Riley Reynolds was 32 and a half years old the morning she woke up crazy. It was a bizarre and beautiful and terrifying experience all at once. Pretty much the same as her life up until that point, bizarre, beautiful and most of all terrifying.
Lost, she never understood why she was so different, When she brought it up to anyone, there was nothing wrong with her they said – like what? they asked.
But here she was on this Spring morning with the sun shining, sitting in the locked ward of the psychiatric wing of the hospital, wearing some old forgotten dress that some previous crazy left here, because her shorts had a drawstring and had to be confiscated, pronounced crazy as they come. Certifiable. Mentally Ill.
She thought she would stick with crazy. It sounded more fun
It was as if she was born today. This day in April was her rebirth. Funny it was not as if celebration was in order that she was born again into crazy, but in a way it was. She was still the same person she was the first 32 years of her life. Disordered, weird, strange, dysfunctional, depressed, vibrant, creative and artistic, sensitive and scared. But now all that had a name.
She had a reason for acting in ways that didn’t make sense to anybody, never mind that she didn’t know what or why she was doing what ever it was half the time either. She felt compelled, then would be in agony over the scenes she caused or the people hurt, for days.
Like a hungry little caterpillar, consuming everything it could, she tried on people and ideas trying to define herself, greedily chewing them up and spitting them out in a rush to get where she wanted to be. Thing was, she didn’t know where that was, so she just went along feeling free at times but mostly, wormy and insatiated with all that she had consumed that day…or any day she had lived in her 32 and a half years.
Sometimes she would be so raunchy hungry and flying so high she was sure it was the devil taking over her body.
At those times it was everything she could do not to rip off her clothes and jump on the first man she saw. That is how she felt sometimes, that virile, that needy and greedy, as if she could wear one out and do another then keep moving on. At least she didn’t go that far. Or the need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, or go sky diving. Jump off a bridge..anything to feel it all.
She felt good at these times, alive and physical and everything hurt and everything affected her as if she were a bundle of nerves primed by rhythm to explode. Anything could send her over the edge and once she had it, all she wanted was more until collapsing in exhaustion. Then the crash, burn and self loathing.
Afterwards she was miserable, ashamed, inevitably alone after shocking whoever the boyfriend du jour was to the point he would walk out the door disgusted, the names and faces becoming a big mass blur of the same guy.
This one was different though, he had told her it was time to get help. Saved her life. Told her it would be ok and he would be right there with her. He had brought her to the hospital, but looking around she noticed she was the only one waking up crazy.
Right with her, she gave a soft laugh, yea. She knew he didn’t walk out the permanent door to her life, probably just went for coffee or a smoke, but the fact he chose the moment of her awakening, of the first minute of the next part of her life to be gone, just brought it home how truly and completely, she was alone.