“The miracle wasn’t that the statues were crying,
it was in the amount of people who undoubtedly
believed that they were witnessing one.”
The beatific aura reserved for the white-coated nurses disappears. One quacking lady encourages me to eat my identification papers. She calls it evidence. I need them as a reminder because I am too tranquil to remember what my name is, where I am, and most of all, why in God’s name I’m here. She squawks something about a sedative and then scares me so badly with her gnarled hair and faintest resemblance to my mother that I flush them down the toilet. The fluorescents hum like angels’ wings and I can see my reflection in the glare of the bowl. No one asks me anything about the papers. I destroyed something that wasn’t significant enough to exist.
I steal away to the dim-lit chapel. A man is mumbling and moving his hand repeatedly. He appears to be brushing something invisible away. I saw him earlier in a common room of sorts. He sat at a round table and crowds gathered near him and his hand was like a crystal ball that held everyone’s future. They stared at it like it told their deepest, darkest secrets. Occasionally, he would yell out something coherent but seemingly random.
“Get that girl a glass of water!”
It was no coincidence though. I was thirsty and needed no more proof of his claircognizant ability. I didn’t utter a word to him then and I now pray that he doesn’t notice me. His hand still flutters, sashaying all of his concerns away to the altar.
Outside, there is a lady in a white nightgown who hovers amidst the trees. I start to follow her but our sentinels call me back. Copies of the same woman smoking a cigarette with her hair wrapped up in a towel sit on the rows and rows of park benches and I am the only traveler on this foggy road that winds between them. The white-gowned ghost just watches. The sentinels once said the saints would keep me safe by just watching.
I can’t sleep because figures keep hovering in the doorway and my wrists and ankles are so sore from being restrained earlier. The bruises will probably match the circles under my eyes and that will have to be ok. The lady in the night gown sleeps in a bed next to me, and only then do I believe she is real.
I’m in the bathroom trying to fish my papers out of the drain in the sink. I think if I keep flushing the toilet that somehow the papers will work their way through the pipes and float up to the sink so all of my sorrowful mysteries will be solved. I believe this is what I should do. I believe I know everything about how plumbing and the entire universe works.
I hear a voice behind me saying a name. She’s chanting it and it’s echoing. Her incantation grows more loud and frustrated. She looks like Whoopi Goldberg and she waves a syringe like a magic wand. The potion inside of it makes me tired as she casts her spell over me. One pinprick is all it takes and I am as weak as Sleeping Beauty at the spinning wheel, crushed under the dragon’s curse. I doubt that there will be anyone coming to rescue me. Not from this dungeon of my own doing. She puts me to bed and I have a tiny epiphany before the nightmares drag me away. The name she recited was mine.
“It’s a miracle, isn’t it?
That you survived.”
© Jennifer Patino (2016)