The Raven

The Raven

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ancora (7th post of my brother's story)

Sean was further away, physically, now. Ancora Psychiatric hospital was about a 30-40 minute drive, instead of 10. The hospital was not set up for visitors. My uncle took me there my first time. It was dark. There was a guard post we had to drive through; after we stated our business we were let through. There was little lighting. I remember little amber colored lights and lots of shadows and open fields all around. We walked up to what seemed to be the main building. The doors were locked. There was sign that said that we should use the phone to call in. Doctors and receptionists whizzed by as we peered in the glass doors.
"What phone?" my uncle said.
We looked around and I saw a dented metal box in a dark spot off the the right. We walked down the steps and I picked up the phone. Nothing. We went back up to the door and pressed a buzzer we found. No one came. Finally, an orderly saw us standing there and let us in.
I walked up to the desk and said that I was here to see Sean Buccos.
A woman coming up the hall heard and said, "Sean Buccos? He was moved this afternoon to the Lurch building."
"Where's that?" I asked.
A nurse said you have to walk all the way around."
"All the way around what?" my uncle asked, kinda laughing nervously, "all around this building or the perimeter?"
"The building," a nurse asked not cracking a smile. They're overworked.
We began to walk in the creepy, dark building. We were passing a prison yard. Far away I saw men in orange jumpsuits gathered, smoking, getting some air I imagined. I moved closer to my uncle. There was a soft misty rain and fog lingering in an aura around the amber lighting.
We were not finding the building.
"Let's drive around," my uncle said as we heard the prisoners calling and hollering.
We saw a building in the distance. With trouble, we found the drive path to get to it. The headlights illuminated a tiny sign that said Lurch and there was an arrow pointing left.
We parked the car. We wandered around to find the entrance. It was like a bad dream. All sides of the building were sewn shut, no way in, therefore no way out and my brother is in there.
We passed a chain link fence and inside were patients. One smoking, one, wearing a cowboy hat, rocking back and forth on a bench and another slumped over walking along the fence, like Egor, staring at me. They reminded me of sick cattle waiting for the slaughter. And my brother is in there. I took my uncle's arm.
We saw a guy walking up the path at us- no way to know if he was a patient or employee. We asked him how to get in and he told us where to find the door. It was like a zombie apocalypse and any one you met on the path might sink its teeth into your flesh.
I remember there was a fir, or cedar tree and a bird called from it. The distance was a dim, misty field and for a moment I pretended it was a mansion in England or Ireland we were going to explore.

We got inside. All the nurses here knew who Sean was. They said he was very smart and funny.
My brother had told me that we are all living in the Garden of Eden. The paleness and unfamiliar halls made me nauseous. It was dim down here, outside a nurses office. It looked like a school with bulletin boards and art, but not making me anymore cheerful. I trembled. We were taken to an elevator and up to where the floor Sean was.

We we shown into a room with bars on all the windows, inky black with night, linoleum floor and cafeteria tables. We sat at a round one by the tall barred window. they told us they would bring Sean in. Visiting hours would soon be over, an orderly told us.
My brother was escorted in. He sat at the table with us. We had stopped at a Chinese place to get him General Tso's Chicken- by his request. We stopped at the Chinese restaurant Sean and I nearly every Friday went to with our Dad. He would get his Chinese food, Sean and I would get fortune cookies from the man behind the counter. Then, we'd hop up in the giant green Ford truck, the three of us smushed on the bench seat, no seatbelts, and ride off to McDonalds or the pizza place to get our dinner. Then we'd go home and Sean, me, Mom and Dad would watch a movie as we ate dinner.
I remember smiling and talking to my uncle as we walked up to the restaurant , our breath like the fog around the lights floated for a moment in the rain. The puddled pavement crumbling like Oreos at my feet. It was happy moment; the food was so pretty and lively and smelled... now as the foam platter lays open on the cold table, it looks sickly under this light in here. How can eat? This place knots my stomach. He sits, eats and talks to my uncle about Christianity and about his mission here. My uncle challenged him by telling him that he cannot be certain of the gospels unless he learned the ancient languages and read all the original Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, etc... texts for himself. I didn't really say much. I don't remember my brother really even taking notice of my presence; he was intently engaged in what he had to say.
Soon, the orderly or nurse or whatever he was who sat in the corner texting on his phone, stood and told us visiting hours were over. We said our goodbyes, I hugged Sean and my uncle and I began walking to the door. Just as a familiar habit, Sean was talking and following us to the elevator. The man from the room roughly said, "You. This way."
Sean got a oh yeah smile about his face and turned toward the giant steel door, gas chamber of the holocaust, the ovens... i wanted to smash this guy. I wanted to cry. I could see the back of his head- this long hair- the goldenness of it dulled by the sickly lights.

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