Release Part 1 - Falling apart
"Paging Doctor Andrews to Trauma bay 1" An emotionless voice said over the chaos of Emergency. The woman who took my clothes stand in the corner talking on her blackberry. So called 'Safety reasons', just utter stupidity in my opinion. The gauze on my wrists is too tight, I can't even feel my hands anymore. I don't have to look at them to know they're at least a bit purple now. A light, very thin, arm pokes through the blue curtains.
"Are you..." The woman pauses, "Natasha Brown?"
"Yes that's us" The woman in the corner says quickly. Then returns to her, oh so important, phone conversation. She mutters a quick good bye and end the call. "This is Natasha Brown. I'm Sylvia Keller, her grade councillor." So that's who she is. I don't think I've spoken more than a word or so to her in my life.
"Hi there, having a rough night?" The woman asks as she enters the curtained area. "Don't answer that, save it all for Jenny. She'll be here soon, don't you worry 'bout that sweetie. I'm just here to fix up your arm." She instantly annoys me. Her voice, her orange hair, her pink scrubs, blue eyes and have I mentioned her calling my sweetie? This will not be pleasant. "My name is Dr. Andrews. Just call me Erica though." Hi just call me Erica, care to leave now? She takes a step forward, towards me. I take a deep breath and try to bring back some of than tranquillity I had a couple hours ago. Calm down, I keep telling myself.
"Hello Erica. Nice to see you again, sorry it had to be under these circumstances." Sylvia says, her eyes darting back to me every couple seconds. I'm not gonna do anything with you watching bitch. Calm down, I tell myself. They're trying to help. "Seems this little girl's gotten herself into some trouble here. Care to take a look?"
"That's what I'm here for Sylvia. Now, Natasha can I ask you what you did here?" Erica asks, taking another step closer to me. I cut my wrists Dr. Andrews save me! God, who the hell does she think she is. Sylvia glares at me, she doesn't want to be here very long. She wants to get home to her perfect family. Boo hoo.
"Natasha? Answer the Doctor please." Sylvia demands. One hand on her hip and the other fixing her hair. With my imagination I set it on fire. Burn bitch burn. I blink and her perfect black ringlets still hang in perfect balance. Not even the slightest bit singed.
"Um.. I er... I cut my wrists?" I say, my voice cracks and my eyes dart to the blue green floor. It's got giant semi-transparent fish on it. Erica's standing on a giant clown fish three feet from me.
"I see that. Now what did you use?" She prods some more. A blade? What else dumb ass?
"A blade from a sharpener."
"Can I take a look, Hun?" No. No. Noooo. No. Get away from me.
"Um, okay." I mutter, the voice sounds nothing like my own. I hug my left arm to my body and offer Erica my right. Erica softly holds onto my hand as she pulls a moving table from somewhere. It's one of those weird ones that kind of hovers over the bed.
"Have you cut anywhere else?" She asks.
"Hey, I'm going to step out for a second. Erica would you like a coffee?" Sylvia interrupts.
"No thank you. Did you cut anywhere else Natasha?" Erica asks again.
"Only on my thigh and ankle. Years ago." I whisper as Sylvia departs. Erica nods and cuts a section of clear tape that's been holding the gauze together. Slowly she unravels the white material, slowly it turns deep red and wet.
"Dr. Lomaz? Can you get me a tourniquet? Seems our paramedics didn't tie this tight enough." She calls, with a hint of excitement in her voice. A rather large man whips open the curtain, he's holding a strange yellow tubing in his hands. The same yellow tubing that Erica is now taking off my arm. "Lomaz tie it right here." She demands. I feel pressure taken off and put back on. Rubber encased fingers poke and prod my arm. It'll black and blue by morning at this rate. They talk quietly and she walks him to the opening in the fabric walls. "Get Jen for me, quickly." Is all I hear.
Erica turns back to me and smiles. "Okay, just let me grab some supplies." She says, almost like she's talking to herself. She walks over to the cupboards on the left side of the gurney. She grabs a couple metal trays and what looks like a sewing kit. "Lets get this thing off."
