Neurosis - 002
My great grandfather battled a chronic illness his entire life, everyone expected him to leave us but he never did- not until he was 93. He held onto his life until my 7th birthday and for some reason when he passed, I had the worst reaction to it.
My family sighed a breath of relief to know that he wasn’t suffering anymore. He was a heavy smoker his entire life and the lung disease he had was slowly eating away his insides. My mother became numb to the absence of her grandpa, but even she got past his death faster than I did.
As a child I refused to step foot into the funeral home, I refused to touch any of my great grandpa’s belongings, and more than anything, I couldn’t step foot into a graveyard.
My father thought my reaction to losing my great grandpa was bad, but he didn’t know what was coming.
My mother left us during my first year of medical school. I couldn’t handle it. I fell into a slump and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I absently mindedly chose a career, a major, and graduated for the sake of graduating. I finished school and became a doctor at my father’s hospital. I put my father, who wanted to retire, back into his place as chairman because he had an incompetent son who couldn’t handle death.
I have thantophobia, even though I never properly got diagnosed, I know I have it. I live in a world full of unique beings, there are two types of humans- those who have fears and those who don’t. There aren’t many of us with phobias, just a handful, we’re scattered all around the world. My uncle told me that if you have an irrational fear of something, it only means that you had a past life and that fear is a reflection of what killed you.
My uncle hates the water. The most he could ever do is dip his feet in a pool but anything deeper than that he could never do, the endless pit we call an ocean is the worst thing you can show him. He’s had his palm read a few times and the best explanation came from a psychic named Baekhyun. My uncle came home one day and gathered the family; he had been made fun of for his fear of water his entire life without knowing the true reason behind it.
“I went to Baekhyun today; you know…everyone says he’s the best in the city.” My uncle began. “The moment he saw me, he knew I had aquaphobia. Isn’t that crazy?”
“What did he say?”
“I drowned in a lake and no one ever found me; that is why water poses as a threat no matter what you say to me. The fear is imprinted in me.”
A lot of ordinary people question us- why don’t you just go and find out about the previous you? The past life version of you?
My uncle is in his late 50s, he’s lived longer than I have and he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do. He is years away from retirement, and I believe that’s why we wait that long to find out the truth.
If I were to find out now, at 27, the reason behind my thantophobia, it may make things worst or even hold me back. Some things are best when they’re left alone, and I’d rather live my life in curiosity than let my own fears drown me more than they already do.
My life is a series of unfortunate events, I’ve only had a girlfriend once- she committed suicide the day after she broke up with me. I try not to love, I try not to crush on people, I try not to cling on to others, because the thought that they will one day leave me echoes through my head every moment I see them.
Sometimes I feel as if I have nothing to live for.
I work at the children’s ward in my father’s hospital. I get a lot of for it too; everyone tells me that the only reason why I have this job is because ‘the chairman’s son can’t be unemployed.’
The children’s ward is the calmest in terms of heartbeats going flat. I see a lot of toddlers with fevers, babies with colds, and elementary school kids coming in with cuts on their legs.
Rumors spread quick at Samsung Medical Center, I heard murmurs every day about me- they’re not wrong.
“Chairman Oh has a son who’s afraid of death, what’s up with that? This is a hospital, what does he expect?”
What do I expect?
Because I’m stubborn and in a permanent state of denial, I refuse to see a doctor for my mental health; I refuse to see someone who can potentially ease my worries, and I don’t know why.
When the emergency ward lost one of their doctors, my father decided to kill two birds with one stone and put me in it since the emergency ward is right next to the psychology ward. I dread walking into work to see barely moving bodies, I dread feeling weak pulses, more so, I dread hearing the heart monitor fall flat.
Amongst car accidents, fainting patients, and broken bones, a suicidal teen hit me the most. His name was Do Kyungsoo and he was rushed into the emergency room with slits on his arms. He wanted to die so desperately, he yelled and cursed on the way in, and out of all the people in the room, I was his doctor.
A nurse bandaged him up, there was another one carrying out a blood transfusion, and I just stood there feeling helpless. I held a clipboard tightly in my hands and watched his heart monitor, I wished for the color in his cheeks to come back, I wished for reassurance.
I felt groggy, lightheaded, and my heart pounded in my ribcage painfully out of fear. Then someone’s hand touched mine, she smiled at me. “He’s going to be okay.” She said.
I stepped back as another doctor took my place, she took the clipboard from me and scheduled a consultation for the teen before hanging it on the front of the hospital bed. As if she knew what words I wanted to say, she looked at the nurses. “Give him an IV and finish the blood transfusion. Monitor him closely, and take away any sharp objects.”
She turned back to me and held onto my arm. “Are you alright? Dr. Oh?”
I didn’t know her name or who she was.
“Hey…” She ran the tips of her fingers down my wrist. “Dr. Oh? Is everything alright?”
The world fell black but all I wanted to know was the name behind that comforting voice.
[a/n]: comments are much appreciated!