep your feelings inside you, and that’s not good.”

“I’m just not confrontational.”

“I am not really sure that’s completely true, Aiden.”

“Let’s say that If I have to hurt someone I’ll usually just gulp it down, then. I put on brave face and carry on.”

“And does it work? How do you feel when you do that? When someone or something upsets you and you choose to ignore it? What ends up happening?”

“I get angrier.”

“Do you know why?”

“I don’t vent my anger. I keep it inside and let it boil. I think that eventually will cool down. And I defuse a potentially difficult situation.”

“Does it?”

“Not always, no.”

“There’s something more, Aiden. You hide your bad feelings, and you say you do it for a good cause. To avoid conflict. But your brain gets used to it, and you end up always doing it.”

“What do I do?”

“You also hide your good feelings. You keep closed, you don’t let anyone realize when you’re happy or satisfied.”

“I do that?”

“Yes. Yes, I think you do. And that’s a problem. One of your problems.”

“Damn.”

“It’s time, Aiden. I’ll let you think about that and I’d like you to work on that. One last question before you go, if I may?”

“Yes?”

“You said you fear losing your family, yet the way you envision that happening is you having an affair, not an accident or something similar. Why do you think you chose that path, where you put yourself in the position of being guilty?”

“Ah, that’s an easy one, Doc. It’s more interesting. I’m a writer, after all. Be seeing you!”

~~~~

This is my entry for this week’s Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Something That Scares You. The challenge involved 1000 words about facing one of your fears.

I really didn’t know how to tackle this, but I did have this idea of a man facing his therapist. And in the end I decided to free-flow it, an exercise I seldom do. In two writing sessions, I just wrote what came to mind, pausing only to make it coherent.

I hope you like it.

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Parenting. Writing. Teaching. Geeking. Flash fiction writer. Tweeting one #VSS365 (or more) a day.

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Vicente L Ruiz

Vicente L Ruiz

Parenting. Writing. Teaching. Geeking. Flash fiction writer. Tweeting one #VSS365 (or more) a day.

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