A Short Story by
THE DOOR was thrust open violently.
She stormed in at full speed, “I do not want to hear it!” she yells, drowning out the whispering voice, “Now suddenly you want to speak to me, you’ve not called or came to see me in such a long time!” Teresa shouted at Wes.
Spinning around, looking at him with rage in her eyes. One drop of blood drip from her nose, not drawing her attention in the least. She had more pressing matters at hand.
“You know why I’ve not been able to visit you.” he told her in a low voice, “You don’t have a phone anymore, so how can I call you?” he asked, standing just there; “I need to tell you about the accident. What happened,” Wes desperately pleaded, needing to explain to her.
Teresa wasn’t going to give him the chance, cutting him off by the knees. She flung herself around, walking to her white bed, swan-diving onto it, laying over half of it, not caring.
Wes could only look at her, knowing this would happen, nonetheless, he needs to try to help her.
“Why are you here? I told you, I don’t care what you’ve got to say!” she told him angrily – closed eyes, head turned to the white wall.
Suddenly she turned and looked at him. She sat upright on her white bed. Tearful-reddish, light-blue eyes, her white makeup around her eyes, started to run. Her cheeks went all red and she started sobbing again. Her beautiful blue dress had suffered as well; there were small red spots, and others larger, with thin white stripes – the kind that would never come out.
Wes wanted to go to her, but he didn’t think it a good idea.
“Are you still here? I do not want to see you again! I do not want to hear what you think I should hear! I know what you want to say, so give me a very good reason why I should make this easier for you?”
Teresa couldn’t move around easily at the best of times, and this day was one of those bad ones. It was as if something was draining her strength. Other times she felt so clumsy, but on days like this one, she had little energy and almost no coordination.
Wes could not understand her on most days. One moment she would be as deadly as a cobra and then the next, as gentle as a lamb. One of the many reasons why he loved her so.
“I want you, need you to listen to me carefully. I have to tell you.” Wes tried again.
She jumped off the bed and grabbed her favorite teddy bear, the one from their first date which Wes won for her. She flung it at him with a force that would make any boy jealous.
“What! Wow!” he reacted shocked, dodging the Teddy-bear at the same time.
The bear hit the white wall behind Wes. It remained there, hanging by some invisible string. Again she wondered what was going on?
Theresa realized that the room was suddenly very quiet, appreciating it for the time being. There was far too much planning to get done for their prom.
“I hoped Mom made sure the dress is perfect.” Teresa said, walking to it, hanging from the closet on the hanger.
She heard the radio was playing a song. Was it their song, she couldn’t hear it clearly. She would have to concentrate hard. She turned to the radio, kneeling down so she was closer to the speaker on the floor. At that moment the black box started to sink into the white floor. She couldn’t think straight. Had she changed the color of her room? Why did everything look so different suddenly?
Wes stretches his arms out, palms open to her, hoping she’d believe he just wanted to tell her the truth, “Please listen to me, I must tell you something.” he tried endlessly.
“I know you must have another girlfriend, one who can go to the prom with you! This is why I haven’t seen you in the last few days! I don’t want to hear what you’ve got to say!” she shouted the last sentence, forcing the point across; “You promised me we’ll go there together! You might be working in the big wide world for the last two years, but I expected that you would at least keep your promise to me!” she now screamed in utter pain – “How would you last without me, when I start my University studies? You’re a man now, a man with needs!” tears falling from her face – “Look at the posters, I already got my class schedules. Do you even remember that day? They took our picture, my parents, with us, visiting the University? Do you even care about me anymore? Obviously not, you don’t even remember that day!” she shouted, breathing harder as if she’d worked out a lot.
She pressed her palms against her ears and started spinning so quickly that she fell on her bed again. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she was not her bed after all; there are soft material cushions shapes in the floor.
“I don’t have another girl, Theresa.” Wes desperately tried to tell her, seeing her expression, she’s in pain again.
