This story is constantly evolving. It’s still different than my other stories – please excuse what may look like misspellings. I was trying to go for dialect.
Again, please don’t read too much into this; I’m not trying to insult anyone, not trying to make fun of anyone. At one point in my life, I worked for a social services center that had an inpatient unit, so part of my writing comes from that experience. Unfortunately, a lot comes from movies.
Please note that there are some things that I will not write here although originally when the story came to me, those words came quite easily. I like to think I know better.
I want to acknowledge http://www.davidbakerphotography.com/ where I got the picture for this post. It’s of the St. Andrew Asylum – which I unfortunately know nothing about.
Enjoy – and don’t forget, please comment. This is new territory for me so I’d really like to know your thoughts. Thank you!
“I have been getting reports that you are leaving your room at night Marcus.” Dr. Bami Monisht said emotionlessly as he read through the file.
Marcus Williams, former sports superstar, was quiet for a moment as he tried to decipher some of Dr. Monisht’s words amidst his heavy accent. After a moment he shrugged. “I have trouble sleeping, Doc and that’s a good time for me to think – it’s quiet and no one bothers me. Besides, I’m used to it.” He grinned at that last part, but stopped when Dr. Monisht looked up at him.
The older man looked at Marcus through near Coke-bottle glasses, sized him up and down again and blinked. It irked Marcus at times that it appeared his assigned psychiatrist judged him. He had asked for a transfer, but all things considered he had little choice.
“It is against hospital policy, Marcus. There are safety issues ….”
“Doc, I’m a big guy, ain’t no one gonna mess with me.”
“…plus we are a small facility. We do not have the capability of obtaining proper people during working hours; having someone watching over you ….”
The language barrier must have something to do with it. His own therapist couldn’t be insulting him, could he? “I’m just walking, Doc, not doing anything else. It’s not hurting anyone.”
“Marcus, we have rules in place for a reason. You may feel perfectly safe, but we have other patients who do not have your ….” He waved his hand trying to come up with the right word.
“Stability. Do not forget Marcus, you may be self-committed for substance abuse but this is still a mental health facility first and foremost. Some of our patients jump at a whisper. We do not wish to lose what precious improvements we have struggled to obtain.”
Marcus sat silently on the couch and looked down, not sure how to respond to that. Was he seriously being scolded and talked down to? Was his condition considered less pressing than anyone else here?
“Please do not take what I say that your success is not important, but we have to follow guidelines set down that have been proven successful. The terms of your probation are clear; you have ….”
“Three years. Yeah.” He sighed and shifted on the couch. This was going to be a long sentence. He should have listened to Ray-Ray and let him drive that night.
“We are not heartless, Marcus.”
The man shrugged.
“How have you been doing?”
“Been clean for seven months now Doc.”
“Six months incarceration and three weeks here…”
Marcus sighed. “Yeah Doc.” Man this sucked.
“Let us try something out Marcus. We can try a probationary period – provided Dr. Thomas does not have objections. You can have a walking routine, but only on this part of the wing and only on this floor.”
“It’s not a very large wing Doc.”
“No, but this area houses the less … extreme patients.”
“So the other side of the building…?”
“Has more security to it. Our less violent, but more … unstable patients reside there.”
“That is restricted.”
“Like the most dangerous ….”
“For now, Marcus, consider it restricted. You can follow Clyde on the nights he does his rounds. Right now, I believe he only is here ah two nights a week, but it could be a start?”
Marcus smiled, it wasn’t great but it was ‘a start’. “Clyde?”
“He is our head orderly.”
“Ok, Doc. Thanks.”
Dr. Monisht looked at his watch. “Well, we have a few more minutes. I see you have ….”
His conversation with his therapist weighed heavily on his mind. Not so much the therapy session, that was productive. It was the way Dr. Monisht made him feel, like he was an outcast because he wasn’t crazy. He had only made the mistake of snorting, driving and severely injuring someone.
So far, walking made Marcus feel better. He had made restitution with the victim and his family. They even publicly forgave him. But it still ate away at him. Walking and discussing the situation with Clyde did help, even if Clyde wasn’t a licensed therapist, or doctor.
Well, he couldn’t actually say he talked this out with Clyde. In reality, he said a couple of words and Clyde did most of the talking.
Marcus was grateful when Clyde stopped jabbering. He couldn’t believe that such a big guy could act like a teenage girl. But he was a sports fan, so yeah, it probably made sense. He shadowed Clyde when he went through his rounds in the wing Marcus had permission to be in and got some thinking in when Clyde wasn’t asking him questions.
Because he was behind schedule tonight, and not due to Marcus, Clyde allowed Marcus to follow the head orderly to the other end of the building.
There was nothing different about this, except maybe a few more barred windows and extreme quiet.
They passed door after door and Marcus watched Clyde check in on patients and mark on paper reports clipped to boards by the doors. Interesting job.
They passed another door, which wouldn’t have mattered much to Marcus, except Clyde didn’t look in on the person. As far as he knew, the facility was full up – at least they had told him he was lucky to get a room here.
“Not gonna check this one?”
Clyde turned and looked at him. “Huh? Naw man. No sound – she’s asleep or behavin’. It’s when she talks that worrisome.
Marcus walked up to the door, open the window and peeked in.
“Hey Clyde, is she listening to music?” Marcus asked when he found his voice.
Clyde looked over. “I thought you did’n want no distractions.”
Marcus smiled but didn’t say anything. He wanted to tell Clyde how much of a distraction he was but thought better of it.
“Guess you entitled to make y’own.” Clyde shrugged then looked at the door to the room Marcus was just looking into. “That’s Val’s room ain’t it?”
“I guess. I don’t know these people.” He nodded anyway and moved to one side when Clyde stepped over to look through the small window. He gazed at the woman sitting in the room. She was currently rocking rhythmically back and forth, her hands cupped over her ears as though holding headphones close to block out any other noise. Her eyes were wide open and staring blankly at the door, but it appeared she didn’t see anything.
“If she listenin’ to music, it’s from her memory. They don’t allow her kind access to that in their rooms.” He moved back and faced Marcus.
Marcus frowned. “Her kind.”
“Don’t mean nothing bad by it. Means her class – classification. She’s restricted from a lot of things. It’s to ‘prevent any attempts at harming themselves or us’ with cords and shit.”
“She doesn’t come across as the physical type, or with enough strength to hurt any of the orderlies.”
The orderly cleared his throat and rubbed the side of his neck. “You’d be surprised what she capable of. And with Jan … whoo! Now that’s bad.”
Marcus looked back at the door, then moved so he could see her. She was still sitting in the same place, same position, rocking to the beat of whatever song she could hear. “I don’t think she’d do anything bad.”
Clyde put a hand on Marcus’ shoulder, regaining his attention. He looked into the brown eyes of the young man and wondered. “Man, I am telling you this for y’own good. You are here for good an’ you’re an awesome player. They don’t encourage relationships between patients. She is bad news, man. Stay away from Val. Way I hear it, you making progress; don’t wanna see you lose all that. Ain’t nobody want you going down the same path Jan did.”
“Look man, I shouldn’t have said even that; you know, confidentiality and shit, I can’t actually talk about other patients, but man please, please, find another friend – or lover – or whatever else you trying to find while you’re in here. Leave this one to herself.”