Four - Seward Sanitarium                October 29th, 2019

                Awake again, I slowly open my eyes and the ceiling of my hospital room comes into view. What a wonderful dream, I think to myself as I sit up and look out the window. A beautiful sunrise in the distance puts a smile on my face and I take out my journal from the night table to write about my dream. I have dreamt about being this Initial entity before, but it has never been this vivid in the past. It feels like a memory from long ago. I hear snoring and turn my head. Carol is still asleep and most likely will not get out of bed until lunchtime.

                After my writing, I sit to contemplate my dream and wonder about its significance to my soul. Why am I having these dreams and why would I be this Initial? Maybe it is my insane mind playing tricks on me even though I feel sane and believe my mind is at a balance.

                “I am calm, not manic. I am content, not depressed.” I quietly say to myself. I notice Carol roll over and grunt, and that is my cue to make my way to breakfast. As I hop out of bed and stroll out the door and down the hallway in my hospital scrubs and comfy socks, I think to myself how I shouldn’t be here this time. I shrug it off and enter the dining area where a handful of early birds are sipping their coffee, waiting for the food cart to arrive with breakfast. I pour myself some coffee and sit at a table next to a window to do some more of what I love the most: daydream.

                When I had manic episodes, I believed I had the power to control the flight of birds in the sky. It seems ludicrous now and embarrassing to admit to anyone, but I flashback to the time I was in my boyfriend’s car and freaked him out, waving my hands around and mimicking their flight patterns. “The birds watch over us and witness our actions for final judgement when we die.” I said to him. Needless to say, that relationship did not last long after that.

                I shiver with a feeling of regret and take a sip of coffee to ease myself when I notice a large bird scare off the seagulls that I am observing. Mocking myself, I wave my index finger around, following the path of the bird of prey. As if noticing my routine, the bird turns its head and I see its yellow eyes stare back and it quickly changed direction, landing right outside the window.

                “Go to hell!”

                I drop my coffee and the mug shatters. I turn around and see a man in scrubs like mine standing over me. “What is your problem?!” I shout back at him in response.

                Observing the conflict, Nurse Jones hurries over. “Excuse him, Kate. He is rather new and that’s his favorite phrase.”

                The only thing I dislike about Nurse Jones is the fact she talks to everyone in this institution like she is a kindergarten teacher speaking to her children. The man slowly walks over to an elderly woman, only to suggest that she visits hell. She runs over to the payphone and, without dialing any numbers, pretends to talk to someone – something about he is at it again. I roll my eyes, thinking to myself about another woman who did that same strange behavior during my last stay here.

                Nurse Jones grabs some paper towels to clean the mess I made, and I go to help her. Walking back to the spilt coffee and broken ceramic, I see the bird still perched outside the window looking straight at me. “What a beautiful falcon,” Nurse Jones starts in her kindergarten teacher voice, “A peregrine falcon I believe.” As I get closer to the window and hunch over, the falcon doesn’t seem to be scared and I put my hand on the glass to say hello.

                “Go to hell!”

                I stand up straight and gasp with my hand over my mouth. “Are you alright, Kate? You look white as a ghost.” Nurse Jones asked worriedly.

                Peering around to find the man who mutters that phrase, I fail to find him in the room. I try not to have a panic attack because I think I just heard a falcon speak to me. I never heard any voices before and the thought of a new symptom to add to my list scares me more than anything. While I think about what this means to my mental health, a few seagulls swoop down and harass the falcon, driving it away. I watch as it flies away, but then it turns its head to look at me and once again I hear the falcon tell me to go to hell in a shriek. Deciding to skip breakfast, I sprint out of the dining area and through the hall.

                “Hey, no running!” A nurse yells out. I turn my head to make sure the voice came from a human and I collide into someone else. “Easy there, Kate.”

                I open my eyes and find myself in the arms of my doctor. He sees me in distress and a smile forms on his face. “I think it is a good time for a session, don’t you?” he suggests. “Follow me.”

                Walking down the hall to the evaluation rooms, I think to myself how it is too early for any appointments. We walk into a small room with two small couches and I sit in silence, my face still pale at the thought of becoming the first daughter of Sam. My doctor sits opposite me and crosses his legs.

                He starts what I call the “shrink talk”: “Did something happen in the dining hall, Kate?” I pause to consider my options: If I tell the truth and say I heard a little birdie say to go to hell, and that it was mean to me, I would undoubtedly be prescribed some new meds with horrible side effects when I otherwise feel completely normal, or maybe it was a fluke and I heard the crazy man mutter it through the air vents… but the voice was completely different and it came from the falcon’s beak. On the other hand, I had enjoyed my days before being admitted when I was sane and in control of my actions. I felt like the real me. But now, I heard a voice that couldn’t be real and the fact that I am in this place again shows that I am not well. I just want a normal life. Looking down at my feet, I mutter in a low tone that I heard a voice.

                My doctor leans in, very interested in my new symptom, “Whose voice?”

                “A falcon told me to go to hell!” I yelled in frustration. All I want is my sanity and a damn bird is apparently a little upset with me for no reason.

                “What else did it say?!” he grabbed my shoulders and demanded answers. “Did it tell you anything else?”

