"They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people's ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.” ― Paulo Coelho
No one believed I had been home. That is, until I showed them the money. Being that no one in Asylumland had seen real currency in years, 2 Grand got their attention and held it firm. Of course, I kept it limited to Janice, Joe, Sara, Irene and Sabrina as I didn't again want to become a target by someone with ideas about what two thousand dollars might buy them in a place where that was all the money there was.
We spent days bouncing ideas off of one another as to what was actually going on and why they would have sent me home then brought me back. Bringing me back seemed obvious as they wouldn't want me to tell the world about Asylumland but why send me home in the first place? Why take that chance?
And why had my mother acted like I had been there all along, like I'd never lived in Asylumland all these years? I could have accepted the idea that I dreamed I'd gone home but if that was the case then where did the money come from? Did they give me the money? Were they controlling my dreams? And if so, why?
The day came 'round when it was time for my monthly visit with Dr Stoner. When they called me I walked into his office and sat down. "How are you feeling today?" Stoner asked.
"I'm fine," I answered. "You?"
"I'm doing quite well, thank you. So tell me, Billy, have you been sleeping well?"
"Like a rock," I replied.
"Still eating well?" he asked.
"Best as can be expected for hospital food," I grumbled.
"I know what you mean," he said, "I eat at least 2 meals a day here myself. Everyone treating you good?"
"Any nightmares or bad dreams lately?" Stoner asked.
"Nope," I answered, "Not in several years."
"Depression or thoughts of suicide?" he asked.
"Cabin fever is more like it," I complained, "stuck in here all the time."
"Yes," Stoner agreed, "that's normal for patients who have been in for a very long time. Do you ever think you're somewhere that you're not?"
"I wish I could think that," I laughed, "Have you got a drug that will do that?"
"Sorry," Stoner said, "I'm afraid we can't prescribe those kinds of drugs but don't you worry 'cause from the looks of your chart you won't be here too much longer before we send you home."
"That's good to hear," I said.
"Enjoy the rest of your day," Dr Stoner said, "See you next time."
"You too, Doc," I said as I walked out of the room.
Every time it was always the same, always the same questions, always the same answers, always the promise that I would be going home soon. This could have been my very first interview with Dr Stoner or any of the once a month interviews I'd done with him since I'd first came to Asylumland all those years ago, all the questions scripted and answered in the exact same way as...
And then it hit me. In every single interview over the course of all these many years Stoner always asked me, do you ever think you're somewhere that you're not?