Walking into the heartless manufactory, I felt a sudden tenseness that entered into my body. A feeling that I had never before in my life.
“Consider all that we do for you,” the mental health advisory had always told me. “At least we are a lot better compared to the foolishness that your father brought.” I thought back on the words, reflecting on them. She was probably right, yet no matter how hard I tried, the gnawing feeling continued to bare his teeth into me. His jaw stabbed me in the heart, wriggling itself to make a deeper gash inside.
Getting on my bike, I wheeled my way across the entire theme park. Deep inside, I could feel the fear inside of me. It’s nothing, I kept saying to myself. I need to get back to the hospital. The night droned on, baring her teeth with her darkness. The only thing that eased her anger was the lighting of the moon. I always looked up to the moon for a sense of hope. It had always given me an empowerment throughout the most troubling of times.
My bicycle meandered throughout the chutes and alleys of town as I struggled to get to the hospital. On the side, several road ways led in different directions. The signs to their left showed danger if I went in a certain direction. Ignoring the temptation, I went along on my usual route—past ciruit road to the other end of Hampton Boulevard.
Skidding to a halt, I walked inside and headed straight for my bedroom. Just as my therapist came to the opening of the room, I grabbed a book and put it close to my face.
“Ah, I see you are reading; very healthy for you if you ask me,” she said as she set down my tray. Grabbing the spoon, I knelt down and devoured eggs into my mouth. She smiled, suspecting nothing.
“I’d wish you the best for you getting healed,” the nurse said, “but I would very much rather wish it to someone that actually desired to feel better instead of sitting around in bed doing nothing.” My eyes flashed as they rested underneath the page.
“Well carry on then,” she said, leaving the room. My teeth chewed against the squishy texture of the egg, reminding me of the sponges that I had swallowed when I was four years old, and my mother had ordered that I take it out of my mouth. As dull as the eggs may have tasted, they filled my mind with memories, reminding me of the simple days.
No, no, all wrong. Those days never existed, and hopefully they never will. I shut out the light and placed the book away from me. Looking out the window, I could see nothing but the night sky smothering the rest of the world. I liked the darkness. The soothing silence gave me a purpose for me to live—it gave me a hiding place where I could depart.
Walking through the halls of the hospital reminded me of trying to pull a boulder across the room—it felt lonesome and tiresome. I looked at some of the doors that I passed by. I dare not look inside of the doors and find out what went on within the inner chambers.
I knew where the doctor was taking me—I just didn’t want to go. The sound of my feet rubbing against the surface of the floor caused me to become very frightened.
“Alright everyone! How about we all try and whenever the ball comes to us, we say what our name and favorite animal is!” Dr. Fried said. All of us sat around in our daily meeting times for the circle game. This was meant to help us all interact with the other patients around us. I looked over at Slanky over there, who had a long neck like a giraffe.
For a second, I imagined him using that neck to wrap around Dr. Fried until she suffocated to death.
The ball went out. The first person to receive it was Slanky.
“Say your name,” the doctor said. Slanky froze like an icicle.
“Your favorite animal?” I could see him wrapping himself around Dr. Fried like a Boa Constrictor. Oozing his way around her body, he squeezed and squeeed until Dr. Fried just begged him to stop, but her voice would all be for avail, for Slanky would have wrapped himself so much around Dr. Fried.
The ball landed on my lap. I did not know if Slanky had really given any answer at all or not.
“Hi, I’m Lexi,” I said. “My favorite animal is the moose.” Dr. Fried brightened up as she heard my answer.
“Lexi! I see that you have received much improvement. I passed the ball to the person next to me. Looking up at the clock, I sighed. I never heard any of the other names being said; all I could see was Dr. Fried suffocating under the pressure exerted upon her. Her hands reached up, clamping onto his stiff neck—bu he wouldn’t let go.
I knew really why he had such a stiff neck. I knew that it was a birth defect. I knew that deep inside he was ashamed of it. I knew that deep down he wanted more than anything to just be like everyone else.
I just hadn’t cared enough to actually go up to him and talk to him. My fingers went underneath my chair. I waited as the ball continued passing around one person to the other until it stopped at Dr. Fried.
“Thank you everyone for participating,” she said. “Lunch time is almost ready now that we are already done.” I looked over at Slanky, who was sitting there in that crooked posture while his neck was arched forward. The people all got up from their seats in mild eagerness; Slanky sat there quietly, not moving a single muscle, sitting alone.