Everything had been put into place, every single document had been acquired, and every single detail had been on point. Nevertheless, the consulate had decided not to give Richard the visa to go and work in Canada. He never heard a reason why he had been denied the visa, only that he could challenge the decision with the Canadian justice system but that could take, at least, three months, time that he didn’t have. When he notified the company that had offered him the job, which was the reason for his trip, they didn’t really say anything. Days later, they said they couldn’t guarantee the job to be there in three months so they “advised” not to go ahead with the challenging of the consulate’s decision. They backed up from their proposal, after so much praise and kindness, and eventually choose someone less of a problem.
For Richard, that was it. He hadn’t had a job in his life. This was going to be his first shot at anything and in a foreign country! But for some reason, it didn’t happen. At first he was just shocked and disappointed, mainly because he had spent so much time and money in order to get the damn visa. But the days passed, and he started to feel worse. He lost his appetite and wouldn’t come out of his room, not for dinner, not for showering, not for anything. Slowly, Richard had descended to a depressive spiral of which he did not know and didn’t even want to get out. He kept thinking about the reasons why this hadn’t worked and blaming himself was the only way to make it all have any sense.
Days passed until one-day Richard’s father had to topple the door, only to find him lying in the ground, barely breathing. He had cut himself several times on his arm and was bleeding profusely. They called the paramedics and the staff at the hospital was able to stabilize him, not before he had lost even more blood. He was week for several days in which many of his relatives, the kind that are never there but come flying back just to see what has happened, visited him as he was still in an induced sleep. When he finally woke up, he became violent, demanding to take everyone out in the act or he would repeat what he had done before.
His parents only cried and cried and did not much else. As he had woken up already, he was given painkillers and some others medications to keep him calm but they did not seem to work a lot. He would refuse any food or anyone coming in being falsely nice. He didn’t really want to live anymore and he didn’t want people to be fake near him, it bothered Richard a lot when all they had were kind words that they didn’t mean or lies to calm him down. He stayed in the hospital for several weeks until it was decided he would be better off in a psychiatric facility, where they could try to cope with his behavior. Their parents cried again and did nothing else and he wasn’t surprised.
The day he got transferred to the sanatorium, they didn’t even try to say goodbye or to be there. They just disappeared leaving only nurses and unknown people behind. Maybe it was for the best because any familiar face made Richard unstable and prone to violence. His cell, or room as they liked to call it, in the sanatorium was small and with just a tiny window to look towards the garden. The view was nice because there were lots of flowers and birds would come in the morning. At least that had improved from the hospital, were his window faced a wall. Even his room at home face a fucking wall, so it was difficult not to like this room better, even if it meant taking lots of drugs and just looking out the window a couple of hours a day.
It was only after a week that he realized that, since he had been taken to the hospital, he had never spoken to any friend or anything like it. Which goes to show you how people are. Some run to see the train wreck happen and others just avoid it completely, even denying the whole thing. Anyway, it was best that way. He made a couple of friends in the sanatorium: a kid who had tried to jump off a bridge because his mom had punished him for being gay (he showed Richard his scarred back one day) and a girl who suffered of some weight related problem. She was very skinny and would always look like a ghost gliding all over the ward. There were a lot of other people in his area but they were all pretty harmless. But sometimes they could hear people from the other ward, the most dangerous one, yell or howl or do some kind of noise that would make everyone nervous.
People there, on the other side, were really crazy. Richard thought he was crazy but he had realized those other patients were just above that. They were people who had killed others or who were just absent from reality. It was a pity though because no one really deserved to be there permanently. Although Richard had settled fast and liked to be around his new friends, he knew that living there permanently would not be as fun or enjoyable. During lunchtime, every single person would have a story about one of the patients of the neighboring ward. It was kind of a tradition to sit down and just tell stories about those others that were there with them. It was easier than talking about personal issues.
Some said there was this lady who had killed all of her children (the number varied depending on who told the story). They talked also about a guy who used to be a butcher and had gutted a client because he had paid only in coins. There was the serial killer of pregnant women and the men that had just gone insane in an elevator, killing at least ten people with just a pen. The stories were gruesome and more often than not the guards would come and break the meetings off in order no to let the patients get too excited over a bloody story. But the gathering was a tradition and they only interrupted when too many were involved.
Besides that, Richard got to have sex with the gay kid, who also happened to be obsessed with sex. Richard didn’t identify himself as gay but it had been so long since he had done anything with anyone that he didn’t really care. Apparently others did care because he was sent to the infirmary to get tested for HIV. Luckily, the gay guy wasn’t positive so nothing happened, but Richard refused to have sex with him again. Although for him oral sex wasn’t real sex but whatever. The guards, again, didn’t really seem to mind if patients visited other patients in their rooms. They only intervened if violence was imminent, whether it was against themselves, others patients or even the security staff.
The funniest thing was when this rather big girl decided to jump on one of the guards because she had heard him called her “fat”. Everyone laughed and cheered on for the girl but the result was that games and entertainment were cancelled that night after dinner, so everyone had to be behind bars in their bunks, looking at the moon like Richard or howling at it like the prisoners in the other ward. When something like that happened. Richard felt strangely alive. Somehow, those crazy fuckers made him feel alive, more than anything or anyone had made him feel before. Yes, they were insane and dangerous but he felt close to them and he could have conversations with them, even with the gay guy when they were not… You know. It was great to feel like he belonged somewhere, even if it was in such a place.
Then, after some months, his family came for him and it was the worst day in a long time. It was crazy to think he wanted to stay there but he felt he couldn’t be himself again if he just left them all there. He decided to get the email addresses of every single one of them and he gave them his so they could chat anytime and just be there for one another. It was a sentimental moment, a real one, and then he left. As the car left the premises, he realized that his life wasn’t over at 27. He had no idea of what to do with his life, that was certain. And he now had something to explain in every single job interview or even in dates.
But he thought of it as something fun. Maybe he would end up being a failed human being. But he wouldn’t be the first or the last. The honest thought he had as he entered his room was that he didn’t want any of the shit that people had always wanted for him. He didn’t want the usual silly love or shitloads of money or paying job or any of that bullshit. He just wanted to feel needed, to feel that someone cared and to experience life as everyone should. He wanted to feel the world around him and just live to experience it all and not to submit himself to slave labor.
So he just started writing. He wrote everything that had happened to him in recent times. Every single story, every single kinky moment in the sanatorium’s bathroom, every crazy thought, every suicidal decision. He wanted to sum it all up and just do something with it someday. But that day hasn’t come yet. Someday, though.