Last night, I had found a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Sean had told me he wanted to give it to our cousin, Alena. He had written something to her in it. The next day Alena and I went to the hospital to see Sean. I brought the book with me. When we walked in the emergency room waiting area, my parents were there. Sean hadn't been moved to a room yet. He was still in a tiny room, sedated, in the E.R. We weren't able to go in to see him yet, so my cousin and I went down to the cafeteria and ate, well, I tried to. I got some tea and a cherry vanilla yogurt; I hadn't been eating much and as I started eating it I discovered how hungry I was.
The room had a large glass window. The nurses' station was right outside it. A nurse let us in and locked the door behind us.
My brother was lying in a relaxed fetal position; his glasses on the bed, that looked more like an operating table, beside him. He wore a hospital gown and was breathing evenly. My cousin and I looked at him. In here, I gave her the book. I told her Sean had wanted to give it to her.
"Oh... thanks," she seemed uncomfortable receiving it.
"Is there writing on the wall?" Alena asked after a while. It looked like someone had written with their finger in the dust or wet their finger and wrote on the wall, since they were not allowed anything pointed.
"I dunno... He has been writing on almost everything at home."
I didn't get to talk to Sean. I left him a note saying we had been there to see him, but he had been sleeping. I don't know if he got it.
The next evening, my visit with him, after he got upstairs to the Adult Mental Health Unit, was more... lively.
My parents were alway at the hospital. Over the phone my mom had told me how to get to the unit. I was told the security guard would let me through the doors after I told him who I was here to see. As I approached him, he stood. I told him my business there and he walked me over to the big, heavy doors. They opened and I entered, alone, a pale linoleum hall. To my sides were dimly lit, almost living room-like empty rooms that were comforting to me, the TVs on, lamps lit, soft chairs... but no one in them. The Simpsons were on one TV. Sean and I watched the Simpsons religiously and my family and I quoted than all the time over dinner. Maybe this iis a sign, maybe this all isn't so bad.
My heart banged when I saw the elevators, two muted steel doors, emotionally cold and tired, thinking that was the only way up. Since this hospital has been mostly shut down, do they service these regularly and well? But, then how else do the nurses and doctors get around... As that logical thought entered my head, I saw the sign for the stairs. Relieved, I headed for them and gladly treaded the 4 small flights of them. Maybe, I also wanted to delay seeing my brother. Through the slim glass panel of the last door I saw the overhead sign "Adult Mental Health Unit." As I opened the door, I noticed the waiting hall was very dim, an overhead light had gone out. It made me feel like all hope had been lost- like a scene from a horror movie, when everything seems to go wrong, no light to comfort me, just sit and wait in a dark hall before you enter the Cuckoo Nest.
I approached the Nurse's window. I told them I was here to see Sean Buccos.
"Okay. Your parents are in there now. You'll have to wait till one comes out, only 2 visitors at a time...Do you have any matches or sharp objects on you or in your purse?"
I shook my head and said, "No."
"Do you have a cell phone with you?"
Again, I shook my head and said, "No."
I sat back in the brown shady dark. I remember my brother telling me of a nightmare that terrified him; he was about maybe 8. In it, there was a painting, or sketch all in brown, of men in suits rapidly switching chairs around and it terrified him.
Soon, my Dad came out and I was able to go in. This door was monstrous steel. I had to wait till a little light on it turned green. Then I could turn the handle and get in.
My brother was in the kitchen-like room. It had banquet tables and metal chairs, a sink, refrigerator and microwave on one side and on the other a couch and a TV. There were bulletin boards with patient's art and some colorful cutouts, flowers and such, the kind you'd see in an elementary school, placed by the nurses probably.
My brother ginning, points to a black guy sitting awkwardly, silently in a chair across the room and he says, "That's Jimi Hendrix over there... Don't 'e look like Jimi Hendrix? I swear, man, he is Jimi Hendrix." I look at the guy, who look nothing like Jimi Hendrix and nod.
As I pace the hall with him, he showing me all the rooms and telling me that he is here to resurrect the spirit of music. He said that The Beatles were there too. He showed me books he had written on. He kept talking about "the doors of perception." He told me as he waked with his palms open and out, "I walked down the street like this, Jim Morrison did that and took what ever pills people put in them."
"Sean, did you really do that?"
"Open the doors... Get it," raising his eyes brows and a huge grin taking over his face, The Doors... the Cherokee Spirit, the doors of perception? I'm Jim Morrison reincarnated... That's why I'm here. They need me here to bring back the music."
"Alena was here earlier to see you."
He looked stoned and surprised, "Yeah? Imma 'bout to call her... She, she still with that John?" Nodding as he says, "He, he's alright... just tell him with consent, John, with consent."
He walked over to the phone booth and sat down in the bench. I sat next to him.
"Here's her number."
He began to dial and said, "Na, there's more numbers than that..." And he began pressing other numbers, pressing them down longer than any sober person would, that must have meant something to him. He put the phone to his ear and after he got nothing, he gave the phone to me and said, "Well, I'm about to go play some cards with The Beatles. Did you know they were here? I see George..."
"Are you okay here?"
He replied, smiling all over, "Yeah, man, I'm with my people."
I watched him walk away, he had a strut to him, as if he were walking down a city street, with a tune in his head, going to meet a friend. I looked around at the cement walls painted white, hearing gurgling coming from one of the patients lying in the dark room next to me. Watching a woman, slumped over pull herself along in a wheel chair with her mangled feet, talking and crying to herself. I became scared and glad I could leave. I saw Sean intermingling with the other patients in the kitchen room at the end of the hall. He was the most lively, friendly one there.