Rejection HURTS. Especially when its from someone who's been with you your entire life.
|“How’s the arm doing?” Linda asked while she took my pulse. Ben, Anita, and all of the other nurses wake us up at six every morning just so they can stab us with a needle, take our pulse, and check our weight and temperature. I guess it makes sense, to check to make sure our meds aren’t messing us up, but why at the crack of dawn?
“Fine,” I moaned, stepping on the scale.
She frowned at the result as she wrote the number down on the chart. “Weird…you’ve lost fifteen pounds since you’ve been here. Considering you’re an ex-coke-head and is being prescribed to mood stabilizers, you should be gaining weight,” she smirked at me, “what the heck is your secret?”
“Just haven’t had much of an appetite,” I slurred as she stuck a thermometer up my ear. I peered out the doorway, watching a morbid Alyssa scoot a pole on wheels with sacs hanging on it, a tube jabbed up her nostril. She glared at me like I was Satan. I decided to smile back, wondering what she’d do. Instead, she turned away and kept walking. I was proud of her bony ass.
“Whatever you do, don’t end up like some of the girls in here,” Linda teased, winking at me.
“Nah, I cope in a different way, remember?” I joked.
She didn’t laugh. Her eyes began to sparkle the way my sister’s did when she visited during winter break…that annoying empathetic way. Ugh. She brought an arm around my shoulders. “Take care of yourself, okay? I would hate to see you go back to your old ways. You’re better than that, okay?”
I rolled my eyes and walked out the door. “See you tomorrow.”
“I’ll see you, Sweetie!” she hollered back.
I wandered around the hall, deciding it would be a good time to try to get a hold of my sister, Beccah. I slid over to the phone, hollered at one of the nurses to dial the number through, and waited patiently. I’d hope she would answer. I haven’t spoke to her since February and here it is June and she’s already graduated from college. I can just picture where my little sis is at now, living a successful, happy…and perfectly sane life.
“Hello?” She answered!
“…who is this?”
“It’s your brother, Jake? Just thought I’d call you! I really miss you—“
“Why are you calling me? Do you need money? Is that it? So you can feed your addiction?”
My entire body went numb. “No! Not at all, I’m totally sober; I’m actually in Fawlden Hospital right now, recovering.”
“Fawlden, huh?” She didn’t believe me.
“Yes, seriously. I’m seeing a therapist and going to group therapy and everything. I’ve been here for over three mon—“
“Look…Jake…I have to go. I really don’t see why you had to call me. We have nothing to talk about—“
“Please don’t be this way, sis, I’m trying to change! I’m not joking around—“
I threw the phone at the wall and buried my face into my arms. Flashbacks drowned my thoughts. I felt disgusting, detached, so I grabbed a towel and a clean change of clothes from my room and went into the bathroom that doesn’t lock. In replacement, we had to flip a sign over to indicate whether some is in there or not (pathetic, right?).
I turned on the water and started the shower, ripping off the bandages that disguised my hatred for this cruel, unforgiving world. I stripped down and observed myself in the mirror.
“Asshole.” I heard myself snarl as my fingers traced the scars along my arm. I lifted my head up, analyzing the thin-stitched wound stretching across my neck. It was ever-so-slowly healing. “They should’ve left you to bleed,” I growled demonically, my eyes shining silver. The heart beneath my chest started skipping. Those words kept echoing in my head, sounding more venomous and menacing every time.
They should’ve left you to bleed.
Behind me through the mirror was Him. His teeth were yellow and jagged…body disfigured. Those eyes. How could I forget them?
Next thing I knew, I was running down the hall, butt-ass naked, screaming. “HE’S HERE! I SHOULD’VE DIED! HE’S STILL HERE!” I grabbed Anita and shook her. “Don’t you see him?” I weeped pathetically. “He’s right behind me!”
Horror rippled through her wrinkled, ugly face. “N-no Jake, I don’t! What are you talking about? I don’t see anything!”
“STOP IT!” I roared at everyone else who gaped. “Stop looking at me, or he’ll make you die, too!” I looked back at Anita. I felt tears stream down my face, but I was numb all over. “Don’t you see him, you stupid bitch?!”
“No!” Anita shouted, sobbing.
“Stop lying! Why does everyone have to lie? I can’t stand it—“
Ben pulled me into my room and slammed the door, a syringe needle in hand. “What the hell are you doing?!” I freaked.
“It’s going to make this go away,” he said, whirling me around and stabbing me in the butt. The pain shot through me like a bullet.
Ben pulled a shirt over me and made me sit on the edge of the bed so he could start pulling on my pants. “This is going to make you drowsy very soon, so bare with me, okay, Jake? Are you with me?”
“Yeeeaaah…” I slurred. Everything moved in slow-motion. “What is this junk?”
“It’s an anti-psychotic,” he said, making me arch my back with my pillow and blanket so he could tug my pants up all the way. “You were having a serious psychotic episode. I think it might be a mixture of your current depression and also your PTSD.” He zipped up my pants and buttoned them, then slid me parallel onto the bed.
