A stillness filled the room as the door behind me was shut with a light click. Standing just outside the doorway I am afraid to take a step forward, afraid to empty the contents of the paper bag into my new space.
There was no tour of the place I will live for days to come, just a simple gesture from the staff to enter room 432. A number forever engrained within my mind.
My eyes dart about the dim room searching for some sense of familiarity; something, anything. Defeated, they close momentarily. As they open, they begin to circulate the room again.
A partially open door to my right catches my attention. I poke it quickly and it opens to expose a sink mounted to the wall. The silver faucet shines as the new light hits it, producing the only light within the room.
Stepping in further reveals a toilet, but no shower. Having to walk down the hall to shower was not appealing.
Retreating to my starting point, I am able to see the lay of the room. Situated on the left was a low bed bearing much resemblance to a hospital bed but without rails and fancy buttons to call upon nurses. It had a short headboard, laminated with a faux wood finish. Running my hands down the imposter wood grain, I wondered how many heads had rested against it; people just like me, scared, alone, with the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Standing next to a laminate side table, I pull at the curtain divider watching it glide on the metal track affixed to the ceiling. A mirror image of the other side of the room comes into full view.
At the end of the room there is a row of vertical vinyl blinds that span the majority of the wall. After a few somber steps I find myself face to face with the beaded pulley. Slowly, the blinds cascade back, each panel meeting it’s predecessor with a tiny click.
Light floods the room, illuminating the pearl, raised, brush stroke designs on the eggshell wallpaper. As my eyes slowly adjust to the change in light, two brick towers come into view, the east wing and the north wing. I recognize the view facing the back- side of the building as I saw it each day on the way to work. Cars on the freeway rush by, confirming that the world has, in fact, not stopped.
Careening my neck to the side, I glance up to see two words written across the tallest tower; Regions Hospital, spelled out in shiny cobalt blue letters. I yanked the blinds back forcefully. I knew where I was; there was no need to stare at an articulation of my predicament.
Suddenly, the bed seemed appealing. Flinging the paper bag with my only possessions on the side table, I fell softly into bed. The mattress crinkled beneath my weight and the stiff sheets itch on my skin but it didn’t matter, I was exhausted.
For the first time since my arrival, I listened. The madness, depression and inner-turmoil were palpable but unheard through the thick wooden door. Only the muffled sounds of voices and the patter of feet on the linoleum floor resonated through the halls.
As I closed my eyes continuing to listen, I questioned, where was the sound of my recovery? It certainly couldn’t be heard from room 432.
This was written for The Red Dress Club. The assignment was to write about a room you had been in; how it looked, what it smelt like and what it sounded like. I wrote about my hospital room in the mental health unit where I was admitted for postpartum depression and psychosis in November 2009.