It took an entire week to decide I would finally write this, take your advice, and do as you’ve been asking for . . . for a while, but I’m going to do it. I mean it this time. I’m sorry I’ve been disobedient . . . and mouthy . . . and selfish. You’ve been so sympathetic and patient with me since day one, and all I’ve done is hurt you. And I know I’ve already said it, but words can’t explain just how sorry I am. I didn’t mean what I said a week ago. Any of it. I don’t hate you, Papa. And even though we haven’t spoken since that long, I know you knew that already. I’ve sent in the papers, and should be on my way there as soon as I’m done with this. I just didn’t want to leave with us on bad terms. I’m not sure what else to put here, but if I’ve missed anything, I’m doing this for you. I want you to know that at least.
Mathieu reluctantly tore his mindless staring from the mock, dull shine on the linoleum floors, fingers pausing as they’d been fidgeting restlessly (not to his conscious) in the twenty or so minutes he’d been seated, waiting for the woman at the desk to call for him.
The get-up he was given (which really would suffice in terms of scrubs, because that’s honestly what they looked like), were a little big on him. Maybe an inch or two around the waist. He’d spent the first few minutes while waiting awkwardly tightening his waistband over and over. There’s hardly room to complain though. Most of his own clothes are like this. That’s why he’s here. For treatment.
He can’t really take offense to having to be escorted around under staff supervision either, because it’s expected in a place like this. He does wonder if he’s been caught staring yet though at the nurse with him now, who monotonously asked for his things and showed him to his room in the beginning.
Clearly he was Asian, a bit shorter than himself; with dark hair, and large eyebrows. He hadn’t smiled yet, or made any effort to use an alternative expression aside from monotonous scowling. There’s no real way to put in words why he found this odd enough to stare as much as he was. Maybe the eyebrows? No. Earlier he’d walked passed a different guy with eyebrows just as huge and hadn’t glanced his way for more than five seconds.
It took them a minute or so to get down the entire corridor, and when they did get there, Matthieu was ushered up to a window, second behind this other guy, who was obviously Italian. His hair stuck out on odd ends in places, and was the perfect admixture of red and brown. Most peculiar had to be the protruding growth - or, no, as he looked closer, curl? - stuck out from the bottom left of his head.
Mathieu looked up at the woman behind the glass of the window, her voice (or whatever she was saying in the first place) enunciated weirdly due to the scratchy way it came out through the machinic object installed on the surface of the glass. She was saying something to the guy, about something indefinitely confidential, because suddenly, as Mathieu awkwardly caught her glance for a second, they were speaking Italian, as if they’d only just noticed his arrival. (Which is probably more likely than not in all honesty.)
He wasn’t one to eavesdrop, and didn’t know much Italian himself surpassing basics - and even that was limited - but he listened in anyway; at least catching on to some hysteria coming from the guy in front:
“Mi fanno stanco . . .”
“Lo sai che non mi piace farlo, ma ne avete bisogno, Feliciano.”
“Odio tutto questo . . .”
“Lo so. E mi dispiace. Ho bisogno di aiutare qualcun altro adesso però. Si andrà bene.”
There’s silence between the two, and Mathieu can tell the “Feliciano” was crying, as he’s trembling; apparently what the woman attempted to make light of having the opposite effect. She speaks up again seconds later though, gnawing her bottom lip as though she’s trying to think of something else.
“Ti trattano a pranzo tardi, sí?”
He’s still not sure what they’re saying, but that’s at least enough to get a slightly different reaction out of Feliciano, who simply nods, picking up the small paper cup the woman later slides out on a tray with a bottle of water through an ideal slot at the bottom of the window. Feliciano easily tosses back the contents of the cup, swallowing with a swig of water, and passing the tray back.
“Grazie. Potete inviare Alfred accanto, per favore?”
Matthieu watches him leave, apparently designated to a small group of others he hadn’t noticed in the area until now, all scattered about different spots; some of them watching the considerably outdated television or just lounging on furniture. He notices a pair sitting closely together on one of the leather couches; both blonde, though one significantly taller than the other, and apparently being the ‘Alfred’ he’d caught the woman speaking of as Feliciano uninterestingly tapped his shoulder, saying something to him (this time in accented English), although too low for Mathieu to make out.
He blinks though, attention snapping back to the woman behind the glass as his name is spoken through the scratchy machinic thing. She smiles at him, although its small, typing up something onto the desktop behind the glass, staring occasionally at the screen as she reads. This spontaneous sense of insecurity surfaces as she glances at him, writing unknown things down, reading some more, writing things down..
When she’s done, she attempts another smile, tucking long toffee strands of hair behind her ears as she looks at him, clearing her throat.
“You’ve just been administered here,” she says, although not with the essential Italian accent as Matthieu had been expecting. Slightly rougher; with curt Germanic-ish hisses and weird pronunciation of V’s and W’s.
“Yes . . .”
She nods, walking the fair expanse of the glass interior to casually pick up a fax and back again.
“Well then I know Li was no help to you,” she smiles.
“Uhm . . .”
“He’s the Chinese assistant. The one that ushered you here.”
Well now he knew his name.
“Were you weighed in the medical facility before, Mathieu, or have they not done that yet?”
It almost seems mock as he was just thinking of how his pants felt a bit loose again over his hips.
“Y . . . yes, they did.”
She hums, nodding as she looks at the fax. She sticks a pen in place behind her ear as she turns to an assortment of labeled cabinets, digging through one and returning with a new cup and bottled water, sliding them both out on the same tray as before through the slot.
“I’m . . .” he blinks, nervous. “You w-want me to . . . take that?”
“Yes,” she nods.
He frowns slightly, peeking over the lip of the tray to regard the pair of blue pills inside the cup.
“What . . . what are they?”
“They stimulate sleep for routine patterns we’ve established here. It just allows us to better control sleeping patterns for portions of the system,” she explains. “By dinner, which is in . . . “ she trails off, checking her wristwatch. “In half an hour, you, and the majority of this unit I’ve been placed in charge of distributing medical remedy to, should have that to cover you on schedule through the night.”
Unit? She must have caught on, because then she pointed to the group behind him.
“Under mandatory admission, it’s basically my job to make sure that you and they have the necessary medication you need. We’ve other similar staff, with different units, but in various parts of the building. I’m responsible for the remedies you receive on schedule is all.”
His stomach had growled in the midst of that explanation, humiliatingly enough for him to leave it at that and toss the pills back. He left the tray for her, nearly toppling over the slightly taller ‘Alfred’ behind him, who he clumsily bumped into.
“Fuckin’ serious, dude?”
Dozens of eyes (or rather half of that) were on him and the irritated bespectacled blonde now. Stuttering