Over the winter the handfuls of multi-coloured pills began to shift tones and shades until Lukas was totally and unavoidably at a loss as to which ones had been his to begin with. The girl before him swayed her body left and right in the mimic of a metronome with double the capacity to hypnotize. Relying on the strength in her legs to keep herself upside-downright, she stretched the fingers on her left hand downwards to the floor whilst the rights were clenched tightly onto her own assortment of his or hers pill. She dangled there from the branch, and Lukas couldn’t help thinking how well that image fitted her. Despite the cold air, she wore only her skirt and shirt from their school uniform, she was relativity short, the back of her kneecaps holding up her skirt as she dangled wordlessly from the branch. Her white blonde hair would usually be long enough to reach the small of her back, and she always had it down. But he observed now that it was tied into two plaits and it just skimmed the sky-reaching tips of the frosted grass as she rocked.
Vienna had become unusually crisp under a fist of cold, and the school grounds became increasingly mystical to the two. The school itself specialized in protecting and treating it’s students from whatever sick ailments inflicted their minds, and the two had in a sense earned additional liberties, like the prisoners they had begun to believe themselves, from this protection for good behavior. Good recovery. But whether that was legitimately earned or craftily won was contestable for both of them. To Lukas, the girl should have lost these liberties. In fact, despite the intimacy of their relationship likely suffering as a result, he still wished she had, because every motion that she made enhanced her mystique and undid his power to resist it. His growing proximity to her proving this as he heeded the beckon of those before dangling fingers.
However they had earned this trust by the nursing staff, it was undoubtedly misplaced in them. The Sctritzo’s as the rest of their peers had begun calling them, or at least, the two had dubbed themselves to each other, were indeed up to no good. Lukas called it dating. Or else, insanity.
But she had told him so many times. So many times that in his head he could have sworn he still heard her saying. The word insane was just so counter intuitive.
“In – sane. In – sanity,” She’d always stress the ‘in’. Dragging it out past the proven point, and she’d then usually swallow a forkful of food if they were eating together in the cafeteria, or else suddenly bite on the end of her pen or pencil when they were studying. Since the two didn’t talk much elsewhere till these meetings, and even in delusion she thinks he’s started to think some of her thoughts by now. “If you’re already in-sane then why would they want to take you out of it? It’s suspicious if you ask me.”
Originally, before arriving here and meeting Alexsi. (This same pretty small blonde hanging from the tree, with the blue eyes that had now begun to resemble the pills he was in this very moment about to swallow.) He had thought that very thought. In fact, part of what she was saying sounding like something he had said before. To her no-less. But she told him that that was most definitely insane. She really confused him at first. But he always thought he was easily confused.
When he first arrived at St. Dymphna, there was that awkward transitional period where some students pondered wordlessly about why Lukas had arrived, and others worded their discomfort that life had begun again to change as school started a new year on September 1st, either unaware or un-phased by his arrival. Through no effort of the class or Lukas himself, he wound up distant from those few students who showed him interest to begin with, and it had been the idea of Lukas’ therapist to link him with another similarly isolated schizophrenic. Of course the doctor didn’t do it directly, but subliminally. He scheduled their appointments so he would greet one as the other left his office. He’d left them both outside in the waiting area for longer than he needed.
Before long, time took away half a heart of loneliness between the two. And eye contact turned to conversation, mostly one sided as Alexsi had the kind of voice that’s charm ran its finger along your throat and under your chin. Pointing you always in her direction. Conversation turned to lunches, where she would remind him about insanity. Then they found each other in the library on a table tucked away at the back, where she would peer over at him from the corner of her book before hiding behind it and muttering some unutterable confession she had about something. Sending blood to each of their cheeks. Lunacy is best when shared, was one such confession.
He finally reached the dangling girl, brought his palm to his mouth, and filled it with capsules and tablets of the rainbow. He looked around, left and right. They were alone. The two were always alone.
Their lips met. Messily interchanging their multi-coloured pick and mixes between swallows of each other’s medication and salivary passion. Their mouths were now apart in breath, and Lukas’ raging desire was silenced by a finger, laid limp over his lips.
