My day bag had been sent over from BHC along with some clothes and necessities from home. The journal was apparently not found, because it was nowhere with all of my other things. I couldn’t help but laugh at the number of what-the-fuck looks from the intern going through my bag to find a bunch of half eaten red bird candies, packets of salt, and pills cut into tenths. I guess I was afraid of the commitment of ever finishing anything I started.  You couldn’t have perfume because you could drink that, and a bunch of other things I didn’t expect for reasons I never would have thought of until she told me. Even my glucose monitor wasn’t permitted, and I had a legitimate need for that. 

    Apparently at some point Shawna had talked to my parents, which always made me uncomfortable; I was old enough to be done with the behind my back bullshit as when I was a subservient child; because every story had two sides- or perspectives. I always tried to allow room for myself to be the villain, but  when later inquiring as to the purpose of the conversation, she claimed it was foremost to let them know what things I needed sent, amidst which at the bottom of the duffel bag was another journal. I wasn’t sure how anyone had managed to find this one- likely the only of countless with any empty pages left- I thought I had put it away in the lockbox underneath my bed. It was a red journal with a black ribbon, two black beads fastened to the end, and an album cover I had taped onto the front when I was about 14. It was a black and white photo of a woman in a black dress standing in an empty field, holding an open umbrella over her head, but there was no rain. I’m not sure what, of the hundred albums I had, intrigued me about this picture at the time. About half of it was already full of red ink from some years ago,  but I wondered if I could still get any more “wishes” granted writing in *this* journal.

After bag and person searches, where most everything but clothing was confiscated; admission blood work, weigh in, body check, and a run through the rules, was a lengthy intake assessment with Shawna. 

     Her office was rather unremarkable, a small table with a laptop and an office chair- in which she would always sit, a brown leather couch, and a matching armchair in front of the window overlooking the front patio and oak trees- which reached in gnarled arms right up to the window seat. I settled into the armchair, where I surmised I would be spending a great deal of time from now on. 

“So before we discuss food and substance habits, the basics. Tell me about your home life; your relationships, your job, school- what you do with your free time, what have you been doing the last few years in general that has brought you here today?”

I gave a small laugh. “Nope.”

“No you won’t tell me?

“No I mean don’t really have most of those things- not that I’m not complaining- because that’s my fault, I just hadn’t stopped to think about it in a while.”

“Does that bother you?”

“You know…” I paused to give it a second thought, “Not as much as you would think, not anymore.” 

From then on I took notice of her periodically stopping to write on her clipboard.


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