Patient – by KELLY COODY

Some days are okay. Some aren’t.

Monday I was bubbly; talkative at moments.

Tuesday, a socially withdrawn robot.

Today I’m tired. I want to nap but I can’t.

Gilda’s slurping her coffee.

Brandy’s scuffing her feet on the linoleum, making a high-pitched screeching sound.

Brandy, stop it or I’m going to kill you.

Gilda, shut up. Just shut the fuck up.

“Dear Full Moon, please stop following my menstrual cycle,” I write in my journal. I cross it out. “Dear Full Moon, please stop occurring on my period.”

It’s not that I want to stay here. Not at all. I can’t stand Brandy’s OCD and bright pink, mottled complexion. Or Gilda’s eating noises and sob-fests where she cries until she either drools or hiccups. It’s just that I don’t feel better. I’m still angry–still sad–guilty…and I’m scheduled for release in seven days.

What do I do? Find a confiscated nail file in the nurse kiosk and stab it into my shoulder? No…I’ll have to throw a fit that mimics a psychotic break. Then they’ll have to keep me longer. They’ll probably know I’m faking.

Lunch today was misshapen ravioli in a marinara-jelly-type substance with an over washed salad. When I picked up a romaine heart on my plastic spork, water dribbled onto my lap.

Isn’t it stupid that the fucking hearts of romaine were enough to make my blood pressure hit 167 over 95? …or is it stupid that I remember the EXACT numbers from my last blood pressure reading?

Kay is my roommate. She’s okay. Kay’s committed for life for stabbing her husband in his sleep. She said she watched him bleed to death. Picked her fingernails while she talked about it.

I didn’t tell her about Roger.

“Bridge-I hear you’re busting out next week,” Kay’s raspy voice says as she stands in our doorway, lingering, teetering between in the room and out of the room. Her smile is crooked, hair curly as shit from her bipolar meds.

“Yeah…” I say.

She walks in and sits next to me on the bed. Smells like moth balls and sweat.

“Taking any stowaways?” Kay asks. Her voice is low. She slides me a folded up napkin.

“Yep, I’ll see you in group therapy in 30 minutes, Kay,” I say.

Kay walks out smiling.

I unfold the napkin.

B,

gilda has over 100 vic in her mattress. skip therapy and we can split. NP is fucking her so we’re good.

K

My mind begins to race at the thought of having a Vicodin on my tongue. It’s been so long. I can almost feel the euphoria and numbness wash over me. I know I shouldn’t. But I also know exactly what I’m going to do. I can’t go back home to Roger–to the life waiting for me the minute my big toe crosses the line on the ground beneath the EXIT sign. Roger will think I’m cured and expect me to vomit sunshine and optimism. If I even hint that I’m not okay, he’ll get that scowl. And then I know I’ll snap again.

Vicodin. 28 minutes.

*****

“Go talk to Ellia–describe your depression in detail. Start crying. She’s such a dumb fuck,” Kay says, hand on my shoulder, voice an amused whisper.

I nod.

I spy Ellia’s clipped-in blonde ponytail bobbing up and down, touching her pink scrubs while she stands alone at the nurse’s station holding a clipboard, humming.

“Ummm….Ellia?” I tap her shoulder.

“How are you today, Bridget?” she asks, spinning around, hazel eyes meeting my gaze. My Vicodin-obsessed, fiending gaze. I fidget.

“Not so good..”

“You don’t really seem like yourself. Are you getting nervous? About your release?” she asks. I examine her scrubs. There’s a ketchup stain on her sleeve.

“Well, yeah,” I say, twisting my hands together and swishing my feet around. “I still feel sad. No energy. I’m guilty, like all of the-“

“Aren’t you supposed to be in group therapy right now?”

I fidget some more. Squirm.

“If you go, Bridget, then maybe you could work out some of these feelings you’re having.”

I notice her hand on my arm and nod, tears welling up in my eyes.

“Hey, hey, sweetie, you’re gonna be just fine out there,” she says, face close to mine. I flash to an image of kissing her. She hands me a tissue.

The phone rings.

“Bridget, I’ll talk with you more later on, okay?” She picks up the phone. “Taylor-Moore Wellness Facilities, how may I help?”

When I see her grab the clipboard, I turn around and trudge back to my room. Kay sits on my bed, face triumphant. She motions for me to close the door before lifting up her shirt to reveal a gallon Ziploc bag full of white, orange and yellow pills. I smile back.

Kay pops two orange pills into her mouth, swallowing without water.

Her smile fades as she slumps onto her side.

“Kay, quit it. Don’t start acting like a dumbass now–“

But then she twitches as frothy saliva pours from her mouth.

“Ellia! Ellia!” I scream. “Ellia!”

****

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Kelly Coody is the editor for Sick Lit Magazine. She just got back from a five-day Carnival cruise to Cozumel and feels like someone threw her down the stairs, stomped on her, and punched her in the skull. Oh, and while she was away, stuck at sea, she and her husband ran out of diapers for their three-year-old son who refuses to be potty-trained, thus leaving them with no other choice than to wrap him up in an adult diaper that they received from the ship’s medical center. So if she seems crabby, she is. Please follow her on Twitter @sicklitmag and @kellycoody

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One Comment Add yours

  1. katejones73 says:

    Excellent writing Kelly. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

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