Sunday, January 10, 2016

Accept or Perish

"Did you eat today." The man stood by the small opening of the door.
"Roger, please listen to me. You will never get out of here if you don't try. You need to listen to me right now."
"48,49,22,18," he repeated.
"Here is your lunch. You need to eat. The nurse said you haven't eaten in days. You were making tremendous progress. Please don't allow what someone said to cause you to regress. You need to listen to me, right now. You're young, Roger. You have time to make this right."
"48,49,22,18. 48,49,22,18. 48,49,22,18," he repeated, as he rocked back and forth against the padded white wall.
"Yes, you set the fire that killed your family. That, you did, and you need to accept what you did and the effects of it. They're all gone. But, you know it was a wrong. Now, you need to do the work to finally understand why you made that decision. Please Roger, look at me and listen to what I am saying to you. I am trying to help you."
"My dad was forty-eight. He was an engineer. My mom was forty-nine. She was a teacher. My sister was twenty-two. She was home from college for summer break. She was going to be a journalist. My other sister was eighteen. She'd just graduated from high school. 48,49,22,18. 48,49,22,18. 48,49,22,18."
"Why did you start the fire, Roger? Tell me."
"I killed them. I killed them all. 48,49,22,18. 48,49,22,18."
"Why did you kill them," the man screamed. "Say it!"
"Never good enough," he mumbled, with his head buried in his knees.
"Speak up, Roger. Say it."
"I was never going to be good enough for them. My dad always said I was the problem child. My mother said I was nothing but a disappointment. My sister in college hated my very existence from the I was born and my other sister cringed from the sound of my voice. Never good enough."
"Roger, you are twenty-two and your feelings are valid. But, how you chose to handle the situation was not right. You could have sat them down and talked to them. You could have moved out and went on with your life. You could have done a thousand different things to get out of that situation. But, you burned them alive---"
"48,49,22,18. 48,49,22,18." He smacked his head as he repeated those numbers, frozen with guilt.
"I'll leave this with you to allow you time to eat. If you do not we will have no other choice but to tube you. If you get a feeding tube in your stomach you will remain in restraints. If we put you in those restraints I fear you will never get out of here." He held his head down with his hand clenched on the doorknob. "What you did was wrong. It was a fatal mistake you made in the heat of the moment and you weren't thinking. You must figure out a way to deal with that moment and accept that your family is gone. But, it doesn't have to be the end of your story." He stepped out and said, "Lock it up. Give him an hour. If he doesn't eat--tube him."

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