Gaaasp! I quickly sat up in bed and frantically looked around the room in disbelief of all that was real. Another nightmare. I pulled my knees to my chest and buried my face into my hands. Why do my thoughts plague to wake me every single night? Its my third month in the Coleman Institution, and I still haven’t slept through a whole night.
I tied back my long brown hair and laid my head back down on my pillow in hopes of getting a few hours of sleep. I looked over at my alarm clock and squinted to try to make out the numbers. It read 3:17AM. Breakfast was at 7, so I closed my eyes and even though I couldn’t sleep, I rested.
Before I knew it, my 7AM alarm was going off. I looked over at my roommate who always seemed to sleep through the alarm. She layed there motionless, peacefully asleep. I didn’t really want to wake her, but I knew I had to. I sat up in my bed and grabbed a pillow. I threw the pillow at her. “Annie, get up!” I yelled. “Maureen..” she groaned. Nobobdy ever calls me by my full name, except Annie. I usually go by Maury.
“Come on Annie, we have to get up now!” Annie sat up. “Alright Maureen, I’m up”, she giggled. Before we left our room, we made our beds so we wouldn’t have to make them when we get back form breakfast. As we were finishing up, there was a knock on the door. I looked at Annie, we exchange looks. Nobody ever knocks on our door. After all, we aren’t allowed to lock the doors here. Most people just walk in uninvited.
Annie walked over to the door, “Who is it?” she asked. ” Its Sara! Hurry up, you guys are going to be late for breakfast.” Annie opened up the door. The girls began to walk down the hall toward the cafeteria. “Did you guys hear about Bailey?” Sara asked. “No, what happened?” I questioned. “She went through with it last night..” The doctors said she isn’t coming back this time either.” Sara explained. “Thats too bad” Annie said sarcastically.
When we go to the cafeteria, we sat down at our table. We always sit in the same spot, the second table from the left. There was kind of a dark, hazy feeling clouding up the cafeteria. Only a few people were talking, but most were silent.
Right before everyone got up to grab their breakfasts, Abigail, the head of the institution got up onto the platform and turned on her microphone. “Hello? Can everyone hear me?.. Ok some of you may have heard, but one of our own has taken their own life. Miss Bailey Rae Graffum. She was 19.. so very young. So was a friend to many of you, so please be respectful of those who knew her. Lets have a moment of peace for Bailey.” Those 10 seconds of peace we had were 10 seconds I never hoped to have. We all thought she was getting better. “If any of you need to make early appointments with your counselor, you can go talk to Jude,” Abigail said.
“Table 2, you may get your breakfast.” I was so lost in my thoughts, I didn’t even hear her call us up. “Table 2!!” She irritable recalled. We got up to the serving line and we each were handed a tray. Another morning of oatmeal and toast. I smiled and said “thank you.” We sat down at our table and began eating. After awhile, I noticed that Annie wasn’t eating. She was just picking at her food to make it look like she had eaten some. “Annie, why aren’t you eating?” I said. “I’m just so sad about Bailey” she lied. “Annie, thats crap! We all know that you and Bailey hated each other, don’t lie to me… You’re in a relapse aren’t you!!?” I said. “No I’m just not hungry today” she said quietly. “Annie, you never seem to be hungry, but you know that if you don’t eat, they aren’t going to give you grounds or leisure privileges!”
Like everyone else here, Annie has a good reason to be here. Annie has anorexia. She has on the most severe cases here. one time she didn’t eat for 2 months. Well.. thats the rumor that went around once she got her. It makes sense though, because when she first came here, she was put in the Angel Wing. Then Angel Wing is for people who can’t sustain life by themselves. She was put on a feeding tube.
We all have a reason for being here and we all have a story to tell. People always ask me how I ended up here, and to be completely truthful, I’m not really sure. I’m not crazy like some of these nuts. I’m just different than most people. I’m here because I couldn’t decipher the thoughts in my head. They were just all jumbled up telling me to do things I shouldn’t, and no matter the situation, I would always react. I threatened to take my own life, and somebody took me seriously.
I didn’t say it to be serious. I said it to hear myself say it, to make myself aware of that I’m capable of. In some way it was a relief for me to let it out in a moment of deep disturbance. It was more of a disappointment in myself, and a reminder of how I can never be good enough, no matter how hard I try. I’ve always been the person people walk all over. I’m the one people go to when they have nobody else, and when they get bored of me, I don’t matter. Whatever, it can be their problem, not mine.
I love newcomers here at the Institute. Everybody’s stories are different. Here at Coleman, we have your usually psychopaths and sociopaths. We have a few bulimic and even more anorexics. There are some with bipolar and personality disorders, then you have people like me. So as you can see we have mild to severe cases of crazy here.
It was about 9AM, so I needed to get ready to meet with Dr.Roreny. He was my counselor. I explained to him that I don’t like doctors, so we came up with a “pet name” thats less intimidating. I now call him Rory.
