‘A license to feel’

Everyone needs a way to relax. Mine is writing short stories. I write when I feel like Hyde is taking over me if you understand what that means.

I open the laptop and start writing. I definitely recommend it. I decided to share this one, please enjoy and do feel free to make comments.

A license to feel

Today I’m going to get a pain license. Yeah, you read just right: a license for pain. It is similar to the time when you turn 18 and you obtain your driving permission and your license at 21, but in this planet you have to get a license to feel pain. People like you – who come from worlds where one doesn’t even speak about feelings openly might find it odd. However, our authorities understand that we’re human beings so emotions are a huge part of what we are, therefore we get a license when we are in pain and I’m in desperate need of one.


With a pain license you’re allowed to look distressed and sad, you don’t have to fake smiles at work or say “fine” when you’re asked how you are. You don’t even get asked that question. It’s strictly forbidden. Your co-workers are encouraged to send kind and motivating emails to you, even to pat you on the back. If you’re at school, with a pain
license the bully of the class is banned from harassing you, and that fucker called George in my class is really messing up with my mind.

-It’s time to pay, Charlie – he said this Thursday during the break whilst a couple of his mates grabbed my arms twisting them until I was howling in pain. He took the wallet that my dad had given me for Christmas and stole the 20 pounds I had in it. Great…

I’m 5 foot tall and he’s 6’11,’’ it’s physically impossible to fight him back. Besides, I’m skinny so I can’t resist the punches. That’s why I need that pain permission, I want him to leave me alone.

With that license you can also skip a couple of days at work or school per week to go somewhere else and find peace of mind, or do something that can restore you to happiness. The rest of the days you’re allowed to be half an hour late.

The pain license allows you to ignore your smiley neighbour, the one that is always watering the plants in his garden when you leave your house and you have to say hello to, just to be polite – or hypocrite.

It also comes with a couple of “I’m in pain” stickers that you can stick it to the back and the front your car so the rest of the drivers will know that you are distressed and allowed to use the horn for no reason. The middle-finger sign is permitted for your personal use and the rest of the people can look at you with pity but nothing else.

Today it’s a Saturday, and I’m willing to get that license before the administrative bureau closes its doors. I wake up early, practice a couple of smiles at the mirror and got out the door.

I pass my happy neighbour who was walking his happy pet.

-Hello Steve! Hi Sparky. What a great day! – I say.

For the record: I don’t really think it’s a great day but I don’t have that license yet so I keep pretending.

I get in my car and drive across the happy city but just when I’m about to cross the Winchester bridge, that connects the administrative area of the city with the housing one, I get hit by another car.

I try to get out of the car but the doors won’t open. I try the back door, and I get out of it stumbling. I’m angry! but I cannot express it, not yet.

-I’m so sorry mate, I must have had my glasses on… can’t distinguish the red light from the green one anymore – the smiley man says whilst looking at my wrecked car – I’ll pay for it, we just have to wait for the insurance staff to turn up.

Perfect, those workers are always late. But I have to contain my emotions, because I’m not allowed to show them right now. I’m desperate.

-I’ll tell you what: let’s just leave it. I need to get to the administrative area before they closing time. Just move my car to the side when the lorry gets here.

I give him no time to refrain. I turn the other way and start running across the bridge. Can’t waste time like that! My car can be fixed when I have that license…it will even make the mechanical engineer do it faster.

I enter the administrative area and I stop by a happy officer:

-I beg your pardon… the licensing bureau?

He smiles and points to the right.

-That way, two streets.

I thank him with the closest thing to a smile that I can pull.

I’m running again and getting sweaty, but I finally find the grey building and approach the information desk.

-Excuse me, pain licenses?

The lady behind the desk smiles at me.

-I’m afraid this is only for marriage and birth licenses mister…

-Wright, Charlie Wright.

-The building you’re looking for is in front of this one mister Wright.

I look at the clock that is hanging on the wall behind her. Half eleven! Still two hours left before closing time… I will be fine.

