|Cass R (cachecache) wrote in repose,|
@ 2019-08-24 19:22:00
|Entry tags:||*narrative, cass reynaud|
The doctor is new. She knows this by the candor of his smile, the way his eyes still hold the confidence of a newly-burnished sentiment. He has hope, rather than an expectation that keys and walls are an answer to the handful of beautifully difficult people living side by side unquietly in a Quiet Home. They were unkind, when she returned home with her shift drying gently beneath her blouse and her nose scarlet from the water and the sun, but she expected nothing more and nothing less. She watched idly as they chided her, embraced her with rough, rough towels and took away her clothes with buttons and zips and closures that were secret until she was naked before they dressed her as they might a child, in papery clothes that itched temporarily against her skin. She saw three ways the nurse would live: all of them slow, all of them dull. Some unpleasant. It is a let down, that this is the sole vision she's left with, like a spoon scraping the empty corners of a bowl for slivers.
Her head is full of cloud and cotton-wool when she sits on the plastic chair drawn up companionably alongside the desk. Her hands are in her lap, still like broken birds, her palms turned in toward her knees. Dangerous, like quiet white spiders. Cass's thoughts reel and spin, flex like wire. She thinks of her camera, her camera which would only take pictures here of white walls and gray places, of the snippet of sky she can see through bars from her bed. Of the undulating green beyond the window of the dining hall, where there is nothing and nothing and nothing to intervene, to interrupt dreary monotony. It has an eye, but not hers, and she thinks of the snapshots, of life lived wildly, indecorously as if the camera might give them to her, fragments of heat and light and life to stay alive to.
He puts a piece of paper between them on the table. It is one of many, in the file in front of him, the electronic wink of the computer screen. It is innocuous, it lists an address at the top, a telephone number, an application. The doctor has written in the fields with the slanting scrawl of a man accustomed to delivering grandiose messaging in letters only the erudite can pull apart to make sense. Her own hand, Cass remembers, is black and careless. She writes letters that loop and dash, that float. She feels terribly grounded now. Weighted, with the ballast of chemicals that leave no room for memory, for thought.
"I've secured this for you." He is trying to be kind. She doesn't want to touch him, she doesn't want to look at him, she doesn't want to know when precisely his confidence will peel from him in ragged spirals like nail-varnish. "It took some persuading after your last trip to town."
She is meant to be grateful. Cass understands this, it ought to obediently petal within her, a firmament to warm her. She is stubbornly without gratitude. Like broken glass, like acid, it burns its own warmth, heat.
She takes the paper with her when she goes, it is useless. The application is already lodged, the consequences unravel. They give her several days and lowered dosages, she can't recall a thing from one minute to the next, they stretch like honey, lazily sticky with one another until Cass cannot dissect them. She is delivered, in a unmarked car by an orderly, a man who has held her down before, who has put his knee into the center of her back until her spine felt like firewood, about to snap. She supposes it is a message. They are messages, sent with care and thought and precision. She is unwoven still, the moments of clarity are insanity for being so maddeningly far apart.
She is given a dress that snaps over her clothes, as papery as the clothes at the Home. The fabric hums on her skin, it leaves the hairs on her arm cleaving to the brush of polyester-blend. An apron, white-stringed, forever grubby and interchangeable with half a dozen others folded in the back-room. And a tag, gleaming in her fingers like a plastic star. Her name, the name spelled out in the click of plastic grooves and anonymity torn into tissue paper. 'Cassandra'.
It is an introduction. "To get you started," the doctor she recalls saying, cheerfully as if it were a gift rather than requirement. "Integrate back into life."
It is a gift. But she does not believe he knows quite how.