“There’s nothing wrong about seeking professional help.”
Bastian couldn’t believe how quickly the conversation touched that topic, just two days after he woke up in the hospital. The only time he tried therapy, it didn’t help him at all. He wasn’t going to spend more money just to hear someone telling him he was feeling bad, like he wasn’t already aware of that.
“I know” he replied, with a flat voice, while he was taking out the groceries from the tote bag and putting it in the fridge. Vegetables, meat, cheese, some chocolate pudding that seemed to be the same one that nurses gave to him at the hospital, after a terrible insipid soup.
It has been nice of Bagie for picking up some groceries for him and driving him home after he got discharged from the hospital. He also brought him a big package of homemade chocolate biscuits, cooked by his ex wife Moirin. Moirin has been the first person visiting him, the first of three. The next one was Bagie, a few hours later. Then Sarah, his neighbor and ex girlfriend, with which he still had a nice friendship.
“You university surely has some kind of free counseling or therapy, or I could help you finding some private therapist, how does it sound to you?”
He sighed. He really, really didn’t want to have that fucking conversation.
“I don’t have money for therapy” he said. He was barely able to pay bills and rent.
“I can take care of that.”
“You already helped me paying the first months’ rent. And I still haven’t gave you back all the money, I can’t afford more debts, Bagie. So thank you, for real, but I can’t accept it.”
“You shouldn't consider them debts. You can take all the time you need to give me back those money, you know I don’t need them.”
Bastian slammed the fridge door nervously.
“I can’t depend on you! Okay?”
His tone ended up being more louder than he wanted it to be and now Bagie seemed worried. He hated the worried glaze people used to make anytime he behaved impulsively in rage.
“Bastian, many young adults depend on their parents. It’s normal that you need some support.”
“But you’re not my dad! And I don’t need your help.”
Actually, it was a shame that Bagie wasn’t his father. Being a better dad than his wasn’t hard, considering that Bastian got kicked out of home when he was sixteen by his father. He met Bagie in a family house, because he was regularly visiting and donating money to that place. He was a generous man, who genuinely liked to offer a real help who needed support.
But Bastian didn’t need that anymore, nor deserved it.
He had a job, that Bagie helped him finding; he was studying at the university, thanks to Bagie who helped him paying the tuition fee; he left the family house and he was living on his own in the apartment that Bagie found for him.
He had everything he needed, thanks to Bagie.
Ironic how everything was finally perfect in his life, and yet he was feeling so bad.
He sat on the chair, as if standing on his feet was too tiring. Bagie leaned his hand on the back of the chair next to his, clearing his throat.
“I know you won’t like to hear this, but you need help. And I want you to know that me and Moirin got you, if you need anything. I don’t want that to happen again, do you understand?”
“It won’t happen again” he whispered, smiling to him. They were painful words to pronounce, once again. He was tired of people doubting about it. Bagie looked at him like he realized he had been indelicate.
“I don’t know why I did that”, Bastian said. “Everything was fine, I have nothing to complain about. I have a house, a job...”
“It’s not relevant how many things you have on the outside”, Bagie interrupted him, “if there’s a void to heal inside you. You don’t owe no one an explanation, no one is mad at you. We’re just worried because we care about you.”
They stayed silent for a few second, because Bastian didn’t know what to say and he didn’t want to keep talking about the fact he tried to kill himself. Bagie casually looked at the calendar on the wall.
“Wait for a few days before going back to work, rest a bit during the weekend. Okay?”
“I can’t, I don’t want to get fired. And don’t try to make me change my mind, I won’t listen to you.”
He hard Bagie sighing. The man raised his hands, surrendering. Paulie entered the room, followed by little tap tap tap on the floor. He looked at Bagie, then Bastian, then Bagie again, like to say “what’s happening here?”
Bagie laughed, pointing a finger to the little dog.
“That rat dog saved your life. If he didn’t barked for half an hour, making your neighbors lose their shit, you wouldn’t be here, you know?”
Bastian nodded. Sarah told him. It was half her merit if he was alive: she had his apartment’s key, for emergencies. He caressed Paulie and lifted him up, putting him on his legs.
“Thanks for taking care of Paulie in the last two days. And I really appreciated your visit, but...”
“Do you want me to stay for lunch? I’m not inviting myself, but if you want me to...”
“Actually, I would need some alone time” he said, nodding.
“Sure. I am just a bit scared of you being alone, you know? Could you send me a few texts during the day, just to… let me know you’re doing fine? Would you? Also text something to Moirin, too, she cares a lot.”
“I will send you a picture of the lunch I’ll make with the groceries you picked for me and I’ll thank Moirin for the biscuits.”
“That’s my boy”, Bagie replied enthusiastically, giving him a pat pat on the shoulder. “We’ll talk later then. Hey, don’t forget.”
Bastian smiled and listened to Bagie’s steps leaving the house and the door closing. The silence that the mad left behind him made him feel melancholy. He looked down at Paulie and Paulie looked up at him. Thinking about how much Paulie would have waited for him, before realizing he wasn’t going to be back, was killing him.
“It won’t happen again” he said, gently caressing the dog. “Just in case you’re doubting it, too.”