by Gil A. Waters
At the time,
it seemed like the ideal moment to make my move.
It's not every
day I find myself engaged in rapt conversation
with a beautiful woman fifteen years younger than
myself; her eyes fixed on mine with an intensity
suggesting more than a passing interest.
coolly, nonchalantly, I said, "We should get
together sometime. Like, go somewhere. Or
wooing abilities had grown a bit rusty. But I
hoped the sincerity of my offer would convey an
endearing sense of innocence.
A bitter smile
broke across her face. She shook her head in a
manner that unequivocally said "no" and
redirected her gaze downwards to the gray surface
of the metal table at which we sat.
I felt crushed
by this perceived rejection, but it stung for
only a moment.
head bolted upward and she again looked into my
eyes, only this time with terror.
hear that?" she asked in a breathless
hear that?!" she asked again, a little
louder, not waiting for my first negative reply.
she responded as she jumped up and power-walked
to the nurses' station, her hospital gown
fluttering excitedly behind her.
I leaned back
in my chair and sighed.
manic depressives, I thought to myself. They're
coming, they're going. They're hot, they're
cold. They're listening to you one minute,
they're hearing voices the next. It's
Yet I couldn't
be too angry at her for letting auditory
hallucinations disrupt my flirtations. To be
honest, I wasn't in top form myself. It's not
easy to be suave when you're detoxing, especially
when your psychotropic cocktail of Librium,
Seroquel, and Abilify causes you to walk into
walls and fall down. I suppose my random
bouts of crying weren't very sexy either,
although I hoped they would be a turn on for the
female residents of The Ward, who might
appreciate a sensitive man not afraid to express
his emotional vulnerability. Apparently, I
did manage to snag one date with an attractive
older woman who, I thought, was just an old-fashioned,
meat-and-potatoes depressive like me. In
solidarity with her depression, and because she
had two of the most amazing breasts I'd ever seen,
I was willing to overlook the fact that she'd
completely removed her real eyebrows and penciled
in a couple of abstract-looking replacements.
We had dinner
at a Mexican restaurant about a week after being
discharged. Despite some initially pleasant and
flirtatiously promising banter, it soon became
clear that neither my lust nor sense of
psychiatric camaraderie could compensate for her
more peculiar behavioral peccadilloes. The
hysterical laughter at random moments, for
instance. Or the obsessive-compulsive
disorder that compelled her, once we'd finished
eating, to stack our dirty plates, one atop the
other, each separated from the next by a paper
napkin that she unfolded and smoothed with her
I have now
learned my lesson. No matter how much I may have
in common with women who qualify as poster
children for each and every dysfunction listed in
the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
they are terrible dates. Maybe I'll have better
luck in rehab. There are some really hot
junkies in my out-patient program...