This was once a spiral bound notebook I’m transcribing these handwritten words from.
“You can’t have the wire,” she spoke sternly.
I stared blankly at the floor. My eyes moved from the spot on the wall to the floor, tiled like my grade school cafeteria. Visions of cartoned milk and blueberry flavored bagels briefly fluttered across my mind. Writing was the one place I collected and directed my thoughts, where the vast universe behind my face became recognized and organized, and this unfamiliar woman was going to take that space away.
“But don’t worry, we can remove the wiring and string it back together easily,” her sweet Southern tang reached out to me kindly. For a moment it seemed as if I couldn’t formulate words. I thought twelve hundred things in under a second it seemed. I was angry. I wanted to fight this woman I had just met. How dare she steal my liberty I found in writing? I wanted to run away from this place and I wanted to stay simultaneously.
There was a war within me. “But where would I go,” I thought to myself and wracked my brain for options. I thought it was an awful lot of work for some stupid notebook, to rewire the whole thing. But who knows when I’d get another one? Who was this woman? What was her agenda? In the moment I was attempting to discern if these people were safe or a threat. I wasn’t sure yet.
Then she said, “You’re a swimmer? Want a tour–let me show you the pool.”
In this place I lived shoelaces and wires could be used as tools for self-harm, so they had to be removed for all residents safety. I now hold a soft, felt-string bound notebook. I refuse to get rid of it. It serves as a memory and reminder of my recovery. I was seventeen then, and wire bound notebooks haven’t looked the same to this day, and this entry is simply a page from its story.