The unconscious tendency of a patient to assign to others in the present environment feelings and attitudes associated with significant persons in one's earlier life; especially, the patient's transfer to the therapist of feelings and attitudes associated
The crunching sound of your rib cage cracking under the pressure of the two-hundred-pound male nurse giving you CPR is something you’ll never forget. Even so, I should be dead; not floating in and out of consciousness. Three-Fifths of Jack Daniels and a whole bottle of sleeping pills; that’s the route I followed. But I chose this path. No one chose it for me.
So let’s backtrack a bit? I don’t want you thinking I’m some upper middle class punk ass kid whose mommy and daddy didn’t love him enough. No, I’m from the bluffs, the boonies, the hood, whatever the fuck you want to call it. That’s what I call home. A fancy meal for me is a hot one.
I’m HD short for Henry David. Named after Thoreau, only because mama loved his literature. We were supposed to read about him next week in school, but I have a feeling I won’t be in class for that. Currently I’m in the back of an ambulance on my way to the emergency room. I don’t get it, why didn’t they just leave me there on the fire escape? I wasn’t bothering anyone. I was just minding my own business taking my life. Trust me I’m pretty sure I’m better off dead. I didn’t choose this life. I didn’t choose to live in this hell, where I’ve seen more of my friends get shot than I’d like to admit. Where I’ve been mugged less than 30 feet away from my apartment.
A mother who works full time and won’t let me get a job to help her out, a grandmother with pneumonia, a father in prison and an impressionable little sister. This is the family I leave behind. I’m sorry guys, I really am, but I can’t take this anymore.
The beeping of a heart monitor brings me to consciousness. I’ve heard this stupid thing so many times on television shows and movies. So, I’m still alive then? Should I open my eyes? Do I dare? God only knows who the hell I have around me. Fuck it.
Where the hell am I? This isn’t the hospital center. My hands are restrained. Why? Am I in prison or something? I’ve never seen such a fancy room. All the new technological monitors and floors so hygienic you’d think Mr. Clean worked here. Should I be impressed or something? I take a deep breath, bad idea. My chest feels like an elephant tap-danced on it while I was out. I start coughing and someone rushes in. A young woman with big golden hoop earrings that say Maria. She’s wearing scrubs and a name-tag that also says Maria. “Hola Henry, how are you feeling?” She asks in a thick accent.
I say, “Pretty stupid.”
She sort of pouts and asks, “Why? What’s the matter?”
With a smile I mumble, “I’m still alive.”
Her face when I’m done talking makes it worth it. She gives me the same look mama gives me when she’s about to kick my ass. I chuckle and she says, “We had to pump your stomach. You started asphyxiating and one of the nurses had to give you CPR.”
“Yeah I remember the ape beating on my chest. Tell him he owes me dinner and a movie I feel like a cheap whore.”
I’m chuckling again; Maria isn’t having any of it. Everyone’s a critic. I guess my morbid humor just isn’t her cup of liquefied dead baby. Maria sighs, “Your family is very worried about you. We haven’t let them see you since you were moved here.”
“Where is ‘here’ by the way. This place is a little too modern for what I’m used to.”
Maria says, “We’re upstate.”
“The psychiatric hospital?”
“You don’t sound very happy to be here.”
“And you’re a strange nurse. I just tried to off myself, what gives you the slightest idea that I want to be here?”
“Now now, tranquilo Henry.”
“My name is HD. Only my mother can call me Henry.”
Maria’s frustrated and walks out cursing in Spanish. Should I tell her I understand her? She probably thinks because I was born in the states my Spanish is nonexistent. I sit up on my bed and press the button for a nurse. A few minutes later, Maria walks in and I shout, “Hell no! Somebody else.”
She just turns around and asks for another nurse. A man who could be my grandfather’s age walks in. He’s old and pasty, an albino raisin. He says, “Good morning Henry, I’m Doctor Williams.”
I say in my best Bugs Bunny impression, “What’s up Doc?”
He doesn’t even smile. Seriously, can’t anyone take a joke in this hospital? He walks up to me and says, “Do you know why you are here?”
“Can we move on passed this part? Stop tiptoeing around me okay? I tried to kill myself I fucking get it. Now what happens? Am I on suicide watch? Are you going to arrest me? Is someone gonna get a priest and try and get me to confess my sins and say 7 Hail Mary’s and fondle his groin? I don’t want to be in this room, this ward or this world. I want to die and move past all of this bull shit.”
He asks, “Why do you want to die so bad?”
I say quietly, “Well now I’m more inspired to do it because I fucking failed. Can’t fucking do anything right.”
“Is that how you feel?”
“Are you a psychiatrist?”
“Then don’t ask. Fuck off, get me a therapist.”
He nods slowly and turns to leave. I watch him meet with Maria a few feet away from my room. I can’t tell what they’re saying, but they’re whispering to each other—as if they’re gossiping—she giggles. Unprofessional pricks.
A young woman walks up them holding a clipboard. Her hair is long and red, but that’s all I can see of her. She talks to them in a way that makes her look like a scolding mother. She turns to my room and rushes over to my bed side—making sure to close the door behind her. She’s wearing a pencil skirt and a dress shirt with a blazer over it. Her large blue eyes are daunting, but her freckles give her a childish appearance. She grabs a chair from the foot of the bed and sits down. She smiles, I like the shape of her lips. I should be polite, so I smile also. Well, I don’t exactly smile I grin like some stupid kid trying to please his mother when she won’t leave him alone.
The young woman says, “I heard you’re quite sarcastic HD.”
“Yeah, your colleagues aren’t worth the effort to not be sarcastic.”
She looks at the door then back at me, “Yes so I heard, I was listening to their interactions with you.”
I say, “I’ve never met a ginger before.”
She shrugs, “Truthfully I’m a brunette.”
“You should’ve been born a ginger. You’re much more beautiful with red hair.”
“You’re not being sarcastic with me, why is that?”
I lay back and look at the ceiling, then I ask, “Would you prefer a lie or the truth?”
She chuckles, “How about both?”
“You’re very pretty, I like you. You understand what I’m going through because you’ve been right where I’m at.”
“Which was a lie, and which was the truth?”
“They were both the truth.”
She shuffles in her seat, “And how do you know all of this?”
I raise my head and look right into her ambiguously blue eyes, “Your beauty is my perception. The eye of the beholder and all that shit.”
With an eyebrow raised she asks, “And the other thing?”
I drop my head while a mumble, “I saw the scars going up your arms and inner thighs.”
She doesn’t respond and I smile, “You don’t want to hide them do you?”
She says quietly, “We should never forget where we come from and what we’ve done to get where we are HD.”
I nod, “Yeah. I guess you’re right. By the way, what’s your name?”
“My name? My name is Lydia Griffin, and I’m your therapist.”