The interesting thing about was Alexsi was just how totally in control she was of seemingly everyone and everything. She’d whisper in Lukas’ ear some secret of her life, some hallucinatory dream that could leave the normal mind on fire. But if being watched by the matrons, doctors or teachers she’d base herself on the picture of normality. Her influence was probably what convinced the doctors that neither of them were dangerous. But she was. Dangerous and intelligent enough to not seem it.
She first kissed him, in the exact spot he now stood. The two were walking back from the library towards the dorms, when she’d grabbed his hand and dragged him after her into the backwoods surrounding the path. He remembered looking back and seeing the yellow hue of the path lighting disappear and fade into some purple darkness, and when he faced the girl she had done the same.
“I could have sworn I saw a floating dagger.” She’d joked.
“Hamlet?” He’d asked.
“Macbeth.” And then she grabbed him by the hands and leant upwards to his lips, rising onto her toes whilst simultaneously pulling him down by his arms. That first kiss was tender and loving, it fit her so well he thought. And he returned the same care. Joking about their hallucinations was one of many fluttering consistencies she snared him with.
Their second kiss was outside the therapist’s office, she came out the office and mocked surprise to see him. Calling him honey and pressing her lips against his so quickly that he had no time to react or block the pill she forced into his mouth with her tongue. She did it with such speed that he instinctively swallowed and spent his entire therapy session fretting over whatever she had slipped him. She later told him it was a tic tac over lunch. But he’d tasted fear and she’d tasted it on him.
Of course some things were out of her control, her thorazine and prolixin didn’t totally mend the fragments of her imagination that slipped from her mind into reality. She still hallucinated occasionally, and her vulnerability became crystal clear when on Lukas’ second Saturday night at school he was woken up at one AM by a knock on his door. This, he had started to think, may have prompted the drugs raffle they started to play with each other as she may well have thought her chances improved of mending her head if she had more Lurasidone or another asenaphine.
She, night gown clad, forced her way in from outside and wrapped her arms around him. She refused to fall asleep until she was sure that the arms wrapping round her were real and the eyes that opened up from the walls were not. He noticed that she didn’t sleep at all that night.
“Help me down darling boyfriend.” She now demanded sliding her finger from his lips and placing both hands outstretched towards him in an upside down hug. He didn’t want to stop kissing but he liked being called boyfriend so proceeded to place his hands on her back and swing her upright on the branch. She flew right round and delicately dropped from the branch and extended her arms outwards as she landed, daintily, and with evident practise.
“I wonder what I got today. I’m hoping for a few dizzies. You?” He didn’t really know how to answer her question, but she grabbed him by the hand as they strolled back through the evening to the campus. Their feet crunched beneath them until they were a few crunches from the bush parting to path ahead. He had just about found the words when her hand became his face, and the other was his chest pushing him backwards into darkness, that broke into path where the campus lights held back the twilight.
She was a second and a quote away from kissing him again, without pretence this time. And he was as many words away from one too, when a girl, skipping in their direction with a seemingly impossible energy called out to them in a whistle. They still both exchanged a look to one another confirming they weren’t sharing an illusion. The girl, Katja, was whistling some tune stridently, recognised only one of the two and raised her hand in waving. The two split apart to each side of the path.
She stopped before them, and looked to Lukas’ eyes examining him up and down before she smiled at him.
“Hmpf,” she hummed with a wink, “Behave yourself, see you at service?”
This was utterly confusing to Lukas. He knew her from class sure, but aside from her occasionally asking for a ruler or pencil or something he hadn’t interacted with her once since arriving here. Yet that interaction, he thought, was the things friends are made from. He and Alexsi, stood in wordless wander watching as without waiting for an answer the skipping girl disappeared into the evening towards the chapel.
“You have another girl?” Alexsi teased, closing the rift between them and reaching for his hands with hers.
“I think that you’re hallucinating.” He responded, letting his hands be raised up towards her hips.
“Tst I think I got my anti-psychotics actually, yours and mine.”
Lukas was getting the sudden urge to bite something, and his heart started to beat a little faster. She gave him the denied kiss of before, and he noticed that she must have also felt this urge. Something about that concerned him.
