I waited for a man that I have never met before. He was the key I needed to free myself from the constraining coat I was wearing. The people at the Willmont Sanitarium referred to it as a strait-jacket. I was waiting for him in a room with white walls and plain tiled floors. Everything was enhanced by the ceiling's florescent lights. The more I waited, the more anxious I became. Before he arrived I already knew what I was going to do. I had gone over my plan several times. So I had to force myself to stop thinking about it, in order to make everything feel more natural.
I sat perfectly straight in my chair on the other side of the table. I sat and waited for him to walk through the door directly in front of me. My body kept forcing itself back into a slouch position. When I caught myself doing this, I quickly straightened myself back into a presentable posture. This became laborious at around the ten minute mark.
It surprised me at first. How he came through the door with no warnings, like a knock or a verbal salutation. No, he just came straight through the one door to the room, and walked towards me with careful steps, each foot coming off the floor making a loud tep when they hit the tiles.
He had a full mustache with a potential beard that could have been a five o'clock shadow two days ago. His facial image was complemented with large vintage glasses from the 70s or 80s. They made it kind of hard to look into his eyes through the focals. He was the kind of man that looked like he belonged in a suit. Not because of a handsome appearance, but because he wouldn't have looked right wearing anything else.
He stroked his mustache and looked at his notes the last few steps towards my table. He did this to avoid eye contact with me in order to keep things more professional. I had to lighten things up somehow. Maybe with a joke or something.
He pulled out his chair. When he did, I stood up to take a slight bow with my head.
"Hello, I'm Jacob Ramsey. But please, just Jake," I said. "I'd shake your hand if I could, but I've got my hands tide at the moment. As you can see."
It took him a couple of seconds to respond. While looking down at his notes, he took a quick glance at me over the frames of his glasses. "Yes, I can see that," he said, adjusting his glasses back over his eyes. "I'm Dr. Fredrick Rosemont. And I'll be your psychiatrist while you stay here at the Wilmont Sanitarium. I was just looking over some of your notes, because, well frankly, I'm curious about an incident you had with a patient here. The progress here you've made has been astronomical, and then this late blunder. It doesn't make any sense. Do you think you could elaborate on this a little?"
"Well, Dr. Rosemont, would it bother you if I called you Fred?" I asked with an opening smile.
"Yeah, go ahead" he said, flipping the tip of his pen at me to continue my story.
"The incident happened. What, two, three days ago?" I said. "Well it was just two months after I was institutionalized here at Wilmont, right after my hearing where I pleaded insane. Big mistake. I should have never pleaded insanity, but that's a different story. Anyway, I was in line for the restrooms by the cafeteria and this guy named Ed decided he wanted to have a conversation with me while we both waited. Which I was okay with, but he wanted to talk about a very sensitive subject. One that I wasn't ready to discuss just yet. He came right into my personal space, and was like." I readjusted myself to a hunched over posture, similar to how Ed holds himself. Then I made my best vocal impression of Ed, "So why did you try to kill your family?"
I noticed Dr. Rosemont's face in the middle of my act. He started to stroke his mustache and raised his brow at the same time. He must have been impressed with my impression. I positioned myself back into my chair. "I kept telling him I didn't want to talk about it, but he persisted and kept pushing himself into my little bubble. I warned him, but he didn't listen. And Ed, he's um," I looked away trying to find the right words to describe Ed. "He's not a well nourished man. I only wanted to shove him out of my space. It must've looked like I threw him because, well. Ed's not the biggest guy."
"I see," Dr. Rosemont said penning something. I tilted my head trying to look at what he was writing down.
"There really is not much to say besides that," I continued. "I pushed him. He broke something. Maybe his ribs or something in his arm. He's in the hospital. I'm here with lunatics looking at me like I'm the one that's crazy. We both got what we deserved. But I did try to apologize to him, but the staff here didn't think it was a good idea."
"So you're saying that you feel bad, for what you did to Ed?" Dr. Rosemont asked.
"Yes, I feel real bad. I just wished I could see him to make sure things were fine between us."
"Would you want to see him to make sure he was alright?" he asked me.
"Yeah, that's definitely part of why I would like to see him."
He took a quick smile, before he continued to write something down. Then he put his notepad and pen back into his briefcase and looked at me while stroking his mustache.
"When the staff at Wilmont heard what you did to that man. We were really upset," explained Dr. Rosemont, "You were doing so well with our program. Your progress was unbelievable. But then this altercation. So we decided that the strait-jacket was the best option. So, we are going to go through a trial period with you. When you show us that you deserve to be out of the jacket, we'll move to the next phase. Probation. But, that is all for now. Ok, sounds good?"
