Chapter 5.9: Caving in

In the last chapter, Yew decided to play along and pretending he really was crazy to have a shot at eventually getting out of from the mental hospital. We’re picking up from around there now, to see what happens when he starts accepting the treatment Tangerine is offering.


Screenshot-3047During the first weeks at the treatment center, my family came to visit me on a daily basis. In a way, it was like a vacation at this place. I didn’t need to care for myself, didn’t need to fix myself food or clean. I didn’t even have to set my alarm in the mornings because Tangerine always woke me up for breakfast. As if that wasn’t enough, I got to spend my days playing games with my family. Thinking about it like that made it easier to accept being here. In that sense, I wasn’t a prisoner.

Screenshot-3044“So, how are you doing son?” dad asked one day when we were playing foosball for the umpteenth time. His voice chirped, but I could sense the worry beneath the surface. He worried for me. They all worried for me.

“I’m fine” I said, determined to not talk any more about my so-called problems. I preferred to stick to believing that they weren’t right and I preferred to think of this place as a vacation residence.

Screenshot-3048“You wouldn’t be here if you were fine” Lavender said harshly and gave her foosball stick a whirl that caused her plastic players to spin several turns. “I’m so sick and tired of us all pretending you’re not sick. Fudge bro, you will never get better unless you agree that you need this help. You are NOT fine” her voice pitched and as she walked from the game and sat down in a chair to pout just next to us her hand wiped off tears from her eyes.

Screenshot-3045“I think she’s right” dad said and stopped playing to simply look at me again. “You have to want this help, Yew. You have to realize that you need it.”

When my family left that day, I felt more beaten than I had done since I was first taken from my home. They had no intention of helping me out of here until I agreed to my sickness and consequently to Sonic being simply a hallucination. And I wasn’t ready for that.

Screenshot-3255I was still not convinced that I was in fact crazy, nor could they ever convince me that Sonic was an imaginary product. Tangerine had showed me photo albums from my youth, where no pictures of Sonic could be found. I agreed that it was weird, but Sonic had never enjoyed the spotlight. He had always cringed whenever I pulled the camera out and because I was his friend, I never forced him to be in any of the pictures.

However, Tangerine did what she could to convince me that he was, in fact, a product of my mind. A hallucination. Just as she tried to convince me that my relationship with Aquamarine had been. She tried to prove it through my own photographs, through talks. Through brain scans and brain activity. But I wouldn’t buy it.

Screenshot-3050As a part of my treatment Tangerine forbid me to use my camera. She locked it in a safe in her office and would only return it to me once my hallucinations were gone. According to her, the photographing fed the hallucinations. She thought that I somehow lived through the pictures I took, rather than through the experiences I made. As if there was a difference.

I felt crippled without my camera. Pictures and documentation had always been my way of living. “Photographs are not always the entire truth, Yew” Tangerine said when I complained. “They are only the truth when you cease to give them additional meaning. They don’t tell stories, they only show motives.” I felt empty without my camera and without my pictures, and as part of my healing process, Tangerine convinced me to paint. She thought that painting could soothe me, while making sure I was aware of the pictures being drawn from my imagination and my own interpretation. Something she thought I failed to do with photographs. Perhaps she was right.  I was sure that photographs showed me the truth. They had to, since I couldn’t interfere with their motives and thus they showed what really was.

Painting was alright. I liked the simple act of putting a picture to the things I experiences. Though, it wasn’t the same as photographing. The creations I did with the brush were far from as beautiful or real as the creations I did with my camera. Though, that did not stop me from continuing to paint. After all, it was better than not putting pictures to my experiences at all.

Screenshot-3077Another step of my treatment was medication. Pills. Two in the morning, one at lunch and two in the evening.

I was hesitant to taking them at first, but with Tangerine keeping a constant lookout for my improvements and my willingness to get better, there was not much use in complaining. I tried it at first but she had simply called for extra help and shoved them down my throat. Or mixed them with my food. Whatever she had to do to make sure I took them. After a while I caved in and swallowed them whenever she asked me to. It couldn’t make much difference since there was nothing for them to cure, anyway.

