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This place is hell. There’s no other word to describe it. The people here walk around with big, fake smiles upon their faces, pretending that everything is okay. They expect you to pretend to be happy as well, but it’s just not possible. areen’t allowed to do your make up or shave. You’re not allowed to have strings on your hoodies or draw. You’re only allowed to sit at the long table in the room and think about why you’re in here in the first place.
The food here is horrible, almost too gross to eat. It looks and tastes like rubber. But you have to eat here. If you don’t eat, you’re trying to kill yourself. If you eat too much, you’re depressed. Either way, you lose. They watch you eat. They watch you while you’re sitting at the table. They watch you as you’re lying in bed trying to finally get a good nights’ sleep. They watch you as they are writing notes on their clipboards. They watch you to make sure that you are doing what’s expected of you: put a fake smile on your face and act like you’re happy. That’s your ticket out of this hellhole.
I stare out the window with bars on the outside, preventing you from getting out. They put a window in the room to taunt you. You get to see the sunlight bearing down on the people outside, but you can’t feel it. You can see the wind make its way through the leaves of the trees, but you can’t feel it. You’re not allowed outside in a mental institution. Havenwyck, this is my hell.
I’m assigned to the girl’s teen room. The room is circular, with tables and chairs all around. There are windows along the far wall. You can see the front desk out in the hall, and you can watch as the nurses walk by. The boys are in a separate room, away from the girls. We aren’t even allowed to look at the boys, let alone have a conversation with them.
Some of the girls are doing yoga, while others are sitting around the table reading. Some of us are getting called out to the front desk to take our meds. The rest are just sitting around the room staring out the window, like me. That’s pretty much it for entertainment around here.
We’re never alone. There’s always someone watching you. Like now, I notice one of the doctors looking at me and writing notes. Probably because I’m not smiling like the rest, but I don’t give a s***. I just want to go home.
I hear my name called from the hallway, and I know it’s my turn. I sigh; I hate taking my medicine. They make me so tired, which really sucks because you hardly get any sleep in here. They’re always in and out of the rooms, bringing new girls in and taking your temperature in the middle of the night. It’s just like staying in a hospital.
“Hi, Jazmin. How are you feeling today?”
I don’t’ have the heart to tell her that I hate it here and everyone in it. She’s one of the nice ones. So I just tell her that I’m feeling better.
“Well, it’s time to take your medicine. You get two milligrams of Abilify and 20 milligrams of Lexapro. Oh! Your mom called. She wanted to check on you and make sure you’re doing okay. She said to tell you that she would, ‘meet you in Disney World’. What in the world is she talking about?”
I smile and almost cry. I think back to all the times I’ve heard that come out of my momma’s mouth. It’s different every time. Sometimes it’s Florida, and sometimes it’s the beach. I remember one time it was Outer Space. It always has the same effect though.
“That’s something my mom made up a long time ago. Whenever one of us kids goes away for a while, she’ll name a place that we will meet her in our dreams so that we will feel like we are with her at night. And I guess tonight it’s Disney World,” I say.
“Oh, that’s so sweet! I’m gonna start doing that with my own kids. Well, anyway. That’s all I had for you. I’ll see you tomorrow. Have fun in Disney World,” she says.
I sit down at the large table, and something catches my attention from the corner of my eye; a blue pen. The urge hits me out of nowhere. I feel the need burning in my veins. The need to feel the sharp point against my skin, to see the red blood pouring down my arm. I need to feel the release of pain that’s built up over the last week. It’s been too long since I’ve felt the sharp blade of something cut through my skin. My hand twitches as I think about what I’m about to do. I look around the room to make sure no one is watching. As I look around, my hand reaches out toward the pen. I make eye contact with Aubrey. Her brown eyes stare at me, look down at the pen, and then back up at me. Her eyes go wide in realization. She quickly snags the pen out of my reach and hands it to Munirah. Then she gets up and drags me to a corner of the room in front of the window. We sit and she just holds me, telling me it’s all going to be okay. I begin to cry. Munirah comes up and sits beside me, patting my leg in assurance.
Aubrey and Munirah seem to be the only ones that truly care about me in this place. When I first came here, I had no intention of opening up and making friends. My plan was to come in, pretend to be better and go home. But they wouldn’t allow that. They talked and laughed with me until finally I came out of my shell.
They are the only ones that seemed to have noticed. They didn’t tell on me, or say anything about it. They just continued to hold me ‘til we were told it’s time for bed.
I make my way down the long hall and into my bed. The beds are hard and small. The bed hurts my back. The pillows are flat, and the blankets thin, but it’s a place to sleep at night. Aubrey goes to the bed next to mine. She looks at me and smiles. “I’ll be keeping an eye on you,” she says. That’s all she says for the rest of the night.
I lay in bed for a while, just thinking about what I almost did. Maybe I’m not ready to go home yet. But I know I have something to look forward to tonight. I smile and close my eyes. It’s time to meet my momma in Disney World.