5:30 the next morning, Harry awoke to the sound of squeaking wheels. Someone
began to nudge him gently, whispering, "You need to turn over on to your back, sweetie."
He did as he was told, still too sleepy to argue. The nurse took his blood
pressure, temperature, and pulse. He was grateful to hear the sound of squeaking
wheels get softer as the nurse left his room and went down the hall.
He was awoken again a short
time later as a male nurse came in and slammed down Harry's shower box on a table in the room.
I give up, he thought. He lay there and let his thoughts wander.
This has to be the stupidest
decision I've ever made. Why did I have to kill myself here? Why didn't I just jump into the Thames? Why did I have to be so far from home? I want to go home. But now I can't. That is what I signed up for. They won't let me leave until they think I'm ready. Shit, what am I going to do? On the bright side, they can't
let the press in here. A smile crept across his face.
All of a sudden, his room
was illuminated. Florescent lights can be blindingly bright if you aren't prepared
for them. He groaned and shut his eyes tight.
"Can you warn me before you do that?" he asked. His one-to-one nurse laughed. "Sorry, but its time to get up," she said.
He got out of bed and got
ready to start another day. He went to the door to ask what he should be doing,
and Jen was waiting for him. She was standing in the doorway to her room watching
the nurses move around, going through charts, signing papers, etc.
"You know…when they
rush around like that, they give us the impression that they're actually doing
something," she said sarcastically.
"He laughed. "Good morning," he said.
One of the nurses came
forward and said, "If you're going up to the roof, line up right here." 7 or
8 patients lined up by the nurses station. "OK, we'll see you guys later," she
said to the other nurses. Jen waved to Harry.
When they left, Harry went
back into his room. It wasn't as uncomfortable as he thought it would be. There were two beds, two closets, a desk, and a chair.
Ut wasn't the Ritz hotel, but it was livable. He sat on the ledge by the
window and looked out at the city. The window had a fence on both sides of it. He had to laugh. Dear God, its finally
happened. I'm in prison.
Jen, Mack, and a few others
were having breakfast on the roof. The roof was fenced in on all sides, so it
was more like a cage than an "outdoor facility." It didn't matter to the patients
though…fresh air is fresh air.
"So what's Harry's story?"
Mack asked the group.
Without skipping a beat,
Jen replied, "He's suicidal."
"That's ain't shit. What else?" Michael, a kid who tried to burn his house down while his parents were
still in it, asked.
"Probably booze, drugs,
sex…" Jen said.
"And how do you know all
this?" Cassandra asked.
"I read about it," Jen
said dryly. The other patients stared at her, not comprehending. "You guys do know who he is, right?" Seeing the blank faces,
she laughed. "Am I the only one on this ward who's ever read 'People'?" She made the mistake of waiting for a response.
Rolling her eyes, she went on. "He's Prince
Harry…as in Princess Diana's son."
"Damn…and they STILL
locked his ass in here?" Mack asked. "That blows." She paused. "Call me stupid, but aren't there rules about
how we're supposed to talk to him and stuff?"
"I think so, but we're
Americans. We don't have to follow that bullshit, do we?" Cassandra replied.
"HEY SNOWBALL!" Jen screamed
to the nurse.
"Jen – do NOT yell
like that, now what?" the middle aged black man replied.
"Sorry. Should we be talking to Harry in any special way?"
"Why would you do that?"
"Because he's…" she
stopped herself. Nah, she thought. This
tidbit is going to be our little secret. "Nevermind."
"Well, hurry up and finish
your food. Community Meeting starts in 15 minutes, so we need to get back downstairs."
The patients finished their
breakfasts and headed towards the elevators inside. They all silently hoped they
would be able to come outside again tomorrow…just as they did every other morning.