I turn around and forget to thank her, I’m in too much pain for that, and now in too much hurry. “Just an hour, I will have that shitty paper in an hour,” my mind says.

I arrive to the building but there’s a long queue outside. Luckily, some cases are processed faster than others, instance: ‘losing a beloved one’ is considered under the law as an urgent matter, so the mourner obtains a license right away.

Some others like “marriage problems” and “life-changing situations” are processed in more time, but still less than thirty minutes.

Nevertheless, there is another department called “health issues,” where a medical examination is required and the examiner is to determine if your illness is a genuine cause of distress or if you’re just overestimating things… exaggerating, so to speak.

The queue gets shorter and it looks like I will make it because the man ahead of me is in a wheel-chair: he just lost a leg. Will definitely walk out with a license today.

The woman behind me wants to have her license cancelled. She doesn’t want to be considered as a depressed one. “My father died two days ago, but that alcoholic wanker used to beat me when I was a child. Never liked him anyway,” she explained.

However, I do NEED a license.

It’s my turn. Hooray!!!

I go through the illness department.

The first step is a physical examination: The doctor doesn’t see anything wrong. I explain that I have a brain illness: a mental health disorder. He instructs a nurse to perform a scan of my brain. The results aren’t conclusive.

Then there’s a questionnaire for me to fill: they want to see if I’ve lost weight, if I’ve had trouble sleeping or my eyes are more swollen than usual…regular stuff.

When I’m done my questionnaire is put through a scanning machine… No relevant results.

I’m starting to get nervous so I prepare for the last stage: an interview with the general practitioner but I don’t mind: I have my argument ready.

A man in a white robe asks me to sit in front of him. He has my questionnaire and my tests on his desk. He looks at them with no interest.

-You’ve claimed to have a mental health disorder. Is that correct?

-It is doctor, borderline disorder.

-Who said so?

-The local practitioner. I live in Huntsville. You’ll see doctor I’m in a difficult situation – been in it for months actually, I cry in bed every night and…

-Is there a apparent cause for it? Is something wrong in your life?

I hesitate for a moment.

-Well, not really. That’s the thing, I…

He interrupts again…

-The question is mister Wright, if you have felt this badly why didn’t you come to get a license before? Why now?

-Because I hadn’t felt suicidal until now. I believe things have built up.

He meditates in silence for a little bit. After two minutes, that may well have been twenty, he gets up and stands in front of the window, looking outside.

I want to tell him how I feel, how sad I am, how hard it is to study, to get out of bed, to eat, to sleep… TO EXIST, but I can’t think of anything to express how depressed and messed up I am.

-Some illnesses are still unknown for us, the brain is the most complex organ of the human body and most of the things that happen in it are still obscure to science. Psychiatry isn’t progressing quickly enough… I don’t know if you’re really in distress or not but by the looks of it you can wait until the next working day to be examined at the Neurology Institute by the best psychiatrists in the country. You will be under constant surveillance and the licensing process could take up to a year, maybe less when it’s clear that the subject is having hallucinations or isn’t capable of performing basic tasks, like eating or reading but in your case…

I’m not even interested in listening to the rest of his verdict. I stand up, turn around and walk out of the door. The Neurology Institute won’t accept any new cases until Monday, so I would get help on Wednesday the earliest, probably Thursday.

Hope has completely abandoned me: There isn’t a proper test that can tell that I have a problem, that I really need that license. it simply doesn’t exist!! So they have to take my word for it but it wasn’t taken seriously.

I walk past the happy officer who gave me wrong directions and I feel so much hate for him. I walk over Winchester bridge. I can hear the noise of cars that are in transit under it on the main motorway.

I stop and start staring at them like an idiot. For a brief and shinny moment I know what I have to do: I open my arms and climb on the fence. I hear someone screaming, but I don’t care. I now know how to make the pain go away and I don’t need your shitty paper for it.

I jump with a smile on my face and just before I hit the ground a happy thought crosses my mind: My family won’t have to wait in the queue, they will get instant licenses.



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