Section 115 is woefully unsympathetic
The next day as Vernon hurried into assembly he wondered if he’d be missed when he was gone. His contract in Thailand was for two years, with an option to stay only for one, but what if he never returned? Some people didn’t. Thoughts such as these were hastily abandoned as he joined his tutor group near the back of the assembly hall.
The Chaplain, resplendent in a luminous yellow tie and light green shirt that made him stand out boldly against the navy blue uniforms of his school audience, was already warming to his subject… ‘depression’. ‘The darkest moment of my life’ the Chaplain began…
Vernon listened with interest as the Chaplain recounted a hundred mile an hour teenage joyless joyride in a condemned car, brought on by unrequited love. He listened with alarm as the Chaplain itemised the tell-tale symptoms of depression and checked them off. Loneliness. A desire to be alone. Tiredness. Mood swings. Bad eating patterns. Negativity …towards everything. They might as well spell out his address; he’d be easy to spot with that description and people would avoid him. Depress-shun; it was a resonant assembly topic with far reaching implications. After a school hymn the students began filing out to classes.
Jean Luc, who seemed more buoyant this morning, was standing just in front of him. He turned and remarked irreverently, “He’s had an easy life if that’s his darkest moment.”
Vernon smiled grimly and whispered, “He should try losing his children, his father, a home and two marriages, then I’d be impressed, perhaps he’s holding something back.”
“What like five regrettable years as a rent boy?” John Luc suggested with a grin.
“Funny you should say that” said Vernon chuckling as they left the auditorium. “Now you mention it he did tell me of his lederhosen and perfumed-letter days, but he didn’t sound remorseful.” They fell about laughing, much to the consternation of the nearest House Master; Vernon felt better. Though he sincerely believed empathising was ‘worthy’, it was so much effort, and to be honest, it made one more prone to depression.
Vernon found that morning he had an appointment with Dr Gumtree. The advert for his job had gone in the paper and he presumed Dr Gumtree must want to speak to him about it.