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Crazy Pills

October 13, 2018


It’s been three hours since we’ve left the psychiatrist, and I’m still reeling.

Some things should be left in the realm of movies, you know? Kisses in the rain sound amazing in theory, until you get the flu the next day. Dramatic fights never work out the way cinema would make you expect. And as for over-the-top diagnoses… yeah, not really something you want for yourself.

My mom is her usual fluttery self. “It’s going to be alright baby, don’t worry. It isn’t as if anything’s different, right? This is just something you always had, that some person has put a label on.”

Lovely words, mom. Things take a bit of a turn when you realize that the label in question is schizophrenic.

We spend the rest of our ride in mock peace, and by the time we’re home I’m rearing to leave.

“Where are you off to, honey?” I look at my mother, and the open want on her face is too much to bear.

“Just going out for a bit, mom.” I don’t maintain eye contact. “I’ll be back before dinner.”

I don’t specify who I’ll be with. It doesn’t seem worth the effort.

As soon as I see him all my angst melts away. Aldo. His name is like balm against my lips.

He kisses me, and I momentarily wonder if he knows how love struck I am. “How bad is it, Vee?”

My eyes well up. “It’s what my counselor thought it was.” I can’t make myself say the S-word.

He makes a sound in the back of his throat, and holds me tight “I’m so sorry, babe. I’m so, so sorry.”

He holds me for the rest of the evening, and we can almost pretend that the word crazy isn’t flitting at the back of our minds the entire time.
Thursday morning. Breakfast.

I sit down for my usual Wheat Puffs, but all that’s in my bowl are five ominous-looking grey pills.

“What’s this, mom?” I try to hide my irritation, not fully fruitfully.

My mother’s attempt at levity fails even worse than mine. “Those are the pills Dr Greer prescribed, honey. You have to take them before breakfast every day from now.”

She seems to realize that a jolly attitude isn’t the way to attack this, and drops the smile. “Your case is borderline right now, sweetie, and we can work towards pushing it the other way, right?” Her bony hand grabs mine and holds on tight. “We can do this, together.”

Few things have a stronger smell than hope, and this room reeks of it. My mother’s heart is in the right place, I know that, but her presence is like a grater against me, wearing me down day by day.

I finish breakfast as fast as I can, and my mother does not realize that I never swallowed the pills.                                  
“So you just flicked them?”

I’m not sure what reaction I was expecting from Aldo, but laughter most definitely did not make the top of my list.

I smile warily. “Mom never even noticed.” A pause. “You aren’t mad?”

He shakes his head sagely. “No way. This is your mind we’re talking about, you know? Even really tiny things can have a really big effect on it, and I wouldn’t call schizophrenia pills a small thing. You do you, Vee. I trust you.”

My heart swells. “I love you, Aldo.”

He grins at me. “I love you more, you amazing girl. By the way, our anniversary is coming up, remember?”
“Of course I do, idiot.” One year. I never had a relationship that lasted so long before.

I take his hand, and the world doesn’t seem so big anymore.
There are few places in this world more uncomfortable than the counselor’s office.

I shift in my seat, wondering how every counselor in the entire country managed to buy seats that are equally painful to sit on. “What were you saying again?”

To give her credit, she doesn’t lose her flow for a moment. “Pay attention please, Vitoria. We are lucky to have caught your problem when it’s still borderline, but if you don’t co-operate with the people who want to help you it can become full-blown very soon. Your doctor seems to think that you can manage in a home environment, but if it spirals out of control I’ll have no choice but to transfer you to Sommerfield.”

I feel the word right in the pits of stomach. Our sleepy old town isn’t known for much. The only thing that puts us on the map is that we’re home to one of the biggest mental asylums in the country. One of the biggest, and one of the scariest.

“Of course, I don’t think there’ll be any problems as long as you keep going to therapy, and you keep taking those pills.” She leans down slightly, so that we’re eye-to-eye. “You are taking the pills, right Vitoria?”

The seemingly innocuous pills are like boulders in my pocket. I look up and smile wide. “Of course I am, Ms. Sullivan. What do you take me for? A crazy person?”
I can’t believe it’s already midnight.