Screenshot-3052After the first weeks at the centre, the daily visits from my family ceased to be. They still took turns to visit me in the weekends, but I think they were getting settled on the island and started forming their own lives here. I missed them and I felt lonely. Mulberry was struggling himself, I knew that from way back. He had never felt at home in our family and had always searched for his place in this world. It was a wonder he hadn’t been taken in for tests or treatment himself, with how different he was from any other berry. It wasn’t strange that he had trouble supporting me even when he were sent here to spend time with me. In a way, it was easier when he were here because he didn’t bother me too much with questions about my treatment or my illness, instead he kept to himself.

Screenshot-3256Until I spoke to him, that was. “I’m just waiting for my birthday and then I’ll go back home” he said.

“Isn’t Lava causing chaos back there?” I wondered and was surprised to realize that I cared about my brother’s safety. We had never been close.

“Fondant Fields was never my home” my brother replied. “I’m going up there, to my own kind. I belong there.” Mulberry pointed towards the sky and my eyes followed his finger.

I thought a lot of what Mulberry had said after that day. About feeling at home and belonging, and I realized that what he had said about Fondant Fields was as true for me as it was for him. I had spent most of my life there but it still didn’t feel as home. No place had felt like home until I moved to Isla Caramello with Sonic, and now they tried to take that away from me too. It just wasn’t fair. We deserved a home, and we deserved to be happy – both me and my brother.

While Mulberry had his future before him and in reach, my own future had been taken away from me. Instead of living my life I was stuck in a mental hospital with crazy people and my family and friends came to visit less and less often. Naturally, it got lonely.

Screenshot-3056Eventually, it got so lonely that I caved in and started interacting with the other residents. Or, to be precise: Myrtle. She had been following me around since my first day here, laughing at me and saying incomprehensible things about babies and friendship and who-knows-what. There was no doubt that she was crazy, but unfortunately, Slate never spoke a word and therefore, Myrtle was the best company I could get.

“I wondered when you’d cave in” Myrtle laughed the first time I spoke to her. There can be no-one else who laughs like she does. It was loud and bright and hysterical and it sent goosebumps to whoever was close enough to hear it. I hated it.

“Why do they keep you in here?” I wondered and tried to ignore her implications and her terrible laugh.

“Same reason they keep you here” she smiled. “I’m supposedly crazy.”

“I’m not crazy” I muttered in response but Myrtle didn’t seem to hear it and just went on:

Screenshot-3054“Y’know, I’ll be helping you to get better. We’ll be great friends” she smiled and I felt my stomach twist. “You’ll get out of eventually if you just realize how crazy you are. There’s actually a cure for you.”

“I’m not crazy” I complained loudly which caused Myrtle to laugh hysterically again and I had to cover my ears because her laughter was so horrible. “Stop it!” I cried.

“You’re the craziest one here, I think” she said and kept laughing. “In contrast to Slate who just refuses to speak, or myself who’s just misunderstood, you actually are crazy. You talk to yourself and you hallucinate and you’re the craziest one I’ve ever seen. At least there’s a cure for you.”

I pouted, I was not crazier than her and Slate. I was not. “What makes me crazy if you’re not. You look fudging maniac to me.”

She smiled brightly, showing off a set of perfectly white teeth. “I know!” She almost sounded proud to be called a maniac, which obviously made no sense.

Screenshot-3053“So why are you here, then?” I wondered again, knowing nothing of how to actually make friends in here. Was it a socially accepted thing to ask her why she had been placed in care here? Honestly, I don’t think I even cared. I just wanted someone to talk to and since Slate never said a word, and Tangerine kept measuring my every word, Myrtle was my only choice.

“Because I always tell the truth and it makes people scared. I know more about most people than they do themselves.” Myrtle smiled again and her voice sounded less intimidating now. “That’s how I know that you will realize eventually that your friend is not real and once you do, you will start getting better and eventually they will let you out of here. And that’s how I know we’ll be friends and eventually lovers.”

“Lovers?” I almost spat the word out. It sounded poisonous. “You really are crazy.”

Myrtle laughed again. “See, I told you. I tell you what will happen and it frightens you so to protect yourself you say I’m crazy.”

“I’ll never be your lover.”

