Number Three: "The White Coats" | Teen Ink

Number Three: "The White Coats"

January 20, 2011
By RixxOhSixx GOLD, rice lake, Wisconsin
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RixxOhSixx GOLD, Rice Lake, Wisconsin
12 articles 5 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's never too late to become the
person you might have been."
- George Elliot

Manhattan Psychiatric Clinic. Monday, August 13, 2001. Room 203. Once again, I awake to the same darkness I have been encased in for the past five years. I look around, my eyes slowly adjusting to the dimness. I can barely make out the door, although there’s a light rimming the seams. There’s also a window, one, single, little window that casts a small amount of light from the outside and stops just before my bed. My bed is a small, small thing. On it, each of my arms and legs is strapped down by leather-coated bindings around my ankles and wrists. There is another, wrapped tightly around my chest, threatening to crush my ribcage with any movement. Sometimes, when I’m steaming with anger, I try to get out of this barrier with no success. The bindings are here to keep me in and at night, and that’s exactly what they do. I really don’t appreciate it. Just so you can visualize how bad this place actually is, I’ll tell you all about it. On a side note, let me start by saying that I am not supposed to be in here. I did what was right and shouldn’t have been punished. I’m not crazy; I’m realistic. But, we’ll talk about that later. The restraints are just one of the reasons I despise this place. Another would have to be the food. It’s disgusting. I never eat it and that is probably why I’ve lost so much weight. It’s a major struggle just attempting to eat it. Trying to keep it down is horrid; I usually end up barfing after breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Supposedly the others stuck here are “just like me.” I beg to differ. Amber, the one next door, is insanely annoying. She has the same thing as me. Doc calls them “night terrors.” But, really don’t think I have them. Since I barely sleep because of her, there is no way I could be screaming in the middle of the night because I’m never asleep. So, that’s a nice try on doc’s part. Then there’s Macy. On the occasional times they let me out, she sits by me at lunch. She’s always talking about how much she loves it here. Sometimes, I just want to punch her in the head because she’s clearly a nutball if she actually wants to be in here. There’s also Jeffery. I see him walking around the halls sometimes when I’m on my way to therapy. I have no idea what his malfunction is, but he’s always sketching in that stupid notebook he carries around. He never talks and hides away from everyone more than I do. I hear an echoing knock at the door, and he walks in. Dr. Emerson. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. He took her away. MY HALEY. He walks to the side of my bed, and I close my eyes to pretend I’m not yet up. Steady breathing now, my only companion whispers to me. Don’t let him ask you questions today. As part of the daily routine, he takes my wrist, his cold hands checking my pulse. I don’t like him touching me, but I still don’t move. I can feel him staring at me. ‘What a disgrace,’ he’s probably thinking. What a sick, sick being. But you are, the voice says again. I grunt, giving away the fact that I wasn’t sleeping. “Well, good morning, Elliott. How are you feeling?” Dr. Emerson asks. I grunt again. “Hm. Looks like you’re doing just fine to me. A couple more days, and I think you’ll be ready to go.” He says that all the time. I never believe him. He drops my hand back to my side and walks away. I flip him off in my head and let out a small, maniacal laugh. If only he knew . . . “The white coats just don’t get it; I’m a genius with a headache.” The door clicks shut, and I am once again thrown into the darkness I have come to call home. I am alone. * * * At six, the thought of girls was “icky.” I mean, they had cooties and stuff, you know? When I was ten, girls didn’t have as many cooties anymore, and I spent more time chasing after them than running away. When I was twelve, I had the biggest crush on my teacher. Needless to say, it didn’t get far. The week after I turned fourteen, I started to get feelings for the junior helper in my freshman art class. I’m not just saying it was an “Oh, she’s pretty,” kind of want. I meant that I wanted her. I wanted her much more than I should have. And at sixteen . . . well, let’s just start with some background information. Then I’ll continue my story. I could begin this tale with “once upon a time” and end it with some sappy “happily ever after,” but that, my friends, would be a lie, because this is reality, and reality goes like this . . . My dad died when I was ten. I was never close to him. He was more interested in my older brother and his stupid football. He was an a-hole, in my opinion. Most people called him strict; I obviously didn’t. He was a cop, and I was a troublemaker. Since that set us apart, we didn’t get along very well. Anytime I’d go out with my friends, he would always try to bust us for the things he thought we were doing but never were. I didn’t drink; I can’t stand the smell