Two days later they told me that my husband, Fred, also did not exist. That’s when I rose up out of my bed and lost it. I yanked an IV needle out of my arm, hearing it rip my skin, and sank the long silver thing into Dr. Madison’s left temple. He had white hair and grey whiskers from an incomplete aging process.
But I let him know, standing there, screaming on my bed, how I thought a child must have felt after being left outside in the yard too long, then pouring himself down a forgotten, bottomless well. I was powerless to save him, to save myself, or to save Dr. Madison. Blood trickled around his black-rimmed eyeglasses. I stepped on these glasses and he did not stare at me anymore.
At trial, in the Judge’s oak-built courtroom, attorneys drank water from two little silver pitchers in paper cups and wanted to know why I lived in an abandoned old house, anyway. I told them the truth: my mother raised me in that house, until she and the angry man she slept with left. I couldn’t go with them, so I stayed at the house, eating tomatoes and some peppers out of the garden and playing with sticks until Fred came into my life, into my forest, and we had a child.
“Faida,” the lawyer said, in sharp black suit, “you are ill.”
Then he went off on a long speech I didn’t understand, so I shut him up by wailing one word: Jason. He looked around. But I didn’t say anything more until they shackled me in a pure white asylum. No dirty leaves were there, no cleaning up after Jason’s bath, no holding Fred’s hand any more. Why was it so clean there?
A gnarled old woman listened to this tale with pity in her watery blue eyes. She reached out a gentle hand to stroke mine during socialization time. “You are the dirty one,” she said. I cried on her shoulder.
Someday I will wash my hands and go find Jason’s body. His presence haunts my dreams, and I know he existed. The only way to heal the way things truly are is to prove that I have changed myself. When I am released, I will look in the well for him. But for now, Jason does not exist.
About Jana Gifford:
I am on the Dean’s List at Ashford University. During quiet times, I enjoy reading about psychology and mysterious happenings.
Currently, I am crafting a graphic novel called The Involuntary Vow of Silence, which is coming in June from iUniverse. Also, I am collaborating with a film director from The Art Institute in Portland on a certain script. Slake your thirst for perspective at www.janagifford.blogspot.com