There it was, the very place I was scared to death of. Some dark part of me was terrified that I might end up in here again one day. I didn't know how I could end up in there; it was as if I was afraid I would do something blindly insane and have to be locked away. It's how Trent ended up here.
"You don't have to do this if you don't want to, I'm sure he will understand." Dad said beside me with his hands grasped at the steering wheel.
"No, I do. I have to do this." I replied. "It'd be good to see him anyway. It's been too long."
I rummaged through my busy purse past the many medicines and capsules until I finally groped my ventolin inhaler and took three big puffs with it, barely giving myself enough time to breathe the previous inhales.
"Are you sure?" Dad asked, knowing that I wasn't taking the ventolin because of asthma.
I seriously considered it for a moment, but stepped out of the car before I could think any further. My heart started pumping rapidly. I took another deep breath, struggling to convince myself that I was still sane and there was nothing to worry about.
"Skye, say 'hi' to him for me," Dad called.
I nodded to him, faking a smile and turned back facing the building. St. Xavier's Mental Institute; I couldn't believe it had only been three years since I was released from here, yet at the same time it felt like I never left. I felt bad for two reasons: for leaving and for coming back. It was just my anxiety, I knew that, but even with every pill I popped in my mouth I felt no different about this place or who I left behind.
I entered the building, my heart already started to feel like I was going to throw it up. I took another puff of my ventolin and bricanyl – it probably wasn't good for me to take both.
"Hi," I greeted the man at the front desk, pulling at my jacket nervously. "I'm Skye Feldman and I'm here to see Trent Masterson."
"Bag please," he ordered.
He looked surprised as soon as he opened my bag, and took out the majority of it which was mostly pills, tablets, liquid medicines and asthma puffs.
"Asthmatic, anaemic, anxiety disorder, hypoglycemic, arthritic…I have issues." I explained, pointing to each of the medicines.
"Turn out your pockets, please."
I did so and took out another inhaler and my heart monitor. "For heart palpitations," I added.
"I'm sorry do you have a doctors' certificate for these?"
It took him a while to get approval from the other staff members but I was eventually escorted through to a room with board games and people who made squeaking or moaning noises and swore abruptly.
"Trent will be with you in a moment. He might look tired; we just gave him his medicine." A nurse told me.
"Okay," I nodded.
It didn't take me long to have another one of my short flashbacks to three years ago where I was in this exact room with Trent where we were playing connect four.
November 14th 2004
"You're cheating," I smiled. "You can't do that, a zigzag doesn't count as connecting four."
"What are you talking about? Of course it counts. It looks like a Pikachu tail." Trent replied.
"Yes, and I'm sure somewhere in Japan, you make an animator happy. But if that counts, so does my weird looking snail."
We both laughed. We had our good days, and this was definitely one of them, even if we were stuck inside playing board games. Nurses would come every now and again to give us pills and fix Trent's drip, but it was as if no one was there. When we had our happy days, we were really happy.
"Hey guys," Jena greeted as she approached our table, twitching her shoulders and scrunching her eyes. "Can I play?"
That was the last thing I remembered before I had Jena pinned to the floor as I swiped my fingernails down her face making her scream and writhe under me.
"Now Skye, calm down, calm down!" a nurse urged me, pulling me off Jena. "It's okay, let's go to Doctor Michael, alright?"
All eyes from everyone in the room were on me, including Trent. A couple of other nurses went to help Jena whose tics were going crazy and her face was bleeding from my inflamed scratch mark.
"What happened?" I said, panicking as more nurses came to take me away. "What did I do? Trent what happened?"
Trent stared at me in horror without a word. He only answered me by flicking his eyes over at Jena. The connect four stand was broken to pieces and the tokens were all over the floor.
"Oh my god, Jena I'm so sorry! I swear, I didn't mean to!"
The blackouts used to happen to me a lot, but it had been three years since my last blackout. No one knew what it was, only that it was caused by stress and anxiety, so doctors told me to write what I did every day until the blackouts stopped. Instead of writing in a diary or taking photos of the day or something, I wrote everything to my pen pal in New Orleans, because honestly I was afraid of reading things over and remembering something awful I did to someone – or something awful that happened to me – and I just needed to talk to someone.
Soon a nurse came in pushing a wheelchair with who I couldn't believe was Trent. He looked so much older even though he was only twenty. His hair was a lot shorter – he almost had no hair at all – all around his mouth was covered in a short prickly beard, resting under his nostrils was a nasal cannula that hadn't been cleaned in too long, his eyes were dark and red like he could fall asleep at any minute and he looked like he just didn't give a crap anymore.