I was just supposed to go for a quick walk with Aldo, but we got so wrapped up in each other that three hours passed by in a blur. As we walk towards my house, I feel the familiar knot of apprehension which comes with being alone with my mother.

“Are you sure that you don’t want to come in for a while?”

He gives me a small, sad smile. “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

He’s right, even if I don’t want to admit it. My mother has always, always hated Aldo. When she looked at him, all she could see was college dropout. In her eyes the two years between us was a lifetime. When I looked at him, all I saw was one of the few people who always, always had my back.  

I kiss him goodbye, and tiptoe into my house as quietly as I can. Not quietly enough, apparently, because suddenly my mother materializes in front of me. “Where were you, Vitoria?”

“Jesus, mom! You scared me!”

She doesn’t budge. “Who were you with?”

“I was with Aldo, mom, okay? Are you happy now?”

She looks like she’s about to argue, but then just sighs. “Don’t you think you should be spending time with your other friends, honey? You’re always with…him.”

“What other friends, mom? It’s hard to make friends when you’re officially a crazy person.”

I leave, because if I stay I’m sure I’ll cry.

“May I see you for a moment, Vitoria?”

I’m surprised. Ms. Sullivan has never called me out of class before, and I can think of nothing pressing that can warrant a visit from her.

She barely lets me sit down before she cracks down on me. “I was just on the phone with your mother.”

For a minute I’m sure they know about the pills, but then she takes the conversation in an entirely different direction. “I heard you had a…visitor last night.”

I’m so relieved that they haven’t found out that it takes me a moment to process what she’s saying. “A visitor? Do you mean Aldo?”

She scrutinizes me, and it’s hard not to fidget.  “Tell me more about Aldo. What is he to you?”

I feel the smile warm my face. “He’s my boyfriend. Our one-year anniversary is coming up.” I pause for a moment, struck by a realization. “It’s today, actually.”

She somehow manages to portray indifference without changing her expression in any way. “How much time do you spend with Aldo, Vitoria?”

“Nearly all my time, I guess. He dropped out of college a year ago, so I’m with him whenever I’m free.”

She gets up so abruptly I’m a bit taken aback. “Well, thank you for talking with me, Vitoria. I think it’s time for you to head back to Mr. Whittaker’s class.”

She walks me to the door, keeping a hand on my shoulder with an iron grip. “I’ll see you for our next appointment. Of course, I don’t have to remind you to keep taking your pills.”

The smile on my face comes so naturally that I can almost pretend I’m telling the truth.
“Um, clearly Pikachu can thrash Thor’s ass, it’s common sense!”

I haven’t laughed this much in what seems like months. Aldo has always been able to do this to me, to get under my skin in the best way possible and shake out all the worry that lies trapped there. “Keep telling yourself that, champ. You’re just jealous because I called Thor hot that one time.”

He sticks his tongue out at me. “Maybe.”

I turn on my curling iron and experimentally run it a few times through my hair. “You know, traditionally boyfriends don’t stay in their girl’s room when they’re getting ready for a date. Especially the one-year anniversary kinda date.”

“I wouldn’t really call us the most traditional of couples, Vee.”

My suitably snippy comment is halted by the sound of keys rattling in the door downstairs.

Aldo gives me a half-panicked look. “Your mom’s home already?”

“I’m  just as confused as you are.” I look at the alarm on my bed stand. It’s barely past five-thirty. “Typically she wouldn’t be home for hours.”

“Best make myself scarce for a little while.” He gets up and heads towards my bathroom, but only makes it to the door when my main bedroom door bursts open and mom steps inside.

“Going somewhere, honey?”

Aldo is literally standing across the room from her. How thick is she?

“I have a dinner date, mom. I’ll try to be back before midnight.”

She shakes her head with so much vehemence it’s like she’s trying to dislodge something in there. “Vitoria…no, no, no. I think it’s best if you stay in with me, baby. We can do whatever you want. Girl’s night, like how we used to do.”

“Are you kidding me? No, mom, this is my anniversary. My one year anniversary. I have the rest of my life to stay in with you.”

