Hammersmith. Chapter 8. (Darren) (Viss)

“I am Viss. The psychologist. You are Darren Verne?”
“Yeah. I suppose you could come in.”
Darren watched as Viss walked into the house and sat down on a nearby seat and Arline got them both cups of tea. The first session seemed to be over in a matter of minutes. He just described to Viss his love for his wife. The loss he felt. And Viss said some really strange things.
“It’s ok to feel bad.”
“I understand how you can feel it’s your fault.”
“I’m sure you would have made the same decision.”
“It’s ok to feel angry. You don’t need to justify yourself to me. Your wanting to know why fate decided to choose you to live.”
It was at that point that Darren felt weirdest. “How can you know how this feels? Knowing one thing or another might make it so your wife was alive today?”
“I can’t.”
Darren just blinked at Viss. She wasn’t that unattractive but at the same time she wore a black woman’s suit and high heels. They made her seem formal but still approachable. He knew she would have a military background. People with his clearance didn’t get the civilian shrinks. She had dark hair and her skin was the color of slightly melted chocolate. She spoke with a slight Australian accent and seemed the sort of person who has had a life which some may called tough and others call wizened.
“You lost someone?”
“Of course.” She said plainly. “Let me show you what we often do when we grieve.”
This was the fist time Darren had seen her pick up a pen. Her had was suddenly blue. Like the blue of someone’s eyes. It was robotic. That was different. Though he had seen cyber wear before, it had never been so seamlessly integrated. It always seemed clunky or somehow not quite the same shade as the the skin of the wearer. This was different. Darren found himself wondering how expensive it was, and what else it could do.
She drew a small diagram on the tech pad with the pen. It was a series of triangles.
“This is our usual life. We have these things that we use to make it work. Some people have more energy, the units of energy we will call spoons for now.”
She drew some circles on the other side of the epic of paper.
“These are the spoons. If your like most people you have one spoon per feeling and one spoon per action you can take every day. Say you use five spoons by lunch. You then have five more to get through the day. So you take a longer lunch and get a bit of a spoon back. Then by the end of the day your at home and you use the last of you spoon just before you sleep.”
Darren wasn’t sure where this was going but he noticed the hand was now red. Weird. It changes color for some things.
“Ok now we suddenly loose someone or something or something changes in our lives. We loose spoons. Zap.”
Her hand glowed and then three of the spoons just disappeared.
“Also it costs you more to do every task. Zap.”
Her hand glowed again. Each of the triangles got bigger, the spoons got smaller.
“You go through a big change and you suddenly realize none of what you did before works. Your trying to do all of these things. You spend your spoons before you know what you need them for.”
Darren blinked. She was right. He’d been spending all his spoons trying vainly to do a whole bunch of things. The thing he needed to spend spoons on… Mourning for his wife. Just seemed like all those things that led to it, and afterwards were just as important. He’d spend all his spoons trying to deal with all of them. All of the time.
“So I should just focus on one emotion? One task? Not the whole thing?”
“Yes. You can’t deal with it all at once. It’s like trying to tackle the big test tomorrow on a single fact you’ve memorized. You can’t be expected to pass or even have the energy to get to the first question!”
Darren was suddenly saying goodbye and thinking about going to bed and waking up tomorrow and trying to just deal with one thing. Then maybe these others might start getting smaller.
He also thought that robot hand was pretty cool. And the tech pad.

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