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Cry me a River
by Katy Darby

Doctor: So Mr. Thompson, what’s the trouble exactly?

Thompson: It’s a bit private really.

Doctor: Well, I’m sure we can do something for you.

Thompson: Well, it’s um, it’s my crying.

Doctor: Ah. Yes, well, depression is a surprisingly common problem.

Thompson: It’s not that exactly, it’s just that – well, I’m having trouble crying in front of people.

Doctor: Oh. And why do you want to do that, exactly?

Thompson: Well, I’ve had a few problems in my life recently. My wife left me, I’ve been made redundant, my father’s in hospital with a life-threatening illness, and obviously I’m upset about it.

Doctor: Obviously.

Thompson: And I’m really finding it difficult to, you know, express it when I’m with people. Friends, family, whoever. It’s fine when I’m on my own, the tears just flow, I’m sobbing away, and then someone else comes in and it just sort of – dries up.

Doctor: Right, right. And you’d like me to help you with this?

Thompson: (defensively) Yeah, well, it’s not like I can’t cry, you know, I can. I hardly stop when I’m alone, actually. Buckets. Floods. It’s just with other people, you know – in public. I mean it’s not like I don’t want to. I do. And I feel really sad. But nothing, you know – happens.

Doctor: And have you ever had this problem before?

Thompson: Oh no. Never. Especially when I was younger.

Doctor: And how old are you now?

Thompson: Thirty-four.

Doctor: Hmm. And when did you last have what you considered to be a really good bawl? In public.

Thompson: I suppose I would have been about twelve?

Doctor: Twelve?

Thompson: (happily)Yeah. I’d broken my leg falling off a wall and I really let go, you know. Tears streaming down my face, screaming my head off, snot everywhere.

Doctor: And how did the people around you react?

Thompson: Um. Well my Mum was very sympathetic, she rushed across the playground to comfort me, and er, that’s when – (pause)

Doctor: (gently) What happened then?

Thompson: Well, the other boys in the playground started laughing, calling me a jessie and a gaylord and, um -

Doctor: Yes?

Thompson: (whispers) And they called me Daisy. Till I left school. When I was 18.

Doctor: Right. Well, this kind of performance anxiety concerning emotional display is quite common in men of your age, especially if they’re big girls’ blouses like yourself. I’m going to prescribe you a course of chick-centric films such as Dying Young, I’d like you to meet up with a small group of needy women who have recently been dumped by their boyfriends – here are their names – at least once a week, and I’d advise you to drink lots of medium white wine and fruit-based alcoholic drinks, such as pina coladas, Bacardi Breezers etc. – the kind men are embarrassed to buy in bars.

Thompson: Thank you so much Doctor. Really. I feel so much better already.

Doctor: Get out. Your weakness disgusts me.