"Thank you." I manege to vocalize. All she does is smile and sit down on her stool. Her hands grab hold of the meshy gauze and continue unraveling it. She sighs as the gauze turns from patchy red to all over crimson. There's a faint pulsing of pain in my wrist. Did I cut a vein? Oh god. Erica slowly shakes her head as she removes the last bit of blood soaked material. Four short, but deep cuts still bleeding lay on my wrist. Erica places a rather large metal tray underneath my bleeding arm and tells me not to move.
She quickly places her four fingers on each cut and with her other hand grabs a bottle of saline. "This might sting a bit." She says as she twists the cap off. The whole bottle of saline dumped over my hand did sting. A lot. Tears pricked my eyes and I clenched my fist. Which she quickly told me not to do. "Just let your hand go limp." I nod and do as she says. "Now this is a numbing solution. You shouldn't be able to feel anything in about fifteen minutes." Erica smiles and takes a large syringe and pushes out the contents into the cuts.
"Okay. So, I'm going to need stitches?" I ask, all she does is nodd and dab at the continuously bleeding wound. "Great..."
"Natasha?" A high pitched voice calls from behind the curtain. "Natasha Brown?"
"Jenny? Hey, Its Erica and Natasha, come on in." Erica calls over her shoulder, not once reliving the pressure on my arm. A young woman, clearly no older than 30 steps into the area.
"Hi there, I'm Jennifer Crazton, or Jenny. I'm the Psychologist on call tonight. I was wondering if we could chat for a bit?" Jenny smiles, voice steady and cool in the air. Do I really have a choice?
"Sure?" I mumble starring at my vitals. Watching my heart rate monitor, simple red lines, the constant beeping tells me I'm still alive. Too bad.
"Do you mind if Erica's here while we talk?" Jenny asks as she sits on the stool adjacent to my bed. "She looks like she's doing something pretty important." Still smiling. God, doesn't her face cramp? I shrug and turn to face her. Which is pretty difficult with my arm in a vise grip. I stare at her shoes while she asks me questions, family, friends, pets, school, just about everything under the sun. All except what she's really digging for, the whole self harm business. Mindlessly I answer the easy questions. Where I grew up, my mothers name and so on. The harder ones, where daddy is, I take my time, chose my words carefully. Or I'll end up locked up like a psycho case in a straight jacket. "Okay, so, you know why I'm here right?" She says. Oh god, here it comes.
"Why?" I ask, not wanting to hear the answer.
"Well, your councillor seems pretty concerned about you. So am I. I was called down here from the Mental Health building to see how we can best take care of you." She pauses as the tears I've been fighting for a couple minutes rain down on my cheeks. "Do you want some tissue?" I shake my head, no. "Okay. Well, the next set of questions I need to to answer as honestly as possible. Can you do that for me Natasha?"
"That's all I can ask of you. 'Kay, Natasha, you've done come pretty serious self-harm here. Why?" Her voice sounds sharp. Like, one answer wrong and I'm locked away in a rubber room with nothing but a pillow.
"Um.." Don't fuck this up idiot. "I erm... I cut my self.. I mean I self-harmed.. because I needed to... calm down." She nodds and writes down half a page of notes. Am I really that interesting? Behave, I have to tell myself.
"Why were you upset?" Dig much deeper and I might burst lady!
"Everything?" I mutter. Go away, leave me alone, just LEAVE!
"Can you tell me something in specific?"
"I don't know, maybe it's because my dad friggin raped me, because my best friend died last summer, because my mothers new boy friend has taken a liking to my little brother! I don't know. God just go away!" I cry, she doesn't look as surprised as I feel. Did I really just say that?
"Okay, lets take a quick break. Here's an easy one, do you know you're parent or guardians phone number?" Jennifer eyes connect with mine for a second, no longer. But it feels like she can see into my heart and soul. I close my eyes and try to block her out, to try and remember what mom's phone number is.
"Um, it's... 805-964-8892. That's my moms number, Kelly Brown. Ask for her if my brother answers the phone."
"Thank you Natasha, for being honest." She smiles and makes her big exit.
"Well, now, that was a little intense. You okay sweat pea?" Erica says, her eyes are so big, so seemingly intrigued. I nod and wipe away the tears that still cling to my face. She sighs and rubs the hand she's holding with her thumb. "Back to being a doctor I guess. You ready?" I nodd, hoping she meant for the stitches. I really can't find it in myself to speak right now.
