CHAPTER ONE – NO HAPPY BEGINNING
A child’s first memory should maybe be their first day of school, or playing games with their parents as children, picking on little brothers and sisters, or being tortured by evil step-mothers and locked away in cupboards. Okay so that last one is a bit extreme, but I don’t have any memories from my childhood, no baby memories to speak of, nothing that makes me who I am, nothing about my so called family I had, or anything about MY life. I have read in books, about girls hanging with their friends on the weekends, and going to movies, kissing boys, all the things I wish I could have in my life. But my story is far from Hollywood movie material, far from the Princess who gets her Prince Charming; my story doesn’t even have a happy beginning.
Let me start from the start, well at least the start of what I know. I’m 18, my name is Claire Holland, and I live in a psychiatric hospital, I have for some time. Something happened in my past, something I am trying to figure out, but I can’t remember. My past is a mystery to me, one I am trying to figure out, but here’s what I do know:
1.My mother died during child birth and my father committed suicide after some financial troubles when I was a kid.
2.I was in an orphanage, but I can’t know where, I can’t know anyone I was friends with, not even the people who looked after me.
3.And lastly, I know I won’t be getting out of here anytime soon (with permission that is)
The last year has had many complications, from psychotic roommates to doctors who tried to electroshock me into getting my memory back, but it’s had happy moments along the way.
The large cream door opened, and in stepped the cutest doctor I have ever seen. His brown eyes, his hair and his smile made me melt inside, his warm touch on my hand held it out for me, grabbing hold I didn’t want to let go. He didn’t look that old, maybe early twenties, I knew I liked him.
“So Claire, what would you like to talk about today?” he asked softly. His voice! Oh, his voice was so sweet, so soft; it was like music caressing my ears, like the touch of a cool summer breeze touching your skin. I looked down at my hands; I wanted to be told of my beginning, where I came from, who I came from, what happened to me early on.
“Doctor...?” I questioned.
“Doctor? That's far too formal, just call me Josh, I want you to feel as comfortable as you need, I’m your new doctor from now on after all,” he smiled at me. My head spun, that feeling when someone has made you feel such lust that your mind spins out of control like a whirlwind of happy feelings and you just feel like you have lost your breath and your heart races and skips a beat, that's how I felt.
“Okay, uh, Josh. Can you tell me again how I got here? Who, where, why, what?” I asked, looking into my hands that were cupping each other tight. Everyone has a nervous habit; mine was playing with my fingers and staring at the floor. I was too nervous to look up, he made me feel hot and flustered, and most of all I felt like I was blushing, not for any reason either.
Josh smiled at me, his white teeth baring themselves. He wrote something down on his clipboard and got up to put it on a bench. That was when I started noticing his bodily features. His arms were muscular and tight, they tensed as he held the clipboard. His walk was strong and powerful, so confident and in charge, like he was happy with himself. I noticed he had a limp, a hurt ankle, after spending so much time away like me, you start noticing everything about people. It was his legs that stuck out to me the most, I noticed a scar along the bottom of his ankle when the cuffs of his jeans lifted up when he bent over, it didn’t look clean enough to be a surgical scar, so I guess it must have been from something else, I had to make a mental note to remind myself to ask him about it.
“Okay well let’s start with your parents. Is there anything you remember the other doctor telling you about them?” he inquired.
“No,” I lied. I wanted to hear it all again, I wanted to hear what happened to my family, and maybe Josh would tell me in a way that made me feel better about it, a way that made me actually believe it.
I didn’t believe anything anyone had told me about my past. All my doctors hated me, well at least they seemed too. Some even stuck me to tables and electrocuted me because they thought it would work. None cared about how I felt, just about what I knew, and that made me think that something in my past had to be big, something had to be a big concern and drama for them to want to try get whatever memories were still left inside my head.
His lips formed a pout for a split second and then started speaking. I tuned in carefully, catching every word, every detail, trying to remember some sort of memory from my past. But I didn’t get anything, not even tears, because I didn’t know these people he was talking about they were strangers to me, I didn’t recognize their personalities, or their photos when he showed me. I didn’t know them; they were a mystery to me.
