Black Forest part 5
Exploring the Asylum
8. My parents were at the breakfast table the next morning, both reading newspaper from the nearest town and eating apple cinnamon oatmeal. I had woken up early because Ben and I were going to explore a little. Sitting at the far other end of the dining room table, which could sit thirteen; I tried my large mug of coffee behind my cereal box.
“Good morning,” My father put down his paper and greeted me.
“I’m glad you came down to eat with us, your mother and I want to address a little situation,” My father looked at my mom.
“Yes, we have noticed that you and Ben, are spending an awful lot of time together, just recently. Like last night you were on the roof till early in the morning. And, I know you and trust you, but since you are a teenage girl, and obviously very close to a teenage boy, we would like to suggest that you two be careful about how much time you spend together. Trust me, if you keep up such a close friendship, you will be forced to make a choice between dating or a broken relationship,” My mother spoke, she was very matter-of-fact, and this caused me to be very confused and very defensive.
“Mom, Dad, I’ve never even thought about Ben like that. He’s just my oldest friend and really the only person that I can relate to. He is so immature and I’m pretty sure he knows nothing about what dating is or even liking a girl. Trust me, there is nothing to worry about. And please, please, do not watch everything that I do! It will cause me to feel so…claustrophobic.” My parents looked at each other and grinned.
“We will respect your privacy,” My dad spoke; he looked serious, enough, so I didn’t press it any further.
I finished my cereal quickly and left the house, just as I did Ben came out of now where.
“Sorry, I was just so anxious to start investigating, so I’ve been waiting outside your house for… a while,” Ben explained, he looked so jovial. I looked at him, though, with an annoyed look, then realize we were standing right in front of a massive window and my parents were eyeing us. I pulled him out of sight.
“Ben, we need to be sneakier about this, also, I can’t be your friend anymore,” I spoke exasperated. Ben looked completely shocked and confused.
“My parents think we’re inseparable.”
“Oh, and what’s wrong with being inseparable?”
“Um, I don’t know, maybe the fact that we’re teenagers and happen to be the opposite sex,” I answered. So I did understand where my parents were coming from.
“Weird, I mean no offense, but I would never think of you as anything but a friend, I mean I’m too young to-“
“Ben calm down…and my feelings are mutual. But my parents are all freaked-out about our friendship, so we should probably be careful. OR something.” Ben nodded.
“So you want to see something?”
“So, earlier this morning I snuck up closer to the asylum with my Polaroid camera and snapped a couple of pictures,” excitedly Ben pulled out pictures from his pocket.
“Calm down, I didn’t get caught or anything, not like it’s illegal to take pictures or anything. Here,” Ben handed me the pictures. I rolled my eyes, and then looked at them. The first picture was of the gardener, he mowing, nothing special. The second picture, though, was of Carter. I never knew he even went near the asylum, and in this picture Carter was entering through the front doors.
“The photo of Carter?”
“Yeah, what does he have to do with the asylum?”
“Good question. Everyone around these parts knows, you don’t go in that building unless you know something about crazy people, or unless you are one,” said Ben emphatically. I nodded in agreement.
“So he knows something about crazy people?”
“One can only hope,” Ben replied. I giggled nervously.
“Adele, Ben, what are you two conspiring about?” Carter’s voice boomed from right behind us. We both froze. We turned around; it looked like Carter just walked around the corner of my house. He laughed, his booming laugh.
“You two look like I’m a walking dead person. Now get yourselves to the school house.” Carter walked past us, and we watched him amazed.
“Who is he?” Ben asked. I just stood their shaking my head.
9. Sometimes I ponder my life. I know that I am supposed to be “investigating” but I just couldn’t do anything but think. Think about my childhood. Growing up around an insane asylum, but being so ignorant of what is going on around me. Who are these children I go to school with, they all seem different. Yes, they’re children of people involved with the asylum, but some of these kids are just plain strange. Also, who are the people who work at the asylum? Ultimately who are my parents?
Why have I been so content with not-knowing? I’m thirteen and I NEED answers.
“I need answers, Adele,” Ben spoke at break; we were sitting in the grass eating pretzels, watching the other kids through a football. I almost choked on my snack. Ben and I were best friends because we have always been so very similar.
“We will get answers, but we have to be smart. Very, very smart, I have come to the conclusion that each of our parents have been hiding many things from us, and they don’t want us to find out…anything. Our parents are smart, Ben, really smart, therefore, we barely have a chance, but we have to find out the truth.”
“Smart?” Ben complained. I laughed.
“Also, we’re going to have to do a lot of investigation on our own. I’m sure it will be best anyways, with my parents all worried about us being boyfriend and girlfriend,” I spoke in a very mocking voice, and Ben looked like he was about to gag.
That was the beginning of our separation. I watched Carter carefully, and I noticed Ben was too, and when we went home for dinner, we made sure that we would try to get something out of our parent(s). So that night as I sat down to a nice meal of pork chops and mashed potatoes, I watched my parents with new and suspicious eyes. They watched me back.
“How was school?” My father asked me, he usually asked me this, and I usually answered ‘fine’. But tonight, I decided to switch it up.
“Well, school was fine, but for some reason today, I realized that I’ve never really been aware of what really goes on around me. Like, I live right beside an insane asylum, but I have no idea what it looks like inside it, and my teacher is quite the guy, but who is he really? You two have never told me much about what you do, other than take care of mentally inadequate people. I don’t know, it just seems like I’m really living in the dark,” I rambled. My dad twitched, and looked at me with the most confused look on his face.
“I wouldn’t say they’re mentally inadequate, more like mentally insane,” said my dad. He completely ignored my other inquiries. I sat there in shock.
“Parents…” I spoke under my breath. My mom’s turn was up, she touched my shoulder.
