The grass looks greener than I remember them. I slowly turn down the window and smell the crisp fresh country air. It feels good to be home. It feels good to be able to feel again, to think again, to be alive again. These past three months has been hell, I think more on my family then on me.
My brother touches my arm softly and gives me his reassuring smile as I turn to him. Don't worry, my eyes says, I will be okay. He nods, acknowledging that he knows I need some quiet time. The first month in the sanitarium went by in a blur.I remember bits and pieces, a smell, a touch, a smile, crooked laughter, pain. The second month was better. I started to think more coherently, I could reason against the growing fear in my heart. With the advanced psychotherapy that I received things became more clearer. By the third month I realised that I indeed had a psychotic breakdown. I now see that there was no beast. The fear that gripped me that night was the cherry on top the cake, the end result of a stressful month at work and in my private life. The doctor believes the ending of my relationship pushed me totally over the edge. I totally agree with him now.
According to my brother my boss has been extremely supportive under circumstances. I don't remember exactly but it seems that I attacked him that day when he came to my house. He was hospitalized with lacerations on his forearms. I don't think I will ever be able to face him again. I will have to find another job, but that will first have to wait. I need to heal myself now.
" We are home. Mom will be so glad to see you. Ever since... She has not slept properly for three months, nobody has..."
" I will be okay John. You don't have to worry about me anymore. I am home now," and I smiled reassuringly at him, " right where I belong. Nothing can hurt me here."
I opened the door of the Polo, got out and almost lost my balance as Apollo, our Rhodesian Ridgeback, jumped on top of me. I laughed as my face was washed for the second time that day. John had to drag Apollo off me. I can't remember ever feeling so carefree in a very long time.
My mother watched us smilingly from the doorway. I could see the relieve in her eyes. She was glad that her daughter was home and herself again. The sight of her just tightened my chest and then the walls gave way. Tears started streaming down my face. Tears of sorrow, of relieve, of joy, I was finally home and free of that dreadfully gray place!
She bundled me in her arms and we cried together. My brother left us there, quietly taking my suitcases to my old room. We had so much to say to each other and yet no words were spoken. In silence and with touch all were relayed. I was home.
I spent two months recuperating at home. After that emotional display the first day I came home, everything went back to normal. I helped in the daily tasks at home, busied myself with baking and cleaning. I went to visit old friends that I had not seen in years. My will and desire to live strengthened day by day and the medication was finally working properly. Everything was going well until...
The tell-tale signs started the first day of the third month I was home at exactly three o clock in the afternoon. A dreadfull smell suddenly filled my nostrils, only for a second, and then it was gone again. I chose to ignore it and continued with my daily chores. The second time it happened I took double my medication that night, and spent two days in a haze, at least the smell was gone. At times I would suddenly feel such horrendous dread lasting for a few minutes and then it dissapeared again. I started eating less. I started sleeping more during the day, trying to stay awake at night. The nights were fine, it was the days that plagued me. Days filled with a dreadfull smell and horrendous dread. I refused to give in to my fear.
It was in the middle of the third month. I was alone at home. A stench suddenly filled the room. I could hear gnarling behind me. Before I could run away, I was picked up and thrown against the cupboard. I could hear my ribs breaking as my side hit the wood. I looked up and saw the beast in front of me. It looked like a dog standing on its haunches. It's face contorted in anger, gnarling at me. I could hear Apollo barking like mad outside. He was scratching against the door, trying to get inside. The beast went down on it's paws, gnarling, showing it's razor sharp teeth, yellow foulsmelling saliva drooling from it's mouth. I just stared at it, my breathing laboured with pain and disbelief. They told me I was just hallucinating! I closed my eyes, counted to ten, and when I opened them the beast was on top of me. Horrified, I saw the saliva dripping on my face. I could see the malevolent look in it's eyes. I was going to die!
I closed my eyes again, waiting to die and then suddenly silence... The stench was gone too. I opened my eyes again and I was alone. I heard my mother and brother's voices in the kitchen.
" Oh, what's that smell?? Xena what have you been doing? Where is that smell coming from? Oh, my God! What are you doing on the floor, what happened here?"
I had trouble breathing through the pain and could not answer immediately. John helped me up as I struggled to regain my breath.
" And what is this yellow, stinky stuff on your face? What's going on here?"
"I tripped and fell against the cupboard. This is a new facial jel I was trying. Found it in one of the magazines. I know it smells awful, I will wash it off immediately." I was already breathing better, the pain dissapearing.
"Are you sure that you are ok?" my mother asked as I went into the bathroom. I nodded and closed the door. Looking into the mirror I saw my saliva filled face looking back. It was all real. The beast wants me. And why am I healing so quickly? Why me?
I washed my face quickly and went into my bedroom to put on some new clothing. Despite all that happened to me a few minutes ago, I felt enlightened. I was not crazy. This is real. Allthough I should be horrified I was on cloud nine. You can fight something that is flesh and blood and that is real, but you cannot fight a figment of your imagination. At least now, I have a fighting chance. Now I can be at peace.