The EEG was completely normal, as I had expected- after verifying that there was indeed brainwave activity in the first place. But as per usual my strange incidences had no explanations. I arrived at my next destination near evening that Sunday. Some years back and I would have been at the evening church service, but the days had blurred together now such that I never knew what day it was, much less to go to church. I was driven from the hospital by a woman named Jacqueline from the residential center I would be tentatively spending the remainder of the year in. Conversation for the long drive was surprisingly welcoming, she seemed a strong but amicable personality; she was the unit’s RN, was trying to quit smoking, rode a Harley, and was a single mother of three grown kids, at an even 50 years old. I would have been surprised then to know that Jacqueline would quickly become the only person in the treatment center with which there would develop an obvious distain between us. I’d developed an equivalent transparency with which I no longer sought to win over everyone’s approval; Too bad it would be my attending RN and phlebotomist I had to somehow piss off.
We pulled up in the driveway of an immense house, in a neighborhood very familiar to me, only a short walk from Sycamore Canyon trailhead; but everything in this city was a love hate relationship. The house was predominantly red brick, with rod iron gates, three garage doors, and oak trees entirely covering most of the property. She unlocked the gates and led me along a long brick walkway that dropped down beneath the sprawling oak trees that hid the porch and every other thing from street view. Faces peered out at me from a few of the bedroom windows to the side, apparently curious as to the newcomer.
Entering into a large entry room, Jacqueline gave me a very quick tour of a few rooms, as I was met by more nameless faces. The tension of the residents- or at least at the particular time- was evident. The walls all throughout most of the rooms were scattered with random cheesy inspirational quotes, drawings, posters, and the like, probably made by the residents. She pointed at one closed door, telling me that it was the nurse station; where all meds, sharps, electronics, and otherwise contraband was kept- and it was locked at all times. The door was completely covered in the cliche sayings, the “hang in there” kitty, and in the center the Theodore Roosevelt quote from my dream. I then realized it was the exact same door as in the dream, and more precisely, the energy of the house was unmistakably the same. At least I knew I was in the right place I suppose.
As Jacqueline went to unlock the door to start morning meds for everyone, a familiar voice rang out from behind with an exuberant greeting,
“Hi, I’m Shawna; Welcome to the beautiful life!”
Her voice brimmed with enthusiasm of which I could not decide if it was consciously on her part or not. She had a very particular way of speaking, as though everything she said implied something she knew that you didn’t. Everything was always with a smile, but somehow her tone was simultaneously disconcerting. But I knew this because standing now in front of me was the same woman from the dream.
We shook hands, and I lamely attempted to assert just enough confidence to convey that I wouldn’t be pushed around or intimidated by another rehabilitation program director. There were plenty of drug and alcohol program anybody’s that could run a place, but I knew from experience that to head up a multifaceted program that included addictions and eating disorders- two murderous twin demons that could turn even the most honest person into a kind of devil- that this woman was extremely versed in the mind of an an addict; clever, observant, tireless, and sharper than you could even imagine.
“Nice to meet you, Sherice told me all about you,” that same intimating tone. “I like her.” she smiled knowingly.
“So does that mean you’re a Sagittarius, born on the last day- December 21st? Oh, but you hate cold weather.”
“Do you usually start conversations that way?” she laughed. “How did you know that- who told you?”
“Lucky guess,” I ventured to return her unnerving intonation.