For some reason, Rory want me to start writing in a journal on a daily basis. I didn’t want the stupid journal, but Rory said it would help decipher and sort out my thoughts. I decided to give it a try. Even after 2 weeks of this journaling thing, I still don’t get the point. The only thing I’m doing is putting the things going on in my head down on paper. So not only do I get to think about the jumble in my head, now I have to read about it too. Gosh, Rory doesn’t know what he’s talking about sometimes. This just makes it that much worse.
I still don’t understand why I have to write in you, and personally, I don’t like it.. but today I am feeling hopeless. I’m sick of being here, and I’d rather be dead.
“Maury, do you really wish that you were dead?” “Nah, I just said that”I explained. “See, these are the comments that make me worried” Rori said sympathetically. “Ugh, I hated when Rory had to read my journal out loud. Its like bringing back the past. “Maury, why do you feel hopeless?” ” I don’t know, I just write stuff, I told you that before!” I raised my voice. “Well there has to be a reason behind why you wrote that.” “I really don’t think so..pshh, that was 2 weeks ago, I don’t remember why I wrote that,” I lied. “I think you do, you just aren’t telling me..” Rori said. “Ohh man Rory, my time is up, I better go. Seeya later.” I jumped up. “Maury, you leave when I say we are done.” “Come on Rory, I will be back in on Wednesday, Its two days”…”Fine, just go.”
CHAPTER 2: Outing For Two
We finally got Annie to eat her breakfast after 2 weeks of pleading. Even thug it was just a half of a piece of toast, it was enough to convince the Coleman workers that she deserved to have grounds privileges. It had been awhile since Annie had been outside.
It doesn’t seem like such a big deal to be inside all the time, but it is. Especially when you aren’t allowed to be out, no matter how beautiful the weather is. It tends to wear on you.
Today I decided that I would use my last grounds privileges pass to spend outside with Annie. After all, Coleman has the most beautiful butterfly garden. There are lots of multicolored flowers in every color form the rainbow. There is even a river that flows around the garden and empties into a holding pong with lot sod goldfish.
Today happened to be the nieces day this week. The sun is out,a nd its 80 degrees with a slight breeze. Even though someone had to monitor us while we were in the garden, it was still nice to have a little bit more privacy then usual.
When Annie and I got out to the garden, we found a nice grassy hill to lay on. I sat down, layer back, and closed my eyes. The cool breeze blew through each blade of grass and made a sort of whistling noise. It was so calming, so serene. I slowly inhaled, and I dare not let it out. The air felt so clean. As I laid there I was reminded of my life before Coleman. I used to be so free, and going outside to lay in the grass was so normal for me on a daily basis.
Now that I’m here, I don’t get out as much. Rory decides how many grounds passes I get a week, and since last time I saw him, I was stubborn, I only got one this week.
I opened my eyes. “Maureen, look at that cloud, it looks like an elephant” We both laughed. “It sure does Annie… You know you can call me Maury, right?” I said. “I know, but I like to call you Maureen. Its pretty, and it reminds me of a princess or something like that.” She smiled. “Really?? because I HATE my name.” I said sternly. “Well I like it.. so thats that.” Annie laughed.
Gosh, I never wanted this day to end. Annie is my best friend here at Coleman, and she reminds me that more and more everyday. Watching the clouds with Annie reminds me of the times I spent with my friend Jenni back at home. “Maureen?” “Yeah?” I said. “Have you ever wondered if theres somebody up there, you know.. watching us?”Annie asked. “Well, I guess I haven’t really thought about it that much.. but I can tell you this much. If theres a God up there, he sure as hell don’t care about me, so no, I don’t there is.” I said angrily. “You know Annie, I’m really don’t know what to say anymore, I’m just not really sure about much these days.”
I couldn’t help but think about the conversation I had with Annie once I got back to my room. What if she was right, and there really was a God? I’ve been thinking and I decided that there has to be SOMETHING out there bigger than all of this, you know? Theres just no other way to explain it. Its all so confusing to me though, like how could just one person have the control over the whole world, it just doesn’t make sense.
CHAPTER 3: The Move
Annie is doing a lot better lately, and so am I. Annie has gained albs, which brings her up to a hefty 92lbs. I was put on a new medication, and it has been working out very well for me. Annie and I both visit with Rory 2-3 times a week. He’s seen a lot of progress in us too, and finally let us move to the Serenity Wing. The serenity wing is the last room change before we get to leave Coleman.
I like it a lot better here. We have bigger room, more privileges, and a whole lot more freedom. We take a lot of field trips too. Most people here aren’t crazy. They are addicts. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part. There are boys here!!
Coming from the all-girls treatment wing, its deferent being with guys again. When Annie and I first walked in, we noticed this guy watching us form the couch as we moved things from the hallway into our room. There was something about him that absolutely intrigued me. Everytime we would walk up and down the halls, he would just watch.
Sometimes if we knew he was watching, we would turn and look at him at the same time. He would then looks away for a moment or start fiddling with something and act as if he wasn’t staring in the first place. He’s been watching us for a few weeks now, and I desperately want to know who this guy is.
Annie was sitting in our room reading a book one day, and I knew it was the perfect opportunity to go and talk to this boy by myself. “Hey Annie, I’m going to go for a walk, so I will see you in a bit.” I said. “You know, that sounds like a good idea, wait up for me!”Annie exclaimed.
