Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sin... Cindy of the Harp...

Don't judge a book by its cover.

That's what they say. What you see is not necessarily what you get. 'Cos he looks like a slob, doesn't mean he's a yob. 'Cos she looks like a tart doesn't preclude her having a heart. Because he acts like a prick doesn't mean he's got a small problem with over-compensation.

But it also doesn't mean that he hasn't, he isn't and she has.

The slob could be spending all his benefits on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs and could wake his son in the morning with a slap and send him to bed at night with a kick. The girl who dresses in skin-tight skirts with an identity crisis over whether or not they're belts and heels that a Sherpa would fear scaling, could quite easily be the estate bike who pays for her slobbish husband's alcohol, cigarette and drug habits by allowing all and sundry to park in her.

And Dr. Connors could, quite easily, be an eminently professional psychiatrist who believes the needs of his patients are paramount.

Well, yes. Indeed.

Jersey, the orderly who's so oily he could be an ecological disaster, is a slimy upstart who thinks all should bow down before him. Or, in the case of the female patients, kneel. Jeremy has kind eyes and a kind heart.

Mucous Mickey is mental - to be blunt but honest. Caroline had the grace of the lead in Swan Lake and the temperament to match.

And Connors likes to use a syringe. Enough said, no?

But, they do say, don't judge the book by the cover. Them's dangerous words.

Cindy, so she told us, liked to play the harp. When young, she wanted to be an angel. When older, a harp was the closest she could come without sitting on a cloud and growing a pair of wings. Given that we weren't allowed musical instruments other than pretending, in some cases, that the floor was the drum and the head was the stick, this was an unproven fact. But Cindy had an air about her that lifted you when you were in her presence. You were almost enlightened around her. If she actually did strum the strings of a harp, the notes would positively float.

As such, people gravitated towards her. She was the sun to the vacuum of the asylum and bodies not so heavenly were drawn to the way they felt when they stood next to or orbited her.

Though some would call it stalking.

It seemed that nothing could faze this ethereal being. She held her poise whilst crowded by the patients who couldn't help but want that drugless lift only she could give. She didn't flinch when Jersey pawed her and tried to have her kneel before his mighty sword. Total calm emanated from Cindy the harpist at all times.

Then Jersey called her 'his chick'.

He needed three stitches to his left eye. To my knowledge, the middle finger of his right hand was never straight again. And Cindy lay in a heap on the floor with blood pooling from her nose and bloodshot eyes staring at the ceiling.

She hated crowds. She hated to be touched. She couldn't bear to be within five feet of any person. She lived alone and had food delivered and left at her front door. She didn't go out in case someone bumped into or touched her. Contaminated her. Tainted her.

Apparently. So the orderlies said to each other when they thought we weren't listening - which was always. They said she was a hermit. A weirdo - fitted right in here.

In here, they didn't say but I knew, she didn't have the luxury of solitude. She only had the contamination she was so afraid of. So she turned inward. She pulled her fear inside and locked it away. Cindy's whole body held its breath, and her aura of tranquility was the result. Her collapse, her death, was nothing to do with me, I know that much. I do believe, however, that it was her escape. Her brain cried out just as she should have done long ago.

And it echoed out through her nose and the bood vessels in her eyes.

You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. You really shouldn't. I thought Cindy was the eye of the storm. I thought she was the calm before the calamity.

I was wrong.

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