| My friend Fiona came back from the mental hospital. Two days in the hospital and the doctor released her for being well. It wasn’t a good choice, she should have stayed longer.
Her parents, the over protective Sottos, picked her pale self and drove her to Chinatown to eat. She was holding herself and shaking. Her parents asked her, “What’s wrong, Fee?” Fiona didn’t answer- she continued to eat her food slowly, savoring every bit of the Bok Choy and Mongolian beef. Her mother pressured her again, “Sweetie, what’s wrong?” She looked up. “Nothing, mom, just exhausted.” The psych ward took a toll on Fiona, and the dark circles around her eyes showed it.
I was waiting for Fee’s call. She promised to phone me after she was released. I yi yi, Fee, I thought to myself. What did you get yourself into this time? Fiona had a difficult year, her relationship deteriorated, she found out she was pregnant, and then she lost the child. Her friends recommended that she see a therapist, but with her classes and extra-curricular activities, it was out of the question. Fee believed that to overcome tragedy is to be busy. She was an over achiever like that. She participated in one activity to another, volunteered in one organization to another, and fought for one cause to another. If I were Fee, I would have stayed in my room, missed my classes, and cried myself to sleep. Fee wasn’t like that though. She’s resilient, but likes to stay in denial for a long time. I often asked her, “Hey, don’t you think you should get help?” Fee would shake her head and laugh. “I don’t need help; I’m able to handle this on my own.” “You sure,” I asked her incredulously. She nodded. “Don’t worry about me, Layla, I got this.” I hoped so.
Robert, Fiona’s ex, was her ‘save the boy’ project. They met at summer school where they were both taking biology class. He was a blonde, white, chubby, blue eyed male who chained smoked. He had an unfortunate history that consisted of him dropping out from high school, an abusive meth addicted father, and an alcoholic mother. Fee felt sorry for him and wanted to help him overcome his difficult past. It did not work. From the beginning of their relationship, Robert and Fee argued. They would fight over which restaurants to eat, whether God existed or not, or criticisms they had toward each other. Fee would call me plenty of times to tell me how Robert treated her badly. I would tell her to break up with him, but then she would defend him on how he did nice things for her such as bringing an extra sweater when they went to the beach together. There were a couple of times when Fee called me and said that she broke up with him. That wasn’t for long though. I would receive another call from her saying how she was working things out with him and that they were dating again. The cycle would repeat.
I would tell her that she was self-destructing. But no matter how many times I told her, she did not listen. Then the light at the end of the tunnel appeared when Robert dumped her. I thought it was a wonderful sign, but for her, it was a disaster.
Fiona called me from her dorm room. “Ring, Ring, ring.” I picked up my cell. I sighed.
“Hey sweetie, how are you?”
“Sh-sh-sh-she’s with him,” Fiona stammered.
“Wha? Speak louder Fee, you’re mumbling,” I told her. “Sh-sh-she’s with him.” She started sobbing.
“It’s okay,” I gently told her. “Who’s with who?” I questioned.
“Robert is with Paige. She’s better than me!” she wailed. “She’s a better writer, she’s a better person, she’s a better everything!”
“STOP!” I demanded. “How do you know that she’s better than you? How do you even know that Robert is with her?”
“I-I-I,” Fee stumbled.
“Spit it out, Fee!” I barked.
“I checked her Facebook, and it said that she’s in a relationship with him!” cried Fiona.
I hit my forehead. “Aye Caramba! Don’t check her Facebook. It’ll bring you more misery.”
“I know,” She replied in a small voice. “I can’t help it though.”
“Fee,” I said sternly. My hand grasped the phone. “Just do it.”
“FIIIIIIIOOOOOOONA!” a voice yelled in the background.
“Hey, Lay, may I speak to you later? My mom is calling me to eat,” said Fiona.
“FIIIIIIIOOOOOOONA!” the voice yelled again.
“YES, MOM, I’M COMING,” Fiona bellowed back. She returned to the phone. “Thanks so much. I’ll talk to you later, kay?” she said.
“Kay,” I replied back. I hung up the phone and blew some air out. “Oh, Fiona.”
All was not well. Fiona anxiously walked back and forth in her dorm room to the horror of her parents. She bawled repeatedly that Paige was better than her, that Paige could save Robert, and that Paige was prettier than her. Her parents tried to block her walking, but it was fruitless. She went inside her kitchen, and fell down. She started hitting the floor with her fists as hard as she could. “I can’t handle this anymore,” she bemoaned. “It’s hard; I just want this to go away.” Tears streamed down like fountains on her face. Her face burned.
Fiona’s father clenched his fists in anger. He pointed at his daughter, and yelled “He doesn’t want you anymore.” Fiona curled up in a fetus position, and cried even more.
Fiona’s mother chopped up a single white sleeping pill. She gave it to her daughter who was curled up near the kitchen oven, hoping that it would calm her down. Fiona took the pill, drank water, and swallowed. Her crying gradually decreased, and she started to feel sleepy. Her mother’s face was scrunched up in worry.
Fiona fell asleep on the kitchen floor and was slightly snoring. Her dad picked her up and carried her to her room. Her mother walked heavily to the sofa and fell asleep. Her father, on the other hand, went to the dorm’s balcony to get a breath of fresh air. “Oh God,” he said to himself.
When Fiona told me this incident, I was in shocked. I thought she felt better after we spoke. “Why didn’t you call me,” I asked her. She looked at me sadly, “I didn’t want to bother you.”