Drawing, Drowning

  I stare without seeing, eyes dull as my hand drifts across the blank page in front of me. Scattered across the table around me are markers, pencils, in all shades except for red. The doctors do not consider red an acceptable color for the patients to draw with. It invites too many bad things to be drawn.

     I raise my head, and look around the main room. There are a few others here, also going through their own art therapy. Each of them has their own watcher, a doctor or guard, and I have mine. For once, it is not the good doctor. It is another doctor, one I am not acquainted with, though I have seen her around before. Her eyes are cold and unfeeling as she watches me, looking away only to note things on her clipboard. Every few minutes, she gets up to see what I have drawn. Nothing so far. I cannot decide. The world seems to spin around me. I have felt off balance for many days without knowing why, and the doctors see it. They want to know why. I can not see how they will learn. I do not know myself.

     Letting my eyes drift, they settle upon a pencil rolling slightly on the pale table top, and I reach for it, bringing to me. Blue. Something stirs in my mind, and, grasping the pencil lightly, I place it on the page and begin to draw, letting the colors wandering with my thoughts.

     I felt have strangely lethargic for many days, without knowing the cause. My thoughts are unable to focus, and there always seemed to be a haze behind them, waiting to sweep me away from myself. The only thing I have comfort me is the vague remembrances of something much like this having happened before. I do not know how I know, but when I close my eyes and delve into the mind, I find the image of myself at a time in which I have had few memories of, walking these halls as if in a dream. I do not bother with the details of when or why or how. I sink beneath an ocean of thought, swimming deep down below myself. The thought, the imagery of the thought-ocean, is so vivid that for a moment I find myself...

     ...sinking beneath the waves, mesmerized by the never ending blue around me. My hair floats around me like a golden embrace, and she watches, fascinated, as fish and other things she had no name for swam through the waves. The blue dress ripples with the current, and suddenly she is aware of a tugging, pulling her along the river and downward. A moment of lazy curiosity, as she watches it pass. The fear of an unshakable force returns in full, and she tries to twist, looking for a way out, but in the water she is powerless. All of the sudden, the water is dark and she feels the need to breath. She begins to claw at the water, wide-eyed tears lost in the flow of the river, and she lets out a desperate scream in burst of luminescent bubbles. She is drowning, she is drowning...

     ...And then I come back to myself, blinking in surprise. What on earth? Who was that girl, drowning beneath the swift current of a river chasm, fearful for her life? And why was she in my mind of all things? As far as I can recall, and this with an utmost surety I do not feel about most things, I know I have never seen so powerful a river in life, only in pictures. It can not be any memory of mine, and I do not recall having so powerful an imagination as to create something like that. And the girl, that girl... Why was she so familiar? I felt as though knew her like I know myself. Better, even, as I do not quite know myself as well as most people apparently do. It is a mystery.

     A sound distracts me. A young new doctor, a mild woman, is showing in a new patient, accompanies by two of the more formidable guardsmen. I watch with interest. Change is welcome when life is dull. The new girl is bright and happy-looking, chatting incessantly at her two guards. Her eyes sparkle with mischief as she seems to light up the room with a blinding smile. I smile back. True happiness is rare among the madmen. For a moment, I feel the haze lift a little, though it still keeps its hold on much of my heart. Glancing around the room, I can see annoyance on the faces of many patients and doctors alike. The watchers are silent, keeping their careful eyes on their targets. My own watcher glances away for once and looks at the new girl in irate frustration. For that alone, the glance away, I would feel grateful, but the annoyance on the watcher's face fills me with just a little glee. I smile again and look around for the girl, ready to thank her for what she had done. But already, the doctors have taken her away, and she is gone. I sink back, the haze a little stronger on me.

     In idle boredom, I look down to see what I have drawn while my mind traveled the plains of my thoughts. At first I see little, but then I my eyes focus and I stare in wonder. On my once blank sketchpad is a drawing of a girl with long blond hair and bright blue eyes clothed in a blue dress and a white apron. Her face is unconcerned and child-like as she bends at the waist to examine on the ground beside and in front of her what seems to be a small bird. A sparrow, who examines her with just as much curiosity as she examines it. There is something familiar about the sparrow, a spark of life about it that calls me.  I do not remember drawing any of this. I think I recognize, more than recognize, the girl from my book, the red book of fairy tales. And from elsewhere. But that is not what worries me. This girl goes beyond mere recognition.

     Because I know this girl. I was her.

     And I was drowning.

The End

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