Just the Beginning
Written by Dasha
Mikey woke up and tried to open his eyes. He felt drowsy and nauseated. He took a long deep
breath of the stale air around him and regretted right away. The stench had an amazing combination
of urine, old-food-left-in-the-microwave, smoke, dust, and dirty laundry. Mikey set up in his bed,
and felt a little lightheaded. They instructed him to get up slowly. Something to do with blood
pressure, he really didn’t give a damn.
The yellow bleak curtains surrounded his bed. The ceiling had one lamp covered by spider webs
containing a few unfortunate flies. The curtains screetched and cried when Mikey slowly moved them
aside. His roommate was already up and gone for the first smoke of this cloudy depressing
morning. Mikey took a look at the reflection in the plastic mirror.
The fire was extinguished in his blue eyes. His skin was droopy and grayish looking. The bags under
his eyes added sadness to Mikey’s otherwise apathetic expression. He looked older. He gained at
least twenty pounds. His hair was very short. His dry fingers no longer could play with the silk of his
blonde hair. Mikey sighed and walked out of the room.
His muscles were very stiff, and his gait changed so he was no longer able to even look like a normal
person. He was crazy. He walked crazy, he sounded crazy, he acted crazy. Crazy, crazy, crazy.
Mikey tried to get agitated, but…instead he felt tired and sleepy, as usual. The med nurse smiled and
gave him a paper cup full of colourful capsules. Sometimes Mikey wished he was one of those
capsules. The nurse reminded him of a ward meeting, and that he had a visitor today. Mikey stuck
out his tongue at the nurse, and went out for a smoke.
“They never check under the tongue…I wonder why? Any idiot can avoid taking the meds. But then,
why would you want to? They might write you up as an unresponsive to medication and send you up
to fry under the ECT…I wonder who the visitor may be? Maybe it’s Meldrick…No. Meldrick
would not even go see his own brother, why would he bother showing up here. He probably
doesn’t even know. He doesn’t even care. He thinks I’m dirty…everyone thinks I’m…”
Mikey thoughts circled around topics for a while. “Tangetial thinking” was often written in his chart.
He chained smoked and mused over the fact that a person wearing an antismoking neon sign across
their heart can become a very avid inhaler of the toxic fumes if only they were admitted to this
place. The chill of the morning slowly seeped through his coat and snaked up his back to make
Mikey shiver uncontrollably.
The ward meeting was boring as usual, and just to accentuate the irony of the situation the topic for
discussion was “Boredom: what can we do about it”. Donny was in charge of the meeting and since a
new member, a little Asian girl who set her neck on fire on New Year’s eve, was introduced,
he read out the “rules of the game”. Ward meetings were established to give patients more control
over their environment and serve as some sort of community interaction period, since most of the
clientele was isolative and drowsy and wouldn’t care to share their life stories with others on
a regular day basis.
Mikey was silent throughout the whole thing, and just observed as Tom, who believed he was being
haunted by the film industry, provided various suggestions that no one listened to. Jason was carefully
and slowly mumbling to himself that masturbating is a sin, Wendy nodded and smiled. This
pain lasted about 15 minutes after Tom ran out of ideas and attending nurses got bored themselves.
The patients as if they were zombies moved out of the room. Some went on to the games room to
play pool with cues that were useless, some played ping-pong, and some aimlessly stared at the TV.
Mikey, however, went outside to have another smoke and wait for the mysterious visitor. The nurse
just informed him that he will get a pass to go off grounds for a few hours.
“A pass?" Mikey thought, "Well, I guess I am making progress. I guess soon they might discharge me
to a group home or something. May be they will even let me see my shrink. Again. Not that it really
helped the last time, but what else is there to do. No one wants to hear anything I have to say, unless
they are paid. I don’t even know why I am here. So, I spend my days alone. So, I quit my job. So, I
didn’t eat for a few days. It’s not like I was going to off myself. I’ve tried that before. I was just
trying to get away from the pain, from the suspicion, from the lies and pretentious people. And that’s
considered crazy? Well, in that case, everyone is.”
Mikey remembered how uncomfortable and scared Meldrick was whenever the subject of mental
health came up. Not that Mikey could blame him. After all, Meldrick’s experience with “crazy”
people wasn’t very positive. Mikey also remembered the night Meldrick saved him. He saved him.
“God! His arms, his perfectly shaped lips… Where are you, lover? Why can’t you save me, again?
Why can’t I end this nightmare in your arms? I’m scared, Meldrick…I’m scared that I will never see
you again. Save me…”
Meldrick sat down on a bench across the road from the entrance and traced the edges of his jaw
with his thumb on one side and the rest of the fingers on the other. He proceeded to rub his temples
aggressively as if they were ready to explode.
First time he heard about Mikey being in this place was months ago, when he transferred to another
unit. Rene was “kind” enough to inform him of that. Apparently, a witness in her case was a client of
Kellerman’s just a few months before his hospitalization. But Meldrick could bet that his
“new partner” might have just gone out of her way to find this out. Just to piss him off.
For months Meldrick pondered over what it all meant. He denied it at first, then he accepted it and
tried to move on. He did everything he could, just as long as he didn’t have to go to the hospital. But
the worm was digging in, causing suffering and sleepless nights. Meldrick remembered his
brother. That particular memory made him want to block everything, ignore everything, and forget
“Dammit, Mikey! Why can’t you just let me be, ha? Why can’t you just take your beautiful blue eyes
and turn them away? Why must you be so stubborn? Yeah, I love you. So? Things just didn’t work
out between us, that’s all, partner. That’s all.”
There wasn’t any particular event that made Meldrick face the whole situation. It was time,
loneliness, and reflection. He loved Mikey. He always had. No matter how crazy, no matter how
stupid, no matter how far away.
He abruptly got up and directed himself towards the door. When he started to talk to the nurse, he
felt his temperature go up. He swayed the top part of his body and engaged in a sort of nervous but
composed dance. He froze, however, as soon as he saw HIM. Everything else in his life
became insignificant. His divorce, his partnership with a terrible female detective, his parting with
homicide unit, his last goodbyes with Tim. It faded away now. Meldrick felt the remains of his heart
stir and burn him as he saw HIM.
They were sitting across from each other in the nearby cafeteria. Just staring at each other silently as
they both tried to find themselves in the eyes of another. Finally, the endless meaningless questions
and comments ended.
“Mikey. I’m gonna get you outta here, you hear me! You don’t belong here. You may be a crazy
sonafabitch but you ain’t *crazy*! I dunno how, but you and I are gonna get out of here. I was a
fool, Mikey. I know it now. So many things went wrong, partner. So many things I did wrong, baby.
But no more. I know it’s a shitty place to start or to renew, but I hafta. I can’t live a lie anymore”
So many hurtful things Mikey heard himself say back to his lover. So many witty and clever
comebacks. He could hear them, he could almost imagine Melrdick’s face in response. He wanted to
walk away, he wanted to hit him, he wanted to scream. But instead, he felt warmth engulf his whole
body, and the chill of the morning cowardly left his limbs. He tried to smile and say something, but
the only thing that changed his face were tears that flowed through the small creases at the end of his
Meldrick’s hand found Mikey’s under the table as soon as Mikey’s eyes glistened with moisture.
Meldrick felt as if his whole world finally had a shape and a feel to it. No matter how terrible this
situation was, it was better than facing anything alone. This time he wouldn’t let Mikey down.
Not this time. Right there and then the blame, bitterness, sorrow, and guilt disappeared, leaving these
soul mates to forgive each other, because the journey to happiness was just beginning.