“Delivering Love” by Kathy Daugherty

     Today’s story is a guest post by Kathy Daugherty.  Kathy is a member of the Writers’ Group, which I attend.  This is her spin on the homework theme “I blame my mother.”  Happy reading!**********************************************************************************

Delivering Love

     It was a long, lonely drive to visit my brother.  The “institute” (the locals called it the “nut house”) was an imposing, square, colorless, granite box set way off the road, protected from prying eyes by a thick forest and a tall hedge.

     I showed the guard my ID and he coldly waved me through the gate without a hint of sentiment one way or the other.  His face looked much like it was carved from the same material the building was built from.  I shivered, though I knew it was not from the weather.  Was it just happenstance that the weather matched the grounds, the building and my mood?

     I easily found a parking place close to the front.  Not surprising — there were not many visitors.  The “residents,” as they chose to call them, didn’t have families that cared very much, and even on holidays and special occasions, I rarely saw more than one or two cars.  I headed for the worn stone steps that mounted before me.  It was as if you had to really want to get to the door to visit your family member.  I was breathing a little heavy when I got to the top.  It always happened.  I knew it was a combination of the steps and my dread — one couldn’t possibly call it ‘anticipation.’

     With a quick prayer (not that I’m sure He was ever listening, else why would there be places like this?) I opened the door and stepped in.  It seemed like a mausoleum already, though at one time, it must have been elegant with marble floors and heavy rugs with matching velvet drapes.  But they were all held together now mostly by dust and cobwebs.  If cleanliness was next to godliness, then I knew God was far from this place.

     I went to the office to check in.  They knew me by name.  I was probably one of the few visitors who came.  Taking a large old ring of keys, they led me down the hall, stopping from time to time to unlock yet another door, to yet another long hallway of locked rooms.

     Then we came to John’s room.  Through the small window in the door, I saw him huddled in the corner.  He turned when he heard the key in the lock.  His face meeting mine and lighting up instantly.  “Mama, mama,” he said as I went to him, trying to smile as I choked back the tears so that he wouldn’t see them, nor the anger I felt for our mother who had left him so neglected and abused that he remained an innocent child, at least in his mind.  It was the best life he could handle.  And so I came and poured all the love a real mother should have, letting him call me “mama” while I couldn’t help but blame the woman who had caused it all by her own selfishness.

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About SAS Fiction Girl

Writer of short fiction because I don't have the attention span to write anything longer.
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7 Responses to “Delivering Love” by Kathy Daugherty

  1. Evelyn says:

    Well done! Jen, you share your spotlight so graciously! I do think you should post your “centerpiece” writing exercise from Tuesday. It was one of the highlights of the evening. 🙂 Your Fearless Facilitator, Ev

  2. pattisj says:

    What a heart-wrenching story. Great descriptions of the guard, building inside & out. Thanks for sharing it here on your blog, Jen.

  3. jannatwrites says:

    Sad story, made even sadder because this really does happen. I especially liked this line: ” I knew it was a combination of the steps and my dread — one couldn’t possibly call it ‘anticipation.’”

  4. Ed Frost says:

    Nice post, Jen… and a nice story, Kathy. Having been (not incarcerated, thank God) to a mental institution and seeing the conditions there, I can only say that your description was not horrible enough. The constant thought in my mind while I was there was “What if they keep me?”

    • And my question is, “Why didn’t they keep you?” 😉
      If nothing else, you would have the makings of a great book, until you lost your mind for real and started scribbling in crayon.

      • Ed Frost says:

        Ooooh, you can be soooo mean! To tell the truth, they didn’t keep me because they knew I would be too much trouble and there wasn’t enough Thorazine in the world to numb my brain. Besides, had they kept me, I wouldn’t be able to bug you, Evelyn, Patti, Karen, et al. Not to mention my much better half!

  5. rastelly says:

    I hear there are lots of regulations now and modern facilities arn’t so bad – but all that pain cooped
    up in the same building – it has to do awful things to the karma. I’ve seen pictures of old crumbling
    sanitorums – floors covered with ferns. They look somehow more inviteing and at peace, then those
    in operation. Hospitals are the same way.

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