by: Lewis H. Montaug
The delicacy of the mind, the fortitude of the heart…
Mary and I have been best friends since we were little girls. We used to play with our Barbie dolls, or build forts out of the cushions from our furniture, all day long without a care in the world. Y’know, typical kid stuff. I can’t remember a time when Mary and I weren’t together. We’re so close we’re almost like sisters. And I love her like a sister. We have each other’s back, and when we’re together all we need is each other.
It’s really one of those opposites attract situations. Where she’s very outgoing, I’m shy by nature. She has absolutely no patience, whereas I know that everything will happen the way it’s supposed to, in due time. I’ve never really thought of myself as pretty, but Mary is absolutely gorgeous. She is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known, and I’m so proud to have her as a friend.
Recently though, there have been some people who have been trying to keep us apart. They keep telling us that it’s in our best interests, us being separated, but how can being kept from seeing my best friend be in our best interest?
I really miss Mary.
I haven’t seen Kacey in a long time now, and I feel like I could tear someone’s head off. I don’t know who these people are who are so hell bent on keeping us from seeing each other, but I’m going to create big problems for them if this continues much longer. Besides, Kacey needs me. She’s far too demure to be on her own. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who’s actually qualified to look after her. She’d be lost without me. I suppose there’s Mrs. Bellamy—I mean, she’s really the one who raised us—but she’s not our real mother. And anyway, she’s the one who landed us in this fix. She’s the one who brought us in to see these people—these doctors—and I’ve never felt more alone in my life. If this is what I’m going through, I can’t imagine what it must be like for Kacey. She must be so scared. I need to see her soon. I worry about her. I need to see her, so that we can go home together. We’ll go home, and everything will go back to normal. We’ll laugh and play and talk about clothes and boys and parties.
Where is Kacey?!
Mrs. Bellamy is sitting in the corner of the room while the doctor is trying to explain something to me. I don’t understand, or maybe I don’t want to understand, what he’s saying. I keep tuning him out. He keeps glancing at Mrs. Bellamy as he talks, looking into my eyes to check for comprehension. All I can focus on is her forlorn expression. I love her, and I feel bad for her. She did raise us, after all, even if she’s not our mother.
That’s how all of this started. She wanted us to address her as “Mother,” but she’s not, and the idea made us uncomfortable. She’s Mrs. Bellamy. She’ll always be Mrs. Bellamy. And because we insisted on calling her that, she brought Mary and me here, to this doctor. I really don’t understand what’s going on. All I do know is that they haven’t let me see Mary since we got here, and they keep giving me these pills that make me feel funny. Sometimes I feel like I’m disappearing, like I’m just fading away.
I consider lunging over the table at this smug, bespectacled man in the white coat sitting across from me. He is the source of all of my anxiety. I can’t believe that Mrs. Bellamy is putting us through this. The doctor tells us that this is all causing her pain as well, but I don’t care about what she’s going through right now. If this is really so painful for her, then she wouldn’t have brought us here in the first place. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me and Kacey. We were two of the happiest girls in the world before we were landed here, and all because Mrs. Bellamy got sad because we wouldn’t call her “Mom.”
Yesterday the nurse forced me to take a pill that made me feel like I exist outside of myself. It’s a hard feeling to put into words. All I know is that I don’t want to take these pills, ever. I still don’t know what’s really going on, but there is something very nefarious about this doctor and his nurses. And one thing is abundantly clear: Mrs. Bellamy is not to be trusted.
“I don’t know anyone named Jill,” I say, fighting back tears. “I don’t know who you’re talking about.” I’m exasperated and scared. God, I wish Mary was here. She’d help me face down this doctor. She’s so much stronger than I am. Together we could confront this bully.
“Jill was here before you were, Kacey,” he tells me gently. “And her mother would like to see her again. She misses her very much.”
Mrs. Bellamy has a daughter named Jill? How did Mary and I never know that? We’ve been with Mrs. Bellamy our entire lives, and we’d never heard anything about her until very recently, when Mrs. Bellamy started addressing both me and Mary as Jill.
“Kacey,” he asks, changing tack, “do you remember anything about Mrs. Bellamy’s husband, Mr. Bellamy?” I search my memories. Mr. Bellamy? For as long as I can remember, it’s always been me, Mary, and Mrs. Bellamy. There never was a husband in the picture. And I still don’t know who this Jill is either.
