Guarded Impact

What do they want? They say this is good therapy, write down what happened and it will make you feel better. They have no idea. They want me to write it down because they think it’s a confession they’ll be reading, but I have nothing to confess.

It’s ridiculous how they run this place. They’ve had me stuck in that office for hours, waiting for me to write something. I just stared at the paper for as long as they stared at me.

They come and get you from your room. Well, they call it your room to make you feel better, make you feel like there is somewhere in the world that is still safe, still private. But it’s a cell. They know it too, they just won’t admit it, not to your face anyway.

So they come and get you from your cell and they take you to the conference room. You know, the room where everything is spoken in strict confidence with a person you can trust, then when you’ve spilled your guts they leave you to sweat it over, while they go and tell all their workmates everything you’ve just said.

Yeah, well anyway, they took me to that room. Not a word was spoken. No “Hello Missy, how was your day?” or “Gee Missy, don’t you look good in that tracksuit? Is it a new one? Different shade of green maybe?” Nothing. They don’t smile at you, or try to make you feel comfortable. Sometimes they don’t even realise you’re there, they just look through you like you’re another empty space.

There was someone different there today. Maybe they thought the last guy didn’t look ‘trustworthy’ enough for me. Well, neither did this guy. He looked just as bad as the rest of them. I think it’s the badge that does that, makes them look like jerks. He had a stack of paper in front of him and I couldn’t help but wonder how many trees had been sacrificed for this man and I tried squinting my eyes in order to count the pages.

I was led over to an old plastic chair and made to sit down in front of the newbie. The badge he was wearing told me that his name was Keith. Dr. John Keith. It’s a nice enough looking name I guess. He’s a young doctor, with jet black hair and thick glasses that makes him look a Clarke Kent impersonator. He’s probably about the same age as me, though it’s pretty obvious that his academic record would be much more impressive than mine. I have no doubt that his criminal record isn’t as colourful as mine though. It truly amazes me how different two seemingly similar lives can be.

Dr. Keith pushed the paper over to my side of the table, then took a pen from his own pocket and placed it on top.

“Missy, my name is Doctor John Keith, it’s nice to meet you.” He paused, as though he were waiting for me to reply, maybe introduce myself. There was no need; he had already read my file. They all had. They already think they know who I am.

“Missy, I have brought you some paper and a pen.” Another pause. It never ceases to amaze me that despite reading my record, every person who comes along seems to think they are going to get a different reaction than the person before them. How stupid do they think I am?

“I know you don’t want to talk Missy and that’s okay. You don’t have to talk to me if you don’t want to, that’s why I brought you the pen and paper. Maybe you would feel more comfortable writing something down instead? How do you feel about that Missy? Do you think it’s a good idea?

The guy’s a classic! Too stupid for words. What’s the point? Either tell us everything about your life, or just write it down if you don’t want to talk.

I don’t talk to them because I don’t want them to know everything about my life. It’s private and it’s the only thing I have left that’s private. My memories. They’re mine! They’ve taken everything else away from me; my home, my pride, my freedom. Now they want my memories! They can go to hell, they won’t get them.

I sat there like a statue for so long, I could feel the pins and needles in my butt cheeks, as they moulded to the plastic beneath them and I became one with the chair. I stared at the engravings on the table where so many had sat before me. The table was old. Colin had been sitting there in ’09. Saddy was sitting there in ’01, V.L had been there in ’92. I thought of putting my name on there, I could have had I wanted to. I have a pen now. I marvel at the fact that it’s the only thing I truly own.

After what seemed like forever, as I was sitting there thinking about my pen and the paper, Dr. Keith stood up.

“Missy you need to communicate with us, just talk to us, say a single word or write something down, you need to do something. They are not going to like the fact that you have made no progress in over twelve months. They’ll end up moving you from here, they’ll send you to Kildonnan for what you’ve done Missy. You need to think about that. There will be no turning back once the decision’s been made. Just think about it Missy and when you have made up your mind, you let me know.” He calmed down slightly then and took in a deep breath, while I watched him, unmoving.

“I’ll leave you with the pen and paper in case you change your mind. Good luck Missy, I’ll see you next week.” And with that he walked out and someone came in and grabbed my pen and paper and took me back to my cell.

That was over an hour ago now. I’ve been sitting here thinking about it, thinking about what Dr. Keith said, about Kildonnan and stuff like that. Just like everyone else Dr. Keith thinks I’m guilty.

“They’ll send you to Killdonnan for what you have done Missy”. For the last hour, that comment has been replaying itself in my mind over and over again, as consistent as a clock marking time.

I still don’t want to give my memories up. I want something private, something for me. In this place you have no control over anything. You shower when they tell you to shower, you eat when they tell you to eat. But they can never make me talk. I love seeing their frustration when they work so hard for a response and they get nothing. I want them to feel that frustration, feel what I feel, even for just a moment.

They’ve called the lights out warning, my writing has become scribble now as I try to get this down.

I really don’t like it here, but I feel as though I have been here so long, it’s become my life now. I don’t feel that I belong here, but I guess everyone thinks that. I certainly don’t belong in Kildonnan – that I know.

They say that writing is good therapy and I must admit, I do feel better now than what I’ve felt in a long time. Maybe if I write my story for Dr. Keith it won’t be so bad. I don’t have to tell him everything right away, at least until I know how much I can trust him. Next week I should write him a note asking him to remove the badge. It will be the first human interaction I’ve had since I’ve been here. I’m actually excited. I have something to look forward to – a hope for the future, as mild as that hope may be, it’s something.

Maybe I’ll be able to make them see that I am not the person they think I am. If it doesn’t work, I can always tear up all the pages to keep my thoughts private. It’s worth a shot isn’t it? Anything is worth a shot if it makes you feel better… right?

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P.O.Box 425, Albany DC, Western Australia, 6331

© 2018 by Kylie Abecca.