The background of war, the atmosphere of fear, the notion of violent authority… You have so much to teach these veins popping cannon fodders. Life is the greatest miracle. No one was born to die trying, before making a point or living in constant mid sentences before a bomb goes off.
Preview: Chapter 6
I remember when I just arrived in this room that I am renting. There was an African woman, a roommate, next door to me. She was very polite, cooking for people in the house. But, one day, she started talking to herself, in her room, sounding very adamant that there was someone there with her. She continued doing that for a whole week, I think. The way she went about her days, as if nothing were happening, was interesting. I personally know better than to allow anyone around me to notice that I talk to myself too. I make sure that my private conversations are not too loud when I am around other people and their sanity. The chain of events unfolded extremely fast for her. One early morning, she started banging on our common wall, like she was trying to break it. She was trying to attack me but only by banging against the wall. She would not come for me in any other way, would not even knock at my door. She kept shouting: “Come out, come out!” And, from that point onwards, I kept getting angry looks from her whenever she walked past me in this accommodation we shared. Finally, one day, the banging noise became too loud and started too early for the neighbours. She was admitted to a mental institution… Maybe, I am not sure. She was no longer welcome to stay there, free of charge, or so I heard from my bedroom.
I am talking about her because I still have her plea in my mind. She was crying, trying to convince someone that she had no mental issues and did not need to go to a “nut house”. She was pleading not to be discarded. I believed her simply because what happened to her looked exactly like what had happened to a woman, I walked past one day, in a Tesco’s car park in London. We have been admitted to the same mental institution, a long time ago. The way she charged at me, slapping me on my face, with the force of three men while her carers sat by, not even trying to stop her, not apologising after the act was suspicious. Hers were remarkably similar to my flatmate’s outbursts. This London incident occurred around the time when I was heavily “surrounded” by jokes delivered to me in a timely manner, in my flat, via many devices. Make of this what you may. I am the only one believing that it is possible to hear British-accent-voices and not be crazy, for now. So, I will not be too judgmental about your own conclusions.
One thing is certain – these two events, in Kettering, were conflated in the neighbourhood’s understanding. Many must have thought that I was that person whom they were complaining to my landlord about. Not on this occasion, but that African woman was the only one who was surprised about what had happened to her and about the consequences. I hope she is ok, and that the voices she heard had no accents. Her tears were trying to convince a deaf audience… Some people do have real mental illnesses. Not this African woman though. I was there. I heard. I understood. But I simply could not help. In 2008, my first mental institution included “Come out, come out!” as part of the strange ceremony where patients were gathered to play world leaders, with me invited to play Jesus and encouraged to solve their problems. A man – not a voice that only I could hear – suggested sarcastically that I needed exorcisms by amusingly shouting at me “come out, come out”. I recognised his words in what this poor woman was repeatedly shouting while banging against the wall. The lingo of “Third-party” and their sarcasms are, with time, anthropologically recognisable. This man was the one collecting plates in a church I attended in Leyton. That is why I could never forget his face and innocent posture. A simple and humble man who looked like he could not hurt a fly. A weak man who was then put in a powerful position, above a vulnerable patient. Voluntary work, forgivable sins! Did the coronavirus get him? If there is still a God in his church, the answer must be “yes” for me to ever set foot in this place of ceremonies and worship. Oh Lord, where are thou? You had forsaken me, until 2020! Twelve long years of quiet aggressions and loud narcissistic results. I have cracked many jokes about the Lord’s time to my imaginary friend. Twelve years. My dreams did not need the symbolism. But here we are.
I have no strength to go back to the details of what happened in this mental Institution, in Kettering. Questioning the mental health staff’s professionalism and excellent work is a lost game. I noted to my coach, who was still talking with me over the phone, that this year “Third-party” was using their own agents. This year, they were not using real mental health patients who, down the line, would not follow instructions and would try to reach out to me, in the hope of maintaining their own sanity. This statement would be dismissed easily by the NHS staff members. No, this woman – at first badly pretending to have severe autism, then “casually” cracking jokes with another bad actor pretending to have real mental issues – did not just acknowledge a “private” prayer I was having in my room. The violence of my words and my prayer were concerning to these mental health actors, not wanting to partake in something that could damage them or their children. Problems that were too close to one’s door were suddenly morally reprehensible. Yet, somehow, other people must have done something to deserve the medicine given to them. There are never wrong medications as long as they are far enough away from your own doorstep.
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BY: Sylvaine FRANCIS