The Clinic: Part One

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'Can we have your suitcase, please?'

Brian knew this moment was going to take place sooner or later. He already had been dreading it while signing the required paperwork and listening to the speech of the strict looking secretary concerning what would happen if he was to break one of the many rules and conditions that made up the sixteen pages long handout he had been given. And now that the administrative part of his admission had been taken care of and the two wardens had been searching his pockets for drugs or weapons and the like, there was nothing left to do for the men in uniform to check his suitcase for items to confiscate on the grounds of them being inappropriate, dangerous, or not allowed to go through those heavily secured doors and into the clinic for whatever other reason.

'Come on, Brian. Give them your suitcase,' his father's voice suddenly popped up from behind him when Brian did not show any sign of going to obey to this question anywhere soon. Had it not been for the man speaking up now, Brian was positive he might have forgotten about his parents' presence in the room; they had been quiet nearly all the way through this procedure, only nodding and saying 'yes' and 'amen' with everything the secretary sitting at the desk in the lobby of Queen Mary's Psychiatric Clinic was telling them. While Brian found himself wanting to run straight out of the building with every new rule or regulation the woman mentioned, his parents seemed to be all too happy to agree to all the terms and conditions of their son's stay here. It would have looked like they were glad to be rid of him, if Brian hadn't been aware that they had called sending him away one of the hardest decisions of their lives.

With visible reluctance, Brian handed the suitcase over to the man standing next to him, who thanked him politely before putting it down on the and opening the clasps. There was not much inside of it; some clothes, some sanitary products like his toothbrush and shaving razor (which was soon confiscated on the grounds of being too dangerous, leaving Brian with the question how the hell he was going to make himself look decent without the help of a regular shaving razor). On top of this the suitcase contained a few books, some paper, and his pencil case, of out which they removed a pair of scissors and adhesive tape for the same reason as the one they had used to take his shaving razor away from him. There had not been much more he had been taken with him than these few products; he didn't need much, and the only thing he really did want to take with him, his guitar, had been rejected beforehand on the ground that this would cause 'too much disturbance for sensitive clients' - and, once again, the supposed threat to safety the instrument could form. The first reason Brian had found somewhat reasonable - with God knew how many mentally ill people staying in here, it could turn out a chaos if everyone would randomly start playing instruments - but the second reason seemed nonsensical to him. What did they think he was going to do with his guitar? Hit someone over the head with it? Poke it through the window and escape through the hole? Cut off the guitar strings and strangle himself with it? How could he possibly even do this, now that they had taken his scissors away?

Still, even though there hardly was anything in the suitcase, let alone something he should feel ashamed about bringing into this place, the reluctance and uncomfortable feelings remained when Brian saw the two wardens going through the contents of his case. He had always appreciated his privacy and right not to have other people interfere with his personal businesses and belongings, but today, there was more that only this that added up to him not wanting other people to look through his property. It was as if the suitcase contained the last thing he owned at this point in time. Everything else had been taken away from him on the grounds of the safety of himself and others; his home, his education, his contact with the rest of the world... The items in the suitcase before him were the last things he had immediate access to, and to have other people rush through them and decide for him that he was not even allowed to bring this handful of items into the place he was going to spend quite a while at, stung Brian pretty badly.

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