I’ve watched, It’s Kind of a Funny Story and loved it. This short story is quite based on that. Of course my version is crap compare to the awesome movie. This one is more morbid, and depressing, I like it more like that. Warning for scattered typos. I hate putting punctuations so you have to bare with my lameness.
It’s Tuesday and I’m supposed to be hurrying to school, it’s Tuesday and I’m supposed to be in a classroom surrounded by kids my age, it’s Tuesday and I’m supposed to be buzzed out of my mind listening to teachers. But here I am Tuesday morning and I should not be here sharing a table with people who are likely to stick a fork into my eye. I knew I should’ve just ended it all while I had the chance. Calling that hotline was a mistake. 434-HOPE, a trap covered with emphatic voice and a straitjacket. Detained for a week of rehabilitation, REHABILITATION, from what? From life, that’s what!
Hey want some company?
I looked to my right and a girl sitting beside me waits for my reply. She looks around my age, 15 or 16. I just shrugged and continued eating. Hoping my unresponsiveness will be her clue to leave me alone. But no such luck, she just stares at me like I’m a new specimen that needs to be inspected. Which in a way I was, the new kid, the new freak in this joint, maybe she’s the welcoming committee?
Why are you here? The girl asked again.
Same reason as half of the people here, I answered feeling awkward with all the staring and silence.
So you’re here for summer vacation too? The girl now smiling sarcastically replied.
Yes, I’m here for a summer vacation, in the middle of a school year. I heard the hospital’s psychiatric ward is the new hotspot for a cool break.
More like for a breakdown. I’m Elle, she said while giving her hand for me to shake
Max, I replied while shaking her hand.
Ok, I’ll leave you now; group therapy starts in 10 minutes. Don’t want to spoil your vacation, let’s chat another time. She left with a wink and darted out of the dining hall.
After eating the proper balanced breakfast which to my opinion was overloaded with blandness, I followed where Elle has gone through. Seeing other people just staring out of space, walking in circles and just looking plain crazy I opted to look straight ahead and not dwell too long on them. Pity is the least thing they need.
There’s a strict schedule implemented here, wake up, eat, and attend counseling, it may be individual or group, do some socialization with the other nutcase, do art and try not killing yourself within the premises of the ward.
There’s a point system here where you can be let out earlier if you have accumulated enough points. You gain points by smiling, socializing, chatting up the nurses, just being plain happy. And it goes the
other way around too, you get your points deducted by doing the opposite. But knowing that doesn’t help me. I know I won’t be let out anytime soon. But I can’t stay here much longer, the walls are creeping up on me and it feels tight and I can’t breathe. By saying that I might lose the nonexistent points I have and be stuck here for eternity and a week.
I just want to get out of here. But then what? Getting out of my musing I found myself in a room where they supposedly let the more stable patients do arts and craft.
I sat down and got a pencil and just draw away. My hands taking over, the lead of the pencil brushing against the texture of the paper to create images, like my hands are on auto –pilot. I just sat there and saw the picture being created before my eyes.
I remember my best friend, he’s a good writer but he sucks at drawing but that doesn’t stop him from trying to draw. When he tries to draw his characters, it always ends up like a potato with a face. A drop of water splattered on the paper, and then I noticed the moistness on my cheek. Folding the paper and tucking it on my back pocket, I stood up wipe my face with my hands and left the room.
“Hey Max”. Elle taps my shoulder and grins. I don’t know why she would be lock up in here, but every person has their story I suppose. She looks happy enough; she also looks good with her hair in a bun on the back of her head. She looks out of place in here. Like a ray of sunlight in this gloomy prison.
“Let’s hang-out”. Without even waiting for my reply she grabs my hand and starts running the hallways. Nurses look at us and nodding approvingly some shouted at us by being noisy and running. I know I should be wary, she might be dangerous or unstable, thinking that I almost laugh, who am I to judge who’s unstable and crazy, looking at her smile and laugh, makes me just want do the same. I left my caution out the window and just let be dragged.
“We’re here”. Elle stopped running and let go of my hand.
“Where’s here”? A little out of breathe I asked
I found myself on the rooftop of the hospital overlooking the city, the wind blows at me and it feels great. Like it’s cleansing away all the worries in me, breathing in the fresh air I can’t help to smile.