Silence would have been better all night. Now, well, I'm really not sure what's going to happen.
"Can you feel this?" She says, I watch as she lightly pokes my wrist with what looks like a pin. I can't actually feel it. Amazing. "Okay, now I'm going to inject some more numbing solution into the wound. If you feel anything let me know, okay?" Inject? With a needle. Oh my god.
"Okay." I take a deep breath and watch as she manipulates my flesh. The stabs me with a needle, four times, in the deepest cut. I felt a bit a pain at the end, but nothing more than what a paper cut feels like. Then she does the rest. Didn't feel anything after the first little bit, I guess that's means she did a good job.
"It's real important that you don't move now. I'm going to set your arm down the way I need it, keep it that way for me okay?" She says as she positions my arm. I nodd. Hold still, I tell myself, shes trying to help. "Don't touch your arm either, okay?"
About half an hour later my arm looks like my sewing project from grade 4. All the stitches bright blue and completely visible. Jennifer's already come and gone, told me that she'll be back again in an hour or so, to ask more questions. Fun eh? She called my mother, of course Oliver answered the phone though. Silly boy. He's only five and he's probably more mature than me in some strange way. If only Fredrick didn't have to steal his child hood away. Stupid ass hole. Sylvia's come back too, she said she'll stay here till my mom gets to the hospital. Great... At least I don't have to put up with Erica anymore. She left five minutes ago with another job well done on her shelf.
"Natasha, here" Sylvia huffs "Put these on and follow me". She quickly tosses me my shirt and a pair of pants that look a billion sizes too big.
"Why can't I have my pants?" I ask, I'm not wearing these sweat pants. I want my skinnys! Oh gosh, and my shoes too. All Sylvia does is glare at me. I roll my eyes at her and shoo her out so I can change.
I pull my left sleeve up and marvel at my scars. For a lefty I've got some pretty nasty scars. An old friend of mine, she also cut, told me about the time she had to get stitches. She was laughing at them and smiling the whole time. When they asked her why she only cut on her left wrist she said "Well, I'm right handed". She was one of the people that could make me smile at the worst of times. Oh how I miss her. I wipe my eyes and pull my shirt off.
The grey sweat pants sit on the blue stool glaring at me. "Wear me" they seem to call. "I'm soft". Shut up. Oh god. I must be insane, talking to pants Natasha? I shake my head, as if that'd help at all, to rid my thoughts. Frowning, I pull on the pants. They are soft, they feel like peach fuzz inside and on the out slightly more rough. In light print down the sides they say "Amberstine Children's Hospital". Fuck.
"You done yet missy? Not pulling on those stitches I hope!" Erica's voice bounces into the room. It looks like the lights shudder slightly when she speaks. Quickly I pull them up to my waist and go to pull the draw strings. That is, until I find none. What the hell? "Come on, if you're not out soon I'll have to call security, I know you don't want that."
"I'm fine!" I call over the curtain, "Don't need to call security please!" Quickly I burst though the curtains. Sylvia looks at me as if I'm absolutely insane.
"Who on earth were you talking to?" Sylvia asks, I quickly glance around the trauma bay. Only a couple doctors, no Erica in sight.
"Um, no one." I say, she nodds and points towards a waiting room.
"This way." She's not impressed. Great, more people that hate me.
It's been about forty five minutes in here, in this locked up waiting room. There's a security guard outside, looking very bored. I'm curled up in a ball, on a beige faux leather couch. There's a small t.v and D.V.D player on my left, encased in bullet proof glass for "Safety reasons". Sylvia sits across from me, of course she's on her phone. Above her head are small posters "Are you Pregnant? We can help!", "Suicide is NOT the Answer!", "Say no to drugs!" and the classic Kids Help Phone "Whoever said not to run from your problems never had to face a bully" Poster. There are two rooms on my right, their doors are made of heavy steel with a small window of safety glass. One looks as if a pro-boxer went at it and the other, well it looks pretty much the same.
I close my eyes and rest my fore head on my knees. Tears trail down my cheeks and I try not to let Sylvia know I'm crying. Close you're eyes and it'll all go away... Oh god, where's a razor blade when I need one.
"Tasha! You okay sissy?" Oliver asks, his little voice fills the room. His little hand pats my head and I can feel his aura of happiness. "Tasha?"
