Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Microstory 1768: Father Stern

Turtle; beach. Fun; nothing. Money; drain. Father; stern. That’s interesting. I never really thought of my father as being stern. Is that really what my subconscious thinks of him? I take a moment to reflect on my life, completely ignoring whatever my therapist is saying now. He could be talking about the same thing, or he could be prompting me with more word associations, but I’m stuck in my own head. He should have thought about that before we started playing this game. The whole reason I’m in here is because I have trouble concentrating on the real world. I can tell the difference between what’s real, and what’s not, but I don’t much care for the former. It’s much easier to pretend I’m living in a fantasy; a world that I can shape to my needs. I don’t like to rely on others, because they’ll only disappoint me. Disappointing; mother. So now I’m just playing the game by myself. Has my mother been a disappointment? She’s certainly not my favorite person in the world, but I love her, and I appreciate everything she’s done for me. What was she supposed to do, order my father to stop making me practice the clarinet for four hours a day. She did the best she could with me and my brother, and so did my father. Brother; escape. Yeah, he was always smarter than me, so he was able to get a scholarship for a college on the other side of the country. I didn’t even bother applying, because the application fee would have been the same as flushing it down the toilet. Meanwhile, he stayed out there, and never has to come back. When the time comes—and it’s coming soon—I’ll be the one still here, having to take care of the parents. They’re going to resent me for it, and he’s going to act like sending a couple hundred dollars a month is contribution enough. He’s rich now, I don’t know why he doesn’t send more. No, this is a stupid stray thought. We don’t need anything from him.

Nothing; fun. That was a weird response too, don’t you think? Why don’t I find anything fun? It’s not even true. I love going...well, I guess I’m tired of that. What, I was never very good. I guess it’s true that I don’t like to have fun. What kind of person feels that way? Suicidal, I suppose. I’ve never given it much thought, but am I secretly at risk of doing something to hurt myself? No, that can’t be right. A lot of people don’t have fun, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy being alive. Fun is an interpretation of an experience, and is not a synonym for happiness. Still, I’m probably not really happy either, which I imagine, is why my wife left me. Wife; disappointed. Wow, how’s that for an Oedipus complex? I’m disappointed in my mother, and my ex-wife is disappointed in me. Does that mean I married myself, though? That doesn’t sound right. That would say more about her own poor choices, and she has her own psychology to deal with, with her own therapist. Therapist; uninspired. Whew, that’s rough. Why don’t you tell us how you really feel, self? It’s true, I don’t know about this guy yet. I feel like I read somewhere that said techniques like this word association game are basic, and ultimately don’t really improve a patient’s mental health. I don’t want to judge, but I’m paying him to help me, and if it’s not doing me any good, then there goes more cash down the toilet. Toilet; now. It’s not an emergency, but I could do with a break. Only then do I notice that we’ve both been silent for the past three minutes; me in my own head, and him waiting patiently for me to come back out of my shell, like a turtle; beach. “Are you ready to talk about your father?” he asks me. Father; stern. Stern; justified.

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