I awoke with a fervor the next morining anticipating my next move, when would I have a chance to talk to her? I grabbed a pair of my undies and carried them with me all through class and therapy. Finally, during the late afternoon around a half-hour before dinner I got my chance to talk to her.
I asked her if we could talk down by the slide where no one was playing. She warily agreed and we proceeded to walk by the rest of the playing children. My heart was racing and I was nervous, screwing up the courage to finally blurt out, "I hear you like to trade underwear!" It felt as if I had shouted it when it was barely a whisper. "Joy" quickly smiled and said "Would you like to trade with me?" I quickly nodded an empatic yes and grinned slyly.
WOW! I cannot believe my luck, I was on top of the world, even so I still had to make the exchange.
I decided we would meet in the empty hallway on the steps and do the deal. She went to go back inside and I carefully did the same. Still having my Fruit of the Looms stupped in the pocket of my shorts I went into the dayroom. It was empty as was the hall, I plopped myself infront of the still on TV and pretended to watch The Rockford Files. Keeping a weather eye out on the hallway. Interminable moments had passed and I was getting depressed that this was some kind of joke being played on me.
Finally!, She appeared around the corner to the entrance of the West wing looking as nervous as I, here short bobbed hair swishing back and forth as she quickly scanned the hall.
I got up and calmly walked out the giant double doors to the north wing in the hall towards my co-conspriator. I was so paranoid as we met, fearing getting caught was a thrill in itself and the superior feeling a kid gets when they outsmart an adult. The trade was unremarkable in and of itself and quickly it was over. My trade netted me a pair of lace trimmed white acetate briefs with tiny blue flowers. I was in heaven! Indeed I walked into the bathroom and went into an open stall, I pulled my shorts off and quickly removed and discarded my boy pants into the laundry bag. I slipped them on a quickly realized these were not her panties! there were obviously a size too small for her, but a bit snug on me. I was not about to complain, after all I got what I wanted and they did fit and I was happy. The rest of the week flew by as I happily wore them under my clothes enjoying the silky feel on my nether regions.
However it was not to last and that Saturday afternoon as we played outside i had crouched down to play in the sandbox when one of the kids decided (yeah you guessed it!) look down the back of my pants. A shrill cry arose as my blood ran coold and my vision began to narrow out of fear. (I would later find out this was my first PTSD attack.
"Look every one XXXXX is wearing girls underwear!" he repeated the cry as he grabbed the back of my pants. I threw him off and ran away as all the other kids, about 15 or so all converged on my ass. I tried to get away by climbing a tree, but could not get up more than a few feet as the other kids were grabbing my legs and belt loops preventing my escape. Finally the aides came to my rescue and pulled me into the bathroom and made me take them off. I was sent to the rubber room "to think about what i did" I don't remember the details of what happened report wise, I am certain it was noted in my record as I saw the incident noted in the log many years later when I subpoenaed my records. I do not know if my folks were told but my weekend visit was unremarkable. A few months befre they began allowing me off grounds for a family visit.
I was given a "generous" 2 nights and "3" so-called days at "home" on the weekends. I became accustomed to anticipting the tell-tale jingle of her keys in the hallway after 4PM on Fridays.
She would take me "home" and we would have dinner and TV time and off to bed at 9PM for me and my sister. Saturday would be cereal and cartoons and playing all day, Sunday would come too quickly and mom's parents would visit we would have a big dinner and hour of TV and at 7PM back to the hospital.
I absolutley hated going back and could not understand since my time at home was "normal" why i needed to return there. It made me very sad to wake up on Monday morning and not be in my room with all my things and in my own bed.
The incident with the panties seemed to have been forgotten and so I waited for a moment where I could talk to "Joy" alone. I got my chance a few days later and we both decided we need a code for when we wanted to make a trade. I supposed she did it for the thrill as she had unfettered access to the laundry bags in the bathroom of her ward and could pick and chose what she wanted.
There were no girls on my ward so I had no choice. It was mutually decided the code word would be "BU for GU" and we would meet on unmonitored north wings far end by going out opposite sides and meeting there. This system worked very well and we had many exchanges without any discovery. Finally the end came when one day as we readied to make the trade it began to rain and hard. Instead of waiting we did the hallway steps exchange like the first time.
Big, freaking mistake! We were caught by one of the aides and the good times were over, we were no longer allowed near each other and my undewear was checked almost daily by the aides.
I do remember the questions by Mike my therapist, but I could not give an answer to something I knew no words for other than the very hurtful words my father would use while beating me.
I did not entirely realize how institutionalized I was becomming, I depended on the routine and the regular feedings of food and pills to survive.
During this time I learned to explore the immense hospital grounds especially the Gothic main building where I learned my Mom worked and would visit her in her office every so often. Not fully realizing the embarrasment I must have caused her by stopping into her office and the other women would see her "mental patient son".
In my explorations I discovered the tunnels beneath the main buildings and the endless shuffling of the patients who obviously had been here their whole lives. It was here I would discover that the majority of patients here were elderly and been dropped of there by their familes 20-30-40-50 years ago and even longer. I met some people who were commited there during the 19th century and listened to their stories. This was a place of horrors then, and now a place of horrors muted and blunted with drugs and therapy. There was no therapy for these people, they would all die here and even now nearly 38 years later I can only imagine how many hundreds of those people were dead now. Replaced by a new crop of forgotten Sons and Daughters and Mothers and Fathers to while away the long days in closed wards and the tunnels shuffling to their eventual deaths.
I totally was worried this would be my ultimate fate, and that I would never get out of this place.
I would look into the caged windows of these locked wards sometimes and see row after row of bedridden patients, or in wheelchairs drooling onto themselves and staring at nothing.
The bedlam I was trying to avoid would soon consume me and change my fortunes but thats for next entry