of alcohol. I didn’t smoke; I didn’t want cancer. Yet, he tried SO hard to bust me. It never played in his favor. He just looked like a moron storming into Declan’s house demanding we give up the goods, only to find us watching some gory-serial-killer-chainsaw-bloody-zombie-everybody-run-for-your-lives type movie or rocking out to music we couldn’t understand and gave us major headaches. That’s mostly all I can remember about him. We didn’t talk much, unless he was yelling at me to do my homework, get off the couch, or turn my music down. Oh, wait . . . he was also an idiot. But . . . that will come into play later. My mom used to be bubbly and happy. She was a history nut, and sometimes I got annoyed when she would ramble about things I didn’t want to hear. Germany this, Egypt that… she was an awesome teacher though, and everyone loved how open she was. After dad died, she no longer cared what we did or what went on. She just let go. Gave up. Didn’t care. Her usually brown hair faded to a light grey. She quit her job and eventually began bringing home the guys that had the best pickup lines, the ones that ate all our food, slept with her, drank straight from the milk carton, and left the morning after. She no longer cared what we did, where we were, or whom we were with, as long as we were home for dinner. Beer and men were at the top of her to-do list (no pun intended) while my siblings and I slowly made our way to the bottom. Adam’s games meant nothing. She never went to a single one after Dad passed. Zoey kept her distance and left Mom alone. I did what I thought I could to help Mom. Being only ten, it wasn’t much. For a while, Mom let me sleep in her bed. It felt nice to think she needed me. I would talk to her, quietly and softly, make up stories of princes and ponies and lands far away where everything was perfect. It seemed to work. Sometimes, she would smile, at others, laugh. On rare occasions, she cried. I’m not saying I meant to make her; I’m just saying that she did. When she started the dating s**t, I followed in Zoey’s steps and kept to myself. I thought Mom was doing better. (At least, it sounded like it.) Zoey said it was nothing, but I knew better. Adam was the perfect child of the three of us. He was good at everything and really into sports. He was popular; everyone knew his name, who he was, and whom he hung around. I was always a little jealous of him. He got whatever he wanted, but it was kind of pathetic. We never really got along. Like I said earlier, he was more into being the best than wasting his time trying to befriend his brother. Same with Zoey. He was so self-obsessed that he didn’t even take the time to beat up the boys that broke her heart. I presume he was too busy breaking hearts of his own. I would have stood up for Zoey, but I wasn’t the one with the muscles. Zoey. Ah, Zoey. The joys of having a sister. (Pause for laughter.) I got much enjoyment out of her late night calls. I found them hilarious. She never snuck out of the house, not once. She was good in school, and everyone there knew it. That’s why they hated her. Besides her being from a rich family, the smart factor just added to the ridicule. She just never figured that part out. Adam acted like he didn’t know us at school. He wouldn’t even drive us there and back. We were stuck riding the bus. Zoey’s only friend, Sarah, sat with us. I’m not sure if they still talk, but Sarah was nice person. She would treat me like normal person, even though I was younger. She would sometimes play with my hair and tell me to get it cut. I never did. Other than Sarah and me, Zoey didn’t hang around anyone else. She barely wore makeup and didn’t dress to impress although we could have definitely afforded it. Zoey was sweet, and as far as I knew, innocent. She had always been a good listener and helped me with my homework when Mom was too buzzed to know what was going on and when Adam shooed me away. My sister had the prettiest eyes I’d ever seen. Brown, like Adam and me, but also so very different at the same time. Sometimes, when we’d have our daily heart-to-heart conversations, I would catch myself staring into them. That might be weird to say about my sister, but it’s true. They were very fascinating. I loved them. It was almost like she had so much hidden . . . and you could only tell what she really meant to say if you looked into her eyes. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who ever did. Zoey and I were closer than anyone else in our family. We had more in common, and I think that’s what kept us close until I left. Zoey was quiet. Like I said, she didn’t really talk much. She spoke when needed and knew when it was best to keep her mouth shut. I admired that about her. Unlike her, my big mouth often got me in trouble. I was what the teachers called a “smart-ass.” Each teacher sent out a warning email to the next of the approaching “problem child.” Zoey and Adam were good students; I couldn’t care less. I was picked on in school, and I really hated it. It wasn’t like I was that much different from everyone. I didn’t play sports, although I had when I was little. I was never any good, though, so when high school came around, I made sure to steer clear of the jocks. They made sure