The room is cold and dismal, with a dark feel. Bright lights shine down from above washing out the colors in the room, creating shadows for menace to live in. It was a uniform cell, a small bed, a bathroom in the corner. Every morning upon waking they had to turn in their blankets and pillows to the warden before being permitted to shower and eat. The wake up bell rang long before the first morning sun slanted through the diminutive barred window. It was a lonesome life for most of the inmates, there was no company except for the hourly visits from the doctors. But Mary was different, special even.
She was never lonely, to go along with her visits from the doctors she had her husband; John her beloved husband who in fourteen years had never left her side. He, too, was special. When the time came for visitors to depart John stayed. He never left. The jail wardens let him stay or maybe they just didn’t detect him, he never talked. Mary understood him all the same; sometimes she would sit in the same spot all day just talking to John. He always comprehended her, never blamed her, and knew that she hadn’t meant it that night. She explained that she was angry, and had overreacted just that once. He seemed to understand her when she told him it was because he was going to leave her. And that now, he would stay forever, with her eternally. He’d understand, want her to talk softer, not to talk but she didn’t listen. He wouldn’t get angry though. He knew that Mary was strong willed, that she’d come to believe him in time. That she’d understand once it was best for her to, that for now it was best that she didn’t, best for her to block everything out.
They’d sit together at meals. Mary and John never had anyone else at their table. The other convicts were jealous of John, Mary's company, or maybe they were scared. Maybe Mary frightened them, chilled them with her illusions. Or maybe Mary just didn’t fit in with the crowd. Mary didn’t care she was just fine sitting with John, she’d talk to him at every meal, he was her best friend. Everyone else pretended not to see John, ignored him cruelly. Mary always stuck up for him and defended him though, told him not to listen to the other inmates.
Mary’s doctor would come in for her checkup, assessment. The doctor would talk to her; ask questions act like a friend, he was far from though. Mary would tell him about John, John who would stand in the corner watching them talk trying to tell her to stop. To turn and run back up the road she was going down, she never did though she couldn’t. John who stood there silently trying to tell her he wasn’t real. Sometimes she would almost believe John, those times when the doctor would tell her calmly that John was dead, that she had killed him herself. And sometimes she would almost believe the doctor, those times when John seemed to want her to believe him, to move on.
The doctor, the inmates and John all silently united against her, united for her, trying to tell her about John, about what she did. Trying to shock her out of the fantasy world she was living in, the fake fantasy world. But she didn’t listen, she never did. She was content, happy even; she spent every day with her beloved husband John, in Chicago at the mental institute.
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