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Somebody to Lean On

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The Capitan changed into the clothes provided by the hospital with a heavy sigh. He had been checked into the psych ward by his sister after a drunken phone call on a night he was having particularly bad flashbacks. He sighed now fully sober as he was escorted to his room by a social worker named Allison. “Now your room is right up here. Tomorrow we will have group therapy with the other residents here. If you need anything from me or the other workers just call for us.” The Captain silently nodded as they arrived at the room. He walked in and Allison gave him a small smile before bidding him goodnight and walking away. He sighed and looked out of the window. It was around 2200 when he checked in, but he didn’t want to sleep. He spent the entire night looking out of the window.
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The next morning Allison knocked on his door and smiled at him. “I was just coming to wake you up but you are already awake. Breakfast will start soon why don’t you go out and meet the other residents?” She walked away leaving the Capitan to sigh. He stood up and stretched before walking out to see who else had landed in this hospital. As he entered the common room, he had to stop for a moment to take it all in. In one corner was two men playing with an makeshift chessboard that they had made from crayons and a sheet of paper being watched closely by an older woman who looked very displeased. Dancing in the center of the room was a younger girl who looked far to happy to be there and a woman with messy brown hair. Over by the window on the other side of the room a young man sat looking out of the window dramatically until Allison walked back into the room which caused him to immediately stand up and follow her around the room with a love-stricken smile. At the center table watching the girls dance was a happy looking man with round glasses and a big smile on his face.

The Capitan hesitantly walked into the room and was immediately spotted by one of the dancing girls. She excitedly ran over. “Oh hello! It’s so nice to meet you! I’m Kitty! Can we be friends?!” The Capitan stepped back slightly almost as if he was getting ready to fight. The man with the glasses immediately walked over noticing the Capitan’s discomfort. “Now Kitty remember we talked about approaching people gently?” He said softly placing a hand on her shoulder. She gasped and nodded. “Yes, yes I remember! I’m sorry I just get so terribly excited!” The Capitan relaxed a bit when Kitty seemed to have calmed down a bit. “Hello mate, I’m Pat. Pleasure to meet you. You’ve met Kitty of course, Over there is Mary. Those two chaps over there are Julian and Robin. Watching them is Fanny and the one sitting over there in the window is Thomas.” The Capitan cleared his throat. “Hello. You all may call me Capitan.” He said standing straight and walking past them to the table in the left corner of the room away from everyone. He didn’t particularly want to talk to anyone he just wanted to get this stay over with.
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After breakfast was the part of the day that the Capitan was dreading the most, group therapy. The residents at the hospital were all sat in a circle with Allison who was trying her best to get them to focus. “Alright guys we have a new resident today.” She said speaking loudly as to get everyone’s attention. Everyone quieted down and looked at her. Allison smiled at the Capitan “Why don’t you introduce yourself?” He frowned and stood up clearing his throat. “Hello everyone. You may call me The Captain.” He said looking around at the others in the group. Everyone looking at him made his heartbeat quickly however he had become an expert at pushing his emotions down. He straightened out his back and sat down folding his hands on his lap looking at Allison who did not look particularly pleased with his introduction but let it go as she spoke again. “Alright let’s start shall we.”

Everyone nodded “Alright then, Pat why don’t you start us off?” Pat nodded and took a breath. “Well, I wanted to talk today about my ex-wife Carol. She was the love of my life. I’ve been trying had to not blame myself for her leaving like you said Allison but it’s difficult. I just keep thinking that maybe if I had done something different that she would still love me. If I had spent more time catering to her needs, then maybe she would have loved me.” Pat began to get choked up. “Pat, what exactly could you have done differently if that were the case?” Allison asked Pat shrugged “I-I’m not sure. I made her dinner six nights a week. I cleaned the house. I could have given up the scouts b-but I love the scouts and maybe that’s selfish but I-I- “He began to cry. Allison placed a hand on his back. “Pat It’s not your fault.” She said. Pat nodded and took a deep breath wiping his tears away. “You did everything that you could.” Said Thomas from across the circle. Pat gave Thomas a small smile and took a breath. “Thank you.” He whispered. Allison nodded. “Let’s move on.” She said giving Pat an encouraging smile. “Capitan would you like to go?” The captain sighed. The honest answer to that question was no however, he knew that if he did not get this over with he would be here longer than he already had to.

He nodded sharply and sighed heavily. “I suppose I am here because of my dreams. I dream about the war, and it causes some…discomfort.” Julian squinted at him. “Do you mean flashbacks?” The captain scoffed. “I do not have flashbacks. I just…remember bad things vividly.” Julian chuckled and was given a look by Allison that caused him to quiet down. The captain continued. “In my dreams I am back in the trenches. Me and my squadron are advancing on the enemy. We were just about to claim the territory when Wilson…he…” The captain felt the words catch in his throat as the images flashed through his head. They were charging towards the opposing trench when it happened. Wilson had just joined; he was nineteen years old. Wilson forgot to watch for land mines and accidentally stepped wrong. The captain watched as it went off blowing not only Wilson but Thompson, Masters, Grimshaw, and Watson to hell. As it went off metal flew everywhere. A large piece of shrapnel lodged itself into the side of the captain’s leg as the force from the mine caused him to fly several feet to the right. The next thing that he remembers is waking up in the medical tent and being told that he was being honorably discharged from the military. He was brought back out of his thoughts by Allison who he just now noticed was kneeling in front of him, worry plastered on her face.

The captain looked at her and tried to regulate his breathing. His eyes began to roam the room as he noticed the wetness on his face. Sweat was covering his palms and the back of his neck and his heart was racing. Allison was trying to get him to respond but he stayed silent. It was like he was trapped in his own body unable to move or speak as he closed his eyes trying to think clearly. When he opened his eyes again, he had calmed down a bit. He was able to focus in on what Allison was saying. “Captain, breathe it’s alright. You are safe take a breath. Please respond can you hear me?” He nodded slowly. “Good, good. “Breathe for me captain. In…out…in…out. Yeah, there you go. In…out…” He matched his breathing to Allison’s words and eventually he calmed down. He wiped the sweat from his face with a paper napkin and cleared his throat standing up. “I apologize for my outburst. I do hope you all forgive me it was terribly unprofessional of me. Now, if you will excuse me.” He said walking back to his room quickly ignoring Allison’s calls. He sat on the bed and let himself slouch. “Maybe I do need to be here.” He said quietly to himself.