January 6, 2007

Ana - Aide-mémoire (Chapter 1)

Light streams in steadily from the sky light as she angle's her palm to reflect it off her weary hands. Her fingers catch every dancing beam. Her eyes don't recognise it. She feels a tingly warmth, but is unable to define the feeling. She slowly stands up and treads to the end of her cell, where the railings contain her freedom. 
A tired hand clutches a cold iron bar as she presses her once-lively face against the steel of the metal. She looks far beyond... Witnessing trees, the birds in their homes and a distant sound of somebody sweeping what sounded like crunchy autumn leaves. She recognises nothing. She knows not that birds are birds or that she is even human.

6 a.m.: The warden takes her by the hand and leads her towards the lake. "It's so placid", she thinks. "Such a sharp co-incidence to what this girl's life was". The girl sits down, not aware of the damp earth or pebbles that may hurt. She gazes out into the vastness of the lake, the ripples seem to touch the tip of her feet. With a pebble in her hand, she feels its smoothness. Exploring the ridges along its edges, she holds it as if it were her only play thing. Her only sense of comfort. The child-woman has no care in the world.
8 a.m.: She sits among her fellow inmates at breakfast. Food holds no significance in her life anymore. She cannot taste it on her palate or enjoy its aroma. Her inmates are more violent; they fling morsals around and refuse to eat. She plays with hers. The warden approaches and sits beside her. "Ana" - a nickname. She calls again, but the girl shows no sign of response.


Warden Vera had seen many cases of insanity in the Shorewood Institute of Mental Health. But this one was a mystery. Patients usually got violent at some point. Their lunacy drove them to it. They hurt the guards or themselves in turn. It was rare that an inmate attacked another. It was rarer to see this girl, who seemed in her twenties, not even utter a word since the time she was admitted. She would sit by herself the whole day, playing with inanimate objects. Showing no signs of interest in them. The Prime Minister had visited once, and asked the warden, "These people must go crazy, being in their cells all day long." The Warden replied, " Are you forgetting that you are in an asylum, Prime Minister?" "These people aren't enslaved in their cells... They're enslaved in their minds. They are trapped in their own thoughts and feelings, where no cell can contain them."


Ana stepped out into the warm sunlight, she feels the warmth without knowing it. Nurse Anita guides her to the recreation room. Talking to her... "You see how the sky has cloud formations, Ana?" "It's most fascinating." She points to the sky. Ana looks up, the sun in her eyes, she neither flinches nor looks away. Her eyes see no clouds nor knows the sky.

Nurse Anita was a middleaged woman with soft brown hair and she adored Ana. She liked the quiet childlike nature of the girl, whose face showed signs of a once-upon-a-time brilliance. She nurtured her like a daughter; the Nurse having no children of her own, a choice cliche. She studied Ana, whose body was limp now. She walked with a certain amount of steadiness, but with her head low. The grey hospital gown covered her arms and her hair now pulled back in a neat braid. 
Nurse Anita, who was around her the most, was the only one to notice her dark raven hair that hadn't lost its mirror shine. Ana's hands were smooth and artistic. Even the way she held certain objects gave it so much elegance. But what Nurse Anita liked most about Ana was her inky, coal-black eyes. Eyes that once may have held a myriad of emotions, now showed no warmth or displayed any emotion. It wasn't filled with pain or sorrow. It wasn't an agent of love or joy. No anger. It was like looking into a bottomless pool...

8 comments:

the stygian sailor said...

Don't think she had heard Britney spears sing
"m not a girl m not yet a woman"

Fahad said...

hmmmmm...i KNEW the 'thankyou fahad' would disappear soon...

the stygian sailor said...

u want the Alanis?? take eet the Alanis:-)

TS said...

Excellent, I love the description. Very YOU.

Definitely want to know more!

One suggestion: As a reader, I want to know a little more about the asylum in terms of colours and sizes. But then maybe thats just me.

Oh, and it unnerves me because I know a part of you is living this life.

cunfusion & marmalade said...

well we all have our views...keep writing its beautiful....i dont like overwhelming narratives ....they are too devoid of soul...yet ur good....dont consider me...u were built for fiction....is that a good thing??...ah well dont bother...if u need me i'll be in my coofin..and dont worry i'm not here to impress...just to read...just to read

cunfusion & marmalade said...

coffin*

cunfusion & marmalade said...

coffin*

pure said...

simple language
and nice :-)