Emmaline’s Story – On The Inside
The Price of Admittance
I was admitted to the institution with the usual invasions of privacy and personal violations, as though a serious attempt to off me wasn’t enough suffering for one day. Admittedly, I had no idea what to expect here, but so far, this wasn’t it.
A large, rotund rent-a-goon with an imposing posture escorted me into the ladies room. She pushed me past the bathroom stalls into the fluorescent lighting over the sink area.
“Strip,” she demanded.
I blinked in shocked disbelief.
“Come on, I don’t have all day,” she spat.
Hesitantly, I reached for my blouse buttons as rent-a-goon lifted her clipboard and began making notations.
“Put your arms out and turn slowly.”
I did so, praying my humiliation would meet with a quicker end than I had.
“Again,” the goon ordered, moving closer.
Again I turned, with the chill of cold tile running up from the bottom of my bare feet and spreading through all of my extremities. Goon looked my nude form up and down, made another note and asked with incredulous disbelief,
“No tats? Not even a tramp stamp?”
I struggled to choke out words but none were forthcoming. It happened every time life handed me a horrific circumstance. When I most needed my voice, I was hopelessly mute.
The goon relented, allowing me to dress again. I did so quickly, relieved that the utilitarian he-she wasn’t going to attack me.
“Follow me,” She demanded.
Rent-a-goon led me down a sterile, deserted hallway and deposited me in what looked like a small waiting room in a doctor’s office. She exited without a word. I stood in the room wanting to scream after her,
If I was sure you’re a woman, I’d bitchslap the shit out of you!
Instead, I took a seat trying to distance myself from that deeply personal, humiliating affront.
The room was filled to capacity with girls who looked more like ‘the undead’ than human beings. After the most uncomfortable half hour I’ve ever spent waiting, I noticed that they weren’t actually sitting at all. They were lying around, every last one of them; some on the floor, some on a small couch, and the rest draped over chairs.
I pretended to adjust my position so I could see their eyes without being obvious. All were completely vacant save for two girls. The two ranted loudly denigrating everything about the place. My eyes flew back and forth between the desk jockeys and raving girls but no one seemed to notice. Everyone was completely unfazed, as though this was just ‘business as usual.’ An icy chill ran down my spine.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was trapped; there was no escape now. I stared longingly at the locked door and my stomach gave a lurch when total recall struck.
I realized I knew these girls intimately. I had studied them in Psych classes, scrutinized and analyzed them trying to form a correlation between speculative analysis and factual understanding. I rummaged through my mind for anything I could recall from classes and medical books.
An acceptable definition of ‘Incurable insanity’ had eluded me, and all research failed in light of being trapped in a too-small room with those who wore the label.
These were the girls who could say, do, and get away with anything. They could not be held responsible for their actions. These were the patients who were never leaving; veritable street urchins caught in a system which had failed them.
For the sake of convenience, this establishment had drugged them into oblivion. They were drones and junkies completely unaware of reality. Their home was here for all the rest of their days. These were the lost girls.
© June 14, 2015 – 04:09 AM