This Isn’t Me - I’ve Never Been to a “Doctor”

by Kyle SUNDBY
 

“I felt out of place,” says Tony as he slides under the comforter, “so I left before talking to anyone.”

Kristen exhales before turning away from her boyfriend, making it clear that, while offering him room on the bed and a spoonable position, she is not pleased nor prepared to discuss the situation. Knowing he is responsible for her reaction, Tony moves into the open spot and works on falling asleep.

The morning raises the question and the hope that the question’s answer is an affirmative. “Are you going to take care of it today?” asks Kristen. She’s putting on her earrings as Tony pulls the sheet over his head.

“Yes.”

“Quick kiss,” she says, pulling the sheet down and pushing lip gloss into his eyebrow. She grabs her purse and leaves for work two hours before Tony showers and rinses the smudge from his face.

At the psychiatrist’s office, Tony waits. He completes the easier of the two crosswords in the newspaper spread among the lobby chairs. It’s ten or fifteen minutes before his name is called. The doctor will see him now.

It’s winter and dark outside when Kristen comes home from work. Tony didn’t notice so only the television illuminates the living room. An empty bag of potato chips sits on the coffee table. “Hi baby,” he says.

“Hey,” she says. Throwing her keys next to the empty bag she asks if he made it to the doctor today. Prepared for his answer, she hopes for the right answer.

“Yep,” says Tony, watching the television. “He said he’ll call next week to set up another appointment.”

Kristen sees that he’s proud of himself so doesn’t risk asking if he started on dinner. She moves into the kitchen and turns on a burner.

“What are you making, babe?” asks Tony. He sets down the remote in case he needs to administer just the right spices on whatever she has in mind. The show is in syndication and he’s seen this episode several times before.

She possibly doesn’t hear him and grabs some chicken from the freezer. “Could you wash off the frying pan while I run to the store? We’re out of soda.”

“Why don’t I go?” asks Tony. He grabs her keys from the coffee table.

“Could you grab some tomatoes, too?” asks Kristen.

“I guess. But I’ll have to go to the grocery store instead of the Minit Mart.”

“Okay. Thanks, baby,” says Kristen. She hopes he won’t feel out of place when he gets there.

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