A young woman in a psychiatric hospital cannot see herself as a good person.
|"I don't need a doctor to heal my mind, I need a preacher to save my soul," Christine Applewood said.
"Well just put up with me, Christine, I might help you in ways you haven't anticipated," Dr. Morton answered.
Dr. Susan Morton sat behind her desk. Large shelves of books loomed behind her. Dr. Morton was a handsome woman, attractive without the use of makeup. A person would see her as self possessed. Christine was a healthy young woman, about eighteen years old. She wasn't pretty, but she wasn't ugly. A person could sense a powerful sensuality in the curves under her clothes.
"Christine, I have something I want you to do for me. I want you to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side I want you to list all your good qualities. On the other I want you to list your bad. If your list of good qualities isn't way longer than your bad, I will say you are sure enough crazy, and you can't ever leave here," Dr. Morton told Christine.
"It won't make any difference," Christine muttered.
"Why not?" Dr. Morton asked.
"Because you still don't know what the real problem is," Christine mumbled.
"What is the real problem?" Dr. Morton questioned.
"The real problem is these! The real problem is this!"
"It's the truth, Dr. Morton.
"Christine, I will not permit you to say you are evil because you are a woman," Dr. Morton stated.
"It's the truth! That's why I am evil," Christine answered vigorously.
"Don't do this to yourself! The only thing bad about you is that you think you are bad!" Dr. Morton stated again.
"I want to see Reverend Garrison," Christine responded.
"No! I forbid you to ... " Dr. Morton trailed off.
"It's what I want to do," Christine said sharply.
"I don't want you to go to him, but I can't stop you," Dr. Morton said subduedly.
"I need a preacher to save my soul," Christine said.
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The chaplan at Willowview Hospital, Reverend Garrison, was a small man with beady eyes. What he lacked in physical stature he made up for with spiritual fervor. He demanded respect, and, because Willoview was a religious hospital, he got what he wanted. Many times when a person talked to him, Reverend Garrison seemed to be tallying up that person's sins, like the reverend personally held the key to that person's salvation. If a person didn't agree with the chaplan that person was headed to hell.
On this particular day he had kept Christine waiting outside his office for over an hour. He was seemingly absorbed in spiritual matters that were more important than the young woman waiting outside his door. When he let Christine enter his sanctuary he expected her to act ashamed, and Christine complied, bowing her head and not looking him in the eyes. Reverend Garrison maintained a heavy silence before he spoke.
"Why have you come to see me?" the preacher asked.
"I need you to redeem my sins," Christine responded.
"I have to see that you are worth redeeming," Reverend Garrison stated.
"I would do anything to be worth it," Christine said flatly.
"What have you done that you need to be save from?" the preacher asked.
"I was born evil," Christine responded.
"And you think I can help you?"l
"There are things you must do if you want to stop being evil," Reverend Garrison said, advancing on Christine.
"I know. I am ready to do them," Christine answered.
Christine bowed her head and went down on her knees.
"Yes, you have the devil in you, making you hot!" the reverend whispered fiercely.
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"Doctor, I humor you because I think you mean well, but for all your education you don't really understand human nature, because you don't know the difference between good and evil. To do that you need a man with my background," the chaplan said.
"Reverend, I understand more than you think," Dr. Morton said.
The preacher sat across Susan Morton's desk, unimpressed with the huge volumes of books behind her. If a person had seen these two figures that person would have understood the total psychic and spiritual war going on between them.
"Doctor, Christine Applewood is bad. That is something you know nothing about," Reverend Garrison told Dr. Morton.
"I know more about good and evil that you think. How dare you say Christine is bad! She is a pitiful little girl who has been tormented all her life by men who were supposed to protect her," Dr. Morton stated.
"She is evil."
"Men like you have made her think that."
"I'm sending her to the House of Rebecca. It is a fine facility for women with Christine's character. They will know how to deal with her."
