The Girl Who Loved Walt Disney (Part 2)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Eric now briefed about Sarah, delves into several Disney films to try and come to some conclusion about her delusion.

Submitted: April 23, 2015

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Submitted: April 23, 2015

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Chapter 2

Eric opened up his apartment door whilst struggling with the heavy box. There were a fair amount of tapes available and he questioned whether he would be able get through them all in time. Although Eric led a professional career, his apartment lacked the image. It was fairly basic with an open plan lounge/ kitchen, a bedroom and a tiny shower room with a fairly neutral décor that Eric hadn’t put his stamp on. Eric heaved the box onto the table and scrambled in his coat for a cigarette and his lighter. The days were usually fairly hectic so being able to smoke was a special treat for him at the end of the day. His family and even medical lecturers had disagreed with the habit but to Eric it was one of his only weaknesses. At school, it was common for him to smoke behind the sheds at break and even sell the occasional pack to fellow students. A teacher once caught him on a Tuesday afternoon which eventually led to him being suspended for three days. There was no doubt that Eric was a hard working pupil but he enjoyed having a rebellious streak. Smoking for him nowadays was more to settle unwanted cravings but seeing the sight of a lit cigarette made him remember that once upon a time, he didn’t always play by the rules.

He went over to his fridge and brought out a six-pack of lager and made his way to the settee. Again, drinking was one of his more casual habits that relaxed him after a particularly stressful day. Beer in particular gave him a warm feeling which couldn’t be matched. He started properly drinking at medical school when his roommates would tempt him with nights out and nearby parties. Eric, being the adventurous type was quick to give in and enjoyed long nights of binge drinking which he could rarely remember in the morning. He decided to cut back on nights out when he turned up hung-over to an autopsy lecture and vomited on his corpse causing a mild panic within the room. Beer was fine for him nowadays. It was rare for Eric to turn up hung-over for a shift yet he still enjoyed the occasional drink in the comfort of his own home.

Hopkin had let him take home Sarah’s file which would hopefully help him on his research and allow him to fully understand what had happened in her past. He spread the files out on the table and opened up one of his beers before taking several swigs and relaxing himself. There was a lot of information to process. Crib notes and interview papers were so thick that it would take a full day to go through everything. Eric had initially disagreed with Hopkins attempt at getting him to watch Disney films. He was a man who tried to apply theory on every case he had come across and he felt that cartoons would not help him to understand Sarah. Then again he hadn’t come across anything quite like this in the past. Even Hopkin who had been in the job for much longer seemed completely lost on the matter. He flicked through several notes in the file which showed numerous signatures from different doctors, probably from a number of practices. ‘Had they all failed in trying to rescue Sarah as well?’ Acting violently was clearly a common trait in the girl and it seemed she wasn’t going down without a fight. Eric was now called upon to do what no other doctor could. He knew that if he could pull this off, it would mean great things for him in the medical practice. He wanted to succeed and prove that only he was capable of curing such a damaged patient. And he knew precisely how to achieve it. Despite the initial scepticism, he had decided to go along with Hopkins instructions.

He had watched Disney films as a child but had never fully remembered them. Their messages were timeless yet it had been so long that a complete refresh was definitely needed. He had always associated Disney with family bonding and the idea of comfort. Every Christmas there would always be a film on the television which the whole family would have to watch and enjoy despite having seen it over one hundred times before. Similarly, it was common for people to watch Disney films when they were ill. Some had claimed it made them feel better and offered a sort of comfort which friends and family couldn’t offer. Eric couldn’t always understand why society held Disney in such a high respect but was anxious to get to the bottom of it.

He buried his hand in the box like a lucky dip and produced the first one he got a firm grip of. It was ‘Bambi’. Immediately he knew the story. Everyone knew the story of ‘Bambi’. After finishing off his first can of beer, he pushed it in the video player and began to watch.

Having not watched cartoons for many years, Eric was pleasantly surprised by just how much he enjoyed the film. It brought him back to when he was much younger. The memorable characters were all coming back to him which conjured a warming sense of nostalgia that he hadn’t felt in a long time. He remembered Thumper being his favourite character and how he used to try and mimic the famous foot pounding for hours on end. Even the death scene had caused Eric to feel slightly saddened. But whilst he was quietly enjoying himself, he knew he had to apply everything back to Sarah. The most obvious application he could make was the exploration of parental figures. Bambi had lost his mother just like Sarah did. Also, in both cases it was an act of murder by an evil cause; in this case it was man. Eric found an appropriate page in her file which documented the extent of Sarah’s agoraphobia. It described how she was afraid of the outside world, refusing to take a step outside and fearing murder when questioned why. Her father was clearly the main cause and it seemed Bambi had backed everything up. Overall, it was the classic circle of life story. Bad things do happen in life to good people and whether or not we take a stand, life just carries on. In many ways, Bambi taught a lot about responsibility which he hoped Sarah had taken on board. He jotted down a few notes on the file and opened up another can of lager.

The second film he put on was ‘Cinderella’. This was one he didn’t remember very well. As a child he didn’t grow up with a sister so he didn’t usually watch the princess films except when the family watched them altogether. Eric felt that it hadn’t aged well, due to the roles of the female characters and the portrayal of the Prince whom he felt was shallow and unfocussed. The whole concept alone of ‘love at first sight’, to him was slightly ridiculous. Nowadays, if a film was brought out that portrayed the same shallow attraction, it would cause upset. However, it gave him a clear idea on how this particular film had affected Sarah. The notion of being imprisoned was clear from the treatment of Cinderella by her family. Sarah doesn’t believe she is insane which conjured the idea that Hopkin is keeping her imprisoned against her will, just like the wicked stepmother in the story. Similarly, Sarah is waiting for a male to come and rescue her just like the Prince rescues Cinderella. Eric rubbed his nose and wondered whether it would be a similar ‘love at first sight’ encounter. Looking through the notes, Sarah had never developed an attraction to any of the people who tried to help her, nor had she even warmed to them.

