Will is staring at me as I walk by. “Micky, she watching you” he says, as always. “Oh wait, she crossed your path. She black. She magic. Black magic”, this is new. He is nicknamed ‘Smitty the cat’. He has been an inmate long before I was appointed here as a nurse. It is 5:43 pm and time for Carlos to panic. Carlos also has a nickname ‘One Airbag’. I kind of like him. He must be cuter before than he is today. I am having his and others’ meds with me. He has started moving his toy car imitating a car engine being kick-started. A minute more for his panic. He has a sad story but then again doesn’t everyone here has a sad story to tell? It’s life but for these men, life was bitter and they were weak. It shook them hard and misplaced their brains.
Carlos was going on a trip with his toddler Jamie and his wife Maria when he crashed the car into a truck. Maria was thrown out of the front glass of the car and smashed into the truck, with her head flat she lied there dead until an ambulance took her. Jamie was crushed between the engine and car seats. His little guts came out of his little belly into a pool of blood with his little leg detached from his little body. Little Jamie died a fast but nasty death. Carlos smashed his head with the side of the car but saved by the airbag, he went unconscious after seeing little Jamie. His little hands reaching towards him. Carlos starts his car and after a little murmur of same words, every day crashes the car into a toy truck. He doesn’t collapse but becomes a mess for us and panics and hits himself.
‘Smitty the cat’ killed his cat Smitty when he was six. He put it in a plastic bag and tied it hard so that Smitty won’t go bad as the food goes if it is left out in the air. It took some time for Smitty when Will turned a teenager it started haunting him. Now he sees it everywhere. Even on my shoulders.
Sunshine Asylum is home to many like ‘Smitty the Cat’ and ‘One Airbag’. I am comfortable with all of them but one Betty is, what can I say, ugly. She is a mess. She doesn’t like taking her meds and she’s unstable. She is kept away from mirrors. She gets furious when she sees her image in it. She can’t control it, she shivers with anger and angst is all she can feel. She starts scratching her arms and then her face. Her face is untidy, scratched and always red. Her hair, messy, smelly and her lips shut all the time. Thinking, thinking of a better life, where probably she is beautiful, like me. She doesn’t want a prince to charm her or the best man the world can offer, she was a simple girl before and in her dreams she is simple. She dreams she wears modest clothes and goes to the grocery to buy herself vegetables so she can cook for her 2 children John and Susan.
‘Betty, it’s time for your meds’ says Mickey.
It’s time for my meds now.
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