I didn’t wait til dawns early light before calling a cab. Far be it from me to stay in a place I am so clearly not wanted. The coo coo clock says goodbye twice as I drag my suite case out the door to the waiting cab.
Of course if I had known that the bus station didn’t even open its doors till 5am I might have risked my uncle waking in a more reasonable mood and delayed my leave taking till dawn. My beaded coat was not a weather appropriate wardrobe decision.
I counted out the money for the bus ticket with blue fingers. I had just enough for the ticket to San Francisco, to the penny.
It was night when I boarded the bus in New York for the journey west. Time no longer moves in its linear tact. It is night, always night, eternal night.
I push into the over crowded bus and take the last open seat in the back of the bus.
I am enveloped in the reeking abattoir stink of shit. The bath room, it hasn’t been emptied out let alone cleaned in over six thousand miles.
I am in New York, I am going to California.
That final scene in Rosemary’s baby, that look on Rosemary’s face when she realizes that she is on the bus to hell.
Yah, just like that.
Be in the now. It’s one of those things people so like to intone in yoga classes and trendy meditation classes where people sit on hand woven rugs wearing organically grown cotton hand stitched by indigenous native women with rustically calloused hands and authentically bad teeth.
Be in the now. It is night always night eternal night, wrapped in the gagging reeking stink of shit. I sit forehead pressed to the window looking into the reflected shadows of my own eyes. I am in the now. Completely in the now. And now completely sucks ass.
One of my fellow travelers in misery sprays the air with a drug store imitation of Channel number 5 adding a new level of cloying horror to the reek of shit. She meant well.
The sun is shining the birds are singing the air is sweet, spring morning in San Francisco and I am one hundred and fifty years old.
Ten steps, I will walk ten steps I promise myself. And I do, ten steps, ten steps counting each one out. I set my suite case down and feel a small flush of success as I manage to sit without actually whimpering in pain. How many days sitting in that bus? How long since I slept? My hip is grinding angry glass, every step weary agony, but I don’t whimper. Ahh so there that’s something.
I am wearing my beaded yellow submarine coat dragging my Dr. Seuss suite case. I wish I had some balloons to carry.
I am the court jester, I am the fool, I am the walrus and I can walk ten more steps. And so it goes then steps at a time the mad woman inches her way to the mad house. Whispering softly through thrust dry lips mad little songs from long ago soft springs of childhood.
“Eat nor drink nor money we have none yet we will be marrryyy.”
Ten steps at a time whispering nursery rhymes the mad woman staggers by invisible to eager tourists snapping pictures of a beautiful city.
With a hiss of pain through tightly clenched teeth I sit down on the stone bench in the little garden shrine to Mary to the left of the front doors of the MHRF. I close my eyes for a moment.
“What are you doing here? I thought you went to your..”
“My uncle didn’t want me.”
One of the nurses brings me a bland turkey sandwich and a little sippy box of juice. Hmm juice. Some of the world comes back into focus.
Someone in Authority is called.
“I’m sorry for what happened, I am, but, ,,,, you’ve been discharged, ,, you can’t come back here.”
“I know.” I smile pleasantly, finish my sandwich and lean back on the bench, closing my eyes for a nap. (Sleep, ohh yes, when this is over I think I shall sleep for at least ten years)
“You can’t stay here.” He repeats helplessly. He reaches out his hand toward me and pulls back nervously rubbing his hands together.
“I’m sorry, but you have to go.” He says apologetically.
I open one eye, smile pleasantly. “Where?” I shrug and close my eye.
“I’m sorry, but your trespassing and we will have to call the police.”
I open one eye, smile pleasantly. “As you wish.” I shrug and close my eye.
The police are called.
Police officers are by nature creatures who do not deal well with ambiguity.
They had been called to arrest a mad woman for trespassing the grounds of a mad house.
This took a bit of explaining.
Explanation did not bring clarity.
It was decided that the thing to do was to get me admitted to the hospital. Then I would be a patient not a trespasser, problem solved.
The police drive me and my suitcase up the hill where they point me at an admitting nurse behind six inches of bullet proof glass. The police then promptly disappear.
The admitting nurse informs me that they have all the indigent mad people they need right now and tells me to go away.
I smile, I shrug, I pick up my suite case and ten steps at a time stagger back to the mad house.
I sit down on the stone bench in front of the shrine to Mary and close my eyes.
“The Hospital didn’t want me.” I smile pleasantly I shrug and close my eyes.
The mad house doesn’t want me, the hospital doesn’t want me, the police don’t want me, my uncle didn’t want me, Boccie wanted me gone so bad he hired people to kill me. Yah, a girl could develop of complex or something.
The police are called again.
They still don’t want me.
Finally the call is put out to the fourth estate. Enter stage left, the press.
I was beginning to think I was going to have to do everything myself.