I found out I was crazy exactly four minutes after I woke up. The cheap alarm clock flickering on the floor told me so.I tried to force myself to recall where I had been the day, week, or month before, but it was as pointless as staring through frosted glass. There were the faintest shadows, but nothing that I could make sense of. Bright lights, a slamming door, voices that made noises, but no words. I gave up, convincing myself that the before-place wasn’t worth remembering, since I had forgotten it so easily. Waking up was my first memory.
The worn out thrift-store furniture that was arranged neatly around the attic apartment didn’t hold any sentimental value for me, and neither did the photos of smiling faces that were pinned to a bulletin board on the wall. The only thing that aroused my curiosity was a group of white bags in the corner that were marked with thick, printed letters: PATIENT BELONGINGS: A. L. PAGE.
That’s why I was so dazed, I thought. I had been sick. But I felt healthy. Then I remembered the name of the place where people go when their brains are broken. And I panicked.
The Wacky Shack. The Nut House. Something had been seriously wrong with me. My mother called on cue, as if she knew how frantically I was thinking of questions that needed to be answered.
She advised me to do impossible things. Be positive. Look on the bright side. She told me I was free now, so I might as well enjoy myself. Find a hobby. Make some new friends. Watch TV. She said I could do anything, but I had to do it on my own, because, for my own safety, I couldn’t go home.
I hung up angrily, slamming the phone into the receiver. I unplugged the phone cord and sulked on my hideaway bed until I was more bored than mad. Though the bright midday sun streamed through the living room’s only window, the thick snow that piled in drifts along the sidewalk below told me I would be stupid to go wandering in such frigid weather. So I turned on the TV, and found that whoever was keeping me housed in this place was also paying for the full package of movie channels. OnDemand was my first companion.
Every show intrigued me. I was particularly fascinated with the plots revolving around girls my age. Their lives could be horrifically tragic in the middle with no way out, but everyone got their happy ending. The credits only rolled after the girl found her guy, her best friends, and her loving family by her side. I wondered when my happy ending would come, or even a beginning for that matter. I would have been satisfied with any part of a story.
My friends never called me, if I had any. Nothing came in the mail, either. My mother only checked in to ask if I was out of money. Why would I be? I only left my living room to pick up more TV dinners from the delapidated grocery store down the street. The height of my social contact that winter was the clerks telling me to “Have a nice day!” On good days, they smiled. Once I had trudged through the snow with my plastic bags in hand, back to Story World I went, where my friends were beautiful girls and attractive boys who always showed me there was hope. I don’t know how many days passed that way. It was hard to mark the passing of time when every day was identical to the last.
Once the snow began to melt, something changed. The subtle pressure to find a real purpose in the outside world became a more crushing force until one day, the movies couldn’t keep me docile anymore. I snapped for the second time, like the crazy girl I didn’t know I was.