Johnny America


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


“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.


“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.

Filed under Fiction on November 3rd, 2008

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