by Nina Powers
Cramp Contest Entry - word count 970
For Your Own Good
“Change the song; it's making me weep.” Those were the first words I had spoken to my mother in six months. I was staring out the window as she drove away from The Sprucedale Institution, but I snuck a glance to see her manicured fingers gingerly turn the dial on the radio to another station. Hard rock music filled the car as if it were trying to beat out the tension between us. The song hadn’t really bothered me one bit, but I needed to remind my mother of how fragile I was, or would need to have been, to be sent to a mental institution.
I had begged and pleaded with my mother to send me to counseling, send me to rehab, send me for therapy, but of all the places and possible solutions, do NOT send me to a highest security mental institution in the province! She wouldn’t listen, she had connections, and it would only be the strictest and most notorious establishment for her little girl. A sound of disgust escaped my lips at the memory of the ordeal.
“I’m so sorry darling, I can see you are still terribly upset with me for sending you away”, my mother had broken the silence. “Really dear, it was for your own good.” She whined apologetically.
For your own good, I could feel the anger and fury bubble up within me at the sound of those words. The same four words she said when she sent me away.
The words still resonated in my head; for your own good. It was my fourth day at Sprucedale when the warden called me to his office for a meet and greet. The meeting was going fairly well, when he stood from his desk, walked over to my chair and put his hands on my shoulders. He continued speaking about rules and regulations, and how I wanted to get the most out of my stay at Sprucedale. It wasn’t until he slid his hand from my shoulder to my breast that things turned ugly.
I jumped from my chair, turned and smacked him across the face, hard. I would have screamed awful and terrible things at him, but I was speechless, so I just stood there staring at him with my fists clenched and tears building up behind my eyes. He met my gaze briefly, then casually walked over to his desk and pressed a button on his phone saying only the word “security”.
I panicked. Words were no longer an issue and I screeched them at the top of my lungs. Two men in white jackets entered the room in the middle of my fit. If I wasn’t in such a rage I would have laughed at the cliché.
With a nod from the warden, they pounced. The more they grabbed at me, the more I screamed and wailed. It didn’t take long for one to hold me down while the other jabbed a needle into my thigh. The world went hazy and dark, the warden’s words were the clear thing I heard; “It’s for her own good”.
Hours or days had passed, and I woke up with my hands and feet strapped to my bed. I was still in a daze, everything was foggy. I cried out for someone, anyone, but nobody came. The stench of urine burned my nose and I knew it was my own by the wetness under me. When I was alert enough to feel anything, it was disgust and shame that washed over me.
When someone finally came, it was to inject me with more drugs. There was no changing of the sheets, no washing, no food, no drink, no speaking.
Then the warden came. I don’t know how long I had been like that when he arrived. Everything was so fuzzy; noise, feeling… everything.
He wasted no time approaching my bed and touched me all over; fingers painfully kneading my skin, grunting, pressing, sweat, pushing, urine, thrusting, penetrating, cheap cologne, searing pain, blood, all of these things ripping at my dulled senses. I tried to fight against the daze and the restraints, but it was a futile effort.
When he was finished, he stoked my hair gingerly and wiped away the tears from my face, “You need to behave Melanie, you need to follow the rules here, it’s for your own good.” I tried to look away from him but he grabbed my chin forcefully and made me look at his face. He looked down at me and asked sternly, “Do we understand each other?” I simply nodded.
I spent the remainder of my time at Sprucedale very well behaved. That did not stop the warden and several of the guards from paying me occasional nightly visits. Every day I would sit and ponder what I had done to get myself sent to a place a like Sprucedale, and my mother’s words would ring in my ears: It’s for your own good.
I already knew that I was the only one who could decide what was best for me and I was going to make sure I was the only one making those choices from here on out. My mother began to turn the volume off on a particularly heavy rock song. “No leave it” I said angrily and grabbed her dainty wrist squeezing it tightly. “I like this song, it makes me…” I smiled wickedly at her, “angry”. I reached into my pocket and wrapped my right hand around the letter opener I had stolen from the warden’s office that morning, my left hand still grasping my mother’s wrist. The car swerved out of control as I raised the dull weapon above my head to strike, my voice dripping with venom, “don’t worry mommy, it’s for my own good.”