CRAP! What do I do now, I don’t want Annie to come with. This is something I needed to do alone. “You know Annie, I’m just going to go to the cafeteria and get a shake,” I lied. “Oh, never mind then, I’m at a good part in my book anyways.”
I know it was mean to lie to Annie, but I knew that the thought of food in between meals would absolutely disgust Annie. I couldn’t tell Annie where I was actually going. Over the last week, I had gained a particular liking for this boy, even though we’ve never even talked. I opened the door to our room and gently shut it behind me, trying not to arise any unwanted attention from the surrounding rooms.
I started to walk down the hall. My heart began to beat out of my chest, and I could feel the adrenaline pumping throughout my veins. I felts as if I was a kid on a mission to get to the cookie jar without their mom catching them. As I drew nearer to the community room, I began to slow down. What was I doing? I can’t just walk up to this guy and begin talking to him. I don’t even know him! What would I say? Well if I don’t talk to him, maybe I can just watch him from afar for awhile.
I peeked around the corner and looked at the couch. He wasn’t there. I don’t understand it. I’ve never seen him anywhere but the couch. Had he left Coleman and went home? I walked over to the couch and sat down. I grabbed a nearby newspaper and pulled it up closer to my face and began reading.
After about 15 minutes, I was about to leave. Then, someone sat down beside me. Still hidden behind my newspaper, I wondered if it was the boy. I cautiously began to slide the paper down just enough to peek over the top to see who it was. It wasn’t him. To tell you the turn, I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t the boy, but at the same time, I felt a huge sense of relief. I had no clue what I would have said to him anyways.
I folded up the newspaper, set it back on the table, and grabbed my stuff to leave. Just as I stood up, I bumped into someone and nearly knocked them over. “Oh, I’m sorry..” Just as fast as the words came out, I realized who I was talking to. It was him! The boy just stared at me wide-eyed. He looked as if he had seen a ghost. I looked around just to make sure he was actually looking at me and not something else. There was hardly anybody around. He was definitly looking at me.
I couldn’t help but to notice how incredibly blue and glossy his eyes were. He was absolutely, positively, no doubt about it, the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen. He was tall and slim, and had curly brown locks that twirled around his ears and perfectly framed his face. It felt like time had stopped as we stood there. I continued to gaze into his eye, and wondered what he could possibly be thinking at this very moment. The boy, still like a deer in the headlights began to talk. “Um.. Hi.”
“Hi.. I’m Maury. Well actually its Maureen, but I usually prefer Maury, but you can call me what you want.. Maury.. Mauree.. Baby. Uh, I didn’t mean to say that” I blushed. “Maury. I like that. My name is Nicholas, but I usually go by Nick.” “Nice to meet you Nick. I uh, have a question for you though” My heart began to beat faster. I couldn’t believe what I was about to ask him. “I guess I’ve noticed that you’ve been watching me..” I said. “Oh man, I hoped that you didn’t notice, I’m sorry” he interrupted. “No, no, no, its fine, its really no big deal. And to tell you the truth, I’ve been watching you too.” I admitted. “Yeah, I’m aware ” he laughed. “Oh well, I guess neither of us are very good at being discrete.” ” I guess not,” he chuckled.
“So I have to know, why have you been watching me?” I asked
“You are beautiful and you just have this presence about you that attracted me to you the first time I saw you. I guess you seem a lot different than most girls.” He said.
“I feel the same way about you!”
“Really? Wow. This is weird” he said.
“Whats weird?” I asked shyly.
“I don’t know. I guess its just that I’ve never felt this strongly about a girl I’ve never talked to before.”
“Yeah, I guess things are hard to explain sometimes.” I couldn’t do anything but smile. I wished that we could talk forever, he was incredibly sweet.
“Oh, look at the time, I better get going, I told my roommate that I would be out too long.” I said.
“Ok, but Maury?”
“Yeah?” I asked
“Can I see you again, like maybe tomorrow?”
“Sure how about the same time, same place.” I suggested
“Yeah! Its a date!” He said proudly.
“A.. what??” I asked.
“Uh, nothing, see you tomorrow.”
I started off down the hall hoping Annie wouldn’t be upset that I took longer than I thought I would. I got to the room, took a deep breath and walked in.
“Hi Annie.” I said with an uneasy feeling. “Geesh! I never thought you would come back!” She said. “Yeah…” I said nervously. “How was your snack,” she asked. “Oh, it was alright.” Annie looked skeptical. “Ok Annie, I liked to you. I didn’t go to the cafeteria, I went to talk to the boy.” I said panicked. “I know” she said calmly. “What? you know???” I questioned. “Yeah, I know. When your friend says they will be right back and they go missing for over an hour, you start to wonder. I went to come and find you, and I saw you talking to him.”
“I’m sorry Annie, I should have told you.” I felt so guilty. “Its ok Maureen. It looked like he likes you!” She said excitedly. “I uh.. like him too,” I mumbled. “You dooo??” she shrieked. “Yeah but lets not make a big deal about it or anything. It probably wouldn’t work out between us anyways.”
TO BE CONTINUED…