Pass The Parcel

Entry by: Scooter

23rd December 2015
Pass The Parcel

I remember when I was a prize. Revered.
Carefully passed around the room from one pair of warm loving arms to the next to the tune of soft cooing voices.

Doting eyes stared down at me as I kicked my chubby legs to free them from the blanket. I grasped at intriguing golden strands of hair that came within reach of my fat fists, and the heads they were attached to bowed closer in laughing indulgence at my innocent exploration.

Now as I sit on a stiff leather couch in a different, yet ultimately familiar office, I wonder once more when exactly it had all changed for me. When did my original shiny polish start to peel and crack? Why had the lights in those adoring eyes faded?

Another grey professional asks me the usual questions.

"So Mr Radly...James. May I call you James? You've been referred to me by Velma Johnston. And before that you were a patient of Dr Greg Salemter, is that correct?"

I nod almost imperceptibly as my attention is drawn to the wall behind him. Another slightly tilted dusty degree hangs there, the knowledge it stood for so far in the distant past that he might as well have his grade three school report framed beside it.

"And the files they have sent indicate you have a long history of anger and depression, but also that you are unwilling to take medication?"

I feel the rising lava swell and turn look into his watery eyes. "It's always about the drugs for you people isn't it? Are you all on some sort of incentive scheme? Sign up ten sad losers to the latest chemical shitstorm and you get a free golfing weekend or something?"

He raises his eyebrows slightly and a small knot of lines appears between them. Clearly he does not take kindly to having his motives questioned – either that or he fears I'm not going to assist him in reaching his quota. He works with practiced care to resume a neutral expression and I soften and remember why I am here. I need to unwrap the layers of fear and grief and I can't manage it alone.

"Look, I don't want a synthesised lobotomy. I just want help. Can you help me or not?"

He writes a note in the file and then looks at me. A cocky smile, far more suited to a younger face appears.

"I think so James. After all that's what you are paying me for."

Over time a trust builds. Through endless reflection another sheet of my wrapping slowly peels away in this room, as it has in every other before it until they changed their minds and decided they'd rather wrap me up again, even tighter than before, in diagnostic labels and foil blister packaging.

Each session I start to feel closer to the lost child who lies beneath the layers. Maybe one day this game of Pass The Parcel will end and I will finally be free. Maybe one day soon the last piece of stiff paper will fall and the tiny boy will feel warm arms holding him once more.

I can feel myself getting closer, the end of the game draws nearer, and I am worthy. I can win. I am a prize.

The watery eyes which have begun to represent a warm bath to me, take on a look of serious concern and I feel an unexpected urge to run.

"James, I can see we've made a great deal of progress these last few months, but given that you are still unable to function effectively in society, I think it's time we revisited the idea of medication."

The layers return and the music starts up again.