I knew it wasn’t a nightmare. Tragically, there was no way to just click my heels three times or wish upon a star to reverse it all. It was all real, every word he spoke, every fallen tear. As long as I kept my eyes closed and thought of nothing, all was well...I’m sure there were some heavy meds involved as well.
I woke up in a strange place with my hands restrained and a brace on my arm. My legs were bound too.
“Where am I?”
There was no one in the room but with amount of sensors all over my chest and the tube up my nose, I assumed someone was monitoring me from a quasi-comfortable location.
I didn’t bother tugging at the restraints, not like I was going to get free and if I did, I wasn’t even sure if I could even get up.
The door opened and a woman in blue scrubs stepped in.
“Where am I?”
“The ‘Done In Love’ Center,” she answered with way too much happiness.
She took a seat on a stool next to the bed.
“I need to get back to school.”
“Do you know who you are?”
“Yes,” I nodded.
She nodded and replied with “Mmm-hmm.”
“Why am I here?”
“Do you remember what happened?”
“No, not really.”
She wrote notes down as she checked the sensors.
“Why am I tied down?”
“I’ll notify the doctor you’ve woken up.”
“Wait, no, why am I here?”
“He’ll explain everything. I’’ll be back to check on you in a few minutes.”
I shook my head and tried to get comfortable but by then I really wanted the strength to rip the restraint cuffs off of my arms.
“Just tell me what happened.”
“You’re parents brought you in.”
“My parents? How?”
The doctor will explain everything.
“Yeah, sure he will,” I replied. “He’ll tell me why I’m bounded to this bed and have this up my nose. Where’s my cell?”
She didn’t respond to me; just simply left the room.
There was a bit of relief, if I was in Memphis then Richard would never find me.
And I just had to think of him as I could only wonder how red my neck was, along with my arm—it felt like deadweight.
The doctor came in, maybe, several minutes or several hours later-I had no concept of the time—and sat down in a chair a few feet away. He was an older man dressed in slacks, a blue shirt with a tie, under a lab coat. He didn’t even ask me how I felt, he just took out a pen and went on a barrage of questions from his clipboard.
“Kristina Allie Novoselic.” I said as I raised my head in an uncomfortable position.
“Aaron and Elizabeth Novoselic. Do you want my social security number too?”
He didn’t look at me.
“Your parents have admitted you to this facility due to an attack that occurred at school last week.”
“Whatever,” I replied as I laid my head down.
“Do you recall what happened?”
“No,” I answered with a huff.
“You collapsed in a school office after a breakdown. Have you ever experienced blackouts or seizures?”
“I don’t know. I have a long list of doctors. Have my parents call them all if you want to know more. I’m done talking, I-”
I had moved my head to the side, expecting my hair to fall down over my face but it wasn’t there.
I looked at the doctor’s face and then moved my head all around to find some form of reflective surface, but, knowing where I was now, a psyche ward, there wouldn’t be anything.
“Kris, your parents brought you here to help you.”
“If you want to help me then you’ll untie me and at least let me see a mirror.”
“They were worried about you after how you were acting at school.”
“Acting? I was attacked.”
“You were brought here to help with your condition.”
“You know, I am over eighteen so I have a saying in what is wrong with me. Show me the paperwork that says I need ‘help’. Let me see my father’s scrawled name on some document.”
“For now, you will be held in observation for your own good.”
“My own good?” I asked with a heightened shrillness to my voice.
“Yes, we can help you with your condition and cure you of these urges you have.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“We’ve already started the process, with your assistance, of course.
“To be cured of homosexuality.”
“My what?” I slammed my head back a few times against the pillow—seeing that I couldn’t hit or kick anything. “I don’t have anything wrong with me that needs to be ‘cured’, okay?”
“The process can be long or short, its all up to you.”
“Are you even listening to me? If you would simply do any—and I do mean any—blood work on me you’re going to have all the answers you need. Oh, or maybe just do a strip search on me? Not like you haven’t already violated my rights so far.”
“It’s okay to deny your feelings at this time. We’ll work on it some more.”
“What did you do me?”
“We will talk some more. Okay?”
“No. No, it’s not okay. I want a phone call! Give me my cell! And—“ I looked at my fingers and noticed my ring was gone. “Where is my ring?”
The good doctor walked out of the room without a care to my plight; for he was doing it for ‘my own good’
I fought back the urge to scream as it wouldn’t have helped me but I know what had happened: some bastard cut my hair!
The room was a padded-wall prison and I was in solitary. I had known of these types of places—as my father threatened to send me to one like it or to boot camp since I was such an unruly little boy who needed discipline. We arbitrated and came to the deal that, instead, I would go to a private school of his choosing, hence, Highland Academy where things went so well that I came out of school with a secret boyfriend; which was now no longer a secret and I kept wishing that maybe he would arrive at any moment to free me from my jail cell.
Did anyone know where I was? Micheal, Danny, Mr. Montesi? What about my own mother? How long had I even been here? I couldn’t tell; I did know they things to attached to me so someone had indeed violated even more of my personal space. I felt more helpless then I did in Richard’s office. I couldn’t remember anything past being shook around. If this quack shop was actually legitimate then the least they could have tried to use hypnosis or something to help me get past the mental block.
