Feel It

Besides policemen, Chyna saw numerous physicians. In addition to the necessary treatment for her physical injuries, she was more than once urged to discuss her experiences with a psychiatrist. The most persistent of these was a pleasant man named Dr. Kevin Lofglun, a boyish fifty-year-old with a musical laugh and a nervous habit of pulling on his right earlobe until it was cherry red. “I don’t need therapy,” she told him, “because life is therapy.” He didn’t quite understand this, and he wanted her to tell him about her codependent relationship with her mother, though it hadn’t been codependent for at least ten years, since she had walked out. He wanted to help her learn to cope with grief, but she told him, “I don’t want to learn to cope with it, Doctor, I want to feel it.” When he spoke of post-traumatic stress, she spoke of hope; when he spoke of self-fulfillment,she spoke of responsibility; when he spoke of mechanisms for improving self-esteem, she spoke of faith and trust; and after a while he seemed to decide that he could do nothing for someone who was speaking a language so different from his own.

The doctors and nurses were worried that she would be unable to sleep, but she slept soundly. They were sure she would have nightmares, but she only dreamed of a cathedral forest where she was never alone and always safe.

On April eleventh, just twelve days after being admitted to the hospital, she was discharged, and when she went out the front doors, there were over a hundred newspaper, radio, and television reporters waiting for her, including those from the sleazy tabloid shows that had sent her contracts, by Federal Express, offering large sums to tell her story. She made her way through them without answering any of their shouted questions but without being impolite. As she reached the taxi that was waiting for her, one of them pushed a microphone in her face and said inanely, “Ms. Shepherd, what does it feel like to be such a famous hero?” She stopped then and turned and said, “I’m no hero. I’m just passing through like all of you, wondering why it has to be so hard, hoping I never have to hurt anyone again.” Those close enough to hear what she said fell silent, but the others shrieked at her again. She got into the taxi and road away. – Intensity by Dean Koontz.

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