Monday, the 19th of December 2016

Monday, the 19th of December 2016

A Chapter by Kibbles and Quips

The second day of Devan's second stay at the Mental Health Unit and the medications are coming on.


Monday, the 19th of December 2016


The meds are starting to hit and I’m loopy. I can barely recall what I had for breakfast. It was probably bacon… fruit? I know I had coffee. I think… what was my goal? Wait, did I go to morning…? My hands are shaking. Am I having a reaction? I feel weak. Why am I here…? This is the same room! the same beds, same chairs, same windows, same house! Why am I -


“And - and I could’ve been there for him! If only I knew. I could have stopped him,” Crystal laments to the Group. She’s a shorter white woman in her late thirties with full jet-black hair who speaks softly but cheerfully with a slight southern accent and seems to bounce in her seat where she sits Indian style as Lorin nods attentively. Crystal gently wipes away a tear from each eye with the back of her hand and says, “Reminds me of that song - what’s it called?” and with a teary-eyed smile she remembers and sings, “Ah yeah, When I was Younger.”

“Purely contextual, though,” I say. 

“S’cuse me?” she asks.

“I’m sorry; I just mean that with the knowledge of your friend’s pending, imminent death, of course you would have been there for him to help avert such an outcome. However, you didn’t know. How could you have known he’d get in that accident? Therefore, you went about your daily routine and responded to your life as normal. None of it is your fault. Pathos versus Logos. Logic versus emotion. Like the song goes, ‘I wish I knew what I know now when I was younger.’”

“Hm, that makes a lot of sense,” she says with a sniffle and faintly smiles.

“Just a long-winded version of ‘Hindsight is twenty-twenty,’” I say as the meds begin pulling me away.

“But it’s just what I feel, I s’pose,” she says as her shoulders slump, defeated. Her words are large and round and fuzzy. And they’re the only sounds I hear. The sun shines in from the window, over her shoulders, the golden hues of light flicker with her movements.

“Yeah,” Lorin emphatically says and starts nodding to everyone in the room, “sometimes it’s not just about what happened or what didn’t happen, or whose fault it is or isn’t, but about how you feel about it. And exploring where those feelings come from, and engaging with them through dialogue, is a great step to help anyone through their grieving process.”

Everything has gone hazy. It’s as if the world around me is losing definition. That the lens of each sense is covered in a film, or muffled or stuffed with a " stifled in a -


“Coffee’s kinda cold,” I say airily to Brooke at the lounge table.

“Want one of mine?” she says.

“No, I…,” I trail off, “I wanna play guitar.” Why do I want to play guitar?

“Oh, okay…,” she says with a giggle, “just ask Barb when we go to Group.”

I awkwardly remove the lid to my lunch. An uninspired pizza. I take a bite and chew around for a while. My hand shakily, sleepily brings my carton of milk toward me.


“Hey, you have that guitar?” I ask Barbara, our Recreational Therapist. We’re in room 304.

“Oh, sure,” she sweetly says and briskly opens 304’s closet with a key.

“Here you are, dear,” she states with a smile and hands me the acoustic.

I sound an E fifth power chord on the seventh fret, then sliding a finger from F sharp to G sharp, B up to C sharp, now the next octave from that original E’s root. A high F sharp bending up, back down, sounding again. Back down to E... to D sharp... slightly bending... C sharp. Bending B again?

“Did I… Did I do this before?” I ask to anyone.

An older, toothless patient, John says, “Oh yeah, jus’ a couple hours ago ya’ gone an’ played that tune.”

I feel the grooved brass strings beneath my calloused finger tips and stare down the stained redwood neck of the guitar, down the long grey table and past those presently sitting.


But at the edge of the table is an infuriated Dawn being berated by Barbara for making a collage of Alcohol from the pile of magazines not on this table’s surface.

Dawn’s voice is low and quiet, “That is not my name,” but Barbara doesn’t care, nor does she stop, and Dawn is only getting more irritated and angrier, and everyone is uncomfortable and anxious. Dawn’s fair face is reddened. I want to hold her. Stop calling her that, I think, Leave her alone!


