It was a painfully long drive up to the asylum, and it didn't take long to feel the familiar gripping sensation in my chest. It has been months since I last tried to enter the grounds, and it hadn't gotten any easier. The building is visible long before you arrive, and though we were a long way off I had to ask my doctor to pull over, as I had begun to panic. After a few minutes, I was able to calm myself further, but as we finally arrived, I could not help but feel fear as we went through the wrought iron gates and headed towards the main entrance.
By the time we parked and exited the car I could already feel myself beginning to become upset. I took some medicine, and that seemed to take the edge off. We went in and picked up our passes for the facility. Unlike a standard visitor, we were allowed a bit more freedom in terms of where we could go. My therapist said to me that there was no way of knowing what would trigger my memory, so having less restrictions was necessary. We began to look around, heading down various passages and corridors, and entering the numerous rooms.
I could feel a sense of familiarity, but nothing for certain. We eventually made it to the common room, the time of day making it so it was largely filled with patients. As we wandered through, several of them recognized my therapist, far more than I had anticipated. While he addressed them, I walked around the room, trying to take in as much as I could. I got near one of the windows, and noticed two patients sitting at a small table. As I approached, I realized that I knew who they were. One I recognized by his face. The other I recognized through his hands.
The man on the left was the same one I interviewed back in May, his eyes bloodshot and his hands trembling. He averted my gaze, and it was clear that he still didn't want to talk to me. I don't blame him. When I met him he had recently lost his children. Things hadn't seemed to have improved since then. As he sat I could notice him nodding his head, as if doing so in time to some music. According to a orderly he hadn't slept in three days.
The one on the right I had never had a chance to talk to. I only knew them by the stories people shared, when he became the churches new organist. His fingers were misshapen and gnarled, and he struggled to pick up the cards in front of him. He seemed to be trying to make a house of cards, but in between his own trembling hands and the constant shaking of the man across from him, he never managed to keep the cards up for more then a second or so.