We sat there for minutes, just relishing the view and the wind.
“You know why I’m here”. Elle said, breaking the silence.
I just shook my head, not able to sound my voice, urging her to continue.
I’m bulimic. Well, a recovering bulimic. I used to binge eat then force myself to puke it all out. I know its gross, but it’s a disease what do you expect right?
When I see myself in the mirror back then, I used to cry. It’s just not seeing yourself fat you know. It’s the loathing that gets to you, more from yourself than the others. I thought I would fit in if I was like this or like that. We live in a crazy ass world. There is only a couple of hatred you could take until you snap. And I did.
Her face was all serene when she was telling me her story. She looks all peaceful and amended with the hate within her. But something is limiting her; I can see it in her eyes, she’s scared of something.
I got out of that state with help, a lot of help, from doctors, nurses and even patients here. But still I’m scared. I’m scared leaving and be out in the world again. To be reacquainted with hate all over again. I know it’s pathetic. But I’m more scared being restricted with hate and more with fear.
Elle looked at me and smiled.
She opened up a part of her soul to me and I got her message. She wants to help me. And now she gives me the chance to be helped or to reject that helping hand.
I sighed and give up the burden in my chest.
I love to paint. I plan on going to a University after high school with an awesome art curriculum and just draw and paint till I can’t anymore. But my dad said there’s no money in art, it’s too shaky to be a stable job. He wants me to rather be an architect. But it doesn’t really matter anymore. I’m going blind any time this year. My doctor said the nerves in my eyes are deteriorating cause of some kind of disease I can’t even pronounce. Its genetic my grandfather has it. He got blind at the age of 34. And I got it this early, lucky me huh.
Even I knew the chances of me having it are high, I didn’t expect it to happen to me this early. My best friend was the only person I console with. I don’t want to show my weakness to my family. When he heard he didn’t seem to be shaken. He just sat beside me and made me draw his characters on his new novels… that jerk. I laughed at that memory. Elle sat there listening.
He has this awesome sense of humor and the most infectious smile. His name was Carl. He likes to write and he knows almost all the students in our school. I ask him all the time who’s who, not being all that friendly.
I didn’t know how it happened but, word got out that he’s gay. I already knew and I accepted him as who he is. He was still Carl nothing changes.
But the students, those he call his “friends” didn’t think so. He was bullied and ridiculed; of course I always stood by his side and struck a punch or two with those bastards. We always get into fight and getting bruised, well mostly me, Carl didn’t want to, he always say that fighting was unneeded. Making him an easy target for them, even all those time they bully him he still regards them as his friends… that saintly jerk!
One afternoon while I’m on detention, an ambulance come speeding on the school. That afternoon Carl died. He was stabbed. The kid that stabbed him just got suspended and went into juvenile delinquent center.
I was furious. Why do bad things have to come to people who don’t deserve it? I don’t deserve to be blind. I got my whole life ahead of me. Carl didn’t deserve to be treated that way. And definitely didn’t deserve to die that way. I lost faith in the world. I was alone. I let the darkness of it consume me.
I-I tried to kill myself. What’s the purpose of living when you are alone and hurting in this hateful world. I was on the ledge of the bridge and about to jump off when I caught a flyer being blown by the wind. It’s a flyer for a suicide hotline. I thought how the world can be so ironic, cruel and funny at the same time. I humored the thought of the universe’ conspiring with my best friend Carl against my suicide and dialed the hotline with my mobile phone. And now I’m here.
After hearing all of that, I expect her to say I’m sorry, or cry pitying me. But Elle stood up, dust her clothes off and reached her hand to mine, helping me up.
When I saw you earlier in the dining hall I saw a little bit of my former self in you, the hate was eating inside of you. You’ve gone through hell. I think no person should go through all of that, going all through that alone. So, I’m going to ask again my question earlier at breakfast.
Want some company? Handing out her hand to me with that silly smile plastered on her face.
I stood there staring at her smiling face. I remember my family; I remember Carl and seeing this girl helping me stand back up again… I realize I might not be that alone. And reach for her hand.
That night I took the drawing in my back pocket and wrote in a journal smiling.
It’s Tuesday and I’m here fixing my life.