“Are you okay?” Barbara asks me behind her practiced smile, wrinkled with precision; the grey curtains of her eyes stained in apathy.

I look at my hands and find that they’re violently shaking. I set the guitar down on the table. “What the f**k is happening?” Barbara says something, but I am already gone and in my room, under the thin white blankets, holding myself as I cry asleep.


I’m sprinting, lost and alone in a dead fall forest full of barren bony handed trees whose limbs blindly search and prod the gray fog and mist that has trapped their coarse, naked bodies whose leaves are strewn about covering, cracking, crumpling atop the ground where my feet strike in sharp determined, yet uncertain, directions, attempting to outrun their footprints.


Knock, knock

“Hey,” a voice sounds as I slowly awake.

I clear my throat, “Hello?”

“It’s Matt,” my roommate says as he enters the room and turns on the light. I continue to lie there, although awake. “I brought you some books that were on your desk,” he states, and sets them at the foot of the bed. The last time I had seen Matt I was lying upon the ER’s gurney, profusely apologizing.  I had said, “I’m sorry. I’m a terrible roommate.” Matt was sitting on a chair beside the gurney. He let out a laugh and said, “No, you’re not,” but I had insisted, “I am, I am,” my face half buried in the pillow, unable to meet his gaze, “All I do is sleep in my room. I never do the dishes; they’re such a chore. So much energy. And I shower at seven, I’m sorry. And now you’re here because of me. I’m sorry.” Matt had looked at me sideways. “No,” he said, “I am here for you.”

I watch Matt as he takes a seat at the chair beside my bed. I say, “Thank you.”

“Anytime, man,” he says, “How ya’ feeling?”

“Tired, confused, the meds are f*****g with me; I can barely remember today. I think I ran out of a Group, freaking out?”

“That doesn’t sound fun.”

“Hardly,” I say, sitting up, “So, how are my teams doing?” Matt and I are in a couple fantasy hockey leagues together. He’s looking after my teams while I am incapacitated. 

“Well, in one league, you’re beating Tyler, and in the other, you’re losing to my dad.”

“Damn. Well, at least I’m beating Tyler.”

Matt laughs, and says, “By the way, I gave your phone to the nurse for when you check-out.”

“Probably a good thing,” I say.

“Yeah, you had a few missed calls and texts. A couple from your work, and a few texts from a Miranda? wondering where you were. Actually, she texted me a bit ago, too.”

“Oh, yeah? How’d Miri get your number?”

“No idea; haven’t responded yet. Figured I should ask you what to tell her. I already called your work, though, and gave them a vague heads-up.”

“Thanks. I guess, uh, just tell her I had a family emergency, or something, and forgot my phone.”

“Will do,” Matt says, then asks, “Is that girl here?”

“Who?” I say. I’m lying, of course. In the ER, I had told him out of the blue, “I hope Dawn is here.” Naturally he wondered, “Who?” but I had merely said, “Dawn, she made me feel comfortable.”

Back in the present, Matt asks, “The one you told me about in the ER.”

“Oh, Dawn? Nah, kinda wish she was, though. Stupid selfish wish, but still,” I say and scratch my head, “I keep having these memories with her pop up every so often. It’s kinda nice. She’s funny; you’d like her.”

“Yeah, you’ll have to find her when you get out. How’s everything else? the classes?”

“It was strange at first, but it’s all familiar and routine,” I say, “In fact, this is the same room I stayed in last time.”

BEEEEEP, a voice from the room’s intercom sweetly states, “Hi there, everyone. Dinner is being served outside the nurses’ station.”

“Sounds like Trish,” I say. She has such a sweet inflection.

“Should I leave?” Matt asks, getting up.

“No, no. I’ll just bring it in here,” I assure him as I leave the room.


Trish is handing out the trays, “Here’s your dinner, Crystal.” Today she wears a blue shirt with snowmen and kids amidst a snow ball fight. I find myself smiling at the memory of myself, Miri, and another coworker, Mark, chucking snowballs at each other during a communal smoke break. I hope they’re alright without me this week.

