As Real as it Gets

A few weeks ago I couldn’t sleep. I paced around the ward, them eventually went upstairs, which we are not really allowed to do at night, but I couldn’t face seeing the same dull scenery.

Upstairs I stared longingly at the exit, then reluctantly plonked myself down on a couch.

“Bad night?” I suddenly heard from beside me. I looked around and there was a guy there. Rough as guts type of guy, with a black eye, stitches in his eyebrow but a surprisingly kind face.

“I guess” I said, not really in the mood for conversation.

But somehow we started to talk. His story is not mine to tell, but I felt for him. It was the first time I had talked to anyone beyond pleasantries, and I was surprised at how much I revealed.

A hassled nurse eventually appeared. “So here are the two missing patients,” he grumbled.

After the nurse left, I remarked “don’t you think he looked like Brian May?”

“I don’t know…I think he kind of looked like Jesus.”

We burst out laughing.

We decided it was time to placate the nurses and head to bed, when suddenly I had a horrible thought.

“You are real aren’t you?” I asked, panicked.
“Real?! Are you serious?!” he asked, half amused.
“I’m in a psychiatric hospital and I have psychosis. I just wanted to make sure I haven’t been talking to myself for the last hour”

He smiled kindly, then put his hand on my shoulder.
“I’m as real as it gets.”

I never saw him again.

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