Some wordless decision was made between them and they shambled amid intervals of biting each other’s lips and shaking with each other’s hands. She danced around him, waltzing the path as the stars began to simmer into existence past the sky. When the path split into two, heading to either the boys or girls dormitories. The two nonverbally agreed to risk the boy’s dorm. And after a close call and intense giggles and kisses, they were against his door. Lukas’ movements ever braver, the two broke apart long enough for her to enter and turn her key with a push falling, on top of each other into the room.
She got up from him, shutting and locking the door behind her. And consumed with some furor her hands threw off her shirt, popping the buttons hastily so she could proceed to drop her skirt. He for his part, had started doing the same thing, with the same amount of shaking. His top fell to the floor, and she was fairly impressed. Of course so was he, as the clipping holding her bra together undid and the straps slunk down her arms and off her chest.
This time he closed the distance, grabbing her by the hips with such panicked fingers that it was obvious were she not there he’d still grasp with the same force at the air itself. After some desperate locking of lips she sulked back from him, maintaining her arms around his neck and side. The two locked eyes for a moment, panting into the shadowy pocket between them.
“Make me feel real.” She whispered, audible only as a murmur. And for the first time, she sounded no longer so inevitably unreachable. So unutterably imaginary.
As she said it, Lukas finally become solidly and undoubtedly aware that she did exist. That she was the girl his heart was beating this fast for. That maybe she was the girl his heart beat at all for. He could really feel it from inside his chest, pounding against his ribs and seemingly screaming. Alexsi bit again harder on his lips, grabbing his hand and placing it firmly over the groove between her thighs as they fell onto her bed.
They hurried through the motions of lovers together, each tender moment equalled by an action of furious lust that the two were forced to expel on each other. When ether Lukas could not bite her lips he bit is own, and he noticed she was doing the same, chewing her bottom lip and causing it to crack beneath the pressure. He pushed her up by the shoulders, making her hair fall either side of his face and her movements slow on top of him.
“Today’s no usual day is it?” he asked between pants and the force he required to prevent her from kissing him again. It was unusual for multiple reasons, their first time together being one of the less unusual of them.
“I told you tha-“ she had to breathe as she shifted into a position that caused the two to shudder, “that I wanted to feel alive.”
“What did yo-“
“MDMA” she answered his interrupted question and before the words had really reached his brain she was kissing him again harder and more desperate. Lifting and dropping her hips and he felt in no position to protest.
After an eternity of chasing each other’s libido, the two collapsed into each other’s shadows. The neon glow of electric life emanating from Alexsi’s bedside clock read three am. Afraid and half in love with her, Lukas pulled the blankets over their now naked forms to hide from the winter chill, and maybe the rest of the world.
There was something in the way his hands were gripping her and the way his breath danced against her skin like vapour rolling over the top of glass, that made her happy. He was holding her so tightly, that his physicality proved her own existence. In her world of uncertainties there was something about that she had simultaneously always and never doubted until this moment. In his arms she was for once, certain that she did in fact exist.
Fearing and feeling that fleeting ecstasy behind him, Lukas fell asleep with arms white with tightness around her. In irony his mind identified the clarity either the drug or the girl was providing and he slept on feathery dreams that by some miracle didn’t spill into the next day.
Things were coming together for Lukas, and when the new guy scrawled his name onto the board at the front of class the next day, he noticed his new friend staring at him the way he first stared at Alexsi. Who he know would be outside waiting for him today again. His new friend looked at Lukas.
Katja blushed, and life began to begin again as the new boy Erik took his seat. Lukas remembered that crushing loneliness and only hoped he let in the hearts so desperately wanting to help. He caught the guy’s eyes and smiled.
Turning to face the front of the class, Lukas braced himself for whatever might push him out of reality. But he know now, that the hand he held in class alone and the hand he held outside were two stars of the same sky. And with that newfound knowledge the good and evil of his mental dreaming fell short of his real joy. He whispered to himself.
Katja looked from the new boy to Lukas, and even she, who know better than anyone the price of pity, pitted him. She saw the way his mind romped through fields of delusional love, the way he reached across the table alone during long lunches. The second book he placed across the table in the library. She looked back to the new boy, and she prayed. She hoped. That this one, this one she could save.
And life began to begin again.