I was walking through the garden again. Kate and Ian were there on one bench; all over each other. She had her hand down his pants, he had his up her shirt. I averted me eyes. Jonah and Camilla were throwing the Frisbee.
“Hey Logan” Camilla said. “You know we’re not your real friends right? We’re just fucking with you”.
I looked away again. Alyssa was sitting on a bench. “Hi Logan. It’s such a shame we didn’t get more time to get to know each other. I think I might have liked you”. I shook my head and closed my eyes. Something shook my shoulder.
“Go away!” I yelled.
“Logan”. It shook me again.
“Logan you dummy!” It slapped me. I opened my eyes. I knew that voice. I turned and saw her sitting there beside me; a big grin on her face. “Hey big bro”. We were seated on a bench in the garden. I must have dosed off.
“Mia!” I said, hugging her. She was sixteen years old and quite pretty. Her long black hair was tied in a ponytail and her green eyes were full of laughter. She was wearing a Biffy Clyro t-shirt and a red and black miniskirt with tights. “What are you doing here?”
“What? A girl can’t come visit her big bro?”
“Of course you can!”
“Sorry I didn’t come sooner. It was hard to convince mom and dad”.
“That’s okay” I said, “They’ve every right to not want anything to do with me”.
“No they don’t! They are being stupid!”
“How are they anyway?”
“They are doing alright. I think they miss you more than they care to admit”.
“And how are you?”
“Life has gotten incredibly dull without you around brother. I really miss you. It is such a shame that bitch Kate and that fucker Ian had to go and get you locked in her”.
“Maybe it’s not so bad”.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve made a few friends since coming; real friends”.
“That’s wonderful news Logan!”
“They’ve helped a lot. I haven’t had any episodes since coming here”.
“What about the voices?”
“They haven’t been as frequent… But still there sometimes”.
“I’m glad this place seems to be helping you”.
“You want a tour?”
She smiled. “Sure thing”.
We got up and started walking. Mia filled me in on life at home with the parents as we walked through the maze. She told me about how school was going, she told me about her band getting their first gig, and she told me about how she had a crush on a boy in school.
“I’ll have to give him the big brother stamp of approval” I said.
“Of course you will” she smiled. “I don’t give a damn what mom and dad think; only your opinion matters bro”. She went quiet for a moment. “Anyone special in your life?”
We were just entering the main building. I didn’t answer for a few moments, instead I guided her through the halls and up the stairs.
“There was one girl… but she left soon after I arrived”.
“I’m sorry Logan”.
“It probably wouldn’t have worked” I laughed. “What happens when you mix two crazies? Chaos”.
“Don’t say that Logan”.
I pushed open the door to my room and showed her in.
“It’s nice to see you keep it in as much of a mess here as you do at home” she said. “At least this place isn’t changing you”.
“Not too much” I said. “Shall we go to the common room?”
“Lead the way”. I closed the door behind us and walked back toward the stairs. “You know Biffy are coming to play a concert here next summer” she said, “You wanna go? Rock it up brother-sister style?”
“Sure!” I said, “If I’m out of this place”.
“I’m sure they’d let you out for a day to go see a concert with your little sister”.
“I don’t know”.
“Even if I beg?” She put on her biggest puppy dog eyes and looked up at me.
“You know no one can resist that face” I laughed. We entered the common room. Michael was on his couch as always, and the girl Zoey who I still hadn’t met properly was sitting reading in one corner. Jonah and Camilla were on the beanbags as always.
“Who’s this beauty?” Camilla asked, standing to hug me in greeting.
“This is my sister Mia. Mia, this is Jonah and Camilla”.
“So this is the sister we’ve been hearing all about?” Camilla said, and then she hugged Mia too. “It’s so nice to finally meet you”.
“You too” she said. She shook Jonah’s hand; he was too lazy to stand. Mia and I sat with them and Camilla sidled onto the beanbag next to me.
“So is Logan as unbearable at home as he is here?” Camilla asked.
“He’s a horror” Mia said, “Can’t stand him. Sooooo glad to be rid of him”.
“Shut up you” I said, throwing a cushion at her. She threw it back and stuck out her tongue. “I’m just fucking with you Logan. Sibling banter”. She turned to Camilla again. “He’s the best brother ever”.
“Only because I’ve got the best sister ever”.
“Look at you too” Camilla said. “How do you not drive each other mad? My sisters and I killed each other when I was at home”.
“We’ve always had each other’s backs” Mia said.
“This is all getting very soppy” Jonah said.
“Oh yeah I forgot” Camilla said, “Jonah doesn’t approve of people showing care for others”.
“Shut up Camilla”.
“Shut up Jonah”.
“I take it people are told to shut up a lot here?” Mia laughed. “I saw Ian a few days ago” she said. “I take it he came to visit?” I nodded. “I could tell. You kicked the shit out of him again. Little fucker deserved every hit”.
“Wow she really does have your back” Camilla said.
“Indeed she does”. I smiled at my sister. She was always there for me; and I for her. We passed another hour in our little circle; Mia giving all the gossip on my life before my imprisonment, Camilla all the gossip on my life since. She took care to leave out the night she and I had shared. Then it was time for Mia to go.
I walked with her to the main reception and hugged her. “Thanks for the visit sis. It was great seeing you”.
“I’m going to try and come back again soon. I don’t care what the parents think. I’m visiting my brother”.
“I look forward to it”.
“I love you Logan”.
“I love you too sis”. She kissed me on the cheek and then left; pausing to wave at the door. I stood staring after her for a moment and then turned to go back to the common room. The sound of the main doors opening came from behind me; accompanied by the sound of Dr. Evans’ voice and the voice of a girl. I stopped dead. I knew that voice. The duo entered the building and I swivelled slowly; eyes closed and praying I was wrong. I opened my eyes. She saw me at the same instant I saw her. I imagine my face looked quite funny; but nothing about that moment was funny.