Dear Girl I Was In The Bin With:
Hi. I saw you today, around 1:00 PM in the makeup section of Walmart. Last time I saw you, we were both in Bedlam, staring dully at the television as it blared a football game neither of us cared about. I recognized you immediately but I didn’t say hi. I walked on, to pick up cat food and litter, as you texted in the skin care aisle.
You never saw me. But I saw you.
I saw you, and I stopped short, wanting to run up to you, give you a hug, and talk about how we were doing on the Outside. Celebrate that we were free of that place and able to do things like go to godforsaken Walmart. Ask about your outpatient program, ask about your life, and laugh at the tiny little world that we live in that we would be in the psych ward together and less than a week later be in stupid Walmart, just like we were normal people.
I didn’t do any of those things.
I almost did. I even stopped wheeling my cart and took exactly one step towards you. You were intently texting, and never looked up, so you never knew I was even there. I admit, you probably wouldn’t have recognized me. Today I am wearing my contact lenses, makeup and shoes. My hair is done and I’m not in pajama pants. I’m not crying or staring blankly or picking at Salisbury steak that looks like a chunk of asphalt. I look Normal. Well, as Normal as I ever look. You looked Normal too.
I stopped short of tapping you on the shoulder and saying “remember me?” I came so close, but I stopped at the last second, thinking “the last thing she probably wants to think about is Bedlam, and that’s what you would represent to her. Let her be Normal. Walk on by.” Was it the right thing to do? Would you have hugged me or looked at me like I was the last person on earth you ever wanted to see again? I’ll never know.
Because I walked away from you.
Because I wasn’t going to chance making you think about that place again.
I hope you’re well. I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful fall weather and going to your outpatient program and enjoying being alive again, like I’m trying to do. I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re sober. I hope neither of us ever have to see the inside of that pit ever again. I hope.