I was on my blue and green huffy 20 speed, on my way home from my friends house- it was already so late, 4 in the morning, when the sun barely kisses the brink of the horizon while the night still sparkles stars over the Ohio sky.
For some reason, I decided not to go home, but to swerve into the curvy parking lot of Aldersgate church, except the building wasn’t a church at all. Not one bit.
As I entered the double doors, I saw flashes of dark blue and gray on the walls and down the hallways. The smell of antiseptic, fresh padded socks, and soy burgers cooking in the cafeteria.
This was a mental hospital, and an awful one, at that.
I snuck around the halls, until I found a room with a hopeless Brenda sitting on a couch and wheel of fortune playing in the background. I decided to sit and chat with her, like I was just a volunteer there, raising her spirits a bit.
After a while, a large, bald man came through the door and started yelling, herding the psyche patients like cattle. He held up a hitting hand to Brendas wheelchaired body as a threat for not moving quick enough, which set off an alarm in my head.
“Hey, who did you think you are, you son of a bitch!” I immediately grabbed the man’s wrist with my left fist and threw a punch to his face with my right, but his flesh was slippery and bouncy, like rubber. It didn’t faze him at all.
There was consequence to the bout of courage I displayed- the next thing I knew an alarm started going off, and I was surrounded by hospital personnel, holding me down and injecting a needle of god knows what into my hip. Soon after, everything got dark.
A few hours after, I woke up on the floor in scrubs and padded socks in front of the entrance, but the door was locked. Now I was part of the war- I was a psyche ward patient again.
I looked around and gasped at another familiar face: my Waffle House boss Chaney was standing there on the phone. He is a famous actor, always busy making movies, talking to people. He could be my ticket out.
“Chaney, man, hey,” I waved while walking over, trying to get his attention. “Chaney, can you help me get out of here?
Okay, so I was interrupting his phone call, but I didn’t care at this point. He saw me, but started walking away as if he didn’t and I panicked.
My one ticket out. I followed and continued to call after him. “Hey, Chaney, you have to get me out of here!” He kept a steady pace down the dark blue and gray hallways, and I followed as I passed doorways, lockers, couches. My heart was steady flitting, as if my one chance was getting away while his pace hurried down the polished tiles. He moved faster and faster. His voice on the phone reverberated down the halls and taunted my ears while they beat with my hurried heartbeat of the chase.
Chaney turned the corner and went into the men’s bathroom, to which I didn’t give a damn and followed in as well. And as the anxiety built up about being part of the war, having to relive the abuse, going through strange sensations of foreign psyche meds, I cornered him all the way into the bathroom stall.
“Ok, I’ll send you that script. See ya” Chaney flipped his phone shut. “Okay Steph, let’s get you out of here”
And then I woke up.