Lily of the Lamplight
By Tom Brown
She admitted me to the hospital that night at reception I believed it was an emergency people get that way with anxiety, like they can't breathe and chest pain getting very scared thinking it could be a heart attack and so on. Of course a doctor has to give permission.
I haven't had that kind of problem for very long now it was purely work related. It's hardly ever actually very serious although I think the real problem at that stage was depression. I was in that hospital again later, with anxiety and exhaustion mostly from working too hard and sleeping too little.
It is a private psychiatric hospital these people are of complete integrity and work by the book. They helped me a lot there they got me 100% on the right medicines for the first time in 20 years and it is still the same.
Afterwards I started phoning her at work late at night and on days I had no work duties in the morning. I was living alone. She worked night shifts, every second week and I was disciplined only called twice the week. Her company was wonderful we talked about just ordinary things that people speak of, like family work school and university and quite a lot about the religion too I was amazed at her knowledge and understanding of the Bible.
I went to visit her sometimes at reception sunday best spit and polish old spice the works. Rode out there from Joburg all the way the hospital is in Pretoria-East it's about 75 km just to visit her for an half an hour or so. Just pitched up she didn't know I was coming. The security guys were great always glad to see me they liked me a lot.
The most beautiful creature God ever put on this earth. These were very happy times even though my best friends apparently deserted me and there was serious trouble brewing at work. Once she spoke of her outjie (lit. cute little guy) and his 4x4 but it sounded like she wanted a man not an ohkey. I was discouraged not more than for a few minutes.
It came that I started texting her, more of loneliness. She said she liked it that she read each one. I had her cell nr because she sent me an sms, twice. Just that, a reference to a Bible verse. One day there was exam invigilation in the morning I asked her to call me up at six, in time for work. On the landlines. This was the only time she phoned ever. I lied awake in my bed all night for her to call this was wonderful.
All this happiness lasted for several months easily a year.
Being unable to talk to her for a few months I had to find out but there was no reaction a funny bunny now at reception I remembered she had told me about this guy who was apparently a student she had to train for the switchboard.
I thought perhaps she wanted to see me but maybe first for her to get another job. It didn't turn out that way. I never contacted her outside, privately. It was only out of respect I felt she should say if it was Ok I wasn't ever thinking of hospital rules. Things started happening at the university, at my work.
The texts were mostly like a diary a blog, she never said she minds. Like speaking to someone who can't speak back like lovers and wives writing letters to soldiers at war far away and family members or it's like praying, speaking to God. None of it ever was negative.
When I was a little child they said I had an imaginary friend it was because I had to play alone the whole time they said there's nothing wrong I would outgrow it. Maybe it's like that like the children's poem “The Unseen Playmate” of R.L. Stevenson.
Apart from all this I thought she was going through a hard time herself and perhaps I could help her to cheer-up. It could be she needed me I had to take the chance. There was nothing to lose either. Little verses jokes lyrics quotes tell her what I'm doing my hopes and dreams later on references to Bible verses and my own little poems. A few sms's each day. Even that brought me happiness and actually it kept on for long.
I made it very clear I would take “No” for an answer only from her, herself. I feel this was reasonable under the circumstances.
This psychologist dude too was similar company, in effect just imagination. He must have just been waiting. This particular “doctor” was good at one thing, he specialised in winning your confidence he can't even speak English. Just races around on his scooter big deal. Who dares wins!
There was another girl previously sometimes I spoke to her in my car. This had been a serious relationship and that exactly was the problem it wasn't supposed to be. That psychiatrist said it was Ok as long as she didn't talk back. Those doctors know their work. Well I thought yes this is a very practical man. To this particular doctor I once said something very disrespectful I still feel bad about it.
Clearly things were happening on her side too. In the end at last tried to speak with her I called her work she never answered her cell-phone either. No luck, I resigned and accepted my fate.
The dude also I had asked him before if it is Ok to sms him like that he said “don't worry it's my problem”. I was very naive and just plain stupid to believe him I hadn't seen him for months being unable to speak to him or get an appointment where usually I went regularly. You must understand I was very lonely. At last I had to confront this psychologist dude and then after sms'd:
We all had a part in this I said she and me the hospital and he everyone had blame all of us were guilty and lets just forget all of it. He'd given me a consultation just before then, at last, I said I'd see him tomorrow and sorry about the Situation. “What Situation?” the psychologist con-man replied thus in sms immediately.
For the first time now suddenly I understood the situation. I called him instantly he said he remembers there was a thing with a receptionist and yes it could be the hospital rules or maybe they stopped her talking on the telephone all the time and she's probably not interested.
He asked if I was still coming tomorrow I said yes. Needless to say I haven't had contact with him since it was the last word with the dude. Whenever I tried to speak about it with friends or family, like my mother or so the reaction was always “I don't know what you are talking about” or such.
So the burden became mine alone.
I have been rejected many times this is not how it's done. Tried once to call at work again she said she can't speak I said I will remove her cell number from my phone she said no it is not necessary so I memorised the number instead.
She knew I wanted to marry her. A girl like that would want children in principle I would not have objection. With two incomes and a sober conservative budget and clean living you could get far and I was earning much better than what these people thought. She is a university graduate also and had plans for further study.
She understood the nature of psychiatric illness as well as anyone and the consequences and possible problems and difficulties. She's not someone to just drop you if the going gets hard.
There is more to it but this will have to do for now. I admit the story is highly unusual but all of it is true.