Crystal takes her tray and says, “Thank you,” with an enthusiastic smile that closes her eyes.

“You’re welcome,” Trish pleasantly says and grabs another tray, “Here you are, Chris.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” he says, “Though, maybe I should skip a meal,” he looks at his gut and belts, “o’ twenty!” and bursts into his hearty low laughter. His gut bounces with every laugh.

Trish lightly laughs as well, and, with a few courteous nods, she says, “You’re welcome, Chris,” and he saunters toward the lounge still laughing. Trish is radiant with her rouge as per usual. She greets me with a smile and searches for my tray, “Hi, Devan.”

“Hello, Trish,” I say and ask, “Was that you on the intercom?”

“Yep, guilty!” she brightly says.

“I knew it! and thank you,” I say, holding the tray with one hand as a tiny wave from the meds hits me and I slightly sway.

“You’re welcome, enjoy.”

I turn to head back to my room, but Trish says, “Hey,” so I turn back around as that single soft syllable echoes in my ears.


Dawn stands there holding her tray, a white bedsheet over her shoulders barely not grazing the ground. She says, “Hey,” and steps forward a bit, “Dev, right?”

“Yeah, Dev. And you’re… Dawn?” I feign the effort to recall her name.

“Yep,” she states and rocks back and forth on her fe`et, then nods at my tray and asks, “Wha’cha’ doin’?”

“I’m just gonna go eat,” I timidly say.

“Where?” she quickly, knowingly asks and steps up on her toes and glances toward my room.

I look over my shoulder and stupidly say, “Um, my room.”

“Ya’ know? you can eat in the lounge with us, too. None of us are too crazy,” she winks and I awkwardly chuckle. “And, I’ll protect ya’ if anyone starts bitin’,” she says with a bite.


“Joking!” Dawn assures and lurches forward, nearly dropping her tray. Her bed sheet falls to the floor, but she steps up beside me regardless. She smiles and nods toward the lounge, “Come on. You can sit next to me.” 

Her freckled smile so sweet, her eyes so green. I pick up her bedsheet with my free hand, the other still holding my tray. I find myself walking next to her.

“Thanks,” Dawn says, “We can play Uno after.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I say and smile.


“Devan? You okay?” Trish asks.

“Yeah, sorry,” I say as I fumble through my thoughts, “Meds are still messing with me. Just drifted away,”

“Okay, no worries. Would you like some help back to your room?”

“No, I’m fine. Really. Thanks, though.”

“Okay, be careful. Just hit the intercom button on your wall if you need anything.”

“Will do. Thanks, Trish.”



I set down my tray onto the bedside desk and Matt, who’s leaning back with his feet kicked up on the bedframe, sits forward and says, “Mmm, smells good. What’s for dinner?”

“Ugh, I don’t remember what I ordered yesterday,” I say, “Welp, here goes nothin’,” and uncover my meal. “Chicken sandwich,” I observe, “Why would I order this? Whatever, still got Mac ‘n’ cheese.”

Matt laughs and says, “That bad, huh?”

I make a face and nod as I take the lid off the Mac ‘n’ cheese then pause.

“What’s wrong?” Matt asks, concerned.

“I just remembered something.”


“I’m getting a roommate.”

He stares at me for a second then laughs.

© 2017 Kibbles and Quips

Author's Note

Kibbles and Quips
This is the second chapter. So, if you haven't read the first, just click "Previous chapter"! Looking for your impressions. Any and all constructive criticism is welcome!

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Added on December 17, 2017
Last Updated on December 17, 2017
Tags: Depression, anxiety, bipolar, mania, memory, loss, mental health, hospital


Kibbles and Quips
Kibbles and Quips

Chicago, IL

Follow me @Kibbles_n_Quips Like me on FB Howdy, friends. I'm a writer who is still figuring out what he likes to write and, to be honest, I hope that nev.. more..