psychotherapy to civilotherapy [Unfinished Draft of Short Story]

Another unfinshed tale that I don’t think I will make time to finish, in this life anyways…

They threw back their chairs, grabbed for their neighbors hands, and began their group chant:

“Whatever else I am, whatever has been added to my identity or taken away from it by the many oppressive forces in my environment, I am an animal. Civilization has not been meeting my basic animal needs, but I am stronger than the weight of many centuries of chains…”

One woman was reciting the chant with her eyes closed and fists clenched; another was looking at the floor and was just mouthing the words without any sound escaping; a man in a jacket sat outside the circle with his legs spread out, his right arm behind the chair giving him a suspended balance. There were others, none of them at their best, but all of them on a track they had never had the opportunity to be on previously. The extended mantra was putting them in their safe zones, their “homes not disguised as cages” as the group facilitator liked to call them.

“…I know I am damaged, but I have within me a power greater than any yet devised in civilization, and that is the power to heal from deep wounds. I am here to give support to my fellow human animals who are rightfully feeling pain and anger at the situation which makes them feel less than they truly are. Solidarity!”

Most returned to their chairs but a few chose to lay on the floor. The man in the jacket stood up and looked to the facilitator, who gave him a knowing look and gestured for him to address the group.

“Hey, uh. I can’t stay long tonight, but, uh, being here is kind of trippy, I’m going through a lot, but, uh, this helps,” he smiled. “Uh, I want to be here more…” he stammered, “I can’t come for a while I think, I don’t think you guys are crazy though, I don’t want you to think that, that I think that you are crazy and that’s why I’m not coming back, for now. Thanks for listening, sorry to sound so stupid.”
“Nothing you said is stupid”, the facilitator looked up at him with a genuine. “It’s import…”

“Absolutely not stupid” another woman broke in. “Words are stupid! Not yours’ of course… really just meaning that we deserve to have better ways of expressing ourselves than the narrow range of inherited language. Feelings vibrate far deeper than any basso profondo.”

The man in the jacket met her smile and knew what she said was meant in kindness though he could only make out the gist of it. He gave an awkward wave to signal he was heading out but she rose to give him a hug.

“Be well out there,” she said as she squeezed him. “and know that we’ll have you in our thoughts, and we hope to see you again when you can make it over. We know it’s tough.” Their embraced ended, and he gave another wave to the group, this time a little more confidently, and he turned and creaked his way across the old floor to the stairwell.

The facilitator, a man with longish hair and a lengthy, untamed beard, cleared his throat and began to talk. “We do have some community news but I was thinking we’d save that for after processing instead. But before we begin with our processing, and we do have a couple of new people that I wanted to let start so please everyone don’t let me forget like I have in the past.” He smiled. “I thought instead of news we should let Martello share something he put together for us.” He gestured to a man who climbed up from a floor spot, similar in many ways to the man in the jacket, including in gait as he walked to behind an empty chair, perhaps as a makeshift podium. He fumbled for something in his pocket and drew out a folded piece of paper.
“Hi everyone,” the man said. “My name is Martello” he looked at the new faces, “for those of you who don’t know me. Um, I thought of this the other night, and it’s not really complete… I was even thinking, it’s kind of different, but um maybe we could complete it together. But let me read it so it makes sense, and if it’s not total garbage and you want to help out, I think it could be a good thing.” He looked down at the paper he was holding, and started to read:

“Civilization is now trending,
mankind has gone viral,
the future is now tending
to a great downward spiral”…

“…and then I’ve got another two lines I thought of earlier, but they don’t fit exactly, definitely not in rhythm anyways…”

“Lack of a refuge does not erase the refugee
Paralyzed in place does not blind what dreams see”

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