Wind gently blew through the open window in that small, white room. The soft, comforting glow of the evening moon shined through the curtains which gracefully danced for him, slow and rhythmic with its swaying. His eyes remained transfixed on its movements as his thumbs twiddled amongst themselves in time with the swishing of the lower left corner of the curtain. As it swished back and forth, back and forth, his thumbs would twiddle just the same.
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
Crystalline blue eyes stared vacantly at the window which was built into his wall just high enough to make it difficult to see its sill. The night was clear passed the curtains – inviting with its embracing winds and caressing whispers of the rustling trees on the outside. The moon almost seemed to murmur to him with its light, giggling sweet nothings in hopes of luring him into the outside world to join it in its delicacy.
He wanted to reach out to it. His bare toes curled on the cold, linoleum floor, eager to rise to his feet and dash through those woods and away from this place. Far, far away. However, between himself and the outside, between himself and that beauty calling to him, were rusty bars firmly set in place on his window.
His one means of escape. His one means of seeing into the real world. Even that was perverted into a sign of his fictitious delusion.
The bars taunted him with their rusty exterior, the peeling of that dark black paint on its rigid surface showing signs of neglect. How long had it been since the staff cared for the cells within this haunting place? Were the good doctors of Mount Massive Asylum just too good to care for the ancient bones of the building’s structure? To make this place which many would call home at least somewhat livable and comforting? He supposed they probably thought as much, considering the way most of them treated their patients.
Not that he cared much for that. He wasn’t an activist or anything. No, he was simply a victim as well. Perhaps he wasn’t a victim of a torturous mental illness like many of the inhabitants of Mount Massive, but he was a victim just the same.
Let it be known, however, that Eddie Gluskin is not mentally unstable.
In fact, there is nothing wrong with him at all – unless you’d like to count his fucked up family and past, but that’s a different story all on its own.
In reality, he wasn’t supposed to be here. Eddie didn’t belong in this haunted place. It was just another dark hole in his life, however, that happened to swallow him whole before he could say anything about it. Fate, so it would seem, did not favor him very well. He’d wager to say it hated him, actually. How could he not? From his horrific childhood riddled with abuse from his father and uncle to the rest of his life spent trying to recover from it so he could build a proper life for himself all the way to this shit hole he’s sitting in now.
He had no idea how things escalated to this point. It had all happened so fast and it felt as though it had happened several years ago as it is.
An altercation with his father gone wrong. He couldn’t believe he had ever thought trying to make amends with the man was ever a good idea. Those pamphlets that tell you to try shit like that were obviously out of their minds and had no idea what it was like to be in shoes like his own. Still, he had given it a shot. He gave it a shot in hopes of healing, and all it resulted in was a new nightmare he was forced to embark upon yet again.
Things were said and done that day which are now merely a blur to the blue-eyed man. All he could clearly remember was his father insulting him, telling him that he would be ‘just like his old man at the end of the day’ and…things got out of hand. All Eddie knew was that, as soon as those words left the man’s lips, he had been filled with a rage he had never felt before. A rage so strong, so concentrated and pure, that it sent him into an attack on the older man.
One thing led to another, and sometime during the altercation, the police were called. They had stumbled upon him nearly beating his old abuser half to death right there on his living room floor. The sick bastard…he took advantage and swore that Eddie was a danger to society. That he had always had manic episodes and he needed to be contained.
Never you mind that the sick fuck molested him when he was a child!
He got away with that, hands clean – but Eddie?
He got sent to Mount Massive Asylum thanks to his father’s allegations of his mental instability and the fact that he was simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Staring out the barred window of his cell, Eddie regretted everything he had done that day all those months ago. It felt like decades in this dying place to him, as though he had been sitting upon that same rigid cot in that same barren white room for an eternity already gone.
He had just wanted a normal life. That’s all he wanted.
He just wanted to get passed his childhood traumas and lift that weight off of his shoulders.
Instead, he was sentenced to a fate he swore was worse than death.
Nobody in the damn place ever listened to him. Not that he truly expected them to, but…was it really so hard to tell that he was perfectly fine? He didn’t need to be in an asylum. He needed to get the hell out of there and find himself a shrink who could properly help him work through the demons in his head, but now? Now all he gets are these big, thick pills that are supposed to drug and dope him up three times a day every day and a hospital full of doctors that all looked down on him, sympathizing for him in the most condescending of ways.
Yet, despite how the man had gotten to this place, Eddie is actually quite gentle.
