A child in a mental hospital...
everything that I am
A child in a mental hospital...
Whitby Psychiatric Hospital. This is where I am after my third—FAILED—suicide attempt, laying on freshly laundered sheets, texture and smell of which somehow make me feel like I could be safe, could vanish when I want to, into my own world and leave this one behind. The smell of detergent on the sheets drowns the slight hospital smell, otherwise prevalent throughout the building.
Why? I mean, why I tried to kill myself? There's so much to live in this world, and so many people who love me, and so many people who want to live but are dying. All that bullshit. Do you believe it? That is what the doctor tried to tell me after my last failed suicide three months ago. I don't buy that. It's not what... not why people try to kill themselves. Not because they forget those things. Not me, at least.
My bed was not the only one in the room. There was a second one—currently empty—across the room. It was right under the barred window. It was overcast and windy outside; no sun. On sunny days the light floods the bed, probably making it very hot and uncomfortable. I wonder why we don't have curtains or blinds... actually, I don't. I don't care.
Little, penny-sized blood stain on my sheets preoccupied me right now. I wondered how it got there. Someone's nose bleed? Too small. A pimple popped during restless night sleep? Gross. Who left it here? Was it mine? It was definitely already there before the sheets were laundered. I decided to lick it. It didn't taste like much, only like freshly washed sheets.
I won't bother telling you my story; it's too cliché. Little girl, drug-addict whore mother, father's nowhere to be found. Seems like a modern setup that replaced traditional families. It's fine with me. I never had a "normal" family, so I'm not really sure if I'm missing anything; if I'd actually want a normal family. Did you—
My thirteenth birthday was great. I woke up expecting—no, not gifts—"normality". My mom would always be sober on my birthday, and she would try her best not to curse. She would wake up very early in the morning, bake a cake mix, light the candles, and then bring it to my room, to surprise me. This time, it was different. I'm still unsure whether she simply forgot or decided I was too old to have birthdays. Not seeing my mom anywhere, I went to her bedroom. Mom was not alone; some shirtless guy was laying together with her in bed. They were smoking. When the man saw me enter, with a sly smile he asked if I came to join them. I wasn't sure what he really meant at the time, but now—two years later—I know.
Someone's coming. Hear that? Shh...
A cop and Guard showed up at my room, hauling a guy about 40-45 years old, his blemished sneakers dragging on the floor every few steps. He seemed quite confused... a schizo. They are fun.
"Say hi to your new roomie, girl," Guard said. His blond hair danced a little on his head as he nodded at me with a smile. For a 30-something guy, his voice was incredibly soft and soothing; listening to him always makes you feel snug and safe. That's why we call him Guard. Well, not just that, he also watches us. Protects the peace at the Ward. Gets us stuff we're not allowed to have: beer for some, fresh pizza, that sort of thing.
"Here?" the cop asked surprised. He didn't really look like he knew what he was doing. Somewhat shy, not what you'd expect a real cop to look like, really. A rookie? First day on the job? Who cares?
"Don't really have many options. I think it'll be fine. We'll just keep him nice and tight with belts, and once the meds kick in, he won't be much of a threat," Guard said. He then turned back at me and said "his name's John... a schizo. Play nice."
John made a weird throaty sound when he heard his name. I chuckled.
"Oh, I will," said I, looking at John bemused.
The cop looked at me, seemingly not pleased with my tone, shook his head slightly and with tightened lips said, "alright then." Guard untied the sleeves of John's shirt, gently laid him into his new bed, and stringed the grey, worn belt around his waist. The buckle clinked, and a second later Guard and the cop were out of the door.
I looked at John. His small, childish dark brown eyes were fixed on me; or rather, it seemed, on something behind me. He mumbled something I couldn't quite understand. Most of the schizophrenics I met in this place like to mumble incoherently. John needed a shave... and by the looks of his two inch long oily hair, maybe a shower.
“So... what ya got for me?” I asked John with a smile. His gaze didn't shift. He mumbled again, made a throaty sound, and said “cunt.” Or so I head.
“Fuck you cunt! CUNT... Cun—” schizo gurgled, suddenly becoming more animated and lively.
“You're a cunt,” I whispered.
It didn't seem this schizo would be an amusing exhibition of human derangement after all. One of the guys we have at the Ward offers his glasses for sale. Cute. “I have glasses. Wanna buy them? Glasses!” That's a typical conversation with him; no matter what you respond, his words are the same. That type of schizos is fun—John's type isn't. His type are the ones always angry at the world, always someone owes them something, always want attention. They are seemingly abusive and weird.
I stood up and walked over to John's bed. He kept staring past me, mumbling profanities. It's curious how a human mind glitches this way. Twitch. Twitch. Sparkle. You're now a piece of goo, unable to communicate with the world in a proper way. I wonder how John perceived me right there and then, when I was a few feet away from him. His odd gaze... Did he even notice me? Is dying like that? When you die, do you just become a pile of goo, not noticing anything? Would it bother you?
“Cunt!” John muttered, “Fuc... Cunt! Cunt!”
