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Final part of Heading for breakdown No. 2 chapter two


Mum was busy in the kitchen making tea and periodically popped into the front room to collect the empty mugs.  This was getting more bizarre by the moment.  My friends faces all had a pensive look about them.  I noticed Bill sitting in a corner with tears falling down his cheeks.  I said, “What’s the problem, I’m fine.”  I could see their mouths opening and closing but their words failed to reach my hearing receptors.  It was as if I were standing in a triple glazed void.  I could hear my voice but no one else’s.

At about 11.30 I remember saying to everyone assembled, “This is going to be a very long night.”  I also informed them that I was off to bed.  With my intentions set in crystal, I left them to it.  My closest friends, Bill and Chris were there, and their wives Seron and Lorraine accompanied them.  They had all rallied round to give my mum some much needed support, bless ‘em.  I don’t know how they put up with me. 

 The man with the Gladstone bag turned out to be a social worker.  He was busy getting some background information on me.  I was obviously ill again and as usual I was the last to know.

In the safety zone, my bedroom, all was beautifully pitch black.  My peace and serenity were blighted only by the muffled voices emanating from the front-room.  I was tossing and turning in bed wondering what the hell was going on.  As before, I came up with a reason for the late night tea party.

Perhaps I was going through the male equivalent of the menopause.  Anyway that’s the best I could come up with in the time available.  I vividly remember forming all manner of strange contortions with my limbs and body.  It was as if I was being pushed and pulled about by an invisible force.  This is something that has happened to me before, but during the daylight hours. 

The involuntary movement lasted I suppose twenty minutes or so.  I began to feel frightened by this weird, out of my hands, situation and was glad everybody was still there.  I heard a knock at my door.  “Can I come in,” a male voice said, “Yeah,” I replied.  It was the social worker.

He asked me to get dressed, and for some reason I gave him the thumbs up sign, much to the relief of my friends and mother.  It was now 1.00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.  I grabbed my clothes, walked out of my flat and straight into a waiting ambulance. 

Mum was shattered by this time so Bill and Seron kindly drove her to a family friend’s house, where she stayed for a few days.  Chris came with me in the ambulance and Rainy, as we called her, followed behind in their car.  The last thing I remember being said was Chris asking the driver if he could keep the speed down so Rainy could keep up with us.  I may have blacked out for a while, I’m not sure.

I vaguely recall flopping about in the stretcher-bed as the ambulance went round corners.  In my stupefied state, I thought I was being taken to see Mark, an inmate that I had met the first time I was admitted to Claybury.  Well I would get to meet up with him again, only the stay was to be longer than I had anticipated.  I was oblivious that Chris was standing behind me when I got out of the ambulance at the entrance of the hospital. 

He said it was the most tragic sight he had ever seen.  I suppose it’s not everyday you see a friend admitted to a loony bin.  Chris and I had worked together some years back and became close friends very quickly.  You know that positive buzz you get when you meet someone for the first time and you click.  Our lives seemed to have run in parallel.  Second to Bill, Chris was the brother I never had.

As I walked down the all too familiar gloomy corridor, an image which I shall never be able to erase, I called out Mark’s name a few times presuming that he would be there to meet me.  My next recollection was sitting opposite a man who was reading something from a sheet of paper, while I, on the other hand, was performing Tai Chi breathing exercise known only to me. 

I was in fact being read a section paper.  This was a standard procedure for a twenty-eight day stint in the ‘fun factory’.  He could have been reading the Beano for all I knew.  I was too far-gone to make sense of anything at that stage.

Well, that’s chapters 1 & 2.  Next week I’ll add a small section of the start of chapter three, as I still can’t believe how long I was in hospital before I knew where I was.  It could have been in a script from a film…


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