Her face crumples in, like she’s folding into herself. “Oh, my baby. My sweet, sweet baby. Please, talk to me.”

My irritation is replaced by something closer to worry. “Mom, are you okay? I can leave a bit later if you want to talk.”

“Honey… I need to tell you something.” She hesitates for a moment, then takes the plunge. “I talked to your counselor after she spoke to you, and we think it’s best… for you to go to Sommerfield for a little bit.”

I’m so thrown I can’t even speak. My mother seems to take this as a sign of compliance. “It’ll be fine, honey. I can come visit you every single day, and Ms. Sullivan has agreed to continue as an external counselor. It’ll be just like home honey, everyone you need will be right there for you.”

“But…what about Aldo?” I can’t bear to turn around and look him in the face.

My mother’s face goes cold. “You won’t be seeing him anymore, I can promise you that.”

All my emotions return, at full force. “You can’t do that to me, mom! I know you don’t like him, but you have to accept that he’s my boyfriend. He’s helped me through this, and I know he always will.”

She makes a strangled sound. “Vitoria, please. Don’t do this to me. Are you even taking your pills?”

“That’s not the point mom! You’re sending your only child away, and I’m still borderline! There’s no reason for you to do this!”

She starts crying now, full out ugly sobs. “You were borderline a year ago, Vitoria. Why are you doing this to me?”

I laugh, and it sounds hollow and empty even to me. “A year ago? Mom, I think you need some of my pills. It hasn’t even been a week since we came back from the psychiatrist.”

“Alright then, Vitoria, you win.” I’ve never seen my mother look this worn out. “Tell me one thing, then. One last thing. What started the schizophrenia?”

“What do you even mean?”

Her eyes shine with an almost cruel glint. “Think back to when you first got diagnosed, Vitoria. It was only a week ago, you just said so. So what prompted it? What made me go to the doctor?”

“Mom?” My head feels so heavy. “Mom, what are you doing?”

“Don’t you see, Vitoria? You can’t remember, can you? Do you remember what actually happened with your Aldo now?”

My neck prickles, and I can feel his gaze on the back of my neck. “So, what, you’re saying he was never real? That my crazy mind just made him up?”

“Oh no, he’s real alright. He was more than just real when he raped my baby girl a year ago.”

Bile rises in my throat, and I now know that this isn’t the first time I’m hearing these words.

“Why do you think he dropped out of college, Vitoria? It’s pretty hard to continue your education from inside prison.”

Her voice drops an octave. “Even the doctors were sure you were dead when they found you. There was so much blood, everywhere. There were going to send you to Sommerfield as soon as you woke up. I couldn’t lose my baby, not again.”

I finally manage to turn around. I didn’t expect to see him standing behind me, and I don’t. There’s nobody there, nobody there at all.
I had the theme for this in my head for a long time, and I finally put it down. I hope you enjoy reading it!


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  • October 13, 2018 - 3:48am (Now Viewing)

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  • JadeAndSerpentine

    Oh. Wow. I would say stuff about what made this phenomenal, but I'm speechless, so I hope actions speak louder than words...?

    about 2 years ago
  • Doktor Habit

    OKAY YOU'VE GOT YOURSELF A NEW FOLLOWER BECAUSE THIS PIECE AND A LOT OF YOUR OTHERS ARE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING AND I'M IN LOVE WITH YOUR WRITING STYLE. Ending hit like a bus. I love the detail in your writing and I LOVE the story to this. Keep writing!

    (and could i maybe get a peer review on seraphim if thats not too much of a problem?)

    about 2 years ago
  • Faith Camp

    This was AMAZING. Keep it up!!

    over 2 years ago
  • LackingASocialLife

    MY GOD
    okay rant

    first of all, ya girl is hitting that follow button because sweet summer mornings this was fantastic from start to finish
    second of all, I'm a habitual guesser. I always seem to predict endings before they come, mysteries are rarely a surprise, to the extent it actually seems supernatural (it's not, but it molds that way,) and I didn't expect that ending; at all.
    Third of all, this is amazing. Bloody fantastic. I was intrigued, in love and shocked. Amazing work! I really enjoyed this :>

    over 2 years ago