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Insanity at Its Finest

The smooth tendrils of fog slithered off the cobblestones and into the night. Small thuds like small feet running echoed through the sky, causing a ripple effect on the clouds. The smell of rum wafted from the broken bottle on the ground, and the indisposed drunk asleep next to it. I could see my breath, climb up on the window that was only an inch from my face. I liked to watch the small streets beneath me at night, before it all happened, before they took me away. I can tell you the color of his shirt, the drunk, he was there every night, I called him Hank; a name I gave him for the red handkerchief that found its home in his right breast pocket. He sometimes used it, when he was awake, to wipe the sweat from his brow, but how anyone could be sweaty in the cold out there I did not know. I would say his age, though he looks around 96 is around 70, but in this world, what you see is what you get, so a 96 year old drunk he is. My imagination whispered to me that he was terrified, that’s why he drank, to quiet the demons in his head that haunted him with stories and memories he wished he could forget. My imagination told me many things, and this is why they took me away. Locked me away in a cold, sterile room with others like me, who heard their demons, and chose to face them instead of running away like the rest of the world’s population. I tell you; it’s not easy, being the eldest boy in the family, living in Paris, at the time of revelation and religious protests, a kind of apocalypse some called it. Being the eldest son, and being locked away in an asylum, the disappointment of the family. It’s funny how the rest of the world sees Paris as the “City of Love”. Well if you think of it that way, you must just love the smell, the cramped streets, the artists who bark about the world being an empty canvas or a canvas too full, needing to be burned and repainted. If you love the storefronts that don’t know the word please from the word thank you, and if you love all the negatives, the black, the rotting stench of full stomachs and empty hearts, well then, I welcome you to Paris, I welcome you to a home I do not call my own.
What I call home is a small room, about the size of a rich man’s tub. A room with a window facing the east wall where all the cutters smoke; a room with a single spaced bed, a small table with a pen and parchment, a hanging light, a dresser half the size of me, and a door that only certain people can open with keys. You see, I can’t even open my own door; I am secluded in my small room with no one but me. You would think that because I hear voices, that they would make me socialize, but since my first day here, 6 years ago, no one but my doctor comes. He talks to me about my ‘friends’ in my head, he refuses to think that they are demons, but I know the truth. He brings the meals, and sometimes, on holidays and such, something as a desert. Every year on the 12th of June, he brings a box, and in this box holds presents and cards that my family has sent me. They are aloud to visit, but never do. How can I blame them? What would they say to people? That they were going out of town to see their son that they told everyone had died? No, that wouldn’t work, the truth would come out and their lies would unravel. But before I tell you, just how it began, you must know the back-story, why these demons I have are nothing close to friends.
I once was the one who was wanted by all, if that makes any sense to the sane who read this. I was once a handsome man with burned blond hair that fell into my face with curls that no amount of grease or will could withhold. I was the suitor to many with my height around 6 feet and my suits always dusted and brushed, my eyes a light green full of laughter and trust. And one day I woke up, with a feeling of regret, to take the world by what was given to me and to never give back. My Father was a merchant, we lived a good life, he is an honest man who loved my siblings and I much more than my Mother ever did. My younger brother a ball of happiness, and my sister a flower surrounded by very tough thorns. My Mother is little known, for only did I know her 5 years of my life; I remember her dark brown hair like that of a Clydesdale’s mane, her eyes a green of lilac leaves, her voice thrust forward like a dagger with all the sharpness of her tongue, and her rosy cheeks that only lasted for a second before her smile was gone. She died the night Clarissa was born, all the beauty left her body and entered a lesser one with a smile more graceful and a tongue more civil. I started to hear the demons back then, my Father only thought it was normal a boy of my face, to talk to no one as if it was someone. As I got older, it got worse. The letters I wrote had no sender, I didn’t remember the actions I did, the infidelities I committed to the social classes of my community and the women and their bodies. A man only 17, a boy really, with a mind more open and susceptible to the voices of ghosts past.
I’m telling you all of this because I figure that after I’m gone, someone will have to dig under my bed and dresser to ready the room for another patient, and when they do, they will find a box, full of papers and scribbles; full of a story, my story. I’ve given up on hoping that people will listen, given up hope on feeling like I belong to something when I know that I should be alone will my voices and demons and thoughts, so I bleed them out, onto this paper, hoping that someday, some one will see and understand, and that person is you. So here is what my daily schedule looks like, I’m sure you’re curious: I get up in the morning, the rising sun being my wake up call, I walk to my window, change from my night clothes to my day clothes, the sun keeping my cool skin warm, I wait an hour or two for Dr. Jey to come and bring me my morning coffee with two sugars and one cream. I talk with him about my latest dreams, and he says goodbye until later in the afternoon. Around two in the afternoon, he brings me my second cup with a tad bit of honey, and two creams instead of one, no sugar. We talk about the demons and what they’ve said so far, and how it “makes me feel”; sometimes he has sandwiches with him, made of cold turkey and cut up cheese between a biscuit, but not often, I don’t eat much. He visits once more around 11 or so at night, he hands me my black cup of coffee and says goodnight. I watch the moon as it comes up, until from my window I can’t see it anymore, sleep finally pulls me under.
I bet by now you’re wondering about the demons, the ones in my head, well I can tell you some things, hopefully they’ll leave me alone while I do. I first noticed Joyous when I was 7 years of age, she is kind and sweet, but snarky at times when my coffee is late. She takes on the image of a red raven, even though I’ve never seen a red raven in my life, as they don’t exist. I can tell you that she stops me sometimes, when one of the other demons convince me to do terrible things, like act dead on the floor, or slit my throat, that I have done so many times there is a red line that runs around my whole neck like a choker I can never run away from. Joyous is the close I can go to calling a “friend”, a voice to calm me the way my Mother never did. And then there is Troy…. Satan’s form in my mind, a childish squeal with high toned anger hidden in his feature, a statue like hell hound with pointy ears, full make up with a pitch fork and fire. He has persuaded me many times to break my window and attempt to jump, the reason why my window has bars across. He usually tells me stories of why I am here, why all my birthday gifts and Christmas cards are given to me on one day of the year, to remind me that my family told the world I died in a fire and then locked me away forever. Dr. Jey has told me that my Father made one request, when he left me here 6 years ago, that was that I could have a window, facing east, so the sun could wake me, just the way it did at home.
So my demons, there are only two, but each are split to millions of whispers and thoughts. Many people have a one way street when it comes to their way of thinking, how it’s just one train with many cars; my mind is like 12 different trains, each with 1400 cars, and only one track with upside down loops, corkscrews, and jumps. So now that you know, you’ve read my simple story, I hope your imagination becomes something like mine. Breath it in, hear the steam engine and let your thoughts jumble and break, and hear those voices, and don’t let any of it go. In your time, in your life, crazy is the new sane, where life should be an experiment, not a corset tied too tight that you can’t even breath. Since you are reading this, I finally feel home, and this, these very last words, are my goodbyes.



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