Alberta screamed as she was suddenly stung from a hive of bees flying out of the phone that buzzed by as she held the receiver by her right ear. The sting stung more than it hurt, and somehow it contained some type of venom that caused her to flash back to yet another faraway yet too near place.
In this other world Alberta's mom still was alive. The tradeoff was that Alberta found herself confined to a less than real mental hospital. Sure she could leave but only if she signed some papers that said the staff didn't recommend that she did so and instead recommended that she was a candidate to zaps to the brain, electroshock therapy that was sure to guarantee short term memory loss in favor of a need to forget the recent past.
In her real world Alberta constantly found herself at odds with what was going on. She somehow always wanted to go back yet she didn't. She saw herself as a hyper-sensitive superhero prone to being aware of all that was going on around her even if no one else save for the lone red-head was. Her gift of memory was just as much a curse as a blessing. Go explain that to your drug prescribing nearby neighborhood analyst.
If only she could let go, if only she could come to trust all that went before. Far be it for her to make fun of the suffering she heard existed for others- nope she would always relate- still she couldn't see a reciprocal arrangement exists for her need and convenience. On her way home from the hospital Alberta's mom says the kindest thing anyone has ever said to her. "I've always loved how during our during the most difficult times in our family how you're the one who always knows what to say to make everyone laugh," she said.
When he told her that he loved her but could never be in love with her, the walls crashed and Alberta just knew she'd never feel the same way ever again. In place of passion a numbness appeared and unlike that so called much ballyhooed breakdown she realized it wasn't a matter of feeling too much it was a matter of not being able to feel much of anything. Therapy was recommended by a close friend who didn't know any better. But the last bout of that route led Alberta to feel different from others in that group therapy she found herself in; she wasn't trying to get in touch with her feelings, she was trying not to feel as close to her feelings.
A week into the hospitalization after the sting Alberta had gotten used to the florescent light on the wall above her bed's pillow being kept on all night and the hourly check in from a nurse during the night. What she hadn't gotten used to was Lloyd, a fellow patient constantly strolling up and down the hallway. And Alberta wasn't sure what to make of the day she was brought down to the arts room to try her hand at homemade leather work or pottery.
Ten years after her last writing class Alberta found herself taking another with a new friend who hadn't been around (or very old) when another world existed. The class required that each participant read and/or share a couple of pieces of work with the others. In one of such efforts Alberta found herself writing about the death of her mother and the subsequent death of her cat who had played such a prominent role in helping Alberta deal with the loss of the one who had always believed so deeply in her abilities, in her abilities to mend her own ways. She showed the piece to a friend who said it wasn't as advertised, it wasn't about her cat. So Alberta went out of her way and deleted the part about her mother.
Alberta had to make a choice. What place did she belong and more importantly what place did she want to remain? She was no superhero yet she was tired of the constant self inflicted suffering. Where did her friends and family fit in? Alberta saw the look in her mother's eyes as she let go. She knew where she was and where she would always be at. Ultimately the choice didn't make her feel any better, any more comfortable.