A Thousand Tiny Empathies
By Robert Adair Wilson
Copyright 2010 Robert Adair Wilson - Cover by Leslie Slova Wilson
Published by Robert Adair Wilson at Smashwords
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"How many causes of death do you think there are, I mean, how and why are the ways in which people pass away usually considered the norm?" and Joe realized he had framed that question rather badly. His counselor was not at all taken aback as he expected, thinking she must have heard this and far worse in sixteen years of dealing with clients hoping to find a means to cope with their inner turmoil and reason to find an excuse for being or going on with their lives. He was there, after all, at his own direction and choice taking advantage of the Employee's Assistance Plan his company provided. Every Wednesday for the last five weeks for an hour between four and five in the afternoon on his way home from work and after a quick stop at the liquor store to pick up supper, he would insert himself into a private room, really more like a sitting room with armchairs, carpet, coffee table and lamps on end tables. Here he, a tall, heavy-set-in-the-wrong-places, gray-haired, fifty-four year old man recently widowed would talk to a perky thirty-six year old relatively gorgeous married young woman about loss, bereavement, coping, going on with one's life and the price of tea in China, if necessary. She was usually upbeat, positive, full of energy and possessed of a genuinely incredulous attitude at the most common news or related experience of those individuals with whom she worked most diligently. Joe knew this was true because whenever he arrived early and her three o'clock was leaving, she would walk with the man across the waiting area and say, in parting, with matter-of-fact sincerity that she was really looking forward to receiving a freshly caught salmon from the river on his next visit.