The last thing that Nurse Varns told me before she left the room was, "Don't worry, dear. There are a lot of kids here just like you." She touched my shoulder lightly and turned to leave my room, leaving only the scent of her perfume as a sign that she had once been there. This was a normal thing for her. I understood. Like the way that a doctor grows numb to patients dying, nurses like her grew numb to the looks of sadness and the bandages on the wrists of teenage messups like me. I think most of the people there would have preferred her numbness than to see her full of compassion towards what we had done to ourselves. Pity wasn't what we wanted in the first place.
There were three beds in the room. All three of them were pure white. The sheets, the pillows, even the frame. Snow white. On the front of each bed hung a small clip board with a medicine schedule on it. The first two bed's charts were marked up with random chicken scratches and numbers that I didn't understand. The bed on the far right was mine. White bed sheets had been folded neatly at the end of it with my clipboard lying on top of it. The top of the schedule read, "Noel, Sloane." I smiled slightly at my name printed on the paper and then set it back down on the sheets as I put the backpack I carried next to it.
The whole room was white, just like the beds. The walls and ceiling were painted with that stony texture I hated to look at. And the floor's white tile looked the same as from my high school.
I sighed. So many things were going through my head. The look on my mother's face when they told her that she couldn't follow me into the rehabilitation center... The way that her hand shook as she signed the form to commit me to Parkside Psychiatric Hospital...
Her scream. Her scream echoed through my mind ever since that night, but if I had actually heard my mother scream or not, I will never know. That night I was floating in and out of consiousness. I don't even actually remember making the cuts. The last thing I remember was looking up at the reflection of myself in the mirror of the bathroom and smiling. Then darkness. And then the scream.
I had wanted to die. I wrote in my note that it wasn't my mom's or daddy's fault, but I'm really not sure who I was suppose to blame. I was named after my great grandmother on my father's side, who also tried to kill herself when she got older. She succeded. She used pills.
I thought about pills, to be honest, but they just seemed like a cowardly way to go. I didn't just want to experience death. I wanted to feel death, too. I looked down at the white bandages that covered my arms. I should have used pills... I thought as I torn my eyes from my wrists and looked up at the ceiling. If I had known that I would have lived from cutting my wrists, I still would have done it. I never would have used pills. I wasn't a coward.
Maybe I just wanted attention and that's why I would have still done it. They always say that it's always the quiet ones that try to kill themselves, but that's bull shit. People just don't listen. At least people would pay attention to me now.
Life had been a lot happier before high school started. I had gone to a small middle school. There were only about seventy people in my eighth grade graduating class. Everybody was naive and innocent. Nobody thought about death or dying. Most of all our thoughts were on the summer and how much fun the new year would be. I remember Yurem Whitley making a comment about all the hot chicks that he was going to hook up. Nobody really knew that high school would be like, but we all had our ideas.
They were all fantasies. I see that now. I remember thinking of all the people that were going to be there. I thought of all the new friends that I was going to make and all the new boys there would be to flirt with. I was excited to meet other teenagers that were... Like me.
Nurse Varn's last words she had said to me echoed in my mind. There are a lot of other kids here just like you.
I stayed in the room for what I can assume was only an hour or two. There was no clock in the room for me to watch, like I use to in geometry.
I had tried to unpack my backpack a few times. But every time I heard the sound of the zipper opening, I would zip it back up, as if my backpack was Pandora's box and I didn't want the evil things to be let loose here, too. Between these moments of sudden courage to open the bag, I would lie on my bed and look up at the textured ceiling.
The door to the hallway from the room had been open the whole time, but I never saw anybody walk by for the time I laid there. The anxiety of being in a new place had washed away by then and I had suddenly become bored. I got up from my bed and walked over to the front of the bed next to mine. The top of the schedule read, "Velazquez, Elianna. Admittance: 12/2/08." Two months ago.
I put down the schedule, almost in pity for the Elianna girl. Two months in a psychiatric hospital. She must be pretty messed up, I thought and I moved on to the bed in front of the door and picked up its chart. "Admittance: 6/27/07" Two years. "Cooke, Kenley" had been at Parkside for two years.
One feeling that I will never forget was the wave of fear that crashed over me at that moment. Two years? Was that an average time for somebody to stay here? I had never known anybody that had been in a psychiatric hospital. I knew people that had gone to therapy. My best friend, Iyana, went every week for a month after her parents got divorced. She never really talked about her sessions. If I ever asked her about it, she would always just shrug and say that she was only going because it made her mom worry less.
That was all before I met Jensen Knowles, of course. Iyana didn't talk to me after I started dating Jensen. Nobody did, really. I met Jensen Knowles through Iyana's cousin at one of her family parties that I had been invited to keep Iyana company. He went to "alternative school," which basically meant that he was a criminal that the public school system wouldn't take. Iyana hated the very sight of him and I knew it. Iyana and I had both grown up going to the same private school together and neither one of us had ever even met somebody who had gone to jail before. I'll admit it, we were sheltered. The only difference between me and Iyana was that I knew that we were sheltered and Iyana didn't.
