Today’s Sharing Sunday Edition is one of my online besties. Ru (as she has dubbed herself!) is an amazing and talented writer and I always get so giddy about everything that she writes. I’m hoping that I can tempt her enough, with my fangirling and annoyances to finish off her novel so I can get to the nitty gritty of what makes her head people tick (Baltek is the BEST dragon ever). But with no further ado, I present you with a snippet of her writing.
Our Own Chaos
Sunlight shone in through the narrow slits they deemed windows in this place. There were three of them in a row and if you stood back, just enough, you could almost make out the grounds outside of the hospital, providing you ignored the thick splash of walls in-between. Long, white hallways and antiseptic rooms greeted us for not the first time since the start of things. Day after day, I kept wondering if maybe this time things would be different – if when we walked in, she would somehow recognize us. My father had already given up on her. For that matter, I half wondered if maybe the doctors had, too. Irritation factor over nine thousand!! Call me stubborn, but if someone needed help, I had a hard time walking away from them. But that’s just me. Could be a fine and dandy approach to the world, if not for the fact that most people didn’t much appreciate what I had to say on matters a fair amount of the time. Some called me a troublemaker. I called me a realist. It’s okay, really. No one quite sees things exactly the way I do anyway and that’s fine. Probably safer, all things considered.
“I’m afraid she’s unresponsive to therapy,” the doctor told us, his features contorted into a mask of carefully crafted neutrality. It was the kind of face someone used when they didn’t want to seem too hopeless, even if they personally have thrown in the towel, so they try for professionalism instead. Invariably, it made them come across as a dick, but hey. I’m probably biased. These guys had been annoying me from the very beginning of this whole shebang. Let’s just say I have my reasons. Oh, he was going for the pitying sad-boy routine now, shaking his head and looking down at his paperwork. For my part, I stayed by the windows that sparked vague internal association with prison bars, watching him carefully from the reflections in the glass. “It’s as if she’s trapped inside of her own world…”
“Is that a technical term, doctor? Your final diagnosis?” Even to my own ears, the remark I tossed out into the open air sounded too cold, too sharp. If my words had been a bullet, he’d have bled out in seconds. Fortunately for everyone concerned, I hadn’t quite mastered the art of telekinetic warfare.
I watched him blinking in the glass’s reflection, a phantom shape against the milling doll house perspective of the people below, before turning to face the room properly. My oldest sister was frowning at me. My youngest sister was sitting on the bed next to my mother, a magazine in hand, showing her the different pictures therein with softly spoken commentary on each one, ignoring us totally.
My father sighed. “Alice, not now.”
Talk about a prompt reprimand. Not that I intended to pay much attention to it. Say what you wanted about me, but I wasn’t the sort to keep my mouth shut, when I’d decided something wasn’t right. You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. I’d read that somewhere years ago and much to everyone else’s annoyance, the words had stuck with me. If I had to say what my own personal motto was, that would probably rank pretty high. Right up there next to: Opinions are like assholes – everyone’s got ‘em and they all stink. What? Tell me I’m wrong!
“Then when? After this guy has her committed for life? Locking her up and pretending there isn’t a problem doesn’t fix the problem. It just makes you feel better about giving up on someone.”
“If you can’t behave yourself–”
“You’ll have me committed, too?”
Since, you know. Speaking one’s mind, especially as a young adult, tended to mean you hadn’t been ‘raised right’ or something. Because obviously, you were too young to understand what was going on. Obviously.
To his credit though, the doctor didn’t just write me off. How’s that for a pleasant surprise? Maybe I’d been too quick to judge him? Crap. There were definitely down sides to having a hair trigger. “I have no intentions of having her committed in a long-term facility, at this stage of the game.”
Those pale green eyes seemed almost out of place in his otherwise dark complexion, but also softened his otherwise too-serious features. There was a peculiar rise and fall to his words, though I couldn’t place the accent. For all of my lofty goals of traveling the world one day on a journalism bender, seeing what there was to see, finding every manner of adventure, I hadn’t even gotten out of state more than once and that was for a band trip. Six Flags was cool and stuff, but it sure wasn’t the kind of suspense I found myself craving.
