BY UZOMAH UGWU
The nights were arched on his thoughts like his mind couldn’t sail away. He stayed with a current that pushed away sanity. The TV was on, the stove turned off itself yet there were flames starting in all sections of the apartment. Bryan’s mind was strong in delusion, loyal to his medications’ isolation. Whether he had too much or too little of his medication, or the extra he added, they all competed for control over his space.
Bryan kept walking not pacing but sprinting across the floor, examining all that was around him as a suspect to find, while his mind was lost. He heard the knock at the door. But at the door, there was nothing as he pondered whether to have more doors or more locks. Unclear what he kept hearing, he heard a key turn in his ear and it was sharp and pierced. It stung him like a bee on an unassuming summer day.
He fell down to the ground in a position like a soldier dodging bullets or bombs in the height of battle. Behind the couch, he held his hands like a weapon. One look over, he saw nothing. Two looks over, he found a pattern of feet coming toward him. He checked his mask, aware of what was going on while being far from what was true in his mind.
There he was. It was a joke like time made no difference in how long they would be waiting for his reply. For him, there was no choice.
“Sir, I need you to come with me. Sir, you need help, we are here to help. A slender woman appeared afraid to look at him.
He was wearing a shirt with week-old stains and jogging pants with one sock off. The woman goes over as she was protected by the officers who had come and said “You have not been taking your medication “.
He didn’t need them and he saw he would not be going anywhere and not with them. One of the officers pointed to a glass on the table with a rolled-up dollar. It was clear there was a substance in it before they entered. The two officers came over to him like they were closing in. His eyes gazed hard into each of them now judging his perception and the life he had led. His eyes appeared to pop out as he ran around the room for an exit.
There was nothing his body rejected as he jumped up and started to plunge to anything that looked like a way out. Midway one officer caught him. He pulled and kicked and started to punch. “Don’t hurt him” the woman yelled, not able to witness what was truly happening. They wrestled standing up like gladiators. This once simple man was complex in anger. He reacted in a fear untamed and filled with violence. They were invading his space, they were a threat to his mind, protecting was all he saw, and everything was fit if it helped in protecting and defending it.
His eyes raised like a thermostat stick in a chicken fresh out of the oven letting everyone know he had reached his limit. His eyes appeared huge reckless and maintained but these emotions. The woman’s eyes described tear for tear what was happening and how she could not control anything. Wondering if bringing this type of help was good at all. A large THUMP hit the floor.
The woman screams again, “My brother? What have you done to my brother?” They stepped back looking at life just barely breathing to understand. Bryan looked around slowly, eyes blinking like an owl capturing everything around him.
The officers helped him up as if nothing happened. They handcuffed him, but not without a fight. “Where are you taking him?” The woman asked. “We are going to need you to come along,” one officer said. He was hanging off his thoughts. His eyes pointed in different directions focused on a result that nothing would be what it was before, and even that thought was not permanent. Bryan was going where no one was sure it would be better than what he was leaving.
“Mr., it is not wise not to take your medicine. I heard it was what brought you here,” the nurse said. He squeezed the cup of water. The water jumped out like a busted fountain in a park. A response that needed no words to explain what he thought of being brought there meant to him. He was not supposed to be there, everything was ok. The nurse relaxed her eyes on a common delusion that it was not a setup. She put away his chart like he was just one more of them.
The early morning was now perched on his thoughts like a bird on a windowsill. His mind was sealed. He was awake, but not really awake. He was contained in white body cloth armor awaiting for his identity to be created pill by pill.
The mask he wore over his illness was gone. It was on the floor. A cup of water and a cup of pills waited for him at the nurse’s station every day and night and loomed on his sanity.