“I’ve never heard of Mr. Bellamy,” I say, unconfident. I’m retreating inside myself, because now I’m afraid that anything I might say will be used against me. I change the subject, not wanting to talk about Mr. Bellamy, fearing that he’s the secret reason for our confinement here. “Can I see Mary now?” I plead.
“Not right now, Kacey. Now please, I need you to try to remember.”
“I’m not going to tell you again, I don’t know anyone named Jill,” I shout at the man, and he flinches at the outburst.
“Mary, listen to me, we need to—“
“Where is Kacey? Where is Kacey? Where is Kacey?” I keep bellowing, trying to drown out anything this man—the source of my unhappiness—has to say. A little childish, I know, but it temporarily does the trick.
He turns to Mrs. Bellamy. “It’s obvious we’re not achieving the desired effect from the medication. Perhaps it’s time we pursue that other option we previously discussed.”
Mrs. Bellamy goes white in the face. “I . . . I think,” she stammers, “I think I’ll get a second opinion.”
This is obviously not the response he’d been expecting. “Wait a minute now, Mrs. Bellamy, let us consider—“
She doesn’t give him the chance to continue, reaching out to take my hand and saying, “C’mon, sweetheart.”
The doctor is taken aback. “This is highly irregular. And there’s still the matter of her being discharged. I’ll have to clear her.”
“Thank you, Dr. Nelson, but that won’t be necessary.” With a firm grip she pulls me toward the office door.
“Mrs. Bellamy,” the doctor says, perplexed that his authority has been challenged, “Jill is an extremely volatile state, and she needs to keep taking her medication.”
Mrs. Bellamy says something over her shoulder, but I don’t hear it. At the mention of Jill and the medication, I feel those side effects from the pills once more, the sensation of drifting off to sleep. Before the darkness takes me yet again, I mutter dopily, “What about Kacey?”
Mom has been trying to speak slowly and deliberately for the sake of clarity. She wants me to understand exactly what it is that I’m experiencing. She says that I haven’t been the same since my dad died. She says that since that day, there have been these two people—two personalities, living alongside me inside my head. That’s what accounts for the frequent gaps in memory. It’s why she first became concerned when I kept having conversations with myself with alarming frequency. She tells me that these personalities, these two girls, frightened her when they first started showing themselves, and that’s why she took me to that doctor in such a panic. Apparently they’ve been around a long time, ever since that awful day. I’ll admit it: it’s a very frightening revelation. But I’m okay with it now, and she seems to be handling it much better too.
I’m seeing a new doctor now, and Mom says that he’s much more understanding. He’s really nice, and so are his nurses. They’re all very encouraging, and they claim they’re impressed with the progress I’ve made.
Here’s how things are different now. Apparently the old doctor was trying to completely eradicate Kacey and Mary from my mind, but the new doctor says that for the time being we’ll have to accept the girls’ presence. Mom says she’s handling that idea much better now. And one other thing: I’m never going to meet Kacey or Mary. Something about us not being able to share the same head space. They say that Kacey and Mary are the products of my subconscious, the result of a coping mechanism my brain created when I couldn’t handle my dad’s passing.
From what I’m told, these two are very close. I’m almost jealous of the relationship they have. But then when I think about it, I realize that even though they have each other, I have my mom. And she’s all I ever needed, even if I didn’t realize it when we were both dealing with our loss in our own separate ways. But things are different now.
The doctor says that might be what it takes to keep from having to compete with Kacey and Mary, that maybe they’ll depart when the time is right. I don’t know what will happen with them, but my heart is full and I live a good life even with them around. I guess at the end of the day, whatever will be, will be.
No more debilitating meds, and Mary and I are finally together again. I couldn’t be happier. The new doctor is so much nicer, and Mrs. Bellamy seems like her old self again. For some reason she doesn’t expect us to call her “Mom” anymore. Really, it doesn’t matter what we call her as long as she knows that Mary and I love her. After all, she is like our mother. She’s the only mother either of us has ever known.
Hallelujah! I got my Kacey back! I never really realized how much of a part of me she was until she was gone. I’ve never been happier in my life. And Mrs. Bellamy is happy again too. She tells us that she’s been spending more time with her daughter, Jill. Kacey and I are glad to hear this. We’ve never met Jill before, and we probably never will. Actually, Kacey and I have considered taking off and giving Mrs. Bellamy more time to spend with Jill. From what we’ve heard, Mrs. Bellamy lost her husband, and Jill lost her father. They need each other now more than ever, and Kacey and I would probably just get in the way. We realize we’re a handful.
We’ll be just fine. We have each other.