He is beyond himself desperate to leave this place, a hatred having seeded itself deep within his belly for the people inside it and the ones who got him stuck here to begin with, but he was raised by his mother to be good. To be kind. To be polite. His mother…Lord bless her soul and allow her a peaceful rest. What he wouldn’t give for one of her embraces…
Truthfully, he was really just a lost soul. A lost, scarred soul who couldn’t find his way back to the path he was supposed to take. He just…he really just wanted that normal life. He wanted a family. He wanted a wife, children, that white picket fence with a dog in the yard and barbeques by the pool during the summer time. He wanted to be happy, but…it didn’t seem like that was a possibility for him anymore.
His vacant blue eyes dulled as the thought numbly passed through his mind for the trillionth time since he first stepped foot in the asylum. He could hear the distant footsteps of his orderly approaching his cell, the sound of his athletic white sneakers squeaking on the linoleum floor causing a most uncomfortable itch to reach his ear. He didn’t, however, reach up to scratch. He simply ignored it, ignored the sound of the orderly, and continued to watch the dancing of the curtain with the twiddling of his thumbs playing along.
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
“Gluskin,” The orderly’s gruff voice silenced his sneakers and their insistent itch, but still Eddie didn’t look over at him. It merely upset him further deep down whenever he looked at one of these people who presumably had his fate in their hands. If only they’d listen to him, then maybe he would get that chance at a normal life – but they didn’t. They always played him off as ‘another crazy’.
“Get over here, yeah? It’s time for dinner and your last pill for the night.” The orderly grunted through the bars which separated the two of them as he slid the gray tray in his hands through a small sliver of space specially crafted into the bars. Over on Eddie’s side, the tray landed on a conveniently small built-in counter which connected to the bars right beneath the sliver. On the tray laid a small water bottle placed on its side to fit through the hole, a paper cup containing the ungodly large pill, a plastic fork and a paper plate filled with stale mashed potatoes and reheated frozen chicken. The usual, so it would seem.
The blue-eyed man remained on his spot upon his cot for a few moments longer without moving a muscle. The few seconds of silence he received after the orderly had grunted his words at him were heavenly. It allowed him a place of quiet disassociation in his mind, but the relief didn’t last long.
It was quickly shattered with the rattling of the bars of his cell like it was every night, the intrusive sound forcefully prying him out of his empty visions. “Oi! I’m gettin’ real tired of your shit, ya know that, Gluskin?! It’s the same every night with you!” The orderly groaned out at him in his impatience, rattling the bars of the cell once again for emphasis. “For once, just once, can ya stop being so damn stubborn and take your pill when you’re supposed to instead of acting like a dead dog there on that damn bed?!”
Slowly, Eddie eventually turned his head to look at the gruff orderly on the other side of the bars that separated them, the twiddling of his thumbs coming to a stop to allow for the curtain to dance on its own. His vibrant blue eyes met with the brown ones of the man on the other side, one of the many with all the power in their hands over him. Vibrant as they were, even his pristine blue eyes looked dead in this place, so perhaps looking like a dead dog wasn’t such a stretch after all.
Dully, his eyes darted down to the tray that was now on his side of the cell. He hadn’t noticed, but thanks to the orderly’s shaking, the water bottle that came with it had fallen to the ground and rolled over to his feet. He ignored it, however, as he stood to approach the tray.
He had always taken his pills dry.
“’Bout damn time.” The man on the other side grumbled as Eddie stood before him to pluck the green and blue capsule in the small cup. Without looking at him, he downed the pill passed his lips, knowing that he would be watched until he proved he had swallowed his medicine. “Fucking crazies. Ya lot are all the same. Causing more trouble than ya should.” The orderly grumbled as he peered into the patient’s now open maw, checking to see that the pill was gone – and indeed it was.
“I’m not crazy.”
Eddie had finally spoken up for the first time that day, and his coarse voice startled the man on the other side just the slightest bit. He hadn’t been expecting a response, but the shock didn’t last long. When those captivating, dull blue eyes of his met the gaze of the orderly, his expression was quickly taken by a deep scowl, a scoff escaping him in the process. “Yeah, sure, whatever. That’s what they all say.” With that, he turned his back to the man in the cell and walked back down the hall, the squeaking of his sneakers echoing distantly until they eventually disappeared altogether.
In the cell, Eddie couldn’t be bothered by his orderly’s behavior and attitude towards him. It annoyed him, of course, deep down inside, but tonight, he just wanted to be left in peace. So, like he did three times a day every day, he plucked the capsule out from beneath his tongue and flushed it down the toilet after a few minutes of waiting.
He didn’t need pills.
He was perfectly fine without them.
Once the pill was gone, he sat himself back down on his cot and faced the dancing curtain once again. A small smile graced his lips at the sight of it. “I’m not crazy…” He murmured just as his thumbs began to twiddle in the peaceful refuge of his disassociation once more.
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.