Losing It

Dr. Dina watched with dull interest as the repossessors hauled off her car and her RV and her luxurious horse trailer with the full living quarters.  She watched out the window of the house trailer she had rented after the bank took the real house.

She told herself it wasn’t her fault that she had lost her medical practice, her pride and joy and the pinnacle of her career and of her whole life.  But she knew that it really had been her own fault.  She had stopped taking her medications because in that small town there was no such thing as confidentiality, and she didn’t want her family  doctor telling her colleagues about how Dr. Dina was taking lithium and a whole alphabet’s worth of antianxiety, antidepressant, and antiepileptic drugs, to treat her bipolar disorder.

When she had moved to East Bumfuck, as she now preferred to call it grimly in her mind, she had intended to get a psychiatrist in the nearest city.  But things got busy quickly, and the only time she thought about it was in the middle of the night when she was wide-awake because of hypomania.  She always planned to do it the next day; but the next day was just as busy, and she forgot again.

Soon she found herself crying for no reason; and during office hours she sometimes had to slip into her private office to cry between patients.  Her office nurse would knock on the door to see if she was all right, but Dr. Dina did not answer, or snuffled through her tears that she was on a phone call.

She thought maybe a lover might help.  But how was one to acquire a lover in East Bumfuck?

In the Appalachian county where she had set up her practice, there was a lively music scene, and Dr. Dina happened to be a banjo player. Although she felt uncomfortable around people in general, she forced herself to go to jam sessions and dances and found herself welcome in the community of old-time musicians.

One of them, a guitarist, took interest in her.  He was married, to Dr. Dina’s disappointment.  But she found herself intensely attracted to him.  His guitar style thrilled her to the bones and planted a smoldering fire in her innards.  She loved his ready wit, and found his bulging overall-ed belly endearing.

It was a known fact that his marriage was on the rocks.  Soon he began inventing reasons to do things with Dr. Dina, “just the two of us,” and before long he had filed for divorce and they were sharing a bed.

As a musical duo, they were hot.  Fancy resorts had them on their regular entertainment lists. They used the money for expensive hotel rooms and champaign. Their lovemaking was so hot it threatened to burn up the beds. They fell into hysterics over the image of the hotel manager staring at the charred and smoking bed the next day,

They lived with a furious intensity.  During the high times, it was martinis and champaign, and Dr. Dina would dance naked in the kitchen while Mr. Man played Django on the guitar with joyous ferocity.  But when one or both was bottomed out, they lived together inside the firebox of the inner furnace of hell.

They stayed together because of the ups, and because they genuinely loved each other.  He was a carpenter by profession. She had some experience with wood.  So they built a bed together, a marriage bed.  It was a dream they had, to build the bed that would hold and surround their love, an impenetrable cocoon to protect them from the world. But something in the building of it went wrong: what should have been a warm and loving creation turned out raspy with bickering and stony silences.  It got into the bed.

After a few years of roller-coaster elation and devastation fueled by alcohol-saturated mutual bipolar illness, Dr. Dina threw Mr. Man out.  The night he left, she dragged the  chainsaw into the bedroom and hacked the bed into pieces.

She dragged the ragged chunks out into the driveway and stacked the remnants up teepee-style.  She drenched the thing with kerosene and threw in a match.  WHOOF!  The fire roared into the night sky.  Dr. Dina shivered in the cold, wracked with sobs, watching their bed go shooting up in flames and showers of sparks. She fed the hardwood fire with dry pine boughs until all that was left was a pile of charred remnants of their former love nest.  The next day when it was cool Dr. Dina took the shovel and buried the ashes, and spread new gravel over the scorched earth of their love.

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  1. Truth or fiction? This reads like a great short story.

    • Thank you! All of my “serious” writing starts out with a kernel of truth, and then goes all wacky with a life of its own. So both.

  2. I love the name of the place where this story takes place.

    • LOL this is what a good friend of mine who happens to be gay calls it 🙂 I couldn’t pass that up. I had been thinking of it as a place-holder for wherever I was going to eventually set the story, but my womens’ writers group loved it so I guess East Bumfuck it is.


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