“You ok?” he asked.
“No. I’m hurt.”
“I’ll help you. Get in.”
**photo by One Foot Over the Moon via Flickr
“You ok?” he asked.
“No. I’m hurt.”
“I’ll help you. Get in.”
**photo by One Foot Over the Moon via Flickr
I wish I knew. She died when I was fifteen. Time with her was sporadic before that. It pains me that I’ll never hear her reaction to it. The book wasn’t easy to write, but my mother’s story deserved to be told.
“Hi Kenneth. How are you today?”
Kenneth gently rocks on the plush loveseat. His clothes are heavy with the scent of stale cigarettes and look as though they haven’t left his body in a week -an unmistakable symptom of his maddening disease. His hoodie over his head, he looks at the floor and speaks rapidly.
“Doc, I can’t shut them up. They constantly argue about who’s side I should be on. I wear the headphones like you tell me to but I hear them yelling over the music.”
Dr. Shannon Green had been seeing Kenneth, a 22 year old budding schizophrenic, for three months. Shannon could tell he was on edge today. His posturing from the new medications, the eye tics and rocking, are much more pronounced. Eye contact seems to be out of the question. He keeps nervously glancing towards his tattered book bag on the floor.
Shannon puts effort in to being still and keeping her voice neutral when she speaks to Kenneth about medications. She knows he doesn’t like the idea of taking the anti-psychotics, especially as an injection.
“Did you meet with the nurse for your injection after our visit last week?”
“No. The voices kept screaming at me to just keep going. They are so loud and keep telling me that you can’t be trusted. I’m scared. I don’t know who to believe.”
Kenneth’s rocking has become vicious, his feet leaving the ground every time he tips back. His lips are moving, forming only slightly audible words. She has never seen Kenneth this agitated. She again notices his attention being drawn to the bag on the floor.
“Kenneth, is there something in that bag that will help you calm down, something that comforts you?”
Kenneth begins pacing around the office, his head shaking back and forth as he quietly repeats, “No! She is here to help me!”
He circles the room and stops by the bag. Kenneth’s shaking stops. His head hanging down, he is still before speaking. He raises his head, making eye contact with Dr. Green for the first time since entering her office. His voice carries an uncomfortable, controlled anger.
“I don’t think I’ve been on the right frequency, Doc. I’ve been fighting the wrong side. They tried to tell me. I couldn’t hear them because you distracted me with your lies and used the music to drown them out. Why am I letting you continue to poison me?”
Shannon nonchalantly slides her hand under her desk, searching for the panic button that will summon the police to her office. As she presses the button, Kenneth quickly reaches for the bag. His ramblings become incoherent. He tears inside and pulls out a knife. Hearing the footsteps coming down the hall, he wedges a chair under the door handle.
“Kenneth, I want you to put that knife back in the bag and talk to me. The voices are…”
Kenneth doesn’t let her finish.
“SHUT UP! I can’t take your lies anymore. I can’t keep doing this. I’m hearing the truth now, I know. I finally understand there is no place for me here. None of you guys are the real enemy. I’m the enemy. It’s time for me to go, Doc .”
Shannon realizes she is wrong. Kenneth was turning on himself, not her. He begins shouting about letting the poison out, just as two police officers bust through the door. Kenneth quickly slides the knife against the thin flesh, covering his throat. The officers take him to the ground.
Shaken, Shannon stands staring at the young man pinned to the ground, covered with his own blood. Drowning in helplessness, her mind unconsciously drifts to the paperwork – an incident report, violent act report to the Office of Mental Health. She starts to cry, knowing he is now a statistic and the bureaucracy of “treatment” will begin to take over.
If Kenneth survives, sterile, mandated procedures — involuntary commitment to the psych ward and a petition to medicate against his will — will own him. Protocol of the broken system, no longer choice, will now dominate his tortured future.
A warm, heaviness takes over my arms.
My mind begins racing, attempting to extinguish fear.
My chest constricts – trying to contain my heart, as it bang, bang, bangs for help.
My skin, struggles to suppress the internal shaking.
Click the badge to learn more about this awesome 42-word writing challenge. This week’s prompt was the sentence: “Is something crawling on me?”
“I’m as freeeee as a bird now.”
You’re kidding me.
Shawna slaps the alarm clock.
“All we are is dust in the wiiiiind.”
What the frick!
She yanks the cord from the wall.
Back to sleep.
Caw! Caw! Caw!
Alright! I’m up!
Every have this kind of Saturday morning?
This week’s Gargleblaster prompt is: Why do birds suddenly appear? Click the badge to learn more about this 42 word writing challenge.
