A/N: This is my first story on Fictionpress, so I hope you like it. If you have the time, leave a review please :)
Waiting rooms are a special kind of place, a kind of place where you can observe others without fear of being thought 'strange' or 'crazy'. It provides a medium of sorts; everyone, of all shapes and sizes, has to enter a waiting room of some kind in their life. Rich and poor, young and old, mean as a rabid dog or kind as the tooth fairy all assemble into this tiny little room to wait.
In your average waiting room, people will text, pick their noses, and generally do anything to pass the time. In the waiting room of a psychiatric hospital, however, things are a bit more interesting. So interesting, in fact, it will literally drive you crazy.
"How exactly am I supposed to react when I'm wrestled to the ground by some pudgy cops, hand-cuffed, and then searched by some wimpy-ass douchebag?" Charlee asked as she stomped into the room to join her fellow waiters.
"We have to search you; it's our policy," explained the heavy-set woman as she examined the contents of her clipboard.
"Well, it's my policy to not get searched," retorted the girl in a typical teenage manner as she flopped onto one of the uncomfortable chairs she was designated to wait in.
The woman in charge heaved a dramatic sigh and, with difficulty, bent over to look at the girl on eye-level. "Your policy doesn't count here, Miss Parker."
"First of all: My name's Charlee, not Miss Parker. Secondly, I refuse to have anyone else search me or my property."
"Well, Charlee, you're just going to have deal with it," replied the older woman as she straightened up. "It's not our policy to cater to every spoiled brat's demands." With that, the woman left and proceeded down the hallway from whence she came.
"Bitch," Charlee muttered as she watched the woman leave.
"She's not a female dog," answered an unexpected voice to her right.
Looking over, Charlee saw a middle-aged bald man wearing a sky-blue hospital gown. She briefly considered arguing that the woman did, in fact, look like a female dog, but decided against it.
"Whatever." Charlee settled into her seat with difficulty—it felt as if it were made of plastic. Observing the room with benign interest, Charlee noticed that the walls were painted a neutral beige with calming abstract watercolors adorning the walls. A woman in faded blue jeans watched TV on a flatscreen to the far left.
"So what are you in for?" asked the crazy man who thought people should be treated with respect. What a weirdo.
"I don't think that's any of your business," Charlee snarled as she crossed her arms.
He shrugged. "I tried to kill myself. It didn't work, obviously."
Despite herself, Charlee couldn't help but feel a pang of sympathy for this man. He was small and possessed a wide-eyed innocence that was unseen in a man of his age. On top of that, he seemed broken; a toy that had been played with too roughly and had been carelessly tossed away once it was deemed no longer interesting.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
He shrugged off-handedly. "At least I'm getting help," he said with a note of optimism. "So, are you going to tell me why you're here or not?"
She briefly considered lying. How could she tell this man-who had obviously been through so much-that she was just a spoiled brat? But looking into his grey eyes she knew she couldn't lie—not effectively at least. "I told my aunt that I was going to kill myself, and then I ran away."
He nodded as if that was completely reasonable. Then, he proceeded to stare at the carpet as though it held the answer to the meaning of life. Figuring that their conversation was over, Charlee looked out the fogged window, trying in vain to see if her aunt had arrived yet. The moments passed slowly and Charlee felt boredom edge in on her from all sides. She hoped her aunt would come soon; just to give her someone to talk to.
A guy with the same ID card around his neck as the woman who escorted her here and the man who searched her appeared with trays of food. He hoisted them on one hand above his head, similar to that of a waiter, and gave the top one to the woman on the other side of the room. He then delivered the remaining trays to Charlee and the man Charlee christened 'Weird Dude' with the promise of returning with some milk. Balancing the tray on her knees, Charlee removed the lid uncertainly. She was startled by the wonderful smell of tomatoes and garlic that assaulted her senses. An unintended sigh of contentment escaped her lips and Weird Dude looked up from his own tray at the sound.
He smiled knowingly at the amazed look on her face. "The best thing about this place: you're never going to go hungry."
She smiled back at him and dug into the manicotti. "So, you've been here before?"