"You don't have the authority. I am the one who makes that decision," Dr. Morton reacted.
"Doctor, in a religious institution like Willowview it is the board of regents who have the final decision in disputes like this," Reverend Garrison said.
"You're going to the board of regents!" Dr. Morton gasped, shocked at the reverend's audacity.
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Reverend Garrison was in a prayer group that had several members of the board of regents in it. He often ate at their homes. Dr. Morton had people backing her too, but her people were not as quick to act as the chaplan's. Reverend Garrison was able to implement his outrageous decision.
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"Christine, do you want to go to the House of Rebecca?" Dr. Morton asked in their final session.
"I'm sure it is a Christian place," Christine answered.
"But do you want to go there?" the doctor asked.
"It is what I deserve," Christine responded.
"Why?" Susan Morton queried.
"I told you why," Christine said.
"Is it because you hate your body?" Dr. Morton questioned.
"My body will get me sent to hell," Christine answered.
"Christine, all you have to do is say the word and I will stand up for you. I will go to the final mile for you," Dr. Morton pleaded.
"It is better that I go to the House of Rebecca."
"How can I get you to stand up for yourself," Dr. Morton asked hopelessly.
"I am getting what I deserve."
"Why can't you see yourself as the decent, worthwhile human being that you are?" Dr. Morton almost whispered.
"I told you why."
"Christine, you are not stupid, but you are mistaken. No one deserves to be treated like this - no one," Dr. Morton said finally.
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Christine sat in her room writing a statement. Her luggage was packed and sitting in the middle of her room. Suddenly she tore the sheet of paper out of her notebook and began writing on a new sheet.
"I know God will forgive me for what I am about to do, but he will never forgive Reverend Garrison for what he is doing to me. That doesn't matter now because I am going to a better place. Dr. Morton, if you read this, please understand that I love you, goodbye."
A bottle of pills and a glass of water sat on the desk in front of Christine. She drained all the pills into her mouth and washed them down with the water. She hid the empty pill bottle inside her desk and laid down on her bed. She closed her eyes and appeared to be asleep.
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"So help me God, reverend, I am going to make you pay for what you did to Christine," Susan Morton said to the pastor.
"I didn't do anything to her. Why are you blaming me for something she did to herself? Reverend Garrison asked.
The chaplan couldn't completely mask his discomfort. His eyes were bulging and veins had popped out on the side of his head. He sat behind his desk with a cross behind him.
"I know the tricks you play on the defenseless women who come in here. Other people know it too," Dr. Morton fumed.
"I know nothing about what other people know. Anything she did she did without my prompting. She acted on her own perverse notions and she deserves to go to hell for it."
Susan Morton's mouth fell open.
"Is there any limit to your vindictiveness? Is there any end to the shame and humiliation you want to heap on her?"
Reverend Garrison's face had grown a deep red.
"You know nothing about good and evil," the preacher sputtered.
"You know nothing about good and evil. For all you Godliness, you really don't!" Dr. Morton snapped back.
"Doctor, we have never been friends, but now, by God, I have had enough of your insolence. You have made yourself my enemy," the reverend sputtered again.
"Reverend, you are an enemy to humanity. Men like you have always preyed on the weak and the helpless, and there seems to be no limit on the harm you will do to get what you want. You cannot imagine how much it warms my soul to be your enemy," Dr. Morton responded.
"Doctor, what did you do with Miss Applewood's suicide note? I want to see it."
"I have it, and I am going to use it to bring you down."
"Doctor, I must demand that you let me have that note."
"No! I won't do that! I can also get testimony from others you have abused."
"You wouldn't dare do that. I know people."l
"I know people too. With all the stories about sexual predators in the news Willowview Hospital can't afford to protect you."
Reverend Garrison's arm suddenly stiffened, and edges of grey appeared around the redness on his face. He fell out of his chair.
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Susan Morton was almost sorry Reverend Garrison didn't survive his heart attack. It would have been so much fun exposing him.