“So is it making sense to you now? I’m sorry for throwing all of this at you in one day. Your mother didn’t survive your birth because you were a breach baby and she had you at home, all the pressure caused her spine to shatter and mass blood loss, with all that she didn’t survive the trip to the hospital,” I liked the way he told he, he genuinely cared, he was scared to hurt me, scared I wouldn’t want to hear it and it would just relapse me and send me back to the beginning. I nodded my head.
“Your father after all this had a fair amount of financial trouble. Lots of court meetings about your birth and about your mother’s death-” I cut him off.
“It was his fault?! Did he kill her?” I had never heard this, no one had ever mentioned this to me before, never thought my dad was a murderer.
“No! No! Of course not, he didn’t kill her; they questioned his ability to get her to a hospital before you were born. Most women are in labour for quite a few hours before the baby if born and people questioned why he didn’t get her there earlier. He wasn’t murderer.
Anyway, as I was saying, he had a lot of trouble with the police and the government over these accusations. Lots of lawyers and court cases, it was a fair amount of money for him. And with a baby it was too stressful for him, you got taken from him when you were four and a half, it was about a week later that he... about a week later when his next-door neighbour found him in hanging in his upstairs bedroom.” He finished, and for the first time he didn’t look confident, he didn’t look happy, he looked remorseful, he looked sad, upset, changed.
I placed my hand on his and he looked up. “Don't worry about me, it doesn’t upset me, I don’t even remember who they were, it’s okay,” I took my hand back and sat back against the wall on my bed. The chair was uncomfortable, hard, and after an hour or more, it got quite painful to sit there.
I listened to him talking for a few moments more before he told me our session was over, I smiled at him and walked him out of my room. I had never had a doctor like him, it wasn’t just that I was attracted to his cute, sexy, manly looks; it was his personality, sweet, kind, genuinely caring and meaningful.
I didn’t sleep that night, not a wink. The lights in the corridor went out around 10.30, the same as every night, and the room lamps went out at about 11, again the same as every night. There were no other lights for me to continue reading so I just laid there looking at the ceiling. I kept going through my mind of what happened today. I know I’d been told the same information over and over again, but this time it really sunk in, I really started thinking about the life that I dreamt I’d had every night. The whole white picket fence, the two story house with the marble finished steps and the large mahogany staircase, I guess I’ve watched way too much Annie in my life.
I stared out of the tiny sunroof in my ceiling. The stars were so bright tonight. I wished just one night I could take a walk out in the moonlight, stroll in the garden under the stars, smelling the night air. It was a challenge for them to just let me out during the day, let alone at night. In that moment I started wishing that I really wanted out of that place. The people might be nice, and some may be great friends, but there was some crazy people and there was some negativities to this.
So I grabbed a pen and paper and started scribbling down notes to an escape plan. Okay so I didn’t know a thing about how to escape from a place with twenty metre high brick walls and guards with gun at every entrance and exit, but it hell as sure wasn’t going to stop me from trying. There had to be some way out, I just had to figure out how.
Looking over my notes I felt even crazier than people thought I was. Digging holes out with spoons? Blowing up the brick walls? Going all Karate Kid on a guard and stealing his gun? None of my ideas looked like they would even remotely work, but I was still determined to try. I wanted out and I was going to get out.
I looked down at my notes, then the room went black, must be lights out, I thought to myself. 9.30 was lights out, which meant the whole room would go black and the only light would be the flickering light of the guards walking past our rooms.
“Claire, do you think we’ll be in here forever?” asked my roommate Chloe. I rolled over facing in her direction, looking for her silhouette in the darkness, but I could see nothing but blackness.
“I don’t know. Chloe, would you turn me in if I told you I wanted to escape from here?” I asked her. I heard her sit up in bed and then a deep sigh. Her mattress squeaked slightly as she moved around trying to get comfortable.
“Never Claire. You’re my best friend, I wouldn’t turn you in, but I would ask for one thing?” she whispered. The both of us went all quiet when we saw the light from the guards torch go past our room, it wasn’t until five minutes later did we talk again, just to make sure he was really gone and we wouldn’t get moved. “One thing, please take me with you!”
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