I've started writing this post atleast three times now. I don't like talking about this part of my life, and I'll skip over the boring details. The inside of a mental wing in a hospital is about a thousand miles away from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. It's quiet, it's furnished like a Holiday Inn circa 1973, everyone else there seems normal, there are no strait jackets or padded rooms. Although a few days into my stay there, I actually laughed when the shrink said he was going to give me a Rorschach test, thinking he was kidding. He wasn't. I remember one of the ink blots looked like two circus ponies dancing on their hind legs. I never even found out what the results were, or what they said about me.
On the second night of my incarceration, a new patient was admitted across the hall from me. I saw a crowd of kids from the high school I currently attended, all very preppy and permed and Letter Jacketed. I knew none of them. These were the Popular Kids, whose parents were rich and owned houses in the hills and bought their kids cars for their birthdays. I craned my head around to try and get a peek of who the new loony was. At the same exact time, I saw a face looking back at me with the same frank curiosity. It was a boy, blond and blue eyed and perfect. I sort of new him. His name was Chad, because of course it was. I kid you fucking not, Mr. All American Chad, who was on the football team and dated a cheerleader and drove a sporty red car. Our eyes met for a second, and then a tall girl with perfectly permed hair stepped in between us and the moment was over.
This is the part in the YA Fiction novel where Chad and I connect, and end up dating like a Breakfast Club mismatch couple and live happily ever after. Um, yeah...no. Chad was not my type, nor was I his. And I know all of this sounds too perfect and straight out of a bad novel, but it's 100% true, I promise you.
Unlikely as it was, we did become friends. He came over the next morning and stood in my doorway and said "Hi, don't you go to our high school, omg you're That Girl who tried to kill herself aren't you, I'm Chad blahblahblah." I asked him what he was doing there.
He shrugged. "I tried to kill myself."
"Why?" I asked. "You're popular and everyone likes you."
Turns out Chaddy was flunking out of school and was desperate to keep his parents from finding out. They had big plans for their All American Boy: college, degrees, big money and prestige. But Chad was about to flunk his Junior year, so he threw a handful of pills down his throat and attempted to follow me into the void. We both failed, and here we were.
Chad's mannequin parents sprung him from the joint as soon as they possibly could (and preferably before their Bridge Club found out) and I had the distinct displeasure of meeting them briefly. They were taut and uptight and looked at me the way one looks at a cockroach on a birthday cake and in their Oh So Elegant Way told me that they would prefer I didn't mention to anyone that I had seen Chad there, or even knew him. Even at the age of fifteen, I knew pretentious assholes when I saw them, and I felt sorry for Chad. No wonder he'd tried to check out.
Chad and I actually remained friends afterwards. He would give me rides home from school and stop to talk to me in the halls, which caused some of the bullies to back off a bit, but not all of them, and not for very long. And years later, I did manage to connect with him again. He'd become an EMT, inspired by our time together as suicidal teens. He'd married and had a daughter. He'd also turned into a huge, loudmouthed Trump supporter and I finally unfriended him on Facebook because I was sick of reading his badly spelled posts about "faggots" and "SJW's" and other such ignorant crap. I was massively disappointed that he'd turned into such a narrow-minded, bigoted creature, but I try to remember that, for a short time, he had been a good guy and a friend to me when no one else was.