Jake paced the room. Tim watched him out of the corner of his eye. He had missed Jake. He had missed him quite a bit. He turned and looked directly
at his brother, and was suddenly overcome with the urge to sit him down, look him in the face, and say things that didn't make sense. Caught up in that urge was an overwhelming desire
for Jake to understand
every last thing he said, to comprehend
, completely and exactly, just what it was Tim was trying to get across with all his nonsense
. Tim knew better however, and remained sitting on the edge
of the bed, doing his best to hold it in.
Finally, Jake's feet seemed to catch up with his brain, and he stopped pacing.
"Huh?" Tim said. Only his brother called him Timmy
"Well, I mean... What I'm trying to say is..." Jake struggled with the words, the questions mounting in his head, and gave up. "Christ
man! I thought you were still at school"
"Huh-uh. I came back early"
"Well how long have you been back?"
Creases developed in the skin across Tim's brow. For a few moments, he simply sat, staring down at the floor between his feet.
"I'm not sure
. Maybe a month, maybe two?"
"Jesus." Jake tossed his arms up, more in confusion
. He turned about a few times, looking desperately arond him, like a man searching for a handhold at the top of a cliff. "How long have you been in here?"
"Ah." Tim held up a finger "That one, I know
. Five days. I think
. You may want to check with the nurse to be sure
"Jesus Tim, how did you end up here? and why am I only finding out about it now? and.. and.. Shit Man! What the hell is going on?!"
Tim propped his elbows on his knees and dropped his head into a pair of upturned and shaking hands.
"Look Jake, I don't know what's going on exactly. For the first three days I was here I wasnt' coherent enough for anything
. Do you understand that Jake? for anything
"Well, yeah, I guess, but.. Not really. It's just that-"
"Jake" Tim's voice was soft and drawn out. "I'm feeling surprisingly lucid
at the moment. With the drugs I have these brief times between la-la land and overwhelming brain blend
, when I can actually communicate. It's fading right now though, Jake, so please don't do this. It can wait. What I really need to say is.. er.." Tim looked around hopelessly. How do you say something that they don't make words for. "Have you ever had a really bad paper cut?
" He finally asked.
. I think the drugs are really starting to wear off. I've got maybe fifteen more minutes of useful functioning, and then a good hour before they come in and dope me up again
. God Jake, It fades so quickly."
"I'm sorry Timmy, I really am." Jake sat down next to him on the bed. "You gotta understand how worried I am though, man. I never expected this." He sighed. "Is there anything I can do
"Yeah," Tim replied. "One thing."
Jake nodded his head.
"Get out of here before I lose it again." Seeing the look of protest on his brother's face, he added "please."
Jake stood slowly. "Alright, I'll go, but when can I come back tomorrow?"
"I've got your number. I'll call when I feel well enough."
Jake frowned. "Okay then, Timmy. I'll see you tomorrow." He patted his brother on his shoulder and left. Timmy just sat and stared out the window.
Jake walked slowly out of the psychiactric ward
, past a desk where a couple of big, stern-looking nurses were busy ignoring the patients
in the common area. By the door was a table at which a man sat counting a deck of cards out into five neatly stacked piles. As Jake passed, the man looked up at him with hollow eyes.
"Little help, buddy?
Jake shivered and stepped quickly out into the hall, and darted into an elevator which had just opened, brushing past the daydreaming intern who had been waiting for it. The intern was still in the hall, a slightly bewildered
look on his face, when Jake pressed the door-close and parking deck buttons as quickly as he could. He thought he heard a brief "Hey" from the intern as the doors slid shut, but he didn't care. The last thing he wanted right now was to be stuck in a giant metal box with a complete stranger