I don’t know how I got to thinking about this woman today.
But here we are…
Even the most severely medicated patient feels her cold wall of silence, one that staunchly taunts the staff: just try to get me to give anything up. Because no.
And fuck you.
But I meet her gaze one day and it hits me- she is trying so hard to keep it together, which makes me instantly care about her. She’s not okay but she is fighting so hard to convince herself otherwise. Call it survivor’s instinct but we identify something in each other, which leads to our first conversation on some bench-table thing outside. It feels so nice, being outside; the natural light a warm and welcome relief from many a fluorescent bulb.
She is tough.
And not just because she’s a damn tough gang member who has been living The Bluest Eye. But because she is committed to dealing with her demons, regardless of how she is perceived by her biological family (completely untrustworthy), her gang family (traitor), the father of her child (unworthy). Her life doesn’t allow for a mental health check-out without some severe consequences. So she has to make this count.
As she tells me her story, my heart sheds shocked tears.
She was Pecola.
Later that night, as I sit in my room and process, reprocess what she shared, I cry for her. Hard.
Two days later, when someone open-shuts the door to her group therapy session I happen to catch a quick earful. I hear her crying for herself. I think it’s the first time she has let herself cry in a long time. Possibly ever.
It was both of our first times in this kind of place.
I never did go back.
I never saw her again but to this day, ten years later, my heart crosses its fingers for her.