I saw Jensen as my exit out of the sheltered world and into reality. Jensen saw me as a vulnerable girl he could take advantage of. All he had to do was tell me a few sweet words and I was his. Part of me says that my life would have been so much better if I had never met Jensen, but the other part of me tells me that if I would have never met him, I would still be that sheltered little girl. And no matter how much I hate it, I know that the second part of me is right.
Jensen told me that he loved me and that he always would. He told me that when he turned eighteen, he was going to take me away to New York City and we were going to live together there. He told me that he was going to give me everything I ever wanted and more. He told me that he was going to do everything possible to make me the happiest woman in the world. Jensen told me lies. Jensen told me what he thought it would take to get in my pants. The thing that hurts the most about Jensen was that he was right. All he had to do was keep telling me how I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and he got some.
Iyana stopped talking to me when she found out that Jensens and my relationship had got intimate. She told me that I wasn't "the Solane that she was best friends with" and that I was "sickening and disgusting." I didn't care what she said, though. All I could think about was New York City with Jensen. He could have brutally killed my whole family and I think I still would have gone to NYC with him. Too bad he was never actually planning on taking me there in the first place.
Jensen and I had only been dating for about two months when the fight started. It was February 4th and in a week Jensen was going to turn eighteen. I was visibly excited about it and had already started packing up some things in an old suitcase I found in the back of my closet.
Jensen never met my parents and my parents never knew about Jensen. They still don't and they probably never will. Every night, Jensen would tap on my window three times. He would tap one more time if he had somebody else with him and two more times if he brought alcohol. I was terrified of the nights when he would tap five times. Jensen was scary when he was drunk. He would scream and break things if something went wrong and something always went wrong in his mind. I'm thankful that both my parents are workaholic lawyers that hardly ever got home before three in the morning. Or else we would have been caught almost every night that Jensen brought alcohol.
The night of the fight, he tapped five times.
As my eyes and hands travelled through the papers attacked to Kenley Cooke's clipboard, trying to understand what the marks and numbers meant, I heard excited chatter and footsteps coming down the hallway that were increasing in speed with every step. Quickly, I hung the clipboard back on the end of the bed and scurried back to my bed, laying down on it and looking interestedly at the ceiling as two beings walked in. Out of the corner of my eye, I couldn't make out what they looked like, but they both stopped when they walked in and looked at me. There was an awkward silence, but I never turned my head to look at them until one of them spoke up.
"Um... Welcome to Parkside!" She said, spreading her arms out, as if she was offering a welcoming hug. I turned my head to look at her. She was tall, about my height. Her tan skin gave away that she must of been Elianna Velazquez. Her hair was short and straight. The red-ish brown locks hung to about her jaw bone. None of her hair was in her face, showing the soft green eyes that she had. They stood out from the rest of her body, making them almost mesmerizing to stare at. It was hard to look away from her, but I finally did to see the other girl I would be rooming with.
Kenley Cooke didn't look like a girl that deserved to be in a psychiatric hospital for two years. She seemed short compared to me or Elianna, but she was probably normal height. Her skin was almost as pale as the room and her hair was bright red. It was obvious that Kenley and Elianna were good friends, as they both had the same hairstyle. The only difference was that Kenley's hair was a lot curlier and had to be held out of her face with two small, gold clips in the shape of stars on the sides of her head. She also had green eyes, but her's were duller than Elianna's. I noticed that she had bandages on her wrists just like I did.
I also noticed that the two girls were staring at me just as much as I was staring at them. I could only imagine what they could be thinking. Elianna took a step forward and smiled slightly. "You... Look a lot different then I thought you were going to," She said cautiously and I saw that behind her, Kenley gave a disapproving look to the statement. I still wasn't sure what to say or do, so I just stared.
Kenley stepped up next to Elianna and nodded. "I think what Scratch was trying to say is that... You're definitely going to stand out around here." She pointed to my hair and I gave a small smile. A few weeks before the fight, Jensen and I had gone to a party where I had the crazy idea that it would be fun to dye my hair light blue, about the same color as my eyes. Against both my parents' wishes, I kept it and even added a streak of lime green in my long bangs.
All three of us looked at each other nervously as another awkward silence settled over the room. None of us knew what to say and were just waiting for somebody else to get up the courage to speak first. "What's your name?" Elianna finally asked.
Another small smile spread across my face. Right, these girls hadn't looked through my charts before they met me. They knew nothing about me. "Solane Noel," I answered back, the first words I ever said to them. Both of them seemed pleased with this name, as if it was a test to see if I was smart enough to remember what my own name was.
"Well, I'm Scratch and this is Robin," Elianna said, gesturing to herself and to Kenley as she said the two names. I scrunched my eyebrows together, wondering if this was suppose to be test to see if I had read their charts while they were out of the room or a joke or something like that. Both of the girls seemed completely serious.
"... Really...?" I asked after a moment of silence.
Kenley gave me a look that seemed to say, "Oh, that's so cute that you don't understand," and nodded. "You'll just have to meet Jimmy. He'll explain everything tonight." The look on Kenley's face was one of pure admiration when she spoke Jimmy's name. I remember when I saw that look on her face for the first time, I thought it was stupid that anybody would admire a person in a psychiatric hospital, but I know now that the people there didn't just think of Jimmy as another patient like them. Jimmy Langley was a god to them and after a short while, he became a god to me as well.