If my parents actually did choose to squirrel me away in a nut house it would be because they wanted me out of the picture; something had happened or at the very least I had become some sort of an embarrassment to them. I imagined my father receiving a phone call from the college that something bad had happened to me with his response being “What did he do now?”
The staff came some time later and allowed me to take a shower and change into a pair of sweatpants and a red shirt with the letters DIL surrounded by a heart and a halo.
The shower was in a fully lit room with an orderly watching from afar. A male one, which made me feel partially scared and the other insulted that no one would take my word for anything. They had chopped my hair off to an almost military style haircut. I suppose to get rid of the coloring and to get me into a boot-camp mentality.
I was escorted into a large room where other “guests of the system” were talking with members of their families. I gave a slight laugh. Yeah, like I was going to get any visitors, but lo and behold, my mother came in through the door.
“Mom?” I said with a loud whimper.
Mom ran towards me and pulled me into her arms.
“They cut my hair.”
“I know. I’m so sorry about this, Kristi,” she whispered.
“Mom, you have to get me out of here. I don’t need to be here, I-“
“Shhh. We’re working on that. We had you brought here to help you just in case—”
“You know how I hate these places, I-”
“Kristopher,” my father had entered the room; shutting down Mom’s attempt to console me and firing up my rage.
“Dad. Why am I here?”
“Because you need help, Kris.”
“Fine, then find give me a shrink; give me a tutor or a life coach but not this place. This place is creepy and totally the wrong place for me.”
“Aaron, I don’t think she should be here.”
“Elizabeth. He is going to get the help he needs.”
“I don’t need help. What I need is for you to listen to me for once.”
“Do you know how many letters and phone calls I have received from the university?”
“No, how many?”
“Seven. I also received a certified letter from some shrink in Tuscaloosa about some girl named Karen Anne English.”
“Dad,” I started to say but he threw a hand out in front of me, as if I was still six.
“And, you’re sending nude pictures of yourself to everyone?”
“No, that was stolen from my camera.”
“But you took them?”
“Yes, because I’m a stupid teenager; and that’s what we do.” I replied, matching his tone.
“I’ve received so many phone calls at work that we had to shutdown the switchboard. Why, Kristopher, why?”
“You know, Dad,” I sat down on the couch and looked up at both of them. “I’m here because you don’t talk to me. You tell me what to do, but you don’t talk to me. Hardly anyone ever has because...yeah, I kept away from them but that was because you and places like this tried to drive it into my skull that I’m so different that no one could accept me for who I am and so I’d have to be this little boy. That didn’t work. It hasn’t worked since I got to wear a dress at grandmas.”
“I told mama that was terrible idea and it would get you the wrong ideas”
“The wrong idea?” I asked as I bolted up. “The wrong idea was to pump me full of whatever hormones this or that doctor said to do. They had no idea what do with me and so now, here we are with body image issues and hormones that are so off-whack—”
“That’s what this place will help you with, Kristopher .”
“I’m not Kris.”
“Yes you are.”
“No, I’m not. Look at me!” I almost wanted to rip my shirt off, if just to prove a point. “Kris died nineteen years ago. I am your daughter. I have always been that. I have a copy of my original birth certificate.”
“Don’t tell me, your grandmother?”
“You said it, not me.”
“That document was amended and the error adjusted.”
“There was no error. All there was a vestigial organ that you had someone fix to make it work! Doesn’t change a thing, dad.” We had the attention of the rest of the day room. “I’m engaged now, did you know that?”
“Yes, mama said that too.”
“And it’s not going to happen.”
“Because you are not marrying a boy, and a country boy at that.”
I took more offense to the “country boy” comment at that moment.
“Dad, if I have to hire an army of lawyers to change every single piece of paper that identifies me as Kristopher, you can bet I will.”
“Aaron, we should talk more about this before sending Kris to the program.”
“Aaron, we need to talk about it. I don’t want our only child here when we still need to know what happened at the college.”
My dad put his hand on his face and closed his eyes—a Novoselic gesture thar usually meant “please, please, just shut up and get out of my face” other times, it stood for “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard”. I was unsure which way to interpret it at that time.
Mom’s expression showed a bit of spark like she so close to telling him off but her old-school southern personality kept her from lashing out in a fury.
“Okay. Let’s find out what’s happened at the school. Kristopher?”
“Yes sir?” As much as I wanted to shout back at being called “Kristopher” I held my tongue—as the wheels in his head were turning to find a way to get what he wanted out of the situation but to also not look like he gave into mom or me.
“You’ll be confined to the house. You are not to go anywhere. I’m going to set-up an appointment for you to see one of the specialists here.”
“Yes sir,” I replied with a look of compliance on my face. I would have said anything at that moment to get out of that facility.
“Then, you’re going to need to get a job since you’re not going back to school right now.”
“I was planning on it.”
“You can’t, you’ve been withdrawn. Yet another conversation we need to have.”
I nodded in agreement.
“We’ll tell the doctors what they need to know,” Dad said. “It may not be until tomorrow though. Let’s go talk with them, Elizabeth.”
“Of course,” Mom replied as she looked at me and gave a half smile.
Dad had already started walking to the doorway as I stepped closer to mom.
“I’ll tell Micheal,’ she whispered.
She nodded as she gave me a hug. “Your father may come around one day, Kristi.”
“I want to hope so,” I whispered as she broke away to catch up with my father. “I really do.”
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