It was in and out, day and night. When I was awake I was far away from myself. I could hear Charlie crying and then he was calling me "ma ma." I could hear him, but really his voice couldn't reach me. Sometimes, I would wake with a terrible headache, and Jeff's voice was there. His eyes just above me; he was holding me down. My feeling and thoughts made me weary and most of my experience was tired or unconscious.
One night I woke, really woke. I came to my senses and I felt alert. I remembered my name and then my mind immediately turned to Charlie. My arms felt so empty and the aching in my heart was unbearable. Being separated was a slow draining of my blood. I was going to die. I cried into my pillow and called his name over and over.
"Eve?" a voice whispered. I was in a room with eight beds. They were all metal framed, painted white. The mattress beneath me was thin and flat. I was covered with only a scratchy wool blanket. I moved to roll over and face the voice that had called my name. The floor was shiny tile and there were no rugs. I could see two large windows with metal mesh covering them. It was dark outside. It was nighttime. The lights were out in the room, but the bright light from the hallway flickered and caused the room to take on alternating dim white then a sickening blue hue. It was a predictable rhythm and it left me uneasy.
I turned and looked at the woman. She was in her 30's. She had dark brown hair, tied back. She looked strong and healthy.
"Yes?" I whispered, now trembling again, my voice soft and hoarse.
"Eve, you have to stop crying."
"I wasn't crying."
"Eve, every time you wake you scream and cry."
"I don't remember."
"Eve, the nurses are giving you medication. They won't stop until you stop crying."
"I can't." I whispered and started moaning, louder and louder.
'Stop!" she said harshly.
Her manner with me surprised me and stopped me from continuing to cry louder.
"Eve. When you wake up and are calm, I will tell you what to do. But, if you keep crying and screaming. It will get worse. They'll start other treatments. Once they think you're emotions are managed, the doctor will meet with you. You have to impress upon them that you are getting better. So manage your emotions."
"I can't see my baby."
"I know," she said.
"No you don't. There was a man who hated me. I tried to do what he asked, but I couldn't so he made this happen. He did this."
"Eve. Look around you, every woman in this room, every woman in this ward. Everywoman in this hospital was put here by a man. Some of the women were dropped off by their husbands who didn't want them any more. They're never leaving here."
I looked up at her then I turned and cried into my pillow. My cries turned to sobs. In no time I heard footsteps on the hard tile floor. Two nurses entered the room. Their white dresses and nurses' caps reflected the white-blue flickering light.
"You can't get a hold of yourself Missy. What is wrong with you?" The other nurse pushed hard on my shoulders while the other tried to put the needle in my arm.
I turned towards at the woman in the bed next to me, the one who had spoken to me. She was pretending to be sleeping.
"No!" I yelled as the nurse tried to medicate me. I screamed. I sat up and syringe went flying. As I did the other nurse rushed out of the room and returned instantly with two attendants, large men in white uniforms. I was struggling and screaming "No. I want my baby! Give me Charlie!" The two men approached the bed, one on each side and held my arms while a nurses held my legs. I felt straps around my wrists and the more I struggled, the more they cut into my arms. Then they strapped my ankles.
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Exuberance Is Beauty (Book 1)Historical Fiction
(Featured Story 2016 & 2017) Oregon, 1940s: Eve Miller, a young war widow, rebels against the ordinariness of womanhood in the post-war era. Eve is enlightened as she succumbs to the sensual temptation of an adulterous affair. In its aftermath, Eve...