Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The car was silent as we turned onto the driveway. I was apprehensive about seeing the hospital, for some reason images of the movie The Snake Pit kept running through my head, but I started to relax as we rolled along the tree-lined drive. The place has a resort atmosphere to it, vaulted ceilings lend an airy feel and high windows throw dazzling sunlit patterns on the corridor walls. Brian and I head to the receptionist desk to get directions to Lauren’s room. I can tell he's nervous. We follow the squelch, squelch, squelch of the nurse’s shoes on the tiled floor. The heavy door opens and she is asleep, her coppery hair spread out on the stark white pillowcase like a fiery fan. It is hard for me to reconcile this sleeping angel with the crazed woman rocking back and forth in my living room. Her father motions for us to follow him out into the hallway. I have problems focusing on what he is saying, psychotic episode, powerful anti-psychotic drugs, should be able to lead a normal life. Brian and I nod like frightened children as we realize this is a chronic condition and she is very likely to have another episode.
Lauren is released from the hospital a week later and she decided to move back to her father’s house for awhile. This upsets me, but I know it is for the best. Visiting her on a regular basis, she is heavily medicated and I notice a dullness has crept into her voice. They’re still trying to find the proper dosages for my medication she says. She visits her psychiatrist routinely and slowly as if being pulled through a dense fog, I start seeing glimpses of my Lauren, the ready smile, goofy laugh and her quick wit. Her father helps her get a good job with the city and she does very well. Life seems to be pushing her along to a bright future and Brian has stayed with her through the good and the bad.
One weekend the three of us go out to lunch and they surprise me with the news of their engagement. She asks me to be her Maid of Honor and I see how happy she is and any misgivings I have fall away and I gladly accept. They have a small ceremony six months later and she is radiant as she walks down the aisle. Small white flowers cascade from her glowing red hair and her dress is simple, except for the intricate lace work on the bodice. As she approaches the altar she squeezes my hand and whispers best friends forever. I smile and nod as she turns to face Brian. All goes smoothly and I cry a little as they exchange rings. The reception is full of dancing and drunken merriment that lasts well into the wee hours of the morning. I give Lauren and Brian a hug as the leave for the airport for a quiet honeymoon in Belize. Any worry of another episode is firmly pushed from my mind as I watch her laugh and wave from the car window.
to be continued...
copyright Sherry Obsheatz