I took deep breaths as I stared at the contours of my face in a bleary mirror, the best of three in the community toilets. I was pretending to apply the make-up I didn’t have, whilst, internally, I was giving myself the strength of mind I sorely needed.
It wasn’t my custom to break into private places, no matter how twisted my childhood had been, or how much I could put blame onto it for the way I turned out. I didn’t want to be a thief, not really; and I truly hoped I wouldn’t have to be. My phone I clutched close in my pocket; the small object would have to be my way forward.
As the woman I had grown up with would say, the wall standing in my path would have to be knocked down some way. And though I didn’t like the fact that my wall was actually physical- and a funny-shaped hospital- and that the ‘knocking down’ of it involved hiding away until the lights dimmed, so that I would be able to creep back the way I had come without many eyes on me.
When I was sure it was the right time, I tucked my pretended eyeshadow palette -merely a mirror in a case- back into the rucksack, and slid the object off my shoulders so I became less of a cumbersome shape in the corridors. I was lucky that the toilets had been built close to the stairwell; the same receptionist sat at desk still, typing to herself, and receiving the phone calls that split the air. The bathroom door swung shut with a thump, but, though the woman, looked up, I was pretty sure that I had already ducked out of sight before she could notice me.
I was well aware that Mother Nature never sleeps. And so this fact was blared out, as I hurried through the junctions of the maternity ward; I heard the nearing groans once again, and a bulging lady was led away in front of me by a midwife. Dr. Aquilus was not with them, not even anywhere on the third floor. The first time I had been driven downstairs, I had checked the in-out board of the main office staff (along with miniature profiles to liven up the brown and grey wall-display), which told me that he clocked off every day at six pm. It might have been reckless to leave the hospital to find a bite to eat in a park that bordered the motorway, and then to return as if I lived in that place, but I had nothing better to do with my time.
Though I’d spent a whole afternoon finding the ways in and out of the hospital, it still seemed a foreign place to me, and I had not yet become bored. I passed a wall-clock in the passage, one I had not noticed before, telling me that the time was already seven o’ clock. However, it seemed a tad early to reflect the true time. Indeed, checking my phone confirmed that I was on time, the electronic six thirty blinking at me as if nodding that my plan was going well so far. I could not tell if that was simply my imagination, or actually the truth.
Rounding the sharp white corners of this dry painting I had wandered into, I headed back to Dr. Aquilus’ door. My head flicking furtively to one side and then the other, I pushed down on the handle, half-ramming my shoulder against the door. It stuck.
Hmm, that good doctor was smarter than I had first thought him to be. Though a sigh slipped from my lips, I had actually anticipated such a move. After all, as I had just proven, the hospital was open to all.
Reaching up to my hair, I removed a long hair-slide, which I had used to pin away the locks that always fell on my face, and began to twist its body into a wire. It was not that I was frequently picking locks, but I had wondered whether I would need to use a skill like this. Buying the pack of hair-slides from the little shop had been easy. There was, in fact, something entirely easy about what I was about to do. Trouble had become the trade I was adept at.
I slid the wire-piece into the keyhole, fiddling around with it until the wire found a place to stick, against the lock. Then I began to heave my hand anti-clockwise. Soon, with a butterfly-click, I felt the lock turn, and, pushing on the handle again, I found the door swinging inwards. I was in the sanctum, staring at the ordered chaos of Dr. Aquilus’ mind.