Me And My Shadow

Chris Truman found himself on the fifth floor of Catholic General Hospital. He had fallen ill at work, overwhelmed by the frenetic pace of his position as a shipping and receiving clerk. Doctors admitted him without a second thought.

The patients on his wing had no names. They went (for insurance purposes) by their DSM-IV codes alone. Many had a number of issues. The staff dispatched their fears with pills. Most were government approved.

One patient played the piano and sang in the recreation room every night. He was full of energy and carried a lively tune. Truman wrote a poem in awe of his stage presence. He preferred Robert over 296.40 and told the artist so.

Truman didn’t care for diagnoses. He had enough problems. What was he after all? He wasn’t clever enough to play the role of doctor. He felt unlike a normal patient. Truman, in a flash of insight, convinced himself that he was Catholic General. Concrete and studs, glass and bricks. The structure itself, housing many levels of pain. Just out the window, what a shadow he cast.

He was everywhere he went. The world he fit inside his head. Thoughts defying logic, refusing to be held. He was full of material, a mix of chemicals. So many words with nothing to say.

As he lay in bed Truman contemplated his current project. How to begin the next chapter on his fictional friend Chuck Snoad? He’d be discharged eventually. What did all this mean? How did Truman’s struggles with the Sadness and the Nerves speak to his character?

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