The Plea

Mid 50’s. Anxiety ridden.
Voices that taunt and degrade him,
Sometimes urging him to take his own life.
He’s tried on more than one occasion.
He’s hunched over, shuffles.
His right hand shakes uncontrollably,
most likely due to the barrage of psych medicines
that his body endures.
Here we are again, meeting yet another new doctor.
I’m here with him because it’s my job.
He’s here because he wants help, which entails him
telling his story again for the umpteenth time.
The doctor is pretty good as they go, and I’ve met my share.
He wants details about the voices, the thoughts,
the impulses, the hallucinations.
He tries to probe into childhood traumas,
but my client won’t go there. Can’t go there.
The doctor leaves it be. He knows not to push.
He does however need to talk more about suicide.
The attempts. The idealization.
It’s then, under this line of questioning, that this timid, shaky man,
whom I’ve known for nigh on ten years,
reaches down to his core, past all his problems,
and from that place somewhere deep inside,
with a voice that literally quivers with this unexpected surge
of all the power he can muster, spontaneously blurts out:
“I want to live!”
His words hang there for a moment,
and we take them in,
before continuing.