I need to go on.
„You know, you're not the only one who has a hard start in here", Miranda added with a slight sigh, but then smiled and rolled her eyes playfully. "Most people here don't have such a nice mom, they have to stay here all on their own without anybody to call, from the first night on…"
What was she planning to do, make me feel like a weakling? Make me realise how bad the world is and just be healed? I didn't really welcome Miranda anymore. But somehow she was the first one not to talk to me a in a patronizing, careful way, almost as if I was close to death and not understanding everybody properly anymore. …Or was that possibly the truth? I got scared.
"Why are you here?", I asked, rubbed my nose and blinked up at where she sat on my bedside.
"To cheer you up", Miranda answered wonderously, running her hand over her bald head. It looked kinda creepy, I thought, and then felt disgusted by myself.
"No, I mean.."
Her face lightened up in understanding. "Oh, you mean the clinic! Well, you see, I have a few 'disorders', as they call it. I always shave my hair as soon as it is half an inch long, for example. I can't stand hair. I once shaved my cat, and she didn't like it, and then I understood that I am different… I also used to rub my skin so hard that it bled, but it's already much better now. You know, I am here because I want to. They help me here, they are nice and lots of my friends are here! Remember Akato? The guy I was playing chess with when you came here?"
All of this information was a little bit confusing for me – why would somebody shave their cat? – but somehow Miranda's talking managed to distract me from my self-inflicted depression and hurt.
"Yeah… what's with him?", I asked carefully.
"I cut his hair once, too", she said in a delighted tone. "Oh, and he always tries to kill himself", she added bluntly, as if that was just a pretty unimportant addition to the information about her hair-cutting.
"Poor him", I said, those being the only words I could think of. "Silly him" would be a bit much for somebody in my position.
Miranda shrugged. "The times he's not in the hospital wing, he's an okay guy. He always wins in chess, though."
"Hospital wing..?", I asked curiously, changing the topic. I didn't know this was such a big building… perhaps if I had looked elsewhere than at the ground when I came here, I would.
My new friend nodded knowingly, swinging her legs a little. "They have a medical section, of course. If you get sick or hurt, they will bring you there so that you have doctors around to take care of you. That way you can still be close to the clinic staff and get better quickly." I accepted that bit of information as true – if one went from clinic to hospital and back all the time, it would get much more complicated. But I had more questions for Miranda.
"That cupboard there with the green cross…" – I pointed at it half-heartedly – "That holds drugs, doesn't it..? Isn't that.. dangerous?"
Looking at me a little quizzed, Miranda rubbed her bald head. "Hmm… you're an addict, aren't you? Well I think it isn't a problem. Even if you managed to break it open without a key, there's only minimum stuff in there. Like, one painkiller pill, one for sleep, a tranquillizer… everything in such small portions that you couldn't get high on it, let alone kill yourself. And it's not like Akato didn't try…"
I gulped. This Akato guy was kinda freaky. Feeling dizzy, I turned over, groaned and rubbed my head. I was exhausted and dehydrated from my crying, I wanted water so badly… and a pain killer for this horrible headache. I wondered wether that was due to crying, as well, or rather the drug deprivation…
"You're not feeling good, are you?", Miranda said sympathetically and stood up, bowing over me to see my probably pretty red eyes.
"Do I look like it?", I mumbled, and it seemed to amuse her. She giggled shrilly and rolled her eyes with a grin.
"You look awsome, Kiba, just awsome. I bet Rose will want to see." And with that she pushed the call-a-nurse-button, without asking me and in her best mood.
Rose came hurried soon enough, probably thinking that I was having a fit again. "Wha- oh?", she smiled, when she saw Miranda sitting by my bedside. "Have you two made friends?", she smiled, and Miranda nodded quickly.
"I was actually wondering wether I could have some water", I mumbled very lowly, practically avoiding to look at Rose all in all. It was more difficult to talk to her than to talk to Miranda.
"W-a-t-e-r", Miranda repeated aloud and very slowly, as if she was talking to a deaf retard. Rose on the other hand didn't seem to mind, and I remembered that she had been taking care of Miranda once, as well – she was probably so used to her that nothing about the girl seemed strange to her anymore. With a nod, she turned back to the door.
"I will get you some, okay, Kiba? With gas?"
I nodded with a faint smile, and Rose vanished into the hallway, leaving the door open a little. Miranda seemed to be very talkative indeed, starting to talk as soon as it was quiet around her. "You know, I could show you around the clinic later, when you feel like it", she smiled. "I bet Rose will be okay. You seem to be pretty okay to me."
"I miss my family", I answered in a very hurt voice, turning my head away. I wanted to punch myself. Why had I even said that? What was it to somebody as crazy as Miranda was? But I was wrong. Even though oblivious to other people's right for self-determination, Miranda did very well care about others' feelings.
"I know, poor thing", she said as if I wasn't three years older than her, and stroke my hair. For a tiny moment, I enjoyed it – not feeling attracted, but safe.
It was already close to 6pm when I first left room 106. I had been handed a key of which the nurses had a copy – that was to prevent people from shutting themselves inside their rooms and commit suicide before anyone could have opened the door. Since Miranda had not yet been allowed to show me around, I was guided to the cafeteria by Rose, who seemed to try and distract me from my newfound homesick depression.
"For every meal, you get to chose one sort of meat and two sorts of vegetables. Many people come here with deficiencies, you know", she told me with a serious frown, giving away exactly what she thought about my own deficiencies. "So I hope you do like vegetables…"
"I hate them", I stated stiffly, crossing my arms to indicate that there was no discussion possible. However, I had understood that I was going to be forced to eat veggies, too.
Once in the dining room, Rose left me to my destiny. The middle-sized room seemed to be a hybrid from a school cafeteria and a hotel restaurant, with comfy seats around long wooden tables and the modern kitchen counter in the back. There were posters about healthy nutrition and pictures of fruit on the walls, and the light was pretty bright. I couldn't decide whether or not I liked this room.
Some patients had already gathered in small groups around the tables, talking idly, while others were just getting their food. I took up a tablet and got myself a small plastic bottle of water (for obvious reasons, there was no glasses) before proceeding to the nurse who served the food. Since the pork smelled of best quality to me, I chose it as a meat and carrots and beans as vegetables – they would be easiest to "lose" under the table. I made my way directly to the last unoccupied table, intending to eat as quickly as possible in order to get rid of these strangers around me, most of whom were probably insane. I only looked up when a faintly familiar odour sat down right next to me.
"Kiba, right?", Akato asked with a nod, and I returned it more or less startled. "Miranda told me. I thought you would like some company." And thus, I made friends with Akato. The trust he had in me, reflected in telling me his whole story of life, really made me feel a little more at home for a while. It was only half an hour until after I had finished the meat that I left my veggies and Akato behind – it was time to call my family. I was given half an hour, and in this eye blink of a time I talked to Akamaru, Hana and Tsume, crying most of the time despite their words of sympathy and consolation. They tried, but it didn't help – after hearing their voices, my homesickness had gotten worse.
When my next seizure came about an hour later while I sat in bed reading, it hit me harder than the last one, making me cramping up and screaming and being sick into the dustbin. It only lasted two minutes because a healer had reacted quickly, injecting my morphine dose and ushering me back to bed after drinking half a bottle of water. The dustbin was emptied and I got my arm rubbed until the fit wore off entirely, so that I fell asleep in the bed beneath my pictures and my longings all alone for the very first time.