to remind me not to join basketball in gym class by putting me in my place during three on three. After Dad died, I started to care even less than I had before. I skipped classes, called my teachers names, and decided that every day I did attend the hell hole, I would initiate a food fight during lunch. I was hilarious, but they usually only lasted a few minutes before the lunch supervisor stormed in like a madman and told everyone to stop. I never got caught for being the one to start them. I didn’t have very many friends growing up. I only had two very close ones, Alena and Declan. Declan and I had all the same classes, but Alena was in all of the AP classes because she was a genius. (I never understood why she hung around us.) We still sat by each other when we could and avoided the preps at all costs. This led us to having our own table at lunch. And there we sat, the first two years of high school, just us: Declan, Alena, and I. No one ever got enough courage to come sit by us, that is, until she came to school. She was one of the prettiest girls I had ever seen in my entire life. She was like a female version of me, minus a few obvious things. (Cough.) She had brown hair that, whichever way she wore it, still trailed all the way down to her lower back. Her eyes were the deepest of green and gave off an eerie shine in the moonlight on the nights we’d sneak out. (Once again, I’ll tell you about that later.) I loved them more than my sister’s. No matter how hard I tried, I could never really understand her. I could never figure her out, and it was mesmerizing. She was basically perfect. I knew she was the first day I saw her. It was . . . the second week of school, in September. School had just started the week before. Declan, Alena, and I were sitting at our table just like any other day. When she walked through the cafeteria doors, my jaw dropped. Heads turned and everyone stared. The room was deathly quiet. She lingered in the doorway for a second. She was wearing really short, denim shorts that showed off her perfectly tanned, incredibly long legs, which ended in a pair of worn-down, black Converse. I looked down at my own feet and giggled. We had the same shoes. She wore a white shirt that read: “Tree Hugger,” with a small tree branching off the “T.” Great, I thought to myself, she’s one of those. I would’ve made more fun of her shirt, but the way it fit over her elegant body made me keep the voice in my head quiet. She looked around and then made her way over to us. She sat on the opposing end and opened the red lunch bag that contained her food. She ate in silence and sat with her head looking down. Everyone went back to what they had been doing, this time with a new name and juicier rumors slipping out of their lips. I watched her the rest of the period, only subtly listening to Declan talk to me. He could tell I wasn’t into the conversation, and eventually he gave up. Alena was face first in her journal, so he was left with nothing to do but eat his lunch. (I’m pretty sure I drooled at least twice in that 40 minutes of lunch.) After that, Alena departed from Declan and me, heading to her AP English class, while we slowly made our way to Biology 11. About five minutes into class, low and behold, there she was. She gave Mr. Larson the yellow office slip, explained that she hadn’t been able to find the room, and glanced over to the empty seat in front of me. “Class,” Mr. Larson called our attention, “this is Ms. Taylor.” Our class replied with mumbled hellos. “She moved here from . . . Roseville. Hm, Roseville. Nice place.” Her face turned a bit red. She once again looked at the empty seat. “Take a seat, Haley. Welcome to Biology 11.” Haley, I said to myself, her name is Haley. She made her way to the back of the classroom and scooted into the desk. I spent the whole period thinking of ways I could introduce myself, but they all sounded really stupid and immature. It’s not like I could just walk up to her and say something that made me sound idiotic, like, “Hey. You’re hot.” No, no, that wouldn’t work. That would never work. She probably wouldn’t accept my advances, so I tried another idea on for size. “Haley, you’re new in town; I’ve lived here my whole life. I can show you around sometime,” I’d say, and then do some little gesture that gave away the fact that that is not what I intended to do at all. Nope. That wouldn’t work either. By the time I had finally come up with something good enough, the bell had dismissed us. I watched Haley gather her things and bolt out the door. I ran after her, but she was too fast. When I reached the door, she was already gone, and the hallway was packed. I walked slowly to my locker, listening to Declan complain about the assignment we had just received. “What assignment?” I asked. “Uhm, dude, the one Larson just gave us.” “Which would be?” “Notes on section 2. Were you paying attention?” Smiling slightly, I answered, “Not at all.” “You were staring at that new chick, weren’t you?” “Her name is Haley,” I snapped. Haley . . . “My bad,” Declan said, punching me in the arm. I slugged him back and turned my head just in time to see her walking towards me. For a second, her eyes were dead set on mine. I couldn’t breathe; I thought I was