Out of Place

"Were you neglected as a young child?" asked the therapist.
I tossed my hair and continued to stare at my feet in their thong sandals. Putting a finger to my chin, as if considering the question, I looked to the window and stared wistfully out. The Sky was a pure, pristine blue; perfect for a day at the beach. I turned my attention back to the man.
"What does that have to do with anything?" I questioned. He sighed.
"Listen, we're just trying to figure out what's wrong with you."
"What, like, you think I'm a schizophrenic or something?"
"We haven't a clue what's the matter with you. All we know is you flayed a dog and that causes for some large concern."
I nodded tiredly.
"Uh-huh, I guess it would." I wasn't exactly bursting with enthusiasm at this little session. I'd been roused from my not-exactly-comfortable bed at seven AM for this, and I had been kept up all night listening to other patients yell, so I couldn't be expected to shine. I sighed. I knew if I were obsequious that maybe I could get left alone, maybe get out of here a little sooner, but, it just wasn't me. Okay, so perhaps I shouldn't have stripped that poor dog of its flesh. But, damn, it just wouldn't stop barking and barking, and my temper was short that day. I would have been in jail if my lawyer hadn't gotten me off on an insanity plea. So, now I was stuck in a mental hospital, had been there for a year, forced to drag myself out of bed whenever the doctors felt like examining my mind.
I turned back to the annoying therapist. He was an ugly little man. Bald, potbellied, and he had a quite unpleasant odor about him.
Finally, I said, "No, I was not neglected as a child. My parents were a pillar of love, faith, and authoritarianism."
He sighed. Lotta sighing in the room today.
"Well, this session is done. Don't forget, we have one at two this afternoon."
I nodded, jumped out of my chair and ran out, glad to be done with the damn thing. Dashing out of the waiting room, I nearly knocked over the slim receptionist carrying a thick bible with gilded edges.
Walking down the hall back to my room, I felt like an Eskimo in Arentina. I did not belong here. I was not crazy. One momentary lapse of control that was all. I passed two other patients, throwing jellybeans at each other. One turned and ran away and the other yelled at his back
"You damned poltroon!"
No, I definitely did not belong here.
I got to my room and flopped on the bed. I was glad my roommate wasn't there. She was obsessed with spouting outdated slang. I needed to get out of here. Had to go. It didn't matter where; I wasn't welcome at home, or at any friend houses. They all thought I was a sick human being. I just wanted to get out. I groped for my gum on my bedside table. Gum… An idea flashed into my head. Yes, gum! Why didn't I think of it sooner? I unwrapped a piece and started chewing as I dashed to the front hall.
Once there, I hung around for a bit. A nurse walked by.
"Lunch is in ten minutes. You may want to get to the cafeteria soon."
I smiled. "I have plenty of time." I said. "Plenty."
The nurse left.
A couple arrived at the door.
"State your name and patient you are visiting" said the bored nurse at the desk.
The couple did so and the nurse returned her attention to the magazine while hitting the button to unlock the door. The door opened and the couple walked in.
They walked past me without a glance. I tore the gum out of my mouth and jammed it in the lock of the almost closed door. I dashed back to my leaning against the wall. Now, for that nurse to leave for lunch.
I seated myself in one of the chairs and tried to look inconspicuous. The nurse glanced at the clock and got up and left without so much as a sideways look towards me. I looked around. Not a person in sight.
Jumping up to the door, I gripped each side and hauled it open. It took some strength but I managed. Finally, I slipped through out into the world.
It was so nice out there, a soft wind ruffling my hair. I was free. I shed my robe. The hospital pajamas underneath didn't even look like hospital clothes. Whenever I got bored, which was often, I doodled on them with black marker. After a year there was little white left, mostly just huge patches of black and random scribblings. It must have looked an odd outfit, yes, but not like I was from a mental hospital.
Annoyingly, the perfection of the outside world had to be broken by the sound of a dog barking. I frowned. It seemed to come from a little to the right. Down on Thompson street. Even after a year, I could still remember the layout of the town. It would take me a bit to get there; there was no straight route to it from here.
Ah, but, I had plenty of time. All the time in the world.