Big Ed has just drifted off to sleep when Rana starts screaming. He scrounges under the bed until he’s awake enough to remember that in this new life, he doesn’t have a gun.
He feels naked in more ways than one as he rushes into the bathroom.
“What’s wrong, babe?”
She points to the wall.
He wants to tell her he’s relieved it’s just a spider, but that would lead to a conversation he’s not ready to have. Instead, he uses cardboard to relocate it outside.
“My hero,” she says, smiling.
Nobody’s ever called him that before.
He smiles too.
Sometimes, when all our patients are asleep, my coworkers and I at the psych hospital joke we need admitted here too, for a quick break away.
Away from the grief of loss that never ends.
Away from the voices telling us we should end it all because we’re not good enough.
Away from the trusted adult that betrayed us in the most devastating, inappropriate way possible.
Away from the meth and vodka that don’t ease the pain.
For us it’s a break, but there’s no break for our patients.
So we don’t take that break after all.
For our patients.
Once upon a time there was this guy, let’s call him Dave. Dave really wanted a PlayStation 5, but they’re super expensive and Dave worked at Hardee’s making barely above minimum wage, and between his student loan repayments and rent and groceries and Ubers there was no way he could ever afford one.
So every day, Dave was getting more despondent. His roommate, let’s call him Buster, asked him what was wrong.
“I really want a PlayStation 5,” Dave explained, “but can’t afford one.”
“You could save up,” Buster suggested.
Dave thought was a great idea. He got a second…