going to pass out. She got closer and closer to us. When she was about five feet away, she briskly turned left and shifted her eyes to the office. Damn . . . that was close. “Did you see that?” Declan asked. “See what?” He smirked at me. “You know exactly what.” I did. But I wasn’t going to let him know that. Declan and I caught up with Alena and together, we walked to our next class. During 6th period, I couldn’t get Haley out of my head. All I could think about was when I would see her next. Seventh period was the same. No matter what I did, everything linked to her somehow. Mindy Burhow sat to the right of me. I kept glancing at her, hoping it was Haley. She looked just like her . . . or maybe every girl did now. I don’t know what it was either. There was just something about her . . . Eighth period rolled around, and my mind was forced back into reality for a mere second when I saw Haley walk in. This time, I made a mental note to myself not to stare as much. There were two seats left in this class: one behind me and one to the left, in front of Declan. Declan gave me a look that I took to mean something like Dude, close your mouth. I immediately compressed my jaw and started riffling through my Algebra book, pretending to look for my assignment. I saw her walk by my desk and take the one behind me. Concentrating on breathing, I made sure not to turn around. Near the end of class, I attempted the pencil dropping technique. It didn’t work. She got up, looked at it, and walked straight out the door. I needed a better plan. * * * I re-read the article about eight times before finally putting it down and crying. LOCAL GIRL KILLED IN COLLISION WITH DRUNK DRIVER The words flashed in my head like the siren that took her body away. It’s times like these when everyone takes back the mean, hurtful things they’ve said. “I never want to see you again!” I had yelled at her. “Good! I hate you!” she had yelled back. I didn’t mean it literally, but my wish had been granted. Haley was gone; I was the one to blame. If I hadn’t told her to leave, she never would have. If I hadn’t started a fight over something so stupid, she never would have stepped out into the street. She didn’t even see the car, and I was too busy fuming over the fight to notice one was coming right at her. Why did I have to be so damn picky about everything? She had lost her life for something that meant close to nothing to me . . . I lost a part of myself that day. That day, about a month before the end of junior year, was a day I would never forget. It’s been almost six years now, but the images of her sprawled on the street have never left my mind. They linger . . . taunting, daring me to try and forget. * * * Summer flew by, and before I knew it, I was back in school. Senior year started off with a bang . . . literally. On the first day, I was hit in the head with two, count them two, lunch trays. I had always thought it was the freshmen that were picked on, but in my case it seemed people were willing to make an exception. Anyways, I still had Alena and Declan, so there was nothing to worry about. Things were settling down, and everyone stopped picking on us within a week. Just as things were getting back to normal, she just had to show up. There was no denying the fact that she was beautiful. She always had been. There was also no denying the fact that that was Haley Taylor standing in the doorway of the cafeteria. (For those of you who have never had déjà vu, let me tell you, it’s one freaky experience.) There was also no denying the fact that she was walking directly towards our table. No denying at all. Before I could take a breath, there she was. “Hi. My name is Erika. Is it okay if I sit here?” I just stared. Declan was occupied with his meatloaf, but Alena perked up and answered with a cheery, “Sure! Of course! Have a seat.” I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t believe that Haley was sitting right across from me. Declan finally looked up and greeted Haley. He acted like he had never met her in his entire life. He and Alena questioned her the whole lunch period. How could they not already know the answers? That’s Haley. How can they not see what I’m seeing?! There was something different about her, I suppose. I studied her. Her movements, the way she ate, the way her sweet mouth formed her words. I studied the way her delicate, little hands whirled around when she was really getting into a story or when they would slip quietly up to her face to cover her laugh after one of Declan’s stupid jokes. How are they not seeing this? Haley is HERE. HERE. HERE! Just look at her. Sure, she keeps saying that her name is Erika. Sure she’s a little shorter. But that’s her. I know it. I finally spoke. “So, Haley, where are you from again?” “It’s Erika, and I’m from Hillsdale.” “Right, so how is Roseville? I heard it’s a nice place.” “I’ve heard that too. But, I’m not from there.” “Yes you are. You told me last year.” “I didn’t go here last year, hun. I just moved here.” “No, no you didn’t.” “I think you have me confused for someone else.” “Listen, Haley, I know you, and believe me, you’re not from Hillsdale.” “Uhm, dude. Once again, the name is Erika. Who the hell is Haley?” My hands balled into fists. I