The Orphan

I was born an orphan (in 1957). Left on the doorstep in a basket. I grew up with the other orphans, confused and shielded. We had a school and a community. We were protected from the outside world. We didn't have families but we weren't aware children should have families. We lived in a mansion in the middle of no where. We weren't allowed to leave the premises, but there was no reason to leave. Everything we needed was right here. There were living quarters, a kitchen, and countless numbers of rooms. There was one influential room with a piano. I started learning piano at the age of five on a cold November day. No body taught me and nobody heard me. I played quietly to myself. I played while the others were outside. I didn't quite feel included but I didn't want to. I had the piano.

I first met Oscar in the summer of 1965. The first day he arrived in our living quarters, the other children avoided him. I found out he was sick. Innocently, I thought what ailed him was contagious like the cold, so I avoided him. It was when I was playing the piano, that I discovered this illness was no contagious nor was it curable. He had sat down next to me discretely. He explained he had a disease called Leukemia and it was fatal. Oscar was dying at the age of eight.

Children came and went as the adoption agency worked. But Oscar and I remained. I didn't want to leave, so I hid from the agency. I heard stories from the other children that life was hard outside this house. There was death everywhere. One child lost his family to a fire, another to a sickness. Oscar never left because he was dying. No one wanted a dying boy. And so we became close friends. Even though I was still shielded, my mind began to wander. What was it like outside this house? I still didn't want to leave, but I wanted to see a glimpse of life. I will never forget the day I ran away. I had tried to persuade Oscar to come with me, but he needed his nurses around him incase his illness attacked. I decided to go alone. I had to see what was outside.

I started out walking to the gate that enclosed our development. When no one was looking, I hopped the gate and ran to the trees aside the road. It felt like forever through the trees until I reached another road. I was tired, I was hungry, and I was cold. But soon enough I found a town. Cars and people everywhere. I was overwhelmed by all of this and I collapsed in the road.

I woke up in a room with strangers surrounding me. I was disoriented and confused and I felt myself yelp. A lady calmed me down to ask who I was. I replied I was Nathan and that I came through the forest. She seemed to know what I was talking about because she smiled and moved to another room to talk to another stranger. I took the time to look around. There was a rack of shotguns next to a window. There was a fireplace and a painting of a field. While studying the painting, I heard a noise-a slight buzzing sound in the distance. Apparently the lady heard it too, because she ran outside and looked at the sky. The next thing I knew, she was pulling me out of the bed and screaming. But it was too late, for the building collapsed down as a plane was crashing into the house. It grazed across my arm and over my head to land just yards away from the bed taking the lady in its wing. That was the first time I saw death.

I had lost control over my movement as I felt my legs start moving to run out of the building. I did not stop running until I found the familiar forest. Noticing I was hungry, I stopped and rested. I felt tears travel from my eyes to the forest ground. And I couldn't help but scream.

I found myself at the gate of the mansion, my eyes bloodshot and my throat dry. I was twelve, but I had already seen enough. One of the nurses Ms. Jeckar opened the gate for me. She glared at me for a couple minutes, but finally motioned to come in. She didn't ask what happened, and I really don't think she cared. I ran up to my bed and closed my eyes. You can say I was traumatized, thats what Oscar called it. I vowed to stay with Oscar, and never get adopted. I wouldn't be able to take the outside world.

Oscar taught me how to be happy. He knew how to shield me from the world. He liked to pretend things. He liked to believe everything was okay. We imagined we were animals, and put on plays. But I still couldn't understand how Oscar could be so happy knowing that he was dying. And one day, he did die. He was twelve. It was unexpected. I knew it was inevitable, but I had convinced myself that he was immortal. When he died, I couldn't take it. I began to have nightmares every night. Sometimes a plane crashing into my bed, sometimes that lady dying. I had one dream with Oscar. He told me everything was okay. He revealed that these nightmares and this fear was not helping me, or anyone. And he was right.

We were friends for four years. His words and thoughts became my life. He helped me understand happiness. He helped me understand life. He would never know he was my hero.

Nurse Jeckar

He was dropped on our doorstep at midnight in the middle of a cold snowstorm. He did not cry. I found him there. I seemed to have a connection with this child. I didn't have any children, but how could I raise one if I'm a nurse at the orphanage? I paid attention to him the most. As he grew older he didn't seem to get along well with the other children. He wouldn't play with them on the playground and he wasn't included in any of the games. I felt it was necessary that he learned something to do such as an instrument. And that's when I introduced the piano to him. He was just five, but he was ready. I tried to teach him a bit, but he insisted on learning himself. And I was surprised when as he touched the piano, he created a simple but extraordinary chord progression. He would play every day while the other children were outside. He didn't think anyone was listening, but I was always listening. His music soothed my heart, and evoked such strong emotions that left me questioning everything. I couldn't explain it. I told the headmaster of the orphanage-Mr. Stockton, and he let me watch him individually.

