Survivor's Guilt - Page 1

“I liked to think of us as the four musketeers, you know?” I told the latest white coat to grace my padded cell with their presence. To be fair, my cell was a comfortable one, discretely padded and tastefully furnished to the point that it looked more like a nice hotel room, right down to the overstuffed recliners we were sitting in. It was only when you started looking for ways to hurt yourself that you started to notice that everything in the room was carefully crafted to prevent just that, and then you realized it was a cell.

Just in case the locks being on the outside of the door didn't clue you in, I mean.

“Of course every time I actually said that,” I continued, “Johnny always smirked and reminded me that since there were only three musketeers, that meant one of us had to be Sancho Panza on loan from Don Quixote.” My smile took effort, but since I was trying to make a good impression, I did my best; felt kind of tight, but it would have to do.

“I don't suppose I have to tell you who Sancho was?” I asked with a sweeping gesture over my figure that might kindly be described as “Rubenesque” despite my continually thwarted attempts at a hunger strike. The blue hospital gown didn't exactly make me look any better, and they could have at least given me a brown one to match my eyes.

The white coat's smile was even tighter than mine. “You.”

I nodded, flopping mousy brown hair over my face in the process. Feeling stupid, I tried to brush it back too quickly, got my arm tangled up in the I.V. cord sticking in my hand, and almost knocked my glasses off in the process. Now feeling even more stupid, I felt my normally pallid face glowing bright red.

The white coat never said a word. Heck, she never even changed her expression!

As white coats went, I was starting to like this one. All the others had felt the need to say something about everything I did, and answer everything I said with a question. This one was different; she mostly just . . . listened. All white coats listen, of course, or pretend to, at least, but she listened with an intensity that bordered on obsessive.

Besides, it was nice seeing someone with even paler skin than mine, even if she made it look good.

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