The Brackenridge psyche ward was really awesome. You really had a chance to get to know your fellow crazy people. The food was good too. It was hit or miss on the Ativan. Sometimes they fed it to you. Other times they were quite stingy.
I met a young lady in there one time who seemed normal enough and i asked her why she was there. She told me that she threw a party and invited all her friends. One of those friends died in car accident on the way to the party. He wasn't drunk or impaired. It was just one of those things. Accidents happen.
She told me that after the accident she began to hear angry voices. The voices told her the death of her friend was her fault. The voices told her that she killed him. She knew the voices weren't real but that didn't matter. We talked long into the night about many different things. We both were on recliners and eventually I drifted off to sleep. When I awoke she was gone. I hope the voices she heard fell silent. I hope she forgave herself and understood the accident wasn't her fault. I think if she did that the voices would go away.
On another night I ended up at the psyche ward again. On that night I met The Girl Who Counted. She was probably about 19 or 20 years old. She was truly beautiful. She looked hauntingly innocent.
She wanted me to help her. She wanted me to help her count the doors in the hallway. She whispered to me "You can help me". She tried to take my hand but I wouldn't let her. Holding hands is not allowed in psyche wards. The staff really frowns on that kind of stuff.
We could count the doors though and so we did. One door. Two doors. Two and half doors. Three doors. Three and half doors and so on. The half doors weren't really there but I counted them anyway because she did. I looked at her and she seemed so content. How could something so beautiful be so broken? It didn't seem right. I asked her what her name was but she never answered.
I don't remember how the evening ended but suddenly it was morning and she was gone. I asked a staff member where she went but of course they can't give out information. I tried to get one tech to tell me something. She said she didn't even know who I was talking about.
Was she real? I was in really bad shape when I came in that night. Maybe my mind played a trick on me. I was in a psyche ward after all. Maybe she was like other girl's accusing voices. So real but not real. We counted doors that weren't really there. Maybe she came in through one of those doors and left through one as well. A girl that wasn't really there would naturally use doors that weren't really there.
Sometimes, now, when I am in bad shape I will count doors. I count the doors that aren't there. Those are the most important. I like to think that I hold the doors open for her that way. Maybe she will come back for me one starry night and we both will be able to fix what is broken inside of us and be made whole.
Real or not , I wasn't alone that night. I was glad she was there even if she really wasn't there. Real or not, she made all the difference for me. She was the girl who counted.