"Yeah, Ollie I'm fine. Gimme a hug, I really need one." I say quietly, don't let him know you're so upset. His little arms wrap around me before I have the chance to un-curl.
"You'll be okay Tasha, I know you will." He whispers in my ear, I look up to his chubby cheeks and see he's smiling. Why can't I be more like him?
I can't talk, if I do, I know I'll end up crying, so I just nod and let him hug me for a minute.
"Where's mom?" I manege to get out without bursting into tears.
"Talking to a lady named Jenny..." He says looking unsure.
"I don't want you to be sad. Life's happy and good." He says smiling.
"I know Ollie, I'm sorry. I know I should be happy... But I can't? I love you sooo much buddy." I cry, Oliver just holds onto me tighter. I take a deep breath and I get a whiff of his kiddie shampoo. Mango flavoured in a dinosaur shaped bottle. He loves it. When Ollie was three I took him shopping with me and I guess I didn't realise he took it, well he ended up stealing it from the store. We got in no trouble, probably because he was so darn cute. Since then, well, he's been in love with that brand, but now we pay for it. "You smell good." I laugh, he just smiles.
"Sorry to break up cuddle time, but I've got to talk to Natasha." Jenny says, her voice stings like poison. Ollie squeezes me real tight, he's pretty strong for a five year old. His little grey eyes catch mine and he smiles, but something is missing. I'm not sure what it is, but he seems like he's missing something, like the sparkle in his eyes is gone. I try to smile, but I just can't.
"Sorry Ollie, love you." I whisper in his tiny ear. I run my good hand through his light brown hair, it's still soft, like a toddlers hair. He smile's at me again and nods, he knows I love him.
"Oliver there's a woman, her name is Dr. Seeter, she's going to talk to you for a little while while Natasha, your mother and myself talk. If you need anything at all ask her okay?" Jenny tells him. She's holding open the door that leads back into the ER, the woman, who I assume is Dr. Seeter, is standing there with a very fake smile across her face. This is totally what she gets paid to do, babysit while a pysch case gets locked up.
Oliver smiles weakly as he departs, his Super Man shoes lighting up his every step. "I love you Natasha" is all the boy says. Jenny lets the door slam shut, it makes all the safety glass shudder.
"So, Natasha, is it true? You cut yourself?" My mother practically yells at me. I hate you, that's all I want to say. Again and again, that's all she should ever hear. No one so vile and putrid should be allowed to have children, or even exist. Fuck, I hate her. Ugh, I shouldn't though, she has raised me as best she could. She just doesn't really know how to raise kids, that's not really her fault. I look at her face, I see anger, hate, age, care, love and pain all in one. Quickly my eyes dart to the wall. Suddenly I can't speak, I want to. I just can't.
"Ms. Brown, now is not the time for accusations. Right now we're just here to discus how we can make Natasha safe." Jenny says and suddenly Sylvia comes to life.
"For the last month or so I've been getting calls from Natashas teachers, they're quite concerned about her." Sylvia jumps in. Great... I wish she'd just leave already. "I brought her here from school today, I called her teacher to have her sent to my office to talk about her course planning, Mr. Neilson said she went to the washroom and didn't return. I know she's been struggling for a while, so I was pretty concerned." She pauses, to breathe apparently. "I went down to the girls washroom and saw blood all over the floor. So I told her to come out, there was so much blood. I thought that she'd cut a vein or something. I had the office call an ambulance and here we are."
"Thanks, Sylvia. It's a good thing you brought her here." Jenny says, she looks sorta annoyed. How surprising, Sylvia has that effect on most people.
"Yeah, thanks." My mom says, she on the other hand looks enthralled. Like this is all just another game for her to play. "Now, why am I here? To pick her up? You know she has feet right? She could have walked, we don't live that far away or anything."
"Ms. Brown, you're here because to go any further with our assessment we need your permission. Just a signature to say she can be admitted. She has to be admitted for twelve hour observation anyway, but we'd like to see what we can do to prevent another situation like this one."
"You want her to be admitted? She's fine! All she needs to do is grow up a little. I can look after her for the next couple hours, fine. She doesn't need to be admitted." Oh mother, how I love you so. At least she's saying I don't have to stay, at least I'll be able to cut. Just a couple, on my thigh this time though. More hidden. I really wish I could borrow a scalpel and run to the washroom real quick. Just a little blood shed. Nothing too deep, I swear.
