I was adamant on getting up, but the incessant shuffling of feet outside my room was enough to wake me. Well, technically you could not call it waking up if one was not asleep to begin with. Looking around my new room which only has a bed with blue comforter and white pillow and a night stand where our fading family portrait is on, I can see that it’s a little bare and bland, I didn’t notice it when I first moved here a couple of nights ago, but it suits me just fine and it beats my previous room.
My body clock tells me that it’s around seven in the morning and is confirmed by the sun peeking on my window. Gracing my skin with light and warmth and pouring my being with false hope of existence. Another sleepless night had passed by, with me just staring at the window admiring the blackness of the night warping everything with mystery and untamed beauty.
I never did fear the dark, unlike most people, I am comfortable with it. The frequent hiding in dark confined spaces, to get away from the chaos in the house made me accustomed to darkness. It became my fortress, to block out the madness and the violence that keeps following me in and outside the house, my escape route or my abode of solitude if you want to be poetic. I have never been a morning person. Why can’t night be longer and day be shorter?
I am not still used to people up and about this early. A reason I hate morning is because of breakfast. I have never experienced those breakfast that you see on television, where the mother is cooking, the dad reading newspaper while having coffee and their children eating and idly chatting and everyone seems to be enjoying each other’s presence. The breakfast with my family is like a clip from a doomsday movie where zombies walk the street. Bottles of liquor littered the floor; Dad is passed out on the table, possibly dead, Mom crying about everything, ranging from the country’s economy to her drunkard husband and me trying to get out of the house unnoticed. Maybe this change of scenery would cure me of my “morning sickness”. That makes me sound like a pregnant woman, but that’s so appropriate.
As I was busy thinking if breakfast here was much better, I was interrupted by a deep male voice.
“Did you sleep well?” I would be startled if I was not used to, to the owner of the voice, a long time friend appearing unannounced.
“You know too well that I have trouble sleeping and the sleeping pills they gave me are not even helping” I responded monotonously as I was fixing my bed.
“You don’t even try anymore these days don’t you?” He asked sounding more pleased than he should have. Why am I getting the feeling that this fact amuses you? I retorted back knowing full well his answer.
“Well, it gives me more the reason to come talk to you. You must be so lonely in here but you got to admit, this beats the hell hole where you came from, right? ” He said while stifling laughter. I sighed and sat on the perfectly made bed, thinking it’s too early to argue. But silently I am thinking about if agreeing to move is a good choice to make.
My friend’s statement rings in my head “this beats the hell hole where you came from, right?” Well he did see firsthand what my living environment is like, so he is not just judging blindly.
Physical and verbal abuse is a common thing in the house, I remember the day when dad lost his job and was so drunk. He went up to my room and started to beat the crap out of me, that guy seriously need anger management and tons of therapy. My mom just cried, she cried so hard that someone would think she was the one being beat up. But I did not cry, my friend came over and held me but I did not let one tear drop, I was just there, still breathing and living… barely. I have become used to the pain. The pain of surviving every day, I have become so familiar with the sensation. I developed a tolerance for it. I become numb for existing.
School was not much better but at least tolerable. People would point at me and whisper among themselves. It is evident in their eyes the disgust and hollow pity. No one approach me and I do not associate myself with them, it’s an unwritten agreement I have with the populace of the school. But often times I receive glares with a punch or two, they do not hold me down because I stopped fighting back and just take it.
The bruises they left on me can’t be distinguished between what I got at home so they can’t be put on blame. The teachers don’t intervene or just plainly don’t care. The only friend I have is the one annoying me right now, he can be loud sometimes but he puts up with my misery and is always just there, he is always there. I am not really a people person, I have lot of issues, insecurities and I just do not want to be burdened with another’s problem and trusting another person is just difficult.
I don’t want to get out of my room, the silence in here is just calming and I never take for granted a moment of peace, I take every good thing in my life, like it’s the last thing I will have. Having my life, one would have no choice but to savour that.
“You know you’re being an old sentimental fool” my friend said, obviously irritated with the silence. And just like that my peace has ended.
“Do I really?” I said just to humour him.
“Yes and you look like you’re going to turn into your mom and start crying all over the place” He retorted mockingly. He knows that family is a touchy subject for me but that doesn’t stop him from bringing it up. Yup, I am really lucky stuck with this one as a friend.
“Can you not talk about my dysfunctional family” I said not really hoping he would drop the subject.
He was about to respond when the door opened and a woman came in my room. She was tall, lanky and maybe in her mid forties she looked like she did not have sleep come over her also. “Hello how was your night?” the woman asked.
“Fine” I answered meekly. I felt uncomfortable with her gazing at me, assessing me. My friend snorted at my answer and I threw him a glare to shut up. The woman saw it and gave a smile at me it’s strange but comforting.
“I think you haven’t been sleeping all too well, am I right?” The woman just said more of a statement rather than a question. I just nodded.
“You’re safe here now”, the woman said sensing my wariness.
“I don’t know about that, people just seem hell bent on being disappointing” my friend butted in the one-sided conversation.
“You know, no one’s asking you” crossing my arm and facing the woman again. The woman seeing our interaction just wrote something, on a piece of paper. She has that look, like she understands, but still there’s lingering pity on those eyes, I’m sick of people giving me pity, I don’t need it!
“You can make him leave you know, it’s all up to you” the woman still writing on the paper, clearly talking about my friend.
“He won’t leave even if I threaten him, his like a lost puppy always there, and just as annoying”. “You need to stop acknowledging him so he can go away” she said.
“Yes, I understand”. I don’t even believe myself saying that.
“Dude, you seriously listening to her, I’ve been here for you when no one hasn’t , I kept you alive and I’m the one who saved you from that godforsaken house!” my friend shouted but the woman still has her eyes on me.
Finding all of these tiring, I need to help myself but that can only be, when HE goes away. I mustered up all the courage saying
“Yeah, you’ve been there, you were the one to pick me up, the one who talked to me when no one would, the one who acknowledge my presence, you make my life bearable and I am thankful for that. But you too are the reason why I’m here right now, why my parents abandoned me, why I’m alone and why I’m afraid. I can’t let you be a part of my life anymore”. Tears rolling down my eyes, the weight of the situation came falling down upon me and for a very long time I cried, I cried for being beaten, I cried for being ridiculed, I cried for being an orphan long before my family died, I cried for me, knowing all too well I need it.
I just cried and just then I feel light, it’s a feeling alien to me, it feels good.
“You did well” the woman said smiling at me.
My friend isn’t here anymore but I know he’ll be back, I just need to be well and that’s all that matters right now.
“Now you need to get to breakfast, hurry along now”.
“Thank you doctor” is all I said.
And complied, wiped the tears off my face and began to walk to the dining hall. I hope I can get rid of the other voices in my head along with my friend. Little did I know this was the first of many therapy sessions I will endure here in the Mental Institute.