"That sounds real good Fred, thanks. When will I be seeing you next?" I asked
"We'll meet in this room a week from now. In the beginning we'll meet once a week. Then, depending on how you're doing, we'll move it to once a month, and after that we'll make a decision from there." He said. "But Jake, everything can change if you don't cooperate with the staff here. Your date still can get pushed back, alright?" Dr. Rosemont stood up from his chair, and I rose from mine just after. We both took a bow toward each at the same time, it felt kind of oriental. Then he walked to the door, and exited the heavenly bright room. Where I stayed seated.
The only time during the day I was allowed to use my hands was in the morning while I cleaned myself up, shaved, and brushed my teeth. But today, I changed things up a little. I wasn't shaving. I washed up and brushed my teeth and that was it. I requested a haircut too, but the staff said I wouldn't be able to get one till next week, which was okay, just as long as I get one before I get the jacket off me. I wanted to look more dignified around my psychiatrist. So he would take me more seriously.
The staff escorted me back to the plain white room. I sat in the same chair. Just like before, waiting. Dr. Rosemont walked in. He walked in the same distant fashion as before, stroking his mustache again. He looked surprised when I greeted him. "Hey Fred, good to see yah." I said, I said in the middle of getting up to greet him
Dr. Rosemont smiled before replying."Hello Mr. Rams-"
"Fred please, just Jake," I interrupted.
"Okay Jake," He said. "How's it going? I see you haven't been shaving."
I took a quick laugh, and looked away because I couldn't cover my mouth. "Yes, it makes my morning routine go a little smoother," I replied.
"I can understand that," he said. "Well Jake, this last week we haven't had any problems. So I think after this meeting we can start getting ready to move to the next phase. The probation phase. How's that?"
"Hey, that's great. Thank you so much putting in a good word for me. I can't wait to walk around using my arms again," I said.
"But that doesn't mean we are going to stop our meetings. It's just a probation. So let's get started. Would you like to start us off? Anything different or changed since last week?"
"Different?" I said to gain time to think, "Well over the past couple of weeks I've been feeling, well uh, different with myself ever since they changed my prescription. I don't know how to say it. I just feel different, like I've been thinking a lot more lately, especially about my family and how they're doing." I looked away from our conversation for a moment, staring at the gleaming tiles on the floor. "I don't know Fred. The worst part is they got sick after I left. And since our money situation, my family can't buy medicine or anything. They need my help. But I can't do anything about it."
Dr. Rosemont leaned on the table with his forearms and interlaced his fingers. "That must be very difficult for you," he said. "What do you feel about not being able to see them or talk to them, after your case was settled?"
"There's a part of me that wishes I could get a hold of them, but I don't want to push things." I paused for a moment. Dr. Rosemont sat back in his chair and started write something down on his large notepad.
"Okay Fred, this is something that has been bothering me. What are you writing down? Can I look?"
Dr. Rosemont looked at his notepad for a hard second. "I don't see the harm in it," he replied. He flipped over his notepad and slid it to my side of the table.
-Importance of first name basis.
-Really good at impersonating
-Signs of guilt-discusses about making past wrongs right
-Wants to make things better with family
-Hard to read sometimes
"Wow, I never thought you'd let me look. Isn't it against the rules or something?"
"I don't see the harm in letting you see what I'm writing. Besides, it's probably good for you to see what I'm paying attention too. It should help you to relax," Dr. Rosemont explained. "Well Jake, I think we've made some really good progress this past week. I am going to talk to the people here at Wilmont, after I leave. And ask them if we can remove your jacket."
When I started to hear him say this, my face opened in excitement.
He stuck out his pen, and shook it towards me, emphasizing the syllables "But remember Jake, if there is another incident remotely close to the last one. Not only would you find yourself back in that jacket, but you'll find yourself confined in the east wing. Where you will be closely monitored. I'm not talking about just a violent act. I'm talking about showing signs of increased aggression. Alright, we have a deal?"
After hearing this I immediately started to nod my head."Yes, that's awesome, thank you so much. I'm not gunna to let you down Fred." With that, he got up and left for the day. And I soon found my arms free the very next morning.
The week before my next meeting with Dr. Rosemont, I was able to get my hair cut, finally. I looked into the mirror, while running my fingers through my new haircut. I started to trim my beard around my new fully grown mustache, thinking of my family. They needed me. This program was taking too long. I needed to speed things up, somehow. I forced myself to think of something else. I finished my morning hygiene, and was fully pleased with my image. I started to stroke my mustache while looking into the mirror. I smiled.
One of the staff members caught me during lunch, and she told me Dr. Rosemont wanted to meet in his office this time. So I was more than happy to oblige the request. We were not under the same surveillance as before. I shouldn't have been so nervous. But for some reason I was more nervous each step I took toward his office. It was a different feeling being the person to enter the room. This time, Dr. Rosemont was waiting on me, not me waiting on him. That part I liked.
Right before I walked into the room I had to force myself to stop stroking my mustache. I was an even more nervous now standing in front of his door. So I took a second while I had my hand over the door knob, and took a quick meditative breath. The knob made a quiet click when I turned it clockwise. I closed my eye at the sound. Then opened them and walked into his office.