“Just you wait and see” Myrtle said.

Screenshot-3063She was crazy alright, but since my family visited me less and less often I hung out with her anyhow. Even Sonic came to visit me less often, which hurt me even more. He had always been the one I considered my best friend and closest family and now he had almost abandoned me too. The more I hung out with Myrtle, the more I realized she was actually quite alright despite her horrible laugh and her implications about us becoming lovers. I could hang out with her and talk with her, but falling in love with her was still not something that would happen.

“What is your friend’s name again?” Myrtle asked one day. We had talked a lot about Sonic, but it had mostly been me defending his very existence and Myrtle laughing it off.

“Sonic” I replied and felt my stomach twist. It hurt so much to think that he lived his life without me now.

Screenshot-3270“You’re not seeing him much anymore” said Myrtle as if it was the most casual thing in the world. As if it did not mean that my best friend had abandoned me.

“I suppose he thinks I’m crazy too” I replied sadly.

“Or perhaps he really is a hallucination and your meds keep you from seeing him” Myrtle challenged. “You miss him, don’t you?”

The sudden sensitivity in Myrtle’s voice caught me off guard and my eyes started tearing up. I didn’t know when Myrtle passed the line and became my friend, but right now she understood me better than anyone. I swallowed and kept from looking at her, afraid that I might break and cry if I did. “You’ve changed since you got here” she continued. “You look scared now, lost – almost. You shouldn’t be ’cause he’s always with you, y’know.”

Screenshot-3269“He was my best friend” I whispered. “My best fudging friend and now he doesn’t even care to visit me. I’ve lost everything. This place is hell on earth, let me tell you.” I shouted now. And cried.

Tangerine was there in an instant and took me under her arms to lead me away in to her room. “What happened?” she asked once we were there. I said nothing. It didn’t matter, she couldn’t help me get him back.

Screenshot-3289“Is it about Sonic?” Tangerine wondered and handed me a napkin. I dried my eyes and looked at her, so caring and so warm. She was a good person.

“Why doesn’t he visit me anymore?” I wondered and fiddled with the napkin in my hands. “I miss him.”

Screenshot-3411Tangerine decided to cut down my medication the next day and I was allowed to skip the two morning pills. Instead, she wondered if I’d like to paint a portrait of Sonic. She thought it could do me good to have part of him in my life even if he came to visit me less often. Perhaps she realized that I needed him.

I was so happy to see him that day. I threw myself in his arms and cried on his shoulder. “I’ve missed you so much!” I said.

Screenshot-3412“Woah there.” Sonic laughed. “It’s like you haven’t seen me in ages. Relax buddy, I’ll always be by your side. You’re my best friend.” It was so great to have him back.

Screenshot-3414 Screenshot-3416Tangerine stood with us by the easels on the top floor and watched me as I portrayed Sonic on the canvas before me. Had I looked at her I would have seen how surprised she was to see how careful I measured and painted Sonic’s every feature. It had to be perfect. Tangerine had been right about that, I needed the support of Sonic in my life. Always.

I was really happy with the painting when it was done. It looked just like him. He stayed for a while afterwards to hang out, and when he finally left I had new energy and a new will for life. I swallowed my lunch pill with ease that day. Knowing that Sonic had not left me was such a relief.

Screenshot-3061“He came back I saw” Myrtle said and sat down next to me for lunch. I nodded in response. Myrtle stuffed her mouth full of food with her bare hands and then kept talking, causing some of her stew to drip down on her lap. “T-ld yo schoo” she mumbled.

“You say a lot of crazy stuff. It’s hard to believe you sometimes” I smiled. She was definitely a mess and a crazy girl, but right now she couldn’t pull me down. I felt good today.

“C’mon Yew!” she complained loudly and licked her fingers of left-over stew. “I tell you, I know the truth. We’ll be lovers and it will be what finally cures you. Our babies. You will want to protect them. You’ll do anything.” She dug her hands down the bowl of stew again and stuffed more in to her mouth.

“You’re crazy” I said and shook my head, upon which she smiled widely so that stew was running out of the corners of her mouth.

“Schoo aa’ yoo” she chuckled happily, as if we were exchanging compliments.

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