“You’ve been working the past two years and in that time, how many other girls had you been with?” she screamed at him, “What about Paris, you remember the Eiffel Tower promise you made me? Was that just one of your tricks? You boys are all the same!” she kept on going.
He knew very well what comes next. Blood started to run from her nose. Theresa screamed or at least she thought she was screaming, yet, no sound comes out of her mouth. She started hitting the floor, as hard as she can, with her fisted hands.
“What’s wrong? Did you hurt yourself?” Wes asked, kneeling next to her.
“I do not want to hear it! You are just lying to me! I cannot trust you! Why are you doing this?” the questions echoed through her mind, but there was only silence in the white room.
With her continued exertion, she fainted again. Wes stayed right there with her. He watched her laying quietly and motionless. She was out cold, but she wasn’t resting. Her one hand once more started jerking, the repeating nightmare invaded her peace again.
THE SUN rose and set again. A day and a half had gone by.
Waking up fast, “Wes, where are you?” Theresa cried out in terror.
“I’m here with you. I’m never far away. We just have to talk first.” Wes whispered softly against her ear.
Theresa jumped up and stopped just before she walked into the white door. She looked past the door, remembering that day when Wes walked into the clear glass-door himself, it cracked her up back in the day, and then a second later the smiled fades liked the memory.
“I just want to get out of this white nightgown. You should get out of the room for a moment.” Theresa blushed, “Wait… I cannot get out of the gown! Can you help me?”
She walked over to the cupboard and started taking out other clothes – a white shirt, white shorts, and white socks, which would fit perfectly with the white sneakers.
Wes walked closer. She turned around before he reached her, she walked up to the window and opened it.
“The sun will shine warm today. Would you come to the lake with me?” she asked happily, turning to him, and hop-scotching till she landed in front of his pale face.
Wes waited till she had passed him, as he knew she would.
“If that’s what you want to do? But, before you go, we have to talk about something.” Wes again tried.
“I just want to get something out of the closet, something I can wear outside in the hot sun. You do know its summer and we could possibly go for a swim, but even better, what about a picnic? I haven’t been… oh, in forever… in such a long-long time.” Theresa mused thoughtfully, “I really cannot remember how long ago I last was on a picnic. Was the last one not when Wes took me?” she wondered.
Theresa couldn’t recall so well. Not even when last she was in a swimming pool. She turns back around and walked to the closet. The door was still open and she stuck her entire head inside. She looked around but sees that everything inside looked so similar, in color, in texture, and in the fabric. She didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin, at all, anymore!
“You must go so that I can get myself ready.” she told him, “We do not want my parents to get the wrong idea here now, do we? That would surely give them cause to stop us from seeing each other, and they would not allow you to come to visit me.” she said, “You’ve not been here in a while and I would hate for something like that to keep us apart – although we’ve been together… I cannot just go blab it out, at them, can I? I will call you when I’m finished.”
Wes walked towards the door. Teresa turned around suddenly and looked at the clock. Shockingly, she saw that half the day has passed.
“Is that the time? I did not know that it was lunchtime already! Wes, we have to make sure that we take an umbrella with. The clouds rolling in looks a bit ominous. Even so, I will burn badly in the sun, whether or not those clouds bring rain, I still don’t want to get soaked either.”
Theresa wasn’t making too much sense, Wes was used to it by now. She looked out through the window at the clouds. They did not look too worrisome, but still, she wanted to be cautious nonetheless.
“We can do that, but just wait with your plans, we need to talk. There’s something very important that we’ll have to talk about!” Wes raised his voice on the last words, immediately regretting it.
With this shock, Teresa stumbles past Wes and falls on her bed. Wes reached out to her, he wasn’t quick enough to catch her – she wasn’t upset with him, she could hardly even catch herself these days. She fell more often lately. Fortunately, for her, her white bed could do it, nice and safe.
“I FEEL drunk! Everything is turning so fast! What is going on? I know that something is wrong, but what is it? Why can I not stop feeling so dizzy? Why do I get tired so quickly? Why is my room turning so often?” Theresa screamed fearfully, the pain in her voice was clear.
