So, I started writing this a few weeks ago and then forgot about it. Dx And then I found it again and I guess I'll post it. I've got 8 chapters done already, so updates should be pretty regular.
I've never written a SON story before, so I hope it's okay and you like it and everything. :)
"Hey, new girl, what's your name?" I'm asking, glancing up from the clipboard I've got resting on my leg. God, I didn't even notice when she sat down, but now there she is, sitting on the lone plastic, elementary school style chair next to the cheap plastic table that's supposed to be for coloring on, but I haven't met a sixteen year old bulimic or cutter or druggie who likes coloring yet.
She's got her arm stretched out on the table and she's leaning back and she's looking around the room at everybody else and I can't help but wonder if she's scared at all or if she's been to places like this dozens of times.
"Ashley," She says, cocking her head at me. Huh. She actually looks like an Ashley, too. Shocker. I stare at her and try to hold her gaze and I'm trying to see if there's something in that pretty little face of hers that shows she's just a little bit scared, because everybody's scared when they come here, but I don't see anything.
And then she bites her lip and looks at the tv at the end of the room.
I let my eyes trail down her almost frail looking arm, which looks so incredibly out of place on a girl as strong as she's trying to act. There's all these little red scabs and circular scabs. Track marks? She looks 14. I guess that's what you get when you work in L.A.. 14 year old heroine addicts.
Unless she's a methhead, but they don't usually start shooting until they've been snorting and smoking for at least a little while, and she isn't thin enough. She isn't wasted away. I dunno. Besides, nobody on the unit's on meth. They have a whole other section for that.
I look back at her face and I'm still trying to figure out what I can just by looking at her, because that's just the nurse in me and I'm trying to be helpful, and then I see her lip tremble again and all that just flies out the window.
"Don't be scared, okay? Nobody's gonna hurt you or anything here," This is why I'm a nurse and not a therapist. I really don't know how to make people feel better, and anybody who knows me well enough knows that it's a big deal for me to try. I was always kind of shy when I was a kid, and even as I got older, I was never really that out there and my people skills aren't really the best.
How the hell did I end up being a nurse in a mental hospital?
"I'm not," She says, but the dull, forced tone she says it in says everything else, even though her face is still the same.
Maybe she's a dealer.
I catch her gaze again and I look at her for another moment and she looks back, and then she's staring at the ground and then I shrug and look back down at my clipboard. Point sheets. What fun. I tried. It's not my job to make her feel better, that's for the therapists. I just make sure they don't have sex with each other in the living room and I keep track of their point sheets.
"Ashley, can you come with me, please?"Ick. Claudia. Puke. She's another one of the nurses and half the time it's like she just loves watching these kids staying locked up in this shitty hallway of a rehab and it's like she likes watching them suffer and waste away here because she's always knocking points off their point sheets for breaking stupid little rules that nobody follows and she goes through their rooms when they're eating in the dining room.
I really shouldn't care so much because it's not like I'm a resident here, and she's my colleague and everything but honestly, what the hell.
This Ashley girl turns away from the tv and over at Claudia, and by the look on her face, she's already thinking the same thing as me. Smart girl.
Well, not really. I take that back. She can't be all that smart if she's landed herself in a place like that with people like all the other ones who walk these hallways and sit and waste away and take their medications and go to groups and sleep and eat.
Jeez. I hate this place so much but I work here.
Actually, that explains itself pretty well.
"Sure," She says, and she's falling back into that monotone again. No, monotone isn't the right word. I don't know, but it's something. It's like she's lost herself and she's just going through the motions but her face is always the same. She pulls herself up and she pushes her bangs out of her eyes and it's then that I notice the scars and the bruises lacing up the inside of her arm.
I don't even know why I'm doing this. I'm overanalyzing some high school kid in the mental ward the same way I overanalyze girlfriends and friends and whoever I'm interested in and everybody else I care about.
And I think that these kids have issues.
"Spencer, would you come here? I need somebody else in the room while I do the physical examination," God, her voice drives me insane.
I'm really not one of those people you see bitching and whining about all the tiny little things people around them do or anything, and I'm not even really one to hate people or anything, but I just absolutely can't stand people like Claudia. She isn't all that bad at all to the nurses or the doctors or the parents, but she's horrible to these kids.
