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I-Ward Asylum

The dank, musty smell fills the hallways and narrow corridors; the dim lighting casts a void of darkness drawing in the light of life without escape.   Doors within the walls contain insanity and despair; individuals unable to cope with the ways of society instead retreating to the recesses of their imaginations.  All they do is hope to bend reality by any means at their disposal.

Four men dressed in white shirts and pants walk in unison down a long stretch of corridor.  The rhythm of their heels created a tom-tom beat as they strike the floor.  They approach a heavily locked door at the end of the corridor. One of the four men unlocks the door and enters to the other side; as he enters, there is a patient sitting at a metal table.  “I’m Doctor Piedmont and I’ll be conducting this session,” the man says to the patient.  “Welcome to my humble abode,” the patient replies motioning to the chair on the other side of the table.  He looks at the doctor and grins, “You look like Johnny Depp from that movie Ninth Gate.”  “I get that a lot,” the doctor, replies.

A small window high long the wall reveals lightning from the sky outside.  The sound of rain soon falls against the frosted glass window, like fingers rapping rhythmically along the surface.  The doctor pulls out a pen from his shirt pocket and begins scribbling on a notepad that is already on the table.  The patient begins snapping his fingers.  The doctor looks at the patient’s snapping fingers, “Why are you doing that,” as he writes on the note pad.

“Do you not hear it doctor?”

“Hear what?”

“It is the sound of a beautiful symphony.”

“It sounds like rain.”

“Where is your imagination doctor?”

The doctor feigns a smile and continues writing on the notepad.  The pressure of the pen on the paper becomes heavy.  He stops for a moment, listening to the rainfall heavy against the glass window, “You choose to imagine and I choose reality,” he tells the patient as he continues writing.  The patient slams his hand on the table, “Ah yes choices.”  The doctor is slightly startled, “What about choices?”

“Choice, doctor, is the essence of our souls; the tool that validates our free will.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Have you ever wondered doctor, if your destiny in life is truly governed by the choices you make?”

“Nope, never gave it much thought.”

“What if I told you, doctor, that your destiny is not affected by your choices?”

“Is that what you are telling me?”

The patient begins laughing hysterically.  The doctor stops writing, “What is so funny?”  The patient begins wiping his eyes, “Sorry, someone just told me a funny joke.”  The doctor looks around the room, “There is no one else here but the two of us.”  The patient closes his eyes while arching his head towards the ceiling.

“Where was I doctor?”

“I believe that you were telling me how my choices did not affect my destiny.”

“Oh yes, did you choose to become a psychiatrist?”

“Yes I did.”

“And did you choose to work in this asylum…err… institution?”

“I was selected to work here.”

“Is that the same thing doctor?”

The patient then leans forward, “Why is it so dark in here?”  The doctor looks at the light panels in the ceiling, “The lighting is adequate,” and continues writing on the notepad.

“Is that the same thing doctor?”

“While it was not my choice, my decision to pursue psychiatry led me to this opportunity.”

“No doctor, you would have ended up here regardless.”

The doctor stops writing and stares at the patient, “How did you come to that conclusion?”  The patient smiles as he looks towards the doctor’s notepad, “Destiny told me so.”

“Really, and what did Destiny say to you?”

“Well doctor, she told me about your,” whispering, “Little problem.”

Thunder seems to shake the room and the lightning intensifies.  The rain falls harder and faster against the window and the lights in the room flicker for a moment.  The patient chuckles, “I don’t know, guess my mind is taking me for a joy ride with all of this thinking,” as his chuckling becomes hysterical laughter.  The doctor rubs his face and eyes, “The choices are yours to take,” the patient interrupts, “But the outcomes are not yours to make doctor; no matter how many forks the road has, you still end up where you are destined.”

The doctor goes back to writing on the notepad, shaking his head.  Suddenly, there is a knock on the door.  Three men in white enter the room.  The doctor rises from his chair, “Looks like our time is up,” and then leaves with the three men.  The patient smiles as he watches the door close behind them.  Seeing the notepad still on the table, the patient slides it towards him to see stick figure drawings of a man, woman, and child with a house on fire in the background.

“Like I said doctor, I know about your little problem.”


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