Correspondence pigmented archival print 2013
prescript to a treatment
The year is 2034
The small blue haired first mate whispered into the Chief’s ear so thoughtfully, "Don’t worry captain, all’s well. It doesn’t have to make sense for it to work. It’s all part of the plan."
The captain knew his kind assistant was right. He knew they’d moved too far out and been through too many perplexities for the whole thing to feel clear to him in moments like this. The key was to stay out of the way and to let it be. He returned to his breath as he surveyed the sprawling instrument screens before him scanning for anomalies. He reconnected to his prayers which because of his many years of training now went on independent of conscious effort. The huge black ship slid on through the night sky as most of the passengers and crew lay nestled like newborns wrapped in lambs wool, symmetrically arranged in their cocoon-like travel chambers. They were linked by their dreams. They all dreamed of the new world toward which they moved, silently and weightlessly.
The year is 1980
He was a stranger even among them and they were all cloistered away from the world most know. Some rarely left their rooms. Some were catatonic never uttering a word. His first year was marked by a skyless indoor summer followed by holiday meals on trays. The food was good enough but the emptiness was numbing. He became adept at small talk, backgammon and spades. He fell in love with the doctors, Buddha-like characters from faraway lands who seemed to know so much of other worlds. They filled the atmosphere of the room with their presence. Especially, he adored the sage, the Section Chief, Dr. Dean Collins. He was a large and subtle man with a constant gleam and a deep, sublime silence. Dr. Collins loved them as only a saint could. His unwavering compassion and joy made for a space of reassurance that was the foundation for the unit's millue. In many ways, Menninger's was defined by compassionate community and such men were the founders. And there was Dr. Bequer Benalcazar who was instantly recognized for his vibe and who had the eyes of a child. He came from South America and could be dark, cunning and grave then occaisionally given to the abandon of a boy. Unpredictable, shape-shifting, carrying the charge of a chamán, he was a most magnificent man. The black haired magician lead him to the mountaintop over the course of the first year only to vanish to Switzerland, leaving him alone with God and under the supervision of an elegant and rather severe Jewish Doctor named Howard Osofsky…
Then there were the sad ones. Lost souls like little Victor from British Columbia, the son of concentration camp survivors. He hung himself in his closet to bury their suffering while the group was gone to the gymnasium for movie night. There was sleepy eyed John who also hung himself only weeks after returning home after two and one-half years there. There was Sam, who was generally loathed by the others for being pompous and overdressed and forever posing. One afternoon, he threw himself in front of a car. There was Becky who was endearingly simple and quiet, though her medications had caused obesity, robbing her of her one time cheerleader looks. She had the brightest gold eyes anyone has ever seen and could seem rather normal until situations where she would stop and pick up things off the ground and put them in her mouth. There was Thad, who looked Nordic and who spent months at a time in restraints. Dr. Nathan had run out of options having already maxed out the clinical limit of Thorazine im of 1500mg. He'd become riled when he found that he'd been omitted unjustly from the current TV Guide. One day they let him out of his binds and he ran through a huge, purportedly impregnable glass door. There were numerous others. He had found himself in the middle of the most colorful of communities. Children of the ultra rich, professional geniuses from all over the world and many for whom this place was quite literally, the last resort.
He knew he would live on. His awakening gave him hope. The trickster had been brought down over his first 10 months resulting in a sort of excorcism accompanied by a thunderous emotional display. Some of the patients would from that day forward, distance themselves. Byron Fry, a smart and wise Art Therapist who'd worked very closely with him and who was in the team meeting that afternoon, told him years after that was the day his life changed. Months later he moved into a sort of two month long conemplative drift resulting in an overwhelming light experience and a breathtaking series of visions and illuminations. Upon this set of moments that were to continue for 14 days, he witnessed inexplicable things so profuse and scaled that there simply are no words. He found Life to be unimaginably different than he could have anticipated--yet utterly familiar. When he met God, it was much different than he could have ever expected. The Universe is much vaster and scarier…and tenderer and more immediate than most will really ever know. If you meet Reality like this, you probably won't have too many people to compare notes with. And if it's a joyous event, it won't be entirely.
He left the clinic decades ago. Like wounds that can never stop bleeding, now he is free.