This will be my last day here at Mountainside Lakes. I had to stop counting my days because I found the numbers to be too distracting. I am leaving; however, this is not because I completed the program successfully. This just means that I am being discharged early because my roommate John went off into the woods to end his own life.
I am being treated differently now, better than ever before. I have been Continue reading
It was late and cold. I found myself walking with someone I had never met before. He was leading me toward a small brownstone that was burnt and abandoned. The doors and windows were boarded up. The concrete steps leading up to the front door was littered with trash, old paper bags, newspapers, beer cans, and broken bottles. I had never been here before, This was Brooklyn, I think. I was in East New York, if I’m not mistaken.
The man I was with was someone from the street. His eyes were wired like electric demons but his face was somehow distorted to me. His skin was dark as night. But his eyes; his eyes were haunting me. I remember him leading me towards the side of the building and in through a side door that was broken open. Continue reading
I haven’t written to you for a few days now. It’s been hard to write and hard to process the last few days of events. I was in the middle of sending a letter to my mother when the news came in about my roommate John.
I don’t understand why life happens the way it does. I can’t make sense of anything anymore. I haven’t Continue reading
My roommate John has been missing for two days now. His things are still in the room. His dresser is still left the way he usually leaves things. John is somewhat obsessive/compulsive with the way he organizes his arrangement of things on his dresser. There is an old black and white picture of a woman that I always assumed was John’s mother. There is a picture of St Dismas.
Dismas was the good thief that was crucified next to Jesus and asked to be remembered. There was a laminated mass card he kept placed at the top left corner and there are the white Rosary beads which John wore around his neck and underneath his shirt.
I can feel John’s presence in the room. It is almost like he’s here, but he’s not. I can’t say this any other way. His bed is made. His things are where he left them. Everything is in its usual place, except for John. Continue reading
Just another day at the side of the mountain . . .
We all have to meet up in the big meeting room each morning to check in for attendance. One of staff will calls out the names and we all have to answer to show that we are still here. I have seen a few others answer for their roommates and their friends.
I have also heard people respond to roll call with the jail-minded responses. For example, today is my eighth day in. This means I have 20 days left so in this regard, my answer would to roll call as 19 and a wake up. Although Mountainside Lakes is not the prettiest of places, it is certainly not jail nor does it resemble anything like a jailhouse environment. Continue reading
This is day 7 of 28
Word hit the rest of the fellowship at Mountainside about Brian yesterday. The news flooded our little community here like huge tub of red blood that spilled over on a white floor and spread outward across us all.
No one really spoke much to Brian. He was young and somewhat unlikable. Brian was socially awkward. He was just a kid trying to find himself and trying to find a way to feel comfortable in his own skin.
I suppose this took too much of him. My guess is the Brian’s world spun too fast —and I suspect that it’s not that Brian wanted to die so much. I think he just wanted to world to stop. But the world doesn’t stop. It never stops. It just keeps turning and for Brian, my guess is he just couldn’t take another trip around the sun. Continue reading
Today is day 6 of 28.
The writing has been hard for me, which is why I missed yesterday’s entry. But at last, I think I got my first night’s sleep since I’ve been here. I was able to purchase a set of earplugs from the commissary to muffle the sound of my roommate’s snoring. John has been good though. He remains mostly quiet when we are in the room. I suppose neither of us like to talk much especially in the morning. We did speak a little last night though about different places we used to score in Alphabet City.
Yesterday was rough on Continue reading
Today is day four and this place must be getting to me. I finally went to the bathroom yesterday and thank God for that because the constipation was killing me. Last night’s meal was chicken, which was actually pretty good too.
We had our first real day of spring yesterday. The sky was clear and the sun was warm. Everything around us seemed to thaw and winter let go of its grip. Everything is green around here now. The mountains are pretty and there is a lake down by the trail, which is a nice place to walk. The funny thing is I’m not even sure that I recognized the seasons were changing until now. Then again, I’m not sure what I recognize anymore. All I know is I am stuck here fo Continue reading
Day 3 of 28
This is day three here and I still don’t know what to make of this place. I feel like I’m walking through motions that someone else is making me take. Nothing here is done by me. Instead, everything is done all because someone else told me to.
They told me I would get my job today. They said everyone here gets one job until they retire a few days before discharge. Most get a few days off. Some work until their last day here but the job isn’t really a job. At least it’s not a job as far as real jobs go. Each patient (or inmate, depending on who you ask) has to do one shift in the kitchen to clean the dishes.
The kitchen is a real kitchen in the back of a large dining room with round tables and chairs. They serve coffee all day but the coffee is terrible and tea has never done much for me. Continue reading
This is day 2 of 28
I came in yesterday after a long drive that I can barely remember. I was drunk when I came in. I walked through the front glass double doors into the main room of a place that I can only describe as a place that looks like an old rundown motel and hasn’t changed since its prime in the 70’s.
They call this place Mountainside Lakes. Of course, they do. Mountainside is a place in some faraway town that no one has ever heard of before and here I am, trapped between a mountain and nowhere. Here I am now on the bed in a room where I’ll sleep for the next 27 days until they let me go home.
I’m here with a paper and pen because this notebook (namely you) is my only connection to a world outside from here. Continue reading