He nodded but said nothing. Charlee shrugged and continued eating her food. Five minutes later, the Wannabe Waiter returned with three cartons of milk and Charlee's aunt.
"Charlee!" exclaimed the plump, middle-aged redhead as she ran over and planted a kiss on the top of her niece's head.
"Hey Auntie," was the mumbled reply. Following the two of them was a smiley woman who wore high-heeled boots and was writing on a clipboard while walking!
"Well, now that you're guardian's here, we can get started with the processing," Clipboard Lady proclaimed as she gestured down the hallway.
"What about my dinner?" Charlee asked.
"Oh, you can eat it while we go through all the paper work," she said, smiling. "Besides, your aunt will be the one answering most of the questions."
With a dramatic roll of her eyes, Charlee collected her food tray and handed her aunt Jennifer her carton of milk to hold. "Bye person," she said to Weird Dude.
"Good luck," he said with a timid wave.
The trio proceeded down the hall past many small rooms. Some of them were vacant, others full. All of them were barely large enough to hold a round table and three chairs. Their 'processing room' was the last one on the right and was just like all the others. Upon entering the room, Clipboard Lady pasted on an obviously fake smile while she asked Jennifer questions about Charlee's mood, appetite, etc. Charlee would have been upset about Clipboard Lady's obvious fake sincerity if it weren't for the fact that Jennifer sorely needed it. The woman was a kindergarten teacher, so she was used to crises, but certainly nothing of this magnitude. For this, Charlee was willing to sit by and listen to the Clipboard Lady tell lies. But only just.
This 'processing' seemed to take hours, though Charlee's input was hardly needed. Her Aunt Jennifer knew her better than she knew herself, so she just let her answer all the questions. This led to her imminent 'zoning out'. Maybe that's why her name was screamed very loudly in her ear?
"Hmm? Yeah?" she replied, opening her eyes to see both women shooting not daggers, but lightsabers, from their eyes. Her Aunt Jennifer appeared to be close to tears, for some odd reason. When did that happen?
"Were you asleep?" her aunt screeched.
"Ugh, I can't believe you! You're going into a mental hospital and you're just acting as if it's no big deal!"
"The sign outside says it's a behavioral hospital," was the sarcastic reply.
Jennifer closed her eyes before sighing and gesturing towards Clipboard Lady. "Just answer Mrs. Peterson's questions."
Oh, so that's her name. "Whatever," Charlee replied sourly.
"I just need you to tell me three of your talents, Charlee, and then we can get you onto the ward," Mrs. Peterson said, smiling a huge, cheesy smile.
Oh, this'll be fun. "Well, let's see," Charlee said sarcastically, stroking an imaginary beard. "I'm pretty good at giving blowjobs."
Mrs. Peterson did not find this funny. Neither did Aunt Jenny. Surprise, surprise. "Ma'am, we take your recovery very seriously here. So should you," Mrs. Peterson replied coldly.
Deciding that bullshitting her way through this would be the best plan, she replied monotonously, "I'm good at reading, writing, and drawing." To her surprise, her aunt gave no objection to this, even though her grades were abysmal at best.
"Great," Mrs. Peterson said as she stood up. "Well, I'll give you two a moment to say goodbye and I'll come back in a few moments to take you to the ward, Charlee. You did bring some of her things, didn't you Mrs. Parker?"
"Yes, I left them at the front desk."
"Okay, well, I'll just go pick those up and drop them off at the ward along with you, okay?
Charlee nodded dumbly. As soon as they were alone, aunt and niece stood up and embraced. They didn't say a word as they held each other goodbye; neither could think of anything that would make the other feel better, so they chose silence as their best option. When Mrs. Peterson came back with a bag of Charlee's belongings the two quickly wiped away their tears. As Charlee departed from the beige waiting room, her aunt called after her, "Don't forget to brush your teeth!"
Charlee couldn't help but roll her eyes at this remark. She was going to live in a mental hospital (that's what it is, no matter what the sign says!) for an undetermined amount of time and the best advice her aunt could give her was 'don't forget to brush your teeth'? Waiting rooms really do make you crazy.
A/N: Thanks for reading! And remember: every time you leave a review, a unicorn is born! Save the unicorns! :P