I stood serenely, watching his insanity. Not sure exactly why I did it, but a second later I pulled on one of the ends of the belt that held John tightly pressed onto the bed. The buckle clinked, and John's twitching body felt more real. It could hurt me now... but it didn't. John made a few more odd sounds, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.
Lunch time. Contrary to popular opinion, hospital food isn't all that bad. I liked the food in our ward's cafeteria. Today, I had elbow noodles with gravy, a nice big juicy chicken leg, and some sort of a strange, sweet salad with lettuce and other veggies I couldn't quite recognize. I chose peach juice to wash it all down. Hospital food? More like hotel food, though I've never been to a hotel.
Abrienda, another patient, sat next to me. I think she was of Spanish descent; she had a slight accent. Her long, grey hair gently mopped her shoulders and her back as she was gobbling up her food. It seemed she was purring, or maybe singing; I couldn't tell.
“Mmmmmm mmmmm,” she uttered to no one in particular, her eyes turned into two narrow slits, while a wide smile revealed surprisingly healthy teeth, covered in partially chewed noodles. “Mmmm MMMmmm,” she repeated, a few pieces of noodles felt back on her tray. Something peaceful was in this scene. I wanted to pause it. To take a picture. Just be in it. Just sit and watch Abrienda purr.
I turned. Yes, it was John... abusing some confused old lady. Her mouth and eyes wide open, as if someone were telling her they found an alien race on the dark side of the moon. Her wrinkly hand was slightly trembling as she reached out for a piece of bread, still intently staring at John.
Clink. Stab. Smush. Be still!
John stabbed poor old lady's hand with a knife or maybe even a fork, I couldn't quite see. Whatever it was, it pierced the entire width of her hand and got stuck in the table. The old lady was wailing like a roasting pig, pausing for a second a few times while trying to wiggle her hand off the table without luck.
The commotion threw me out of my thoughts. The world became more real. More alive. Most people in cafeteria looked confused, some were purposelessly laughing, while others were just... relocating. John was calm now. He sat slouched and was eating his food, while occasionally darting with his eyes left and right, sneakily stealing glimpses of his surroundings. It was a bizarre scene, but I let out a short laugh. John looked like a five year old who just broke his mom's vase and was still unsure whether he would get caught. He probably didn't even understand what was going on, at least not fully. The old lady probably didn't fully know what was going on either. Imagine seeing a woman with a bleeding hand, and having a dawning realization it might have been you that stabbed her. Is that what it's like when you're a schizo? Do something, then wonder if it actually happened. If it was you.
Guard and another man ran up to John and the old lady. I thought they'd take John away, tie him up, give him a shot, anything. No. He looked more scared than the wailing old lady, so they probably decided to ignore him. Trying to do anything to him now would probably just agitate him again, might as well leave the crazy man alone. Guard yanked old lady's hand off the table, grabbed a few napkins to stop blood from dripping on the floor. While Guard securely held woman's arm, the other man helped her get up. A second later the three of them were gone. One of the cafeteria workers came to clean up the blood off the table. She didn't even bother looking at John. He didn't exist for them, it was better that way.
When I came back to my room later that day, John was in his bed, belted down. Hearing me enter, he turned and stared at me with his childish eyes. "Cunt," he whispered. Not even to me, it felt more like a random thing he just had to say; had to get it out of him. Get rid of it. For the first time, John's obscenity touched me. His tired, exhausted, pleading expression reminded me of my mom, and my less-than-perfect, but still great childhood that was slipping away. Tick. Gone.... I felt calm and safe, safest than I ever felt. This man in front of me wanted me to be there. To be here. To exist. To have purpose. He wanted me to trust and unbelt him. To not be bound by the wishes of someone else, who doesn't know him, who doesn't know his reasons to exist and to be there. Who doesn't know why John... must... be.
Seeing John's behaviour in cafeteria just a few hours ago might have made me think about leaving John tied up to his bed. I didn't. I'm not regretting it. Everything we do is our best. Always. We are the perfect machines, making perfect decisions. If you regret doing something, you're no longer a person who did that something; two different people would make different choices—all best.
Buckle clinked. Belts felt to John's sides. What happened next was a blur, something you wish to pause, rewind, and watch in slow motion, or maybe even not watch at all. John instantly leaped off his bed, knocking me down on the floor. During an instant of my confusion, John hopped on top of me, forcing his legs between mine, pressing tightly into my groin with his. He shoved my arms behind my back, and leaned with full force onto my chest.
"Fucking cunt!" he yelled right into my face, his saliva spraying into my eyes and my mouth. I don't know if I screamed, perhaps I didn't. While John was madly yelling profanities, untrimmed nails on his thumbs pierced into lower front of my neck. He pressed hard. As hard as he could. I think my skin ripped, I felt something wet on my neck. It might have been my blood, sweat, or maybe John's foaming saliva. I didn't scream. I didn't struggle. I wanted this all along, didn't I? To die. To not be here. To not exist. To have no purpose.
I'm dead now.
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