I saw him at his computer typing away at something. The first thing I noticed was how nice and clean everything was. Every wall was covered by a bookshelf in some way or another. I strolled across the room toward him. He stood up from the other side of the desk. I reached my hand out to shake his hand for the first time, and it felt great.
"Hello Fred, I finally get to shake your hand," I said, in the middle of shaking.
"Yeah, sure is. So how does it feel being able to use your arms again?" I let go of his hand and let myself fall into the chair across his desk.
"Oof," I said as I landed. "Wow, sorry Fred, but this chair is amazing." I rubbed my hands up and down the chair's arms. "It feels great not having that jacket on, like a real person again." I leaned back and focused on the glare on his glasses. "Well, I guess arms are one of those things you take for granted, until they're taken away from you or in my case, immobilized. You know what I say, about taking things for granted?"
Dr. Rosemont shook his head while keeping a steady pace typing on his keyboard. "No, what's that?"
"If we spend all of our time appreciating everything we have," I explained. "We won't have enough time to get what we want." He laughed and stopped typing to face me when I said this.
"I suppose you're right, in a weird sense," Dr. Rosemont said. "Jake I'm sorry to say this but you were supposed to be notified that our meeting was canceled. But I'm glad you came in here. So I could see how you were getting along without the jacket. Before you leave I need to let you know that we're pushing our meetings back to a bi-weekly schedule. So if there isn't anything you need to tell me, I have reports I need to get back to. And again I am terribly sorry."
"Actually Fred, there is one thing I've been thinking about the past couple of days."
He leaned back in his chair and locked his fingers on the back of his head. "Yes, what's that?"
"I've been thinking about how important the human touch is. I guess it was something that I never understood I needed, until I went a couple weeks without it. I mean, do you know how important it is that somebody gets a hug or at least a handshake once in a while?"
"Yes I do, Jake." Dr. Rosemont said, as he slowly pivoted back and forth in his computer chair. "It was one of the reasons why I felt it was important that we got you out of that jacket. A lot of people today don't realize the importance of absorbing information by simple human contact, and I'm glad you see that. You are making some great progress. But Jake, I'm sorry but I really have to get back to these." He sat up and put his forearms on his desk ready to start typing again.
"Oh, it's no problem Fred," I said. "Glad to see that I'm making some progress. But I have one request before I leave." I waited for him to stop typing on the computer and look at me when I said this.
"This may sound a little weird," I said. "But it's been awhile since I've got a hug. I can't remember the last time I've got a hug from somebody. And I just wanted to ask you, if you mind a-" I raised my arms out to the side with my palms facing him.
"Yea sure, I've never had a client ever asked me for one before, but I guess there's no harm in it," He said.
We both walked over to the side of his desk, and we wrapped our arms around each other. We held it for a good while, I can't tell you how long but he was finished before I was. I rested my head on the side of his shoulder, pressing my ear next to the side of his head. He was already done. He tried to pat me on my back, giving me the universal 'I'm done hugging' sign. But like I said. I wasn't. Then he tried to say something to me, but his voice was held back. He started to push me away from him even harder. He struggled trying to push me away from him by using his hands to push the side of my ribs, but I still kept a hold of him. I was finally done, when he stopped struggling and embraced the hug. So I let him go, and he fell. He fell from my arms when I let go of him, falling and smashed the back of his head on the corner of the desk, and it bounced like a rag-doll, leaving a large gash.
His body sprawled across his floor. He looked so lifeless. His body spread awkwardly across his nice carpet. Blood started to spew from the back of his skull staining everything in its way.
I took off his jacket, shirt, pants, shoes, his glasses and everything. Once I put everything on, I went behind his desk and grabbed his briefcase, and put my original clothes in there. Just before I left his office, I locked the door on my way out. I had to slip his glasses at the end of my nose, because the prescription was too strong. But I quickly put them over my eyes when I saw one of the female staff walk towards me. I had to squint through the glasses. Everything became a blur.
"You're leaving awfully early, aren't yah?" She said.
I was stroking my mustache trying my best to look surprised when she noticed me. I smiled before replying "I left some stuff I needed back at my place, I just need to go grab it before everything starts to pile up," I said.
"Real quick, before you go. Can you tell me how Jacob Ramsey is doing?" She asked me.
"Ah yes, Jacob Ramsey. He is making wonderful progress. In fact, he's cured. We're going to let him go tomorrow," I said and made a quick smile then left.
I couldn't stop thinking about my family and how they were doing. They were sick, just like Dr. Rosemont, and I needed to help them get better.
Author Notes: I appreciate anyone that would like give any advice for my story. I appreciate *constructive* criticism & I would appreciate if you let me know if you liked the story or not. I have already revised this story several times, and I'll probably will end up revising it again. I enjoyed writing it-SO BE NICE! :)