"Coming," I say to the floor, dropping my clipboard in the nurse's station and then following Ashley into the "examination room" which is really just a tiny little room with a bed and a first aid kit.
When I walk in, Ashley's already sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning back with the same posture she had out in the living room. Laid back. She's trying to act like she doesn't care and this is every single day for her and even her face goes along with it, but she does all these tiny little things and she blinks too much and it's so obvious she doesn't do this all the time and she's terrified.
"Alright kiddo, take your shirt off,"
I feel like such a freak, but I'm not gonna lie, the whole girls in their bras and underwear as part of admissions thing is a pretty nice perk.
And that sounds so absolutely disgusting and I feel like the scum of the universe for even letting that cross my mind.
"Excuse me?" She's glaring at me and she's got her jaw clenched, but she gives herself away again. It's her eyes this time. It's her eyes and just the tiniest little shift in her posture--she pulls back into herself and she moves her arm from behind her to across her stomach. You'd never know it if you just glanced at her or heard the venom in her voice, but this scares the shit out of her.
"It's this physical exam thing we have to do for everybody who comes in here,"
She's still glaring at me, and I can see her hand shake. Sexual abuse too? God. Poor girl. I'm sorry.
"You guys already weighed me and shit," She mumbles, staring at the ground now. She hates this. She's losing her composure.
"You're not allowed to curse," Claudia practically hisses, looking up from her papers for the first time since I've been in here, just to glare at her and practically stab Ashley with her eyes.
She doesn't say anything.
"We're just supposed to check for scars and everything.. it sucks, I know, but it's procedure." I'm saying, trying to catch her eye and reason with her and get her to just go with this, and make her realize that I really do feel bad and if I had a choice, I wouldn't but I have to because it's my job, after all.
I care too much about what she thinks of me. That's really kinda sorta not good.
Whatever. At least I'm not Claudia. We're two opposite extremes and I, personally, think my end is better for our line of work. AKA working with messed up, insecure kids.
It's weird because my whole trying to tell her with my eyes that I have to do this and I know it sucks and blah blah blah thing actually worked, and she stares at the ground as she pulls her sweatshirt, then her tshirt over her head and lays them down beside her.
"Can you--" I start, motioning away from the bed, and before I'm even done, she's on her feet and she's still got her eyes on the ground.
Claudia looks up and down her body and then reaches forward and tries to grab her arm and turn her around so we can look at her back, and she jumps back like she's been burned or something. What the hell. I'm glaring at her, and then looking back at Ashley and marking all the bruises and half healed scabs and the years old scars on my chart.
Those're cigarette burns. Christ.
"So, you want the grand tour?" I'm asking, looking up at her from my forms and paperwork and she's just sitting there, staring at the wall and twirling a piece of hair around her finger. She's always doing that--not the whole hair thing, but she always looks away from everybody in the room with her. Shit. I need to stop. I mean, I guess it's not that bad because I'm a nurse and I'm supposed to be picking these things up and I'm supposed to be trying to figure out what's wrong with her and I'm supposed to be helping her get better, but it still feels like I'm doing something so, so wrong and that means that I probably am, because I'm not noticing these things because it's my job to.
Fuck. I overanalyze everybody around me and I think too much into everything I do. I'm going to drive myself absolutely insane.
At least I'll already be in the mental ward already when that happens.
"Sure?" She cocks her head at me as though she's asking, "What the fuck could be grand about a shithole like this?" I guess she's still too pissed off about the whole being here thing to have a sense of humor. Not that I can really blame her or anything.
I'm pulling open the door and she's walking out, back into the hallway and I'm following her and then closing the door behind me.
"Living room," I point at the tv and the 6 most uncomfortable chairs in California. "Dining room," I point down to the opposite end of the hallway, to the only open door. "Girl's bathroom," I'm pointing down the intersecting hallway, and then I'm walking down it, assuming she'll follow.
"Courtyard door's that way, but it smells like shit, so you're really not gonna get too much fresh air while you're here," I'm telling her honestly, and then I'm turning and walking into a now empty room on my right. "And here's your room. Oh, and see that red line on the carpet outside the door?"
"Don't cross that. We've got this whole 'patients aren't allowed in each other's rooms' thing. You get your level dropped back to two if anybody catches you. And by anybody, I mostly mean Claudia." She smiles a bit. Hah. I guess she feels the same way about that evil short little.. creature as I do. See? I'm not crazy. She practically radiates evil and may as well have a neon sign over her head that says "Bitch" in bright red letters.
