Originally written on June 20, 2010
I finally succumbed to the darkness of the movie theater which contained a sea of people in red. I was wearing black. They have always reminded us to wear red exclusively throughout the course of the review – a preparation for the upcoming nursing licensure exams that we all hope to pass. A voice prompt signaled the start of the review so I scurried for an empty seat.
I opened my notebook and began jotting down notes. “When did I start doing this?” I asked myself. I paused and realized I can’t remember anymore. We go through everyday doing things we do not know why we do. The only thing we know is we have to do them because if we don’t, we’re better off dead. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my right shoulder. It was girl wearing a four-inches-above-the-knee white floral dress with a brown bolero on it. The dishevelment of her pony-tailed hair caught my attention. Her eyes looked artificial as she was wearing blue contacts. Her bare feet were on the seat in front of her and she didn’t seem to care. She may be a beauty but she’s still a huge mess. Like a city dumpsite. Or a junk shop. Yeah, she should be in a junk shop.
“Hey, my pen fell and it rolled down under your seat,” she said in a monotonous voice. “Can you pick it up for me?” I don’t know if it’s because of her artificial eyes but she looked like a mannequin to me. Her face had no emotion.
“Oh, okay,” I stooped down and looked for the pen but there was no sign of it under my seat. All I found was trash. I turned back to the girl and she was already writing again.
Without looking at me she said: “I already have it. Thank you.”
“Fuck my life,” I told myself.
An hour after I was answering a sample exam given to us on Psychiatric Nursing, my favorite subject. One interesting thing about this subject is your instrument to care for your patients and make them feel better is yourself. That means before you can really care for a psychiatric patient, you have to, first, be aware of yourself, and that you’re not as broken as them. You have to be well, stable. I think everyone has a monster inside him. Some have awakened it while most of us, our monsters are still asleep. Are we just waiting for them to wake up? That, I don’t know.
I was on item no. 27 when my cell phone vibrated. I went through my pocket for it. It was a message from him:
“I am sorry. Let’s try to work this out again. We both know that you still love me.”
I was concentrating on item no. 86 when the bizarre girl beside me started bugging me again by suddenly taking off my hand from my exam paper and gazing at it. With the same monotonous voice, she asked for my answer on item no. 10.
“My answer is B,” I answered nonchalantly.
“B? ‘You are sad today?’ Seriously? That’s what you’re gonna tell your patient when he tells you he’s sad?”
“Uhh, yeah, because that’s the most therapeutic thing to say.”
“Ugh. What do you guys know about being therapeutic? All you know is break hearts.” Finally, a tad of emotion from this mannequin.
“My answer is C: ‘Cheer up! Life is beautiful.’”
“Now, that’s what you call non-therapeutic,” I argued. “Reassurance isn’t therapeutic. You can’t tell him things like ‘life is beautiful’ or ‘everything’s going to be okay’ because it may or may not happen.”
“But life really is beautiful no matter how painful everyday may be. How do you get up every morning with that thought in your head? That life may or may not be beautiful? These are crazy people! They don’t need these stupid Haloperidot – ”
“Haloperidol,” I interrupted.
“Whatever! These guys need reassuring, don’t you think? That whatever happened, life is still beautiful. And so is death! Everyday is a labyrinth and the only way out is hope!”
Everything she said made sense to me. But life isn’t as simple. This girl obviously lives in fantasy land… or does she? Or is it these people around me who live in a land that is not real?
Without a warning, the bizarre girl started crying on my shoulder. She was crying so loud that every person near us was looking. I tried to make her stop but she didn’t. She came closer to me and tugged me. And then I smelled something weird. Alcohol. The girl was drunk.
“Hey, you’re drunk, aren’t you?”
“Please just let me cry,” she said in a sullen tone. “This will pass.”
I took her hands off me and stood up and shouted at her: “No! You’ve pestered me enough! I’m finding myself another seat far from you!”
My shoulder was wet and I can still hear her cries as I walked away and never looked back.
It was 6PM. Review is finally over. What I did was wrong; I shouldn’t have left her there all alone. That girl needed company, but I was too selfish to offer myself to her. I knew I liked her but I pushed her away. Oh, why do we kill the things we love? We live everyday to look for them and then throw them away when we finally found them. Our story is a tragedy. A really sad and awful one.
At last, there was light. I waited for her outside the cinema. People came and went. She didn’t come. Then, someone from behind me held my hand snugly. I turned back. It was him. “I missed you,” he whispered.
I couldn’t fix her. I, myself, am broken.