Timyon Part One
by Stanley McFarland
“Why are you so sad?”
It was a question Timyon heard a lot – from his parents, his school-mates, his teachers. Now he was in a small office. Posters across the wall encouraged him to eat healthy, and to not be afraid to ask questions about sexually-related disease. Below the posters sat a woman in her forties or fifties. Timyon had never seen her before. She sat with her elbows on her chair arms and looked at him intently. Only the twisting of a pen in her left hand revealed that not all her attention was on him.
“Timyon,” she said. “You know that people are worried about you.”
Timyon nodded his head. He knew that people said they were worried, and he had no knowledge to the contrary.
“So why don’t we work together?”
Timyon did not wish to be rude, and people often mistook his silence for rudeness. “I do not understand what you are saying,” he said.
The woman’s pen stopped moving and she straightened slightly. “How so?” she asked.
Timyon considered her open and indistinct question, sorting through all the possibilities to find in his mind the truest one. “You asked me to work with you. I don’t understand.”
The woman appeared confused and perhaps even a little resentful. Perhaps she thought he was trying to frustrate her. He’d encountered that before. “It is though,” he said, “you are asking me to throw the ball, but I do not see a ball.”
“The ball is your sadness,” said the woman. “We should work together to help you get over your sadness.”
Timyon nodded, not because the statement brought clarity, but because he recognized it as an effort in communication.
“Do you remember,” asked the woman, “when you first began to feel sad?”
“No,” said Timyon. His parents had told him that he had been a happy toddler, but he had no recollection of being either happy, or a toddler.
“What is the first thing you remember?”
“I don’t know,” said Timyon. “Sometimes I see shapes and faces in my mind. Are they memories, or constructs of my imagination? I don’t know.”
“Have you always lived on…” the woman glanced down at papers in front of her, “Cherry Street?”
Timyon nodded. He didn’t remember living anywhere else, and no one ever said he had.
“What I’m trying to do here,” said the woman, “is find the root of your sadness. There may have been an event in your past that brought it about.”
Timyon nodded. He didn’t know anything to contradict her statement.
“What do you find that triggers your sadness?”
This was not where he thought she was going. His first impulse was to give a glib response. There was no truth in glibness – only disrespect, or even hostility veiled in humor.
“You were going to say something,” said the woman. “What was it?”
“I was going to say something disrespectful and unhelpful,” said Timyon.
The woman grimaced briefly, and then consciously changed it to an artificial smile. “Please, tell me what you were going to say.”
Timyon did not wish to say it, but he complied. “I was going to say that my sadness is triggered by people asking me why I am so sad.”
“Is that true?”
“No,” said Timyon. “It is not true. Sometimes the question can be annoying, but it does not make me any more or less sad.”
The woman exhaled audibly. The pen moved in her left hand more swiftly than before. “Let’s put a little distance in our discussion, shall we?”
Timyon, having no objections, nodded.
“What makes people sad?” asked the woman.
Though he felt some irritation, Timyon decided to give the question consideration. Though he had been motionless to this point, he now leaned forward in his chair. He braced his elbows on the chair arms and brought his hands together in front of his mouth. He felt his breath enter through his nose, then move through his body and out through his hands.
“I do not know if my answer is true,” said Timyon, “but my answer is that sadness comes when one is not at peace with one’s self, or the world in which one lives.”
“Where have you heard that before?” asked the woman with annoyance in her voice.
“I do not know that I have heard it before,” said Timyon.
“Timyon,” said the woman, “what fifteen-year-old says things like, “when one is not at peace with one’s self?”
It was true. Timyon had not heard any of his classmates say anything like that. He was tempted to say that he was such a fifteen-year-old, but decided that such a statement would be considered snide and rejected it. He straightened back into his original posture and put down his hands.