One day in the summer of 1965, he was playing the piano, but suddenly stopped. He looked to his left and started talking. I was perplexed for there was no one there with him. And as he talked he lose his sense in words, as if he was speaking another language. The days went on, and he began to lose consciousness of the world. He was always talking to himself, repeating a name-Oscar. It took a couple times to understand he had created a friend named Oscar. He continued to play the piano, and as he played he improved, but he started focusing more and more on his friend Oscar. He began to play like the other children, however he was alone.

As he grew older, adoption agencies came and went with parents to adopt children, but the parents never chose him. People didn't want older children, they wanted to start a new life with a young child. He seemed to hide when they came. I think he was afraid of leaving his safe haven. When parents did interview him, they noticed he couldn't make sense of words and that there was obviously something wrong with him. And of course the parents left, for it took too much energy to take care of children with needs. Secretly, I was glad he didn't leave. I loved him like he was my child. I wanted the best for him though, and understood he would need to see the real world. I protected him from everything. Everything. I knew it was about time that he'd try to run away. He was twelve.

I saw him walk quietly to the entrance gate of the orphanage. He jumped over the gate and began running to the forest. I quickly called up my sister who lived in the town through the forest, and told her that a child is heading to town and that she should be on the look out. He had to see the world for what it was, and as long as he is safe, he would learn the world for himself. The forest had nothing to worry about. It was a small area of woods that contained small birds and squirrels. And with that, I waited for him to come back.

A few hours later, I saw his head through the forest entrance. He was running towards the gate. I quickly traveled to the entrance to let him in. He was gasping for air, and he was cut badly. Shrapnel seemed to have hit him. I looked at him for a bit, and opened the gate. Before I could hold him, he ran to the house, and I was left at the gate. I began to cry. I couldn't help it. This helpless child had seen something. He had seen the world. I wanted to make everything better, but I knew I couldn't. And slowly, I walked towards the house. The children had heard him run inside, and had gathered around a window. They were looking at me through the glass, but I kept walking. As I walked in the door the main phone rang next to me. I picked it up, and heard my brother-in-law's voice. A few seconds later I collapsed. My sister had been in an accident. A plane had crashed into the house as they were taking care of a child they had found fallen on the street. The plane had hit her, and as she was dying, the child was watching. He had seen my sister die.

He woke up every night screaming. His screams reflected such agony and pain. I realized I couldn't help him. I had made the mistake of letting him run away when he didn't really have to see the world yet. He wasn't ready for tragedy. As he screamed, he brought a blanket of sadness over me, as it reminded me of my sister. I usually found myself sitting in his room in the corner. I wanted to comfort him so badly, but I didn't know how.

One day he stopped talking to himself. It was the day Oscar died. The day he stopped talking completely. A week later he died.

Psychologist- Dr. Oscar Stockton

I was assigned to the case of Ms. Jeckar fourteen years ago. She was found on the street begging for money. Her hair was tangled and her eyes were constantly wide open. She was diagnosed with Schizophrenia after spending two days in the hospital. She was transferred to the mental hospital of where I worked. Her behavior was harmless. She sometimes sat in the corner of her room watching the wall and talking to herself. Sometimes she stood up and walked around, still mumbling words to herself. Every week we had a session, her and I. I tried to grasp her universe. I tried to understand what she saw. Yet I saw nothing.

A breakthrough occurred the second year studying her in 1957. She spoke of a child-an orphan arriving at her doorstep. That was all she said, but that was the first thing she said to me. Just weeks later she started moving her hands as if she were playing the piano. I ordered in a piano for her room so that she could play. And she played beautifully. She composed for hours. Years after talking to her awhile, I sat next to her one day while she was playing. Oscar, she said. She knew my name. Ms. Jeckar stopped playing, and nervously she looked at me. I told her she would be able to leave this mental facility when she gets better. She understood me. And she told me about the orphan once more. She explained that he had met Oscar, an imaginary friend. I asked her if she meant me. It seemed that she was confused with the real world and her world. It was as if I was imaginary. But she continued to tell me thing about this orphan.

As years went by, I couldn't understand her. She started to lose grasp of the real world more and more. But she drew pictures. Beautiful pictures of an orphanage with a big black gate in the front. She drew children playing outside and she drew herself-a nurse watching an orphan. She drew a black blur next to the child and labeled it Oscar. As she put the black crayon down, she starting screaming. I wanted her to put what she thought into words but I knew she couldn't. She took a green crayon and started scribbling as she looked up to nothing.

Oscar represents reality. When Oscar dies, reality is lost.