With one hand holding the waist of my pants and the other holding a small duffel bag, I took small, awkward steps steps through the empty halls. The orderly leading me explained the situation regarding my placement and tried to prepare me for how to handle the things I was going to see. He was a young guy and he was quiet when he spoke.
"You'll be out of this wing soon, couple of days tops. Just keep your head down and try not to excite anyone."
The door to my wing opened and there while there were no patients in sight, I could hear them wailing in the back. We approached the front desk which was connected to the normal wing. I looked to my right to see an older woman with matted hair standing in the hallway and pressing her face into the wall.
The orderly takes my duffel bag for inspection and I was taken to a room for a proper medical screening. They asked me why I was there and I told them about the breakup. How seeing her everyday tore me up inside, but didn't affect her in the slightest. I would have rather she hated me, because it was her apathy that was doing me in.
"Uh-huh." Was his response.
Then I just started throwing out more random traumatic memories, things I torture myself with every single day.
"Uh-huh." Was his response.
After I made the cute female nurse leave, I asked him about an embarrassing health issue. His eyes visibly clicked with recognition as the final piece of the puzzle slid into place and he understood why I was there.
"Now, I can't help you with that. But, I don't think you're crazy. Depressed, sure, but you're not insane. You are, however, about to see crazy."
I go back to the front desk and I ask if I can go smoke. Thankfully, they say it's OK and point to the door. The smoke room was a big wooden box with benches built along the walls. Also on the walls, were years of mad ramblings carved into their surface which you could get lost in for hours.
The first time I entered the box I was not alone, there were two other guys there with me. One was a cheerful middle age white guy who said, "They, call me joker, or smiley. Cos, I'm always smilin'. He wasn't lying, cat always had a smile carved onto his face. His eyes never smiled with his lips, they hid much more malevolent emotions.
The second was an emaciated black man in his thirties. He introduced himself by many names, one of which was Joseph. He was a prophet who spoke to Jesus Christ.
I lit my cig and savored the first drag before asking, "Whatcha guys doin'?"
Joseph looked at me, "We're reading the word of God. You're a believer aren't you?"
"You know," I squeaked, "religion is very complicated. There are lot of things you have to really think about."
"Not it isn't." Joseph's eyes flashed with wrath, "You're either with us, or with them." He points to the nursing station. "They get bled like pigs."
"Oh, um...I love Jesus. So much."
"Good." Joker finally chimed in. "Cos, see we can't read so good and you talk like you can. Come sit next to us and read the word of God."
"Yes. Great idea." I wasn't relieved by Joseph's approval.
I sat down in between them and a bible was thrust into my lap. I don't remember what I read to them, but I do remember thinking the experience was the personification of my feelings regarding organized religion, particularly Christianity.
The orderly who brought me in came outside right when the guys were telling me their deranged take on the passage I'd just read.
"We need you back inside."
"Thank you so much, man. I was getting worried." I said once the door was closed behind us.
"That was about to turn into a situation. Those two are the two most dangerous patients here. Don't turn your back on them."
"Joseph said people will be bled like pigs."
"Yeah, he says that."
He informs me my bag has passed inspection, my door is to remain open at all times, the rooms are monitored and I will be given a pill to help me sleep. He doesn't tell me what it is and I don't ask.
"What do you want to drink?" he asks. "We've got apple juice, orange juice, milk, chocolate milk..."
"Chocolate milk!" I say with the enthusiasm of a five year old.
He gives me two, which is more than I want, but I pop the pill and chug em both down because I doubt I'll have a minifridge in my room. Once I'm nauseous from the mixture of too much dairy and old Mexican food, he tells me where to find my room.
As I walk the halls I don't dare look into any of the open rooms, for fear at what I might find. I finally reach mine and when I cross its threshold I get a horrifying view of the woman from the hallway staring at me while completely naked. An involuntary burp filled my mouth with a concoction of fajitas, chocolate milk and vomit.
"This is my room!" She tells me as she stomps her foot.
"Okie-dokie." Was all I could come up with before I left.
I tell the orderly, "There's a naked woman in my room. This is the first time in my life I'm not stoked to say that sentence."
"Oh, um...ok. Take the one across from her, I'm pretty sure it's empty."
My new room was empty, but being forced to sleep with the door open meant it didn't make me feel any more reassured. I put my clothes in the cubby hole they gave me and brought my personal effects and put them in the nightstand by my bed. These effects included, one notebook and one pen. Both were given to me by the doctor.
The only luxury I truly missed was my music, so I spent the next 30 minutes writing lyrics to my favorite songs so I wouldn't forget them.
I glanced up and spotted a black box with a red light in the upper right hand corner. "That's odd," I thought. I then looked around to find them in every corner. This is when I remember what the orderly said,
"...all of the rooms are monitored..."
Fuck. This meant I wasn't even going to have the one natural stress reliever I've used every day since I was 13. (Grow up, I'm just talking about jacking off)
I sighed deeply, and turned out the light. The bed was uncomfortable, fitted with rubber sheets and one pillow and blanket which were almost paper thin. I used the pillow to block out the cacophony from the rooms outside. While it did manage to soften the noise from the external voices, the internal ones were turned up to 11.
"WHYAMIHEREWILLTHISMAKEHERLOVEMEYOUBROKEYOURMOTHERSHEARTSHEBROKEMINEFIRSTWEALWAYSKNEWITWOULDCOMETOTHISGOD WHY HAVEN'T THE SLEEPING PILLS KICKED I-"
When I awoke it was still dark out and something felt wrong. I was groggy from the pill I took and reached my hand under the blanket and it came back wet. The meds put me down so hard I pissed the bed. I walked to the front desk and stood there for a few moments, because I forgot why I went.
"Yes?" my best friend the male orderly asked with nervous eyes.
"No! I lost something. Can you help me find it?"
"Well, what'd you lose?"
"My fuckin' dignity, have you seen it?"
"Never mind. Can I have some clean sheets, please?"
His expression was quizzical, but he obliged. I went back and passed out again, unaware of what the next day would bring.