This time, it was my father’s turn to be cynical. “Well, what else are you expecting to do for her, if she’s unresponsive to the drugs?”
“Often times in cases of temporary memory loss like this, having the patient home, surrounded by people and things they should know, helps to trigger their memories.”
I held my breath, hardly able to believe that this was going the direction I thought it could be. But this was me and I definitely had to make sure, before I got my hopes up too far. “So… We can take her home?”
He nodded to me, his gaze flicking back to my father’s rigid stance for a moment. “There is no value to keeping her here. She’s not violent or self-destructive and in most cases where patients suffer from a mental break like this, the best possible treatment is to return to their home lives.”
Mary squealed out of nowhere, like she’d been listening the whole way along and only just now had gotten to the point where she understood the conversation. She squeezed Mom tightly and for her part, my blond haired, blue eyed mother just smiled calmly, soaking up the affection in a way I’d never quite seen her do before. Mom had been lots of things, but just plain peaceful had never been one of them.
Not exactly thrilled with that, being the busy man that he was, my father took the doctor to the side, presumably to argue that he hadn’t the time to dedicate to taking care of a crazy lady. Mom and Dad had been talking about divorce, before all of this, so. Meh. That whole thing was complicated. Relationships, on a whole, tended to be. It was why I’d never put much thought into them myself, despite being a few months shy of eighteen. I’d been on a grand total of two dates and both times, I’d managed to mortally offend the guys who’d had the displeasure of my acquaintance. Hey, wasn’t my fault. Very strongly, I believed in honesty between people. I believed in everyone knowing exactly where they stood with one another; that is, not putting on fronts, or faking anything for the sake of anyone else. If someone liked you, then they’d accept everything about you – good, bad and ugly. Right? Damn right.
Charlotte rounded the bed, putting an arm around Mom’s shoulders. “You wanna get her clothes?”
I nodded and hopped to, pulling neatly piled stacks of clothing out of the tiny closet. Blouses, dresses. That had never much been my style. I was a jeans and t-shirt, big black boots and too much caffeine kind of girl, myself. In terms of looks, Char and I took after Mom with our pale blond hair and sky blue eyes, while Mary had Dad’s dark hair and eyes going on. We all looked like we needed some sun. My older sister like to blame genes. I blamed the internet. Why derp around outside, when I could be marathoning Twisted World episodes online? Char took care of that at the tanning bed, while I personally did not want to be a leather purse by thirty. Just a personal preference.
My fingers lingered over the fine lace of the pretty clothing, glitter-blue painted nails tapping over the small round buttons for a moment, before I dragged her suitcase toward me and flipped it open. Somewhere in the piles of clothes I kept gathering up and setting inside the case, something heavy slipped out of the folds and clattered to the floor with a very metallic clunk. Yikes. What the hell was that? Blinking, I looked down, only to find that the thing in question was something so totally outside my mother’s own personal style that it was honestly boggling my mind as to how it got in there to begin with.
A key. Elaborate in design and just this side of a movie prop. Silver in tone, with a red stone in the middle. The pieces surrounding the main focal point had a kind of red and black glaze to them, too. Small, glittering red stones decorated the main prongs of the thing. When I picked it up, there was some definite weight to the pendant, its small chain seeming far too delicate to ever have supported the weight on a regular basis. Where did it come from? No way this was Mom’s!
“You done or what?” My sister again.
Quickly, I stuffed the key into my pocket and zipped up the suitcase. Whatever the story with that thing was, it would have to wait. Well. At least until we got home, anyway.
About the Dreamer
Ru Tripodi is a varied writer, whose attention span likes to wander far more than what is likely conducive to finishing any given project. She lives in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, Pennsylvania, with her daughter, her cats and a collection of assorted ‘other’ strays she’s managed to pick up along the way. Sometimes she likes to draw things, most times she likes to drink coffee and when they’re in season, she has an unhealthy obsession with persimmons. They are the perfect muse food. Seriously.