She's sitting on her bed and I can tell by the look on her face that she hates it already.
"Wait'll you have to sleep on it," I'm saying as hop onto her table, and then swing my legs around under it once I've pulled myself up and I'm pretty confident I won't crush it.
"Okay, I know you're probably sick to death of me by now, but I've gotta ask you a few questions.. then I'll be out of your hair. Promise."
She smiles again. A woman of few words. Sexy.
Oh, for god's sake Spencer, she's in high school.
"So.. Ashley Davies. You're 17?" She nods. "Drink?" Nod. "Smoke?" Nod. "Drugs?" Nod.
I'm opening my mouth to ask, but she's already telling me. "Pot. Cocaine." She must see me eyeing her arms, because she adds, "I tried heroine a few times.." She's quiet for a moment, and I look at her and she really is pretty for somebody so messed up. She doesn't look like it. "I've taken Xanax and Ritalin and stuff a few times.."
"Have you had sex before?" Nod. "Men or women?" She looks up at me, and then eyes the clipboard and then my face.
Yeah, I'm curious, but it's on the paper. Honest.
"Do you cut yourself?"
"When I was a kid," She says, and I look up from my paper again. That's new. You don't usually hear about teenagers, especially drugs addicts, who'll tell you that they used to cut themselves like, 6 or 7 years ago but they don't anymore.
"So why do you think you're here?"
"Fucking cops.." She laughs a bit and then lays back on her bed and stares at the ceiling.
She really is quite beautiful, to be honest.
And I know I really shouldn't, because it's like, she's my patient and whatever, but really, whatever. It's not like I'm going after her or anything and she's only 4 years younger than me.
I think I should just stop thinking. Right now. I'm digging myself into a deeper and deeper pit in my own mind and I can't even to describe how disgusted I'm making myself with myself.
I'm crazy. I'm so, so crazy. No wonder I work here.
Stop thinking Spencer. Please. Stop. Right now.
I smile just the tiniest bit at her, and she smiles, and then I'm looking back down at my paper.
"Actually, that's it," But I'm still curious. I wanna know more about miss cute mysterious bisexual 17 year old druggie girl. "So, you need anything else or anything?"
She shakes her head, and then I'm standing and I'm pulling her door open and walking out.
"Oh, and you're not allowed to have your door closed,"
She gives me this, "What the fucking fuck?" look, and I shrug.
"I know, it's messed up,"
And then, the next thing I know, I'm back in the living room watching Spongebob with 3 teenagers who're talking about the drugs they've tried and the threesomes they've had.
Somehow, I got dragged into this one.
"So, Miss--" One of the guys, the one with a huge afro, is saying.
"Right, Spencer. You're cute. You can probably get all the guys you want. How many guys have you done it with at once?" He's grinning, and the other guys are laughing and slapping him on the back. Christ. It's like a prison or something. Uhm, hello, there's other girls here you know.
I make a face at him and ignore him and stare at the tv. Spongebob. Goody. I love Spongebob. Love. Love love lovelovelovelove.
"Unless, what, you go for the girls?"
Teenage guys are disgusting.
"You get with lots of hot college girls? How old are you anyway, like 18?"
"You do know I can get you put on status if you keep going, right?" I'm saying simply, leafing through papers until I can find his point sheet. Ricky. He's been level 4 for a week. Some of them get really, really crazy about their level and they flip a shit if they get their level dropped or anything, as though they can't get it brought back up in a couple of hours. And, really, the only perk of staying a level 4 for so long is that you get to answer the payphones.
Oh boy. What fun.
I guess he cares, anyway, because he shuts up immediately.
Jeez. This is what I get for working in this place. I'm fluent in mental hospital language. Levels determine how much freedom they get, but we're one of the less liberal hospitals, and the only difference between the levels here is that you get to stay up half an hour later and you get to go to the cafeteria so you get a selection of shitty hospital food instead of not having a choice. Level 1 means you're on status and you have to always have a nurse watching you. Level 4 is highest.
I can't wait to get a new job. I feel so crazy sometimes when I'm here. A lot of the time, actually.
Secret. I got the idea for this when I was puking from stomach flu. The original idea was a bulimic girl instead of a druggie, but I couldn't see Ashley as bulimic.