by those who could not

“How are you feeling?” has become a loaded question. “How am I meant to be feeling?” is his usual response.

***

There are those who are ‘okay’, and those you should ‘stay away from’, and one of the ones to stay away from is a slender young man with big eyes and a thick beard, wearing a makeshift dress. His moods can change, like a sudden thunder storm on a hot afternoon. There are others as well; don’t look, don’t talk, don’t acknowledge.

This is the only time I’ve been in a psychiatric ward. When you walk along the corridors you can hear screams and yells drifting down from higher floors. “That’s the high security women’s floor,” one of the ward staff explains. “Everyone on this floor is voluntary. The ones up there aren’t.”

We do crosswords on our visits. He’s better at them than I am, so really: on our visits, I watch him do crosswords. He pretends that I’m contributing by asking me what I think a word might be, before rapidly filling it in while my mind is still a blank.

We don’t know how long he’ll be here. Technically he can leave when he wants. Technically. We don’t know what will happen if he tries. Will they just shift him to one of the floors where people scream?

It’s unsettling how neutral the ward staff are; even to visitors.

Via: Piccsy

Monsters and people

“Take that back!” Hissed Trevor The Vampire.

“I’m just saying,” said Frank The Zombie, holding up his hands, as well as several more hands that he had collected along the way, “monsters are people too.”

“Actually,” said Barry The Ghoul, his voice moaning from the shadows, “I think you’ll find most monsters were people, once.”

“Shut up, Barry,” said Trevor and Frank simultaneously.

“Back in Transylvania,” the Vampire said to the Zombie, “even implying that monsters are people would get you a punch in the nose. If I could find your nose, that is.”

“Except for maybe The Boogymen,” gurgled Barry The Ghoul from every direction at once. “Hard to imagine they were ever people.”

“Shut up, Barry,” said Trevor and Frank simultaneously.

“Boogy, boogy, boogy,” said Barry softly to himself, from the other side of nightmares.

And where thy footstep gleams…

I was thinking about this question on Quora, and the lovely responses people have posted to it: What’s the most beautiful phrase you’ve ever heard?

For me, the most beautiful phrase I’ve ever heard has always been these lines from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “To One In Paradise”:

And all my days are trances,

And all my nightly dreams,

Are where thy grey eye glances,

And where thy footstep gleams —

In what ethereal dances,

By what eternal streams.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I first encountered these lines in the Alan Parson’s Project song inspired by the poem: To One In Paradise (YouTube)

However, wisdom is wisdom wherever it may lay, and so too is beauty. Also, the Alan Parson’s Project is still shamefully cool.

You can read the poem itself, here: “To One In Paradise”