To My Readers: I apologize for the inconvenience, but I am still blogging though my not-so-smart phone and so can not insert links in to my blog today. If you have not read the previous portion of this story, you may
find it at: http://www.jeffreyhollar.com/2011/07/displacement-anxiety.html
As the bus rumbled along its route towards her job, Bernadette fumbled in her purse, finding and swallowing various medications. As she left the bus, she was firmly ensconced in a chemical blanket of artificial calmness. She began to actually relax as she entered the office where she worked with no further hallucinations.
She settled in at her desk and sighed audibly. The data processing job that Brookwood had arranged for her was mindless, boring and repetitive. It did have the saving grace of requiring her complete undivided attention. The structure and the regularity of the work focused her mind outside of her own head and that was good. She didn't do well if she spent too much time without external stimuli. She knew that and welcomed the endless columns of numbers she input as friends.
She dove into the work with more than her usual gusto and her mind went dormant to the rhythm of clicking keys. She appeared visibly more relaxed and at ease. An indeterminate amount of time passed before an unexplained sound intruded into her thoughts. She stopped inputting the numbers and stretched. Her eyes closed as she rubbed her temples absently. It would be a lot easier to get things done, she mused, if it wasn't for that damned insipid accordion music!!
Accordion music?!? Bernadette's eyes snapped open to find herself, not at her desk, but at a table at a street cafe! Her head whipped side to side, taking in the people seated about her, all of them laughing and chatting as people would in such a setting. She heard and then saw the young man strolling towards her with the accordion grinding out its tones. He smiled and nodded his bereted head as he passed her. Bernadette's hands flew to the sides of her head as if she could squeeze hard enough to expel what her senses showed her. Her head lolled backwards as a scream bubbled up inside of her and exploded out with unimaginable force. It seemed to last hours or days and would not stop until her lungs emptied and her throat was raw.
She gulped air in and realized then that she was surrounded, not by patrons of a Paris street cafe but by a gaggle of her very worried co-workers and her boss, Mrs. Finley. Bernadette pushed past them all and ran for the office door in a blind panic. So intent was she on escaping this latest hallucination, she did not even see the small stool the clerks used to reach the upper shelves of files.
Her shin collided with the hard metal stool, tripping her up and sending her flying through the air. She struck the wall with a sickening thud and fell to the floor unconscious. Mrs Finley dialed 911 while she fumbled through her Rolodex for the number to Brookwood Sanitarium. She didn't care HOW much the state subsidized the girl's wage, enough was enough!!
Bernadette swam up out of a haze of confusion to find herself in bed. She snuggled down into sheets and sighed contentedly. A dream, she thought, just a silly dream. Her ears registered the tread of heavy feet on the floor nearby. Her eyes opened slowly and came to rest on the bulky form of Nurse Callaway. But...that meant....Aww fuck!!! She was back at Brookwood!!! That meant she MUST have the damned Displacement Anxiety shit and they had sent her back...HERE. She drew her knees to her chest, clutching them and rocking as she sobbed uncontrollably. She kept on rocking, sobbing, and chanting No, No, No for a very, very long time.
Amanda sat and stared at the words on the computer screen. She pushed her chair away from the desk and stretched her tired muscles. It just isn't working out, she told herself. It didn't matter if she wrote the chracter on the beach at San Tropez, at the lodge in Squaw Valley or even at some cheesy Left Bank cafe...her new character Bernadette just didn't seem to...fit. With a groan, she saw the time displayed on her desk clock. She flipped the monitor off and headed to her bedroom. Got to be at the day job in just four hours, she thought. There'd be time to work on the damned story tomorrow.
In the darkened home office, behind the screen of the dormant monitor, a soft, small voice continued to sob and moan the word No for a very, very long time indeed.