“Honey, we love you, and what we don’t tell you is stuff that you don’t need to know, or you aren’t ready to know. But, if you really want to know things, then I’m sure your Father and I can work something out.”
“Work something out?” I asked confused, and slightly excited.
“Like possibly show you the asylum,” My father answered.
“What?!” My mother looked at my father, she sounded completely shocked.
“You will?” I spoke with excitement.
“Sure, you want to know what’s going on around you, the fine I’ll show you,” My dad spoke. My mom looked like she was infuriated. I noticed my dad put his hand on her knee, as if trying to calm her. I was confused by her reaction, but I was, also, quite happy about getting my way for once.
That night as I tried to go to sleep, my mom entered without knocking.
“Good you’re awake.” I sat up and nodded.
“I just want to explain something about dinner. I really am happy that you’ll get see the asylum because you really want too, but there’s a part of me that fears that you’ll remember the asylum and what happened,” said my mother, she looked at me intensely.
“I don’t understand?”
“And that’s a good thing. It’s great that you don’t remember what happened to you at the asylum.”
“But mom, I’ve never been inside the asylum,” I protested.
“Yes, you have. Years ago, you were just four years old.”
“I have absolutely no memory of that,” I said, trying to search the nooks of my memory.
“That’s because you’re father and I worked hard to make sure you wouldn’t. And I’m just afraid that if you enter that asylum again, that you will remember. You can’t ever ever remember,” My mom pleaded with me. I just sat in my bed, highly disturbed. I felt like crying, but I was too curious to let it get to me.
“Mom, I can’t, can’t live in ignorance any longer,” I plead with her. My mom just looked at me. Her eyes were very sad.
“Fine, but I just want you to know one thing, the most important thing. I want you to that I love you.”
10. “You’re not going to school today. Oh no, you are coming with me to work,” My dad said as I reached for my backpack.
“Yep, are you ready to go?”
“OK, let’s go,” my dad grabbed his briefcase and stood up from his favorite lazy boy and headed to the door. I followed my dad to the asylum, he walked every morning at seven a.m., he’s never missed a day of work, why should he? He works in his back yard.
I was fine until I stepped on the lawn. Once I stepped on the well-kept lawn of the asylum, I remembered my mom’s words. I shivered, and contemplated turning back, but my feet kept moving forward. I now stood on the porch, the arch way above me seemed to threaten to swallow me whole. I watched as my dad messed around with his keys, not really watched but more like anticipating. Next thing I know I am inside. The lobby was big and beautifully decorated, and the two staircases winding down to meet us seemed to have an innumerable amount of steps. I then noticed that I was alone, standing in the lobby. I looked around, but all I saw was closed door after closed door.
“Dad?” I called, but nothing. It was completely silent, which only made me more frightened and only allowed for my imagination to go beyond it’s usually craziness. I turned in circles, closed door after closed door. Suddenly, my dad was standing in a door way.
“Darling, are you coming?” I couldn’t move or speak. My dad approached me with a slight grin, “C’mon, let’s go to my office,” said my father, he put his arm around me. I sat down on the couch of my father’s office, and my dad got situated at his desk.
“So this is where you do most of your work?” I asked feeling a little bit more at ease.
“Not really, I usually just spend a few minutes in hear debriefing from last night, getting the reports organized, getting mentally prepared for today’s work,” My dad spoke. I looked around the office, and noticed one wall had a string hanging horizontally and on the string were clothes pins, the pins held pictures and names. I had this urge to get a closer look, because I was sure they were all pictures of the residents, but I was afraid.
I began to think about the conversation with my mother. All I had in my head was 4. I was four years old when something happened to me. I know most people don’t remember everything from their childhood, but I could sense that whatever happened to me was definitely memorable. A part of me, was frightened to really search my memories, as if, holding me back. At that moment of staring at the wall across the room, I realized I was too fearful to discover the truth.
“C’mon, let’s go say ‘hi’ to all my friends,” My father said. He stood and seemed not light-hearted, but very serious. I was very ready turn back. My palms were sticking to the couch and I had this intense urge to pee. I could have very easily stopped the job-shadowing on the excuse of illness. The one thing that seemed to give me strength to proceed was the hole in my past, and my curiosity.
My feet took my deepest desire to heart and started working again. I stood and followed my father into a small elevator. The ride to the next floor seemed too short. I hadn’t prepared myself, and suddenly the door has opened and I see one single patient.
“Good morning, good morning,” She said.
A middle-aged lady, who looked very sweet, greeted us eagerly. I smiled. She continued to greet us and follow us. My father didn’t look at her, but he spoke, and he encouraged this kind lady to take a seat in the “family” room. After more greetings, she obeyed, sitting down cross-legged and rocking back and forth.
I had figured my dad would narrate things for me as we walked, but he didn’t. Rather, I had to put pieces together on my own. I realized that this floor was not scary. That it simply had people in it that were incapable of living on their own, because of anxiety or OCD. I liked that floor, it really felt like you could help the people. They were all lovely. I wanted to stay on that floor, but after my father had checked in with each resident and given them assignments for the day, he entered his v.i.p. elevator and dragged me with him.
I was now standing on the third floor. I was hit with this smell of smoke.
“Just yesterday a patient tried to burn the place down,” My father said.
I nodded my head, and followed him. No one came to greet us. I heard moaning coming from one of the rooms. These rooms were not like cells, they were nice. Everything was white, and sometimes I would see red smears on the walls or sheets, and that was when I stopped peaking in the rooms.
“Good morning Shawn,” My father spoke. He entered this man’s room without fear. No reply came from the man, “Have you taken your medicine?”
Father exited the room and shook his head. I decided to peak in. All I saw was a clown.