Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Other Half of My Brain

A short piece of fiction that came to me in a dream the other night....

"How are we doing?"

"Nothing here on the left, you're clear!"

I pulled out into traffic.  It is nice to have someone riding shotgun, so you can see both ways.  I only wished one of us had seen that truck, but then again, it happened so quickly, no one could have reacted in time.

The blinding headache starts again.  It seems every time I think about the accident, the headaches start.  I quickly think of something else.

"Another headache?" he said.

"Yea, not bad this time.  As long as I don't think about it."

"Well, maybe the Doctor will be able to fix you up.  That's why we're here, right?"

We were driving in Jacksonville, which I never like to do.  People drive too fast and pull out in front of you.  No  one has any courtesy or respect for one another.  Or any idea of what can happen when cars collide.

Most people say they can't remember what happened in the moments leading up to a major crash.  But I can, in every detail, like one of those Russian dash-cam videos on YouTube.  The tractor-trailer rig, coming around the corner on the mountain road, going too fast and tipping over, as in slow motion, right into our lane.  A head-on collision, with a closing speed of over 100 miles and hour.  The crash of metal and glass, airbags deploying, I remember all of it.   And the headache starts again.

"Pull in here, I think this is the place."

I put on my signal and turn into a small professional office park, and find a place to park in the shade.

"I'll wait here with the dog," he says, "That way we can run the air conditioner."

The dog, as if on cue, gives me a cold nose to the backside of my arm, the way she is inclined to do.  Her way of saying "Hi."

"OK," I reply, "This shouldn't take long."

I walk up the steps to the doctors office.  I think about the wreck, and the headache returns.  I quickly think of something else.

The receptionist is nice, and the waiting room is full of old copies of Time magazine.   In a few minutes, I am ushered into the doctor's office.

He seemed like a typical shrink, with the tweed jacket with elbow patches.  No reclining couch, though, just a comfortable Stressless chair from Norway.   He asks me to sit down.

"I'm not sure why I'm here," I open with, "Since the accident I have been fine, it is just these headaches that seem to come and go."

He looks at my file and nods.  "It says here the headaches seem to get worse when you think about the accident?"

"Sometimes.  I try not to think about it, and they go away."

"The accident, it was pretty serious," he replies, "It was a terrible loss."

The headache starts again.  A throbbing at the back of my brain.  "I'd rather not talk about it."

"But we have to," he replies, "I have some notes here from your doctor.   How did you get here today?"

"We drove together - and brought the dog."

"I see," he says, sighing, "I took the liberty of obtaining a copy of the accident report."

The throbbing gets worse.   My head feels like it is on fire.

"Why would you do that?" I replied.

"Your friend..."


"Husband, yes.  He was killed in the accident.  Along with your dog."

White pain sears through my mind.  I can see nothing but red.  I feel like I am about to black out.

I shout at him, "You're full of shit!  This is some sort of psychologist's trick!  They are both right out there in the truck in the parking lot!  Why would you say such a thing!"

The headache subsides a bit.  I get up to leave.  "I'm sorry I came here." I said.

"I can't help you unless you want to be helped." he replies.

"I don't want to be helped" and I walked out the door.

Back in the truck, he says, "That was quick!"

"Damn doctors don't know anything."  I put the truck in reverse.  "Is it clear?"

"Clear to back up!" he says, and I slowly pull out.  The dog buries her muzzle in my arm.

"You know, I bug you some times, that you nag me and boss me around...." I say.

"Where are you going with this?" he says with a grin.

"Well, just that, well, keep nagging and bossing me around.  It's OK.   You're the other half of my brain.  I can't live without you."

"Oh you could.    And you will have to, someday."

"But not today, right?"

"No, not today."

Maybe more of a nightmare than a dream.