"Ms. Brown I really think the best thing to do is let us take a look at her, only for the night. If you really wanted you could come get her exactly twelve hours from the moment you sign the forms. If you did so now, you could come get her at six am." Jenny preaches. Her black bob bounces with every syllable. I wish I could go back in time and just wait 'till the end of the day to cut. It was only a couple hours until school was over. Then I could have gone home and just ended everything like I planned.
I feel like getting up and running. I'd run straight down to Merton Bridge and leap down to the river. It's at least a fifty meter drop. From that high it'd be like hitting concrete. Instant death. I shiver and suddenly all eyes are on me.
"Fine, twelve hours. That is it! I'll be here at six, be ready to leave. What papers do I have to sign?" My mother says. She looks angry. I have to hope that she doesn't take it out on Oliver. None of this is his fault. I know that when I'm not there for her to beat he gets it almost as badly as I do. I came home last week and he had welts all over his stomach and legs. Mom wasn't home, neither was Peter. They left him, broken and bleeding, to go get drunk. When they got home, they didn't even care that his eye has so swollen he couldn't open it. They even got mad at me for using the bandaids on Ollie's tummy. I didn't get hit nearly as bad as I normally do. Oh god, it's my fault Ollie gets hit.
"Just sign here and we'll take her right up to the unit. It's called C.A.P.E., Child and Adolesant Pysicatric Emergency. It's just a short stay unit. I think there's two other kids there right now. That's all, normally we've got at least six or seven. It should be pretty calm." Jenny smiles, like she's done something good. Locking me up isn't a good thing, it's only going to make me cut more once I get out.
"Okay, well, now that Natasha's all taken care of I've got to go." Sylvia says as she leaves. At least her good bye was quick. The door slams as it closes behind her, doesn't anyone realise how freakin' loud that door is?
"Yeah, I've got to take Oliver home, his dad needs to see him. So, anymore papers?" My mother asks. They're letting her take him home? Oh god, without me he's going to.. I don't even want to think about it,
"Actually, I've got to talk to you about him, but lets get Natasha upstairs. Do you want to come?" Jenny asks. My mother says no, how surprising. She's going to go get a coffer, she'll be right back, she promises. I feel like a zombie as we walk to the unit. The bright colours of Emergency fade to dull grey as we walk towards the mental health building. It gets colder too. I wish I had my razor. I wish I could paint these walls red, I wish, I wish, I wish...
"So, Natasha, I'm going to warn you now, one of the kids in here, she's pretty violent. If we think you're in any danger you may be asked to go into your room. We control the locks on them remotely so you'll be safe." Jenny says, she's smiling still. I could fix that with my razor blade too. Don't even go there, I tell myself. Jenny presses a small black button on the grey wall. At the end of the hallway two security guards and a police officer stand, behind them are two steel doors. They've got narrow windows, from here I can tell they're made of safety glass.
"Hello, CAPE Unit, Kathy speaking" A voice crackles over the small speaker. My eyes dart to the floor, it's blue I notice. I feel so ashamed of myself for being here.
"Hey Kathy, it's Crazton and Miss Brown, could you let us in pretty please" Jenny says, I know without looking she's smiling. A loud beep sounds and Jenny ushers me towards the doors. The security guards look embarrassed as they open the left door to let us in. I try to catch eyes with the woman, but she's staring at the floor intently. The Police officer smiles at us and nods his head.
"Okay, well, here we are." Jenny says. "This is Kathy, she's going to be working with you for the night."
"Hey there Natasha" Kathy smiles, her hands are resting on her very pregnant belly. She's happy, I shouldn't talk to her. I'd only bring her down. So I make eye contact, just to let her know I'm not ignoring her. "Thanks Jenny, I'll take it from here."
"Bye Natasha, I'll see you in the morning." Jenny almost whispers as she turns and leaves. I take a quick look around, it's pretty basic. A T.V locked behind safety glass, a couple chairs, some tables in a very fake wood colour, some more chairs with awful green seats, a fridge, sink, toaster and microwave. That's it. Behind me the door closes, or rather slams shut.