We pull up to the party. I can’t believe these idiots are throwing water balloons in to the street, right next to the police officer directing traffic. Fourth of July is the busiest day of the year in our little town and these fools are drawing attention to a house full of drinking teenagers.
Kathy and I laugh about it – until sirens and lights surround the house.
That’s exactly what we do. We run!
Kathy takes off across the school soccer field. I hear her shouting for me to follow her, but I don’t. I head down a little alley, in between the school and the next house over.
I beg my feet to please run faster, praying I can make it to my house a few blocks away.
I said stop, right now!”
I know I’m busted. I stop in my tracks. My 15 year old self, is petrified.
The police officer walks me back to the party house. He sits me in the circle of delinquents, on the front lawn. Here we sit, all with a defeated, scared, slightly intoxicated look on our faces, as people drive by gawking at us. No one is talking.
Two officers are standing near by, chatting and keeping an eye on us. The other officer is leading kids inside the house, one by one, and having them call their parents.
Parents are showing up, furious and embarrassed. Lisa gets pulled to the car by her ear. Brian, the guy that should have graduated three years ago and always buys the beer, just got slapped across his face by his mom.
I’m playing out in my head, what I think my mom will say. Something catches my eye and I look up. I see Kathy! She’s walking right by all of us. That bitch! How did she pull that off?
I hear my name being called to the house. I’m a nervous wreck. I sit down at the table and the police officer makes me call my mom.
I call and confess. She gives me a verbal lashing and asks to speak to the officer. She explains she can not drive and will he please give me a ride home. He agrees and back outside, to the circle of shame I go. I have to wait for every single kid to get picked up. I get the evil eye from every, single parent.
Finally, I’m being driven home. The officer walks me up to our second story apartment and makes sure to touch base with my mom. She scolds me in front of him, making it known I will be punished. The officer gives me one more short lecture and leaves.
I am speechless, just staring at my mom.
I’m suddenly startled.
Kathy jumps out of the bathroom, shouting, “I told you to follow me!”
The three of us bust out laughing, breaking the awkward silence.
My mom is definitely not ok with what just happened. However, as we re-enact the details of this crazy night, mocking the kids darting off in every direction like scurrying ants and the parents arriving, one after the other, plucking their child from the ring of rebellion – she can’t help but shake her head, and laugh with us.
This is my submission for Yeah Write’s weekly writing challenge. Will it make it on the invitational grid or will I receive another love letter from the editors? Either way, I look forward to reading, writing and learning with the Yeah Write community every week. Click the badge to learn more about Yeah Write and the supportive writing community they have created.
She walks away from the house, the heat on her back evoking a retaliatory satisfaction. She may never get the stench of his burning flesh out of her pores, but has no remorse. She is done picking the asphalt out of her soul.
This week’s question is:
The challenge is to tell a story in exactly 42 words. How’d I do?
I, unknowingly, opened a flood gate in October of 2013. I was battling one of the worst cases of “What the fuck is wrong with me” spells I’d ever had. My spirit was tattered and for the first time, I started to purge my story on to paper. Now I can’t stop.
I sleep with a pen and paper by my bed now and have quite perfected the art of jotting thoughts in the dark. Many times through out my day, my thoughts stutter. They can’t fire and connect quick enough. I have two young children and a scattered brain competing for my attention at all times. Being a stay at home Mom and choosing to write takes multi-tasking to a whole new level, but I’m managing it with grace… somedays.
I have always kept a journal. I wrote about how smitten I was in second grade that Todd chose me to cheat off of for the spelling test. In a not-really-all-that-much-later one, I recorded what it was like to be 14 years old and shipped, alone, to a different state where the weather was as different as the culture. Fast forward 14 years later and I had started a journal for my unborn daughter. Now, as she is about to turn 5 and my baby boy heads towards 2, I fill one for him as well.
Within the past four months, I’ve gone from writing my stories to telling them. I’ve tapped in to something that has finally allowed me to use the dysfunction implanted in me as a platform to more vividly see and record the world now around me. I can only describe it as a soulgasm of sorts.
I feel like my writing truly is a gift. It gives me a layer of grammatical defense against broken parts. It’s a gift both to share and use as my weapon of choice to dig out the humor, explain a jaded point of view or curate a perspective I didn’t know I had before I chose to write about it.
Writing has turned in to a bit of a love affair for me. When we mesh, it’s a high I could use to fuel a lifetime of passion. When we fight, I sulk. I have to walk away for a little while but we eventually connect again, creating and strengthening the beauty of it all. I will sacrifice almost anything in order to write. It’s that kind of love. I’m buried head deep in the can’t-get-enough-of-it stage of this relationship and my fingers are happily struggling to keep up.
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