Upon awaking from my frantic attack, I found myself in the nurse’s office on one of the cold, hard sofas in the back room. I could not recall what I had done in front of the classroom at first, but it eventually came to me again. I wish it had not, for I nearly strangled myself right then and there. How embarrassing that everyone I knew had watched my pitiable episode. I scoffed bitterly. Then I lied back down and drifted off into another slumber.
My father was furious at the nurse. She had told him I was in need of a psychiatric evaluation and seeking out a professional was the healthiest thing for me. All my dad saw, however, was money that needed to be spent on a therapist. He also saw the entire neighborhood speaking of the deranged son who lived down the street. They would inevitably point and laugh at him, and mock him for the disgraceful thing he had conceived. I was kept out of school for two months and saw a doctor regularly during that period. Therapists. How they anger me. You pay them copious amounts of money to listen to you drone on about your bullshit, then they write your stories down and evaluate you based on other people who shared similar tales. After which, they get out papers and do a few Google searches to figure out your trauma, give you a useless diagnoses, and prescribe you various drugs. I was put on so many that I soon became completely dependent on them. I could not function at all without swallowing handfuls upon handfuls of small pills and chugging water bottles until they were empty. Addiction would be the right word, I assume. I took all sorts of pills, like Effexor XR, Amitriptyline, Resperidone, Cogentin, Xanax and Benzatropine. I didn’t know what most of these things were meant for, but I really didn’t care and downed them all in large doses that by all rights should have rendered me catatonic.
During the final few weeks of my therapy, I began spending more and more time inside of the facility where I was being treated. Within this facility was a dormitory of sorts for troubled teenagers, such as myself, who were emotionally incapable of living with their parents for whatever reason. After every afternoon session with my doctor, I would walk by the dormitory and speak with the kids who resided there. One of them offered me a cigarette. He had somehow snuck several packs of them into his room with the help of his bipolar roommate, and as I began interacting with the two of them, they opened up enough to me that I was able to solicit a variety of things from them. Before then, I had never smoked a cigarette, so I was a bit reluctant to start that disgusting habit during my treatment. But the sessions became unbearably long and boring, and soon enough, cigarettes were the only things getting me through the day. One afternoon, I secretly walked through the girl’s portion of the dormitory and met a young sixteen-year-old named Lily. The girl’s dorms were off-limits to boys and I happened to walk through there after getting lost with some schizophrenic kid who thought that he was Willem Dafoe’s lovechild. He ran off somewhere and I blindly followed, not wanting to be responsible for him accidentally maiming himself. During the walk, the young girl, Lily, caught my eye. Usually I do everything in my power to avoid eye contact, most especially with members of the opposite sex, but I suddenly became drawn to her listless demeanor. Her airy, far-off look was enticing and interesting. She stared at walls for no reason and had a blank expression on her face that seemed both terribly empty and painfully complex. Her hair was cropped short, barely coming down to her shoulders. She was skinny, but not skinny enough for me to assume that she suffered from an eating disorder. Her eyes were an exotic color, almost yellow, and her skin was pale and dreary. She wore a sweater despite it being the spring, and her short pants stayed far above her knees and back towards her waist. I hesitantly walked past her with my eyes still drawn on her. I suppose she had met my gaze sometime, as she beckoned for me to sit next to her on the bench outside of the girl’s dorm office.
“Hey guy. I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you creeping around the girl’s dormitory?” she said in the most deadpan voice.
I was beginning to sit down when she made that remark. It caught me off guard, and I blushed feverishly.
“I w-wasn’t c-creeping around,” I barely got the words out. “I was following that schizo kid around. I didn’t want him running into a wall and getting severe brain damage or something.”
She had a puzzled look on her face. She tilted her head to the left a bit, confused. “Which schizo kid? There are a bunch of those here, so you’ll have to be more specific.”
“Are there really? Huh.”
“Yeah. Some are better than others, but there are a few that are seriously screwed up. This one girl I know imagines that she’s a member of the Manson family, and they go around murdering reality TV show stars. I woke up once to find her with a knife to my roommate’s throat. I was freaked out.”
I nodded awkwardly in response to her story, “That’s uh—interesting.”
Silence. Eventually, she bothered to shatter it, making me a bit less uncomfortable.
“So what are you in here for? OCD? PTSD? Borderline? Bipolar? Depression? Suicidal? Homosexuality?”
“Nah, none of those.” I told her my story. She sat through my entire rendition without so much as blinking, listening attentively to every single word. Nobody, not even my therapist, was as understanding as this girl. With her, I felt secure in a way that I’ve never really felt before. I asked her for her name during a random outburst, and she told me that it was Lily. I gave her my name too, and I agreed to meet her in the same place again tomorrow.
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