“Nmmmm,” I groggled. My eyelids felt like they were made of cast-iron. “Immm sooo slepp…”
“This is common, don’t worry…just breath, relax; I’ll be back in a minute, I have to talk to Dr. Lauterbach, see what we can do to stop this from happening again, okay? I’m also going to get Dawn in here so she can talk to you, alright? Jake… Jake?”
I was bawling. “I hav no fam-ely, why should I even be herr?”
“Look, just calm down,” Ben said, opening the door back up. “Dawn will be in here in just a second, I promise.” He sprinted out. I heard worried voices, but they sounded like they were under water.
My eyes lazily searched the room, making sure He was gone. A sigh of relief escaped from my lips and suddenly I began laughing for no reason, tears drenching me.
“Jake?” I heard a woman’s voice call after the door swung open. A beautiful lady crouched before me, stroking my wounded arm. “Are you okay to talk? I over-heard you screaming from my office…what happened?”
I giggled softly, salty liquid dripping into my mouth. The taste of it reminded me of the beach, and I began to finally calm down.
“Jake? What happened?” Dawn kept asking, holding a tissue up to my swollen eyes.
“I called Beccah…” I mumbled, “my sister.” My heart thudded in my chest, body vibrating with the mixed emotion. “She—she didn’t want anything to do with me.” I sobbed quietly, “She thought I was calling her for money so I could get blow.” The bawling hit me again. “I know I fucked up, but do I really deserve this? FUCK! Some whiskey would be good right about now, or at least a fucking cigarette. I really didn’t want this to happen and I didn’t want to see Him.”
Dawn got out another tissue and dried my eyes. She began to stroke my arm again…embarrassment grew. I knew she could see the slit on my throat, the torn gaping hole in my arm. I must appear so weak to her. “Alcohol would not be the greatest choice for you right now, especially since Ben just gave you a Risperidal shot. I could see about allowing you to smoke a cigarette, though. Let me ask the authorities and I’ll be right back.”
I choked down more salty tears, staring at my arm. I saw visions of the silver blade…all of that crimson liquid staining the mirror and tile floor, my bare feet soaked in its warmth. He was watching me through the mirror, that golden, devilish grin plastered on his face. The screams, the sirens, the paramedics…
“Jake? Are you there?”
Sky-blue eyes terminated the bloody scene. “Nmmmm…yeah…”
“Sorry, I came back and for a few minutes you were completely catatonic.” She pulled out a couple Newports. “They said that it was okay for patients to smoke under strict supervision.”
I slowly brought myself to my feet, my legs wiggly like spaghetti. I grabbed the cigarette, not even caring it was menthol, and followed her out the back door to the patio on the roof. Dawn lit it for me and we lounged on one of the many benches.
“I remember the last cigarette I smoked,” I moaned harmoniously. The drowsiness was fading in and out now as if my body was finally adjusting to the foreign chemicals that were injected so urgently inside of it.
She giggled softly. “Sounds like its been a while since you’ve smoked. Dr. Lauterbach doesn’t like advertising smoking, but he said it was fine every once in a while,” she sighed, “So, what do you remember?”
“It was an hour before…well, you know, I did that. I took thirteen shots of straight vodka, and not the fancy shit either, the cheap stuff. It was my fifth day of insomnia. I lit myself a marlboro red and sharpened my blade while I smoked… He was watching me.”
She squinted her eyes, appearing curious. “What do you mean he?”
“The one who spoke. The others would just laugh at me…but He… He was the one who told me.”
She took a deep drag from her cigarette. “It must have been really frightening, hearing and seeing this…but what are they? What is He?”
“I believed them to be demons,” I muttered, blowing smoke. “I think that He is another side of me—the side that makes me want to drink, do coke, hurt myself, make me feel guilt and grief every waking moment. He ruined all of my relationships because sometimes I’d feel so out of control of my body or even experience being outside of it and watching myself… It wasn’t me, you know?”
Dawn took her last drag and flicked it off the patio. “I think he’s your bipolar disorder, do you see what I mean? He’s a symbolic hallucination, a hidden meaning. We need to find a way to perform a sort of psychological exorcism, if you will…”
My stomach flipped. “I—I think you’re right, but how are we going to do that?” Tears blurred my vision. “I want this to just…go away,” I sobbed. “Life is torturing me.”
She wrapped her arm around me and I cried into her shoulder. “All you have to do is what you’re doing right now, Jake. Talk. Tell me how you’re feeling, whether it be mixed emotions or emptiness. Don’t be ashamed; I think you’re a great person who’s been traumatized, and along with this mood and anxiety disorder, it makes it difficult without a healthy way to cope. Use this place as your support system. We are all here for you.”
“So…you guys will be like my family?”
She smiled. “Exactly.” She got up, lending out a hand. “Come on, let’s get back inside. I bet you’re exhausted.”
I took her hand. “Tired as hell…”