I sat in front of the TV, my brain still confused by meds though the doctors had reduced the doses and switched a few pills around. Just to see what would happen, you know.
The common living room was its usual bland self. Nothing to spark liveliness in my brain. Vinnie and James played chess wrong but seemed to understand each other. As long as no violence ensued, no one would set them straight. Little Mary mumbled gibberish in her corner of the room. Half of us stared at the screen where a popular soap told its boring storyline.
Something was missing.
All the so-called entertainment was the same: blah blah blah, blah blah blah, close-up and frown, blah blah blah. Radio didn’t have the close-up thing but the rest was all the same.
The words said so much but felt so little, a dike to slow the emotions before they reached us, the troubled audience.
My intoxicated mind hated it more than I ever consciously did before. It yearned to smash against the torrent of lives more exciting than my own. It wanted to ride the characters feelings until the promised release came, minutes before the end.
Something was missing.
The sounds in my head began filling in the blanks. I didn’t even notice at first. They stayed in the background. Then, my internal alarm rang; I was going to have another crisis. I’d have to stay here for a month at least if the sounds passed my lips and if Trevor’s methods were any indication, he couldn’t cure me even if he witnessed all the stages of my schizophrenic episodes.
I took a deep breath to calm myself and pushed the sounds as far back as I could. I kept watching the TV, hoping that Trevor’s keen eye wouldn’t notice a thing. I tensed when he walked closer and straightened his jacket.
“Are we okay Madison?”
“Sure!” I smiled for all I was worth.
He nodded and walked away but as he leaned against the juice bar, I knew I hadn’t fooled him. I ignored his gaze and focused on the soap.
Something was missing.
The dialogs revealed a plot twist. The camera zoomed in on the bewildered actress.
“Duh, duh, duhhhhh…” The sounds pushed out of my lips, each one lower than its predecessor.
Everyone gasped. Me included.
I was screwed.
The scene changed and again, my mind produced what it thought was missing in the picture. As the two lovers walked hand-in-hand under the trees, more “a” sounds erupted. Higher, faster, lighter; like the bouncing step of the characters.
It shocked everyone, freezing orderlies and doctors in place.
Then Vinnie and James began bobbing their head on the rhythm of the sounds. The glazy, uncaring eyes of the other patients suddenly locked to the screen, attentive to whatever would happen next.
The suicidal people smiled. The lonely cried. All around emotions burst out of the patients’ ribcage – and a few orderlies too. My spirit soared.
Trevor moved closer, a syringe of tranquilizer in hand. They would silence me again.
The scene on the TV screen changed and the sounds along with it. They slowed and deepened as if they drew their tone from the untrustworthy stepmom.
I would be here forever. FOREVER. I was really sick to think this abomination was right.
Vinnie stepped between Trevor and me.
“Don’t put her to sleep,” his voice wavered, a disturbing occurrence from a man so large. Somehow, it filled my heart with hope.
“It’s the cure,” little Mary whispered. It was the first time I heard her actually use words.
Lucy had smiled.
Trevor straightened his jacket. Vinnie growled. My voice refused to die even if I was scared of what could happen next – no one was acting like they usually did.
“Please,” James tugged on my sleeve, “say the lovers again.”
I nodded, trying to remember the image of the lovers in the park. The sounds returned to the pattern I belted before. James swayed, laughing. His attitude spread like wildfire. They started mimicking my series of high and low “a” sounds.
And they smiled.
The sounds left my head. They belonged to the world now. I took a deep breath and turned to Trevor. His syringe lay against is thigh, free of menace.
“What is it called?” Vinnie asked.
“I don’t know.” I answered. “It’s just sounds.”
Vinnie shrugged and joined the others. Trevor kneeled by my chair.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “But they feel better. And I…” He sighed and shook his head. A crooked smile dug its way in his left cheek. “I feel at peace.”
Nothing was missing.
“We wish we would have let us do this before,” I teased.
Trevor hadn’t straightened his jacket.
THE END (I think)