couldn’t believe what was going on. Declan got up and rushed over to me. He got me to get up and walk out of the cafeteria. My hand stayed clenched the whole time. “What is your problem?!” he yelled at me. “Nothing.” “Then what was that?!” “What was what?” “Don’t play your stupid games with me, Eli. You know exactly what!” “Oh, you mean Haley in there with her amnesia trick.” “Eli, you don’t understand. That girl in there is not Haley. She never will be. Haley is dead. Dead, Eli. Haley is dead. Dead! Dead! De . . .” He didn’t have time to finish the last word. I had lost him after the first time he said her name . . . I took one of my sweating fists and hit him square in the mouth. He dropped like a fly. It took three teachers to pull me off of him. How dare he say that! I can see her! She’s here! I know it’s Haley; It’s gotta be! One week detention was all I got. Declan’s mom, being the b***h that she is, tried to get me a month. Declan didn’t care. He admitted to provoking me to do it, although he hadn’t really done anything but say Haley was dead. Which she isn’t. Obviously. * * * Eventually, Haley forgave me for the whole deal during the first week she was at school. I told her I was just kidding around and that what I was doing was just so I could get her attention. It’s been extremely annoying having to call her Erika, but I guess that was the only way my plan would work. It’s been exactly six months, three days, fourteen hours, and twenty-seven minutes since I knew what I had to do. I had made a list the day after I met her. Now, tonight, I could finally check off the last thing. I could finally scratch Haley, I mean Erika, out of my life forever. I knew what had to be done; there was no other way. For the last time, I went over the list: 1. Get close to her. – check. 2. Get to know her. –check. 3. Date her. –check. 4. Get her to trust you. –check. 5. Get her to really trust you. –check. 6. Lead her on. –check. 7. Kill her. I crumpled the list up and stuffed it into my pocket. The phone rang, answering it while slipping the list back to where it hides, I confirmed my and Hal . . . Erika’s plans for the night and went to load my gun. The night was perfect. We watched a movie, had dinner, and now, I was going back to her place. Her parents were out of town for the weekend, so we had the whole place to ourselves. There was no hesitation on her part. She jumped me as soon as we had gotten in the door. I had grown used to this. We stood in the doorway for a second, kissing for a few minutes, before she whispered in my ear, “I’ll be right back.” She giggled and ran off to her room for something. Good. This gives me time to hide it. I went into the living room and pulled up a seat cushion. There is where I slid the fully loaded gun. She yelled for me, “Eli! Oh, Eliiiiiiiiiii!” I spun around to see her standing in the middle of the room in nothing but one of my shirts I had lent her a week ago. “Is it too much?” she asked, smiling slightly. “Yes, yes it is,” I slyly replied. And with that, off it came. I watched it tumble to the floor, and then I admired her. Starting with her feet, I moved my eyes slowly but surely to her face. I walked slowly over to her and put my hands up to her cheeks. “I love you,” she whispered. “I love you, too,” I said back. Holding her face in my hands, I leaned in and kissed her lightly on her lips. Her hands went straight to my shirt, and she lifted it off with no problem. Before I knew it, we were on the couch. She was under me. This was also something I had grown accustomed to . . . but this time would be the last time. This was it. I knew what I had come here to do, and I wasn’t leaving until she stopped breathing. When we finished, we both lay next to each other, staring at the ceiling. Enjoying the silence, another thing I had gotten used to, was something we always did after. Always. But, like I said before, this would be the last time. I knew what I had to do, and I was running short on patience. “Eli,” she said, looking over at me, “I really do love you. I love you so much . . .” “And I love you, too. That’s why I have to do this.” “Do what? Eli . . . are you breaking up with me?” I didn’t say anything. I just leaned over and took the gun out from under the couch cushion. “Eli, what are you doing with that?!” “I have to kill you.” “No, no, no, no!” “Yes, YES I DO!” I yelled. With that, she jumped up and ran to the bathroom. I heard the door slam shut and lock. Like I didn’t come prepared? Really, Haley? You think I’m that dumb? I had been preparing for months. I knew her every move. I kicked the door, hard. I didn’t need to kick it again. I found her cowering in the corner by the shower. “Why?” she asked. “Because you’re supposed to be dead.” “No, Eli, no . . .” “Yes, Haley, YES!” I stepped closer to her and grabbed her throat. I looked into her sorrow-filled eyes with little remorse. One hand still clutching her throat, I reached into my back pocket and pulled out the gun with the other. “Please . . . please, no,” she whimpered. “I have to.” I took a deep breath. Okay, I said to myself, on the count of three. “One.” She started to squirm. “Two.” Horror swept across her face. “Three.”

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