"He's a little bit out of it, it might take him some time to properly wake up." The nurse explained before leaving.
She was right. Trent was just staring at one spot as if he wasn't completely there.
"It's good to see you, Trent." I said.
He still didn't move or talk. I tried not to be frustrated.
"Trent!" I called without thinking.
He suddenly blinked a few times, breaking out of his daydream, and his eyes finally focused on me. He began smiling at me.
"Hey," he grinned excitedly. "Skye, I didn't know you were coming."
"I told them to keep it a surprise," I replied. "It's so good to see you."
I reached for his right hand, but when he looked at it, it took me a while to realise why he couldn't hold my hand.
"Sorry," I whispered, reaching for his other hand so he could hold mine. "I forgot you can't feel that."
"It's okay, I just forget I have an arm there now." he shrugged. "So, how have you been?"
"Fine, I go to college now, I'm studying to become a historian. I'm just back for the holidays."
"So, you're going to visit a lot more?"
"Yeah, of course. I've missed you and I want to see you more often."
"I'd like that."
I wasn't convinced he was happy. I believed he was happy to see me but not as happy as I would have liked him to be. It was really starting to piss me off and I don't know why.
"I have something for you,"
"Mm-hm," I groped through my bag again for the hidden pamphlet crinkled at the bottom of the bag.
"That's…a lot of meds," Trent commented.
"Yeah, you know those meds I was had when I was here? I'm still taking them. It turns out asthma, hypoglycaemia, anaemia, arthritis and all that sticks to you for a while."
"And you're all good with it?"
"Yeah, I'm not going to quit life just because of some sicknesses."
I just wanted to slap him for that. I couldn't believe how much he had given up in only two years.
"Because there's a world out there and there are things to do. Sitting around your whole life is a complete and total waste of your time."
Trent looked at me as if I was saying the most ridiculous things. I hoped to god it was just his meds talking. He opened his mouth but stopped and sighed. "What did you want to show me?"
Angry, I slapped the pamphlet on the table close to his reach. He picked it up and studied the pictures of the large two-storey beach house under the bright light of the sun. I could almost see the glimmer of joy in his eyes, but my heart slowly sank when I thought it was just me wishing too hard.
"What is this?" he asked.
"That's going to be my new house, and yours too." I replied. "My birth parents sent me some money and it turns out I own a beach house right near my college. Trent, I want you to come live with me. Your doctors said you're well enough to be released, your meds are just for your mental issues–"
"You actually think I'm well enough to get out of here?" Trent interrupted with a snap.
"No! I think you're preventing getting better so you can stay here and feel sorry for yourself. Let me tell you, it's not worth it. Trust me, I've tried. But you know what I did? I wanted to get over it and I let myself."
"I don't want to get over it!" he shouted so loudly it startled me and a few others in the room. "I know it sounds like a selfish thing to say, but I don't! This is who I am and this is how I'm going to stay – a fucked up cripple who can't feel the right side of his body."
"You're right Trent, that is selfish!" I yelled. I was starting to cry hard now without realising until I felt how wet my face was. It took me a while to notice that Trent was crying too. "Because instead of always being there for me, like you said, you've decided to give up, like you said you would never do!"
"Well it looks like you're doing a damn good job without me."
"Shut up, Trent!" I screamed. "Grow a pair, pack your bags and please, for the love of god, come home. You have no idea how much it is killing me that I can't see you every day."
"Miss, we're going to have to ask you to leave." A nurse ordered.
"Five minutes!" I barked without meaning to and turned back to Trent. "I am not giving up on you. Even if it takes every second of every day for the rest of my life, I am not going to let you give up your life."
Trent then turned on his wheelchair as if he was in a hurry to leave and wiped his tear-stained face with his sleeve.
"Trent!" I cried.
He stopped turning and just let himself cry for one long moment. I wanted so badly to run into his arms and hear him crying his apologies over and over again. Instead, he just turned to me and said "You were right about what you said in the hospital; I should have died."
I thought I would scream at him again but I just cried along with him. "You know that's not what I meant."
He stared at me for a long moment as if he desperately wanted to say something to me but couldn't spit it out. Say it please, just spit it the hell out! I thought aggressively. But he turned away and drove himself out until he was completely out of sight.
"Miss Feldman, are you alright?" the nurse asked.
I thought she only meant because of the fight I had with Trent until I found myself wheezing and coughing along with my heart palpitations sky-rocketing.
I gasped in the strong puffs of my inhaler until I finally felt like I could breathe again. But that didn't mean I didn't stop feeling like I was going to die.
A/N: Sooooooo what do you think? Please write reviews and let me know how I'm doing :)