 It had seemed that other things had also rubbed off on her. In the file it stated that Sarah had developed a habit of cleaning which was a common hobby for Cinderella. There were accounts of Sarah requesting a broom so she could sweep her room at the institute as well as a bucket of water to wash her clothes in. It had seemed that this particular film drew more comparisons than Bambi did, possibly due to the fact that Sarah had found a connection with Cinderella. She too was a young female trapped in an unforgiving world.

Eric began to understand the sheer weight of what he was dealing with. So far, both films had delved into possible theories surrounding Sarah’s delusion. With each moment and each encounter, there was a comparison to be made. Looking over at his clock he realised it was getting late. Eric was usually in bed by 11:00 to get up early at around 6:30 but tonight he was wide awake. The bright colours were almost hypnotic to watch and the stories themselves were keeping him entertained.

 He decided to watch one more before the night was over. A more obscure one ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. This one was more difficult to apply. Eric could understand the portrayal of the villain being related back to Hopkin. In this case, Frolo as a judge was in a position of authority much like a doctor is in charge of an institute. Sarah on one account was said to call a nurse ‘a guard’ possibly referring to the workers as minions or pawns to Hopkins grand scheme. As well as this, in one particular scene, Quasi-Modo is being humiliated in front of the town as the people throw rotten fruit at him. This was of particular interest as in the file it claimed that an unstable patient had once thrown food at Sarah from the corridor. This had led to her spending all day in her room crying and claiming she was ‘ugly and a monster’. Although public humiliation had never happened to Sarah, it was important for Eric to understand her vulnerability towards other people if he was ever going to bond with her. He was quite surprised though that she hadn’t attacked the patient. Sarah was quite feisty when it came to confrontation with the staff so why not with the patients? Common ground maybe?

After the third film he tidied up the table and got himself ready for bed. Eric’s bedroom was littered with various clothes and other accessories. Although he was a well- respected doctor, he was still a young man, trapped in old habits like untidiness. Nevertheless it had been a long day and he needed a long sleep before he woke up and indulged himself in Walt’s mystical world.  Hopkin was probably still at the institute. Eric had noticed large bags under his eyes and his worn out manner which was apparent from the first moment he met him. He must have agonised over this case for months! There was no doubt that Sarah was a very interesting human being yet Eric questioned why Hopkin was so determined to have her cured. He closed his eyes and began to slip into a deep slumber. Sarah’s face appeared to him in the dark. She was so young and innocent. He thought of her in the bedroom watching every cartoon like it was the first day of school. She took in everything she saw and learnt from it, unquestioning and focussed. Her father was downstairs slipping ever closer to his suicide, whilst he betrayed her and believed he was doing right. She had a bucket to shit in and a blanket to keep her warm. A young girl, who didn’t deserve any of this, was abused. Eric began to understand Hopkin’s obsession. He was probably a family man who loved and cared for his children more than anything in the world. And along came Sarah; so scared and alone, who craved love and attention but was too damaged to trust anyone. Hopkin clearly hated being the villain; he could see it in his face. He obviously wanted to be the one who could save Sarah but his part was already in place. It was now up to him.

Eric sat up and rubbed his eyes. He wanted to carry on.

He buried his hand in the box whilst still wearing his pyjamas. ‘Aladdin’ was next. This was the first film that he actually laughed at. He remembered this being a boy’s film that the girls were never really keen on. It was funny, smart and surprisingly touching. Nevertheless there was a fair amount he could take away from it. Jasmin was again held prisoner but by her father this time. It seemed peculiar as there seemed to be hardly any anger or hatred between the two characters. They actually got on fairly well throughout the entire film. Eric flicked through some interview notes until he came across a time when Sarah was asked about her father. To his surprise there was considerable respect for the man. Despite the years of neglect, Sarah was allegedly confident in claiming that she loved her father with all her heart. Before Eric could begin to process, he was thinking back to the previous Disney films. Quasi-Modo did have respect for Frolo as his master and Cinderella obeyed her evil Stepmother. There was an underlying lesson. Obey and respect your family. It reminded him of a biblical commandment. Sarah loved her father because she didn’t know any better. As far as she was aware, her father was her protector who meant no harm. Hopkin had taken her away from her home and away from her father ultimately making him the villain. Despite months of trying to convince her, Sarah was certain that her father was a good man.

Next up, ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ What struck him most throughout this one was the role of the hero. Gaston who has the usual cliché qualities of a hero is ultimately the villain. Eric began to think about himself. In all the films he had seen, all the males had contrasting personalities. Aladdin was cheeky, the prince was shallow, Feebus was brave and Gaston was arrogant. He realised that when meeting Sarah he would have to adopt a personality that would interest her. He gathered that arrogance would not work as Gaston failed at courting Belle. He thought back to the times when he tried to impress women. Eric was confident in his job but was nervous when it came to girls. He was a good-looking man but had problems when finding the common ground. Sarah would have no common ground at all so this was going to be tougher than he thought. In an ideal world he would want the ‘love at first sight’ theory to work but he had his doubts. Eric was coming into this situation out of the blue with no reason as to why Sarah should give him the time of day. He understood that he couldn’t introduce himself as a doctor because she would automatically think he was one of Hopkin’s minions. He would have to come up with a plan but for now he was falling asleep. Eric passed out on the settee as the credits began to roll.

 


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