The bed on which she lies, slowly drop away into the white and then she lay on the pillowed floor again. She lay still on her back and stared up at the white ceiling. As if by magic and before she could understand it, the closet disappear into the wall, along with her table, and her University posters and all her study material. The picture with all of them in it, on the wall, faded away as well. She desperately reaches out to save everything, but she couldn’t get to them. They disappeared too fast for her drained body.
“What can I do to help? Why don’t you answer me? What’s wrong? Are you hurt? What is it? What’s going on?” Wes asked terrified.
“Help me, Wes! I am fading away and do not know why! I am really scared and everything around me is becoming darker! The room just keeps on turning, and I’m trying my hardest to stop it! It just doesn’t work! I’m struggling to get off the bed and my legs aren’t working either! Oh, I feel so nauseous, but why? I haven’t eaten today!” Theresa pressed her palms against her head, “My headache also doesn’t want to go away and it causes my nose to bleed!” Teresa shouts terrified, her anxiety just keeps on growing.
The tears roll down Wes’s cheeks and he crouched by her side. Teresa’s head and legs started to jerk, and he doesn’t see how he’d ever get her to relax. Wes can only wait there, until she gets weak, passing out again. She wouldn’t get any rest though.
“Teresa! Teresa, you must fight against it! That’s all you need to do. I am here for you and I will help as far as I can, but then you also need to help! I cannot do everything alone! I will stay here for as long as you need me, but…” Wes stopped talking, he saw she was passed out.
There was so much he needed to tell her, but he would try once she was awake again.
LOOKING AT this, the man in a white coat stood alone at the window. The other man stood behind the wheelchair provided for them. The woman with him didn’t have the strength of walking to the room nor seeing her suffering daughter.
The Doctor kept watching the young woman in the white padded room.
“Doctor,” the word barely left her mouth, struggling to even look at the man; “How long… do you think… would it take before my daughter can… leave this place?” the soul-wrenched woman wanted to know, using all the strength she had to be there.
Looking at her, “It would all depend on her.” the Doctor told her, having seen this situation a few times before; “What’s currently going on with her is not clear to us; probably not even to her. This is the best place I can treat your daughter, help her.” he told her parents, “Overcoming the accident… her fiancé’s death… accepting it and processing what happened, well, that would take some time.”
She slowly drops her face into her hands, tears rolling, unable to do more than what she was. Sitting in the chair she was even more afraid for Teresa than at the moment of the accident.
“Doctor, I know that you’ve successfully treated more than one patient here. She is our only child. She’s a wonderful person if you met her before now.” Teresa’s Father said, “Wes’s death… lost us a soon to be, son-in-law. We really cannot lose her as well. You have to help us, please… help her.” Teresa’s broken-hearted father pleaded with him, “They would have gone to Paris on their honeymoon. Now,” he struggled, either of them unable to look at the state Theresa was in; “If she can only walk out of here, we’ll do the rest for her… If she had to stay here, she would be lost to her own life forever…” his words trailed off.
The Doctor looked at both parents, understanding their pain very well. He knew he couldn’t promise them a thing, knowing he wasn’t really in charge of her sanity.
“I sincerely do understand how you are feeling. There are very few things in life, more difficult than witnessing one’s only child going through this. I can assure you it does not even come close to what she is dealing with right now. Having her fiancé die in her arms on their way to her prom.” he said, looking at her through the window again; “Theresa has barely been institutionalized a week, so it is early days to formulate the correct plan in helping her. She’s the one who would decide just how long she would be struggling. Neither I nor my staff, ever give up on any patient, nor would we do that with her. I’ll do everything I can to help her.” he sincerely told them, “But, please, you need to keep holding on for her sake. She will need all the support she can get through this trying time.”
THEY WERE forced to turn from the window, from the room, from her for now. Pushing his wife, while the Doctor walks with them down the endlessly long white corridor.
© 2019, Cobus Vermeulen. All rights reserved.