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He Made Me Vanish - Yuliana Sierra Cabrera

The Window

Time was never clear. In the windowless ward, there was no way of telling, other than clocks scattered around the unit. She didn’t trust them– they were too precise. Despite her discontent, she still found peace in an empty room, opposite the dining hall. It was hard to relax with everyone yelling and laughing at re-runs of Miami Ink. The girl sat, eating her gelatin cup, the snack they always gave the hour before exercise. Another patient crashed down beside her.

“Hey, you gonna talk or something?” The boy laughed.


She knew this boy. He did nothing but laugh, even when facing trouble he caused around the facility. With every other step he tripped over his pants, and though there were no belts in the ward, he would’ve refused one anyway.

“Whatcha in for?”

“What are you in for?”

“Fair enough." He nodded. “Drugs.”

“What kind?”

His eyes lit up. “Heroin. I was so messed up, I thought I had bugs in my skin. I did it once and OD’d. I love pot though, that’s the stuff.” He leaned the chair on its back legs, “So, whatcha in for?”

“Suicidal thoughts.”

“It’s always drugs or suicide, ain’t it?”

She thought about this for a moment. “Or homicide. Someone’s in here for that.”

He laughed, and this annoyed her. She was trapped there, all the rooms full of loud patients and watchful nurses.

“Why do you wanna die, though? I mean, life ain’t that bad.”

“If life isn’t so bad, why do you wanna get high all the time?”

“People catch you once with a needle in your arm and suddenly you’re an addict.” He leaned forward, the legs of his chair hitting the floor. “I gotta therapist here now, and I’m starting to see things. My mom raised me by herself, I never really realized how much that hurt.” He gave her a friendly smile. “What’s the worst thing to happen to you?”

“My dad ran over my cat once.”

“You shouldn’t be here!”

She didn’t have a perfect life, but it was far from awful. She had both parents. She lived in a nice house. They had a maid who cleaned every week. She went to a private school. But sometimes behind the crack in the window of the neatly kept house is a den of vipers.

“I hate everything about this place,” she said, bending the plastic in her hands.

“Why? I kinda like it, it’s better than home.”

“Because they make you take your meds, and follow orders. They tell you what you are and what you aren’t. You come in here a perfectly healthy person, and suddenly you’re ‘bipolar,’ or ‘borderline,’ or some other label. You can’t be trusted with anything. Labels have no rights.”

“Maybe it’s because they want you to focus on getting better. You don’t have to worry about when to take a pill or what to eat for lunch or when to go to bed because they tell you. You’re protected from everything, especially rights.”

She loosened her grip on the plastic cup.

“What’s your name?” he said.

A pitter patter of hells came storming down the hall.

“You have permission to go to the gym today,” the nurse said, scanning a clip board.

Her companion laughed again. “What about me?”

“You need to be on level three, you know the rules.”

“I’ll be good!”

The nurse rolled her eyes and motioned for the girl to follow. Today, she would leave the boundaries of her unit, a victory. On her walk, she passed a small window, stopped and gazed out. The sky had turned gray; the rain poured down in turrets. Animals who felt the storm coming were nowhere to be found, and people were rushing, tumbling with umbrellas and jackets, running towards doors. She stood there, aching to splash in the puddles.

He Made Me Vanish by Yuliana Sierra Cabrera from Vantage

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