My parents first had me committed when I was six years old. They found me in our pool, floating above the tiled bottom, with the pockets of my sundress filled with rocks. The second time, I was eleven and I jumped off the lower deck of the cruise ship we were holidaying on. My older brother tattled on me, even though he promised he wouldn’t. Now I am seventeen, and have just been dropped off at the Royal Alexander Centre for Mental Health for the third time in my short life. The process is the same; my mom hugs me, all tear stained and snotty, my brother stares at me, his eyes brimming with tears as he rings his ball cap, and my dad stays in the car. My doctor, an attractive man in his mid forties, Rick, takes me to his office while an orderly puts my bags in a room, after thoroughly searching them.
“Sit” Rick orders as he points to a well-worn leather sofa. I obey, popping my sandal-clad feet on the coffee table and unwrap a candy from an old fashion jar. I take a deep breath, enjoying the familiar scent of the old books he stocks his shelves with, but doesn’t read. “I saw you last month; you were fine. What happened?”
“I just need to be in the water,” I murmur as I stare longingly at his aquarium. If I were a fish none of this would be an issue.
“I know you need to be in the water,” Rick says as he reaches for a sucker. “But you also need to breathe.”
“I don’t,” I protest, feeling a sense of familiarity as we slip into a conversation we’ve already had. “I was only down there for six minutes; I would have come up if I had known they were there.”
“You were in a public pool” Rick replies, clearly exasperated. “The lifeguards found you, floating face down in the deep end. Mothers wailed, kids screamed, people thought you were dead.”
“I was just trying to catch my breath” I say quietly as I rip the candy wrapper into confetti.
“You fought against the lifeguards when they tried to pull you out” Rick states. “You kept diving back into the water, and swimming to the bottom. It took three of them to restrain you until your parents got there.”
I sit in silence, remembering the bliss of being underwater. The calm, blue serenity of the pool was too much to ignore. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be around water unsupervised, but I just couldn’t help it. I had meant to come up before the morning swim class got there, but I lost track of time. I may have overreacted with the lifeguards, they were just trying to help, but they took me out too soon. People don’t understand that I need to be in the water. Rick and my family have classified my need as a number of different things ranging from deliberate self harm to schizophrenia. I’ve tried to tell them the truth, but it makes my mom cry more and my dad mad. My brother used to believe me, but not anymore; he’s all grown up now.
“You don’t appear to have suffered any physical damage though.” Rick says thoughtfully as he scans over his notes. “I think keeping you here for the night will be good enough. I’ll call your parents.”
Taking that as a leave of dismissal, I get up off the couch and wander towards the common area. I’m in the youth wing, which is co-ed, but usually pretty empty. Most kids that have real problems are brought to the bigger hospital up state. They have craft days, music therapy, all of that shit. Today I’m pleasantly surprised to see Marissa. She’s my age, but so beautiful she makes me want to throw up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ugly. Self loathing is something I do not suffer from. I’m tall and lanky, with just enough boobs to fill a b-cup but no ass. I have white blonde hair and pale grey eyes, and a surprisingly pale complexion for how long I spend outside. Marissa is also tall, but she’s gracefully thin, like a willow tree. She has long, thick dark hair and oval shaped green eyes. She has beautiful bronze skin, small enough boobs to go braless, and an ass you could bounce quarters off of. Her only flaws are the hundreds of tiny, perfectly straight cuts that mark the inside of her thighs and wrists. If you ask me, they just make her all the more beautiful; beauty is flawed, perfection is a lie. Today she is wearing a pale yellow sundress that makes her skin look like honey, with fresh bandages on her wrists.
Gabriel Johnson never thought days like the one he was having actually existed. He thought they were merely Hollywood clichés drummed up by directors to make the audience feel compassion for the unlucky S.O.B. Unfortunately for Gabe this was his life, not a movie set. It had started off in a typical fashion; he lost his job.
“Well Gabe” His overweight, greasy mustached boss said as soon as Gabe got to work. “The good news is that we love you; the bad news it that we don’t love your numbers. That new kid, Jerry, bypassed your monthly sales quota in a week. We are going to have to let you go.”
Gabriel murmured that he understood, packed up his desk, and left the car lot he had worked at for ten years. On the drive home he spilled his coffee on his lap and was quite certain he got a photo radar ticket. He then walked through the door of his suburban home and found a note from his wife on the counter.
I've gone to stay with Angeline for a few weeks. I think we need some time apart to evaluate our relationship.
Underneath the note was a letter from their lawyer stating that today marked the first day of their trial separation.
Gabriel kicked off his shoes and went to the refrigerator, tossing the note into the recycling bin as he walked by. He collapsed in his leather recliner, a present from his wife, and whistled for his dog. Failing to hear the thumping of paws, he opened a beer and drained half of it in one swallow.
“Of course she would take my dog.” Gabriel said to the empty room. “One can only hope she took that damned cat too.”
Hearing that someone was home, their big grey cat, Simon, sauntered into the room.
“Great” Gabriel said sarcastically as he finished the rest of his beer.
Molly leaving him wasn’t as much of a shock as losing his job was. They had been having problems. They had tried unsuccessfully for the past two years to have a baby, and despite countless checkups and counts, she was positive he was the problem. Their once exciting sex life had dwindled into a boring routine that only happened when Molly was ovulating. She spent her days flipping through books and researching the best positions to conceive in. She begged for IVF but with her not working and the miserable economy it was out of the question. His job on the other hand was going great, or at least he thought it was. Sure his numbers weren’t as great as they used to be but no ones were. If that little prick Jerry, with his bronze skin and fake teeth, hadn’t showed up everything would have been fine. Now, at 32 years old, he was going to have to dust off his rarely used résumé and pound the pavement.
Gabriel stood up and made his way to the office, grabbing another beer as he went. He booted up his computer and found a photo of him and his wife smiling on his desk top. Suddenly Gabriel felt a wave of emotion overcome him and he started to cry.
The next few passed by in an alcohol induced blur and Gabriel woke up Thursday morning to numerous piles of vomit and his cat meowing loudly. Gabriel stood up, wiped his face with the bottom of his filthy t-shirt, and stumbled into the kitchen in search of cat food. He dumped some into a bowl and placed it on the counter next to an obscene amount of empty bottles.
Gabriel either didn’t notice or didn’t care that the phone was ringing but froze the moment the answering service kicked on.
“Gabe” Molly said over the recording “We need to talk. I’m coming over today, if traffic isn’t a bitch I’ll be there in two hours.”
“Damn it” Gabriel moaned as he surveyed the damage he had caused. Aside from the vomit, there were bottles strewed all throughout the kitchen and living room, cat shit in the corners, and at least 4 oddly colored stains on their light beige carpet. The TV was blaring trashy made for TV porn and he had missed thirteen calls to his cell.
So that's all folks......opinions would be greatly appreciated :)