                “No, now back off!” I said, taking his hands off me and pushing him away. He sits back down and apparently forces himself to calm down. I don’t know what set him off like that. In a more relaxed manner he asks, “Have you seen this falcon before?”

                It dawned on me, the falcon from my dream! The falcon from the windowsill looked exactly like Binary. I run my hand through my hair to think about what this could mean. Was there even a bird outside the window at all?

                My doctor clears his throat. I look up at him and respond, “I have seen the falcon before, in my dream from last night.”

                “Please tell me all about your dream.”

                I go on to tell him about my vivid dream, not leaving out a detail because he wouldn’t allow it. When I start to talk about the creation of Yin, Yang, and Binary, his eyes grow wide. Finished with my story of the Initial and her friends, I ask what it could mean and what I should do about the voices I heard.

                My doctor opens a folder and flips through the notes. “Well Kate, you have showed some paranoia in the past when you thought people on television and the radio were talking about you. You also believed strangers on the street knew all about you and were judging your character. It isn’t out of the question that you would develop these voices in your head.” He begins writing on his prescription pad. “We are going to try something new, take it right before bed.”

                We shake hands and I exit the room to make my way back to the dining area to face my fear. No birds in sight, also I missed breakfast. Awesome. With a stomach only containing a few sips of coffee, I head back toward my room. To my amazement, Carol is awake and playing basketball. The first time we met, I showed her how to tie towels into knots and then toss them into the waste basket.

                She notices that I am just outside the door. “Come in, freak.” She says in an inviting tone as she takes a towel out of the trash. I enter the room with my arms crossed. “Why are you in this place, Carol. You have seemed normal since you got in here. This place is for freaks only.”

                She spins around quickly and takes a jump shot. “I have anger issues. I was calm when you first saw me because it felt great kicking the crap out of a guy.”

                “What did he do?”

                Carol stares back at me and I notice a teardrop tattoo underneath her right eye for the first time. I guess I never saw it because she was always in bed. She has light brown hair in a long ponytail with an athletic build. I am guessing she plays more than just basketball.

                “I don’t want to talk about it. What about you? I call you a freak only because you are in a mental hospital, but you appear completely sane.”

                “I heard a voice this morning,” I say looking down in shame, “A bird told me to go to hell.”

                Carol laughs. “What did you do to piss it off?”

                “It isn’t funny, Carol. I have never heard voices before.”

                Still laughing and walking back to the trash to retrieve a towel, she continues, “Just do me a favor and don’t do anything an animal tells you to do. I don’t want to be killed by the daughter of Sam.”

                I chuckle knowing Carol and I are on the same thought process. “I have never done a violent thing in my life.”

                “That makes one of us.” Carol takes a shot and the towel sinks into the trash.

                I go to my dresser to grab some clothes and then block one of Carols shots. I take the towel and unknot it. “You don’t have to turn all of the towels into basketballs, I’m taking a shower.”

                The rooms here are nice because they each have a bathroom. I undress, get into the shower and push the button for water. The water comes out for a minute and then I have to push it again. Fun. As I lather up, I back up noticing a spider making its way down the tiled wall and I hear voices again.

                “Kate, you must listen. When the time comes, you must go to hell.”

                “And you must go down the drain.” I aim the shower head at the chatty arachnid, and I hear a tiny scream as he makes his way to the sewer. A little upset at myself for being crazy, I quickly rinse off, get out of the stall, and dry with the former basketball. I open the bathroom door and I don’t see Carol, so I get dressed.  I pick up my journal off the night table and hop into bed in my clean scrubs and socks. I wish someone visits me today with normal clothes, I think to myself. I write down everything that happened so far today. When I finish, my stomach aches, hoping it is lunchtime soon.

                                                                ~

                I always look out my window before bed, contemplating the day’s events. After the talking spider, no other creature tried to inexplicably start a dialogue with me. I start thinking about last night’s dream, and I wonder if I will be this Initial being again. I hope so; it was like starring in an epic movie. I love movies because I can leave this world’s reality and join a more exciting adventure. Life is ok, but my early years were tough on me and being bipolar didn’t help. I had a hard time making friends and keeping them. I also feel that I am a late bloomer and that I was kind of a bitch growing up. I treated my few friends the wrong way more than once, and I can’t always say it was because of my mental health. After all the drama, only a handful of friends stuck by me and I don’t know why. I just hope I can get out of here soon and continue to show them how I am a changed person at heart. My morals have taken a new shape and I feel the good in myself finally outweighing the bad. I used to not enjoy life and the fact that I believed that there was nothing at the end of the road when we die did not help my positive thinking. Now, with a new faith and outlook on life, all I want to do is go home and live life to the fullest.

                Hearing Nurse Jones and her medication cart in the hallway, I wipe a tear off my face and scamper over to my bed. Carol is already fast asleep like always. My door swings open followed by Nurse Jones.

                “Time for bed, Kate. I have a new medication for you tonight.” Nurse Jones says in her kind yet irritating kindergarten teacher tone. I take the new meds without saying a word and she leaves with the cart and its squeaky wheels. My head hits the pillow and I feel a sensation much different then from whatever they give me to calm me down. I get drowsy, but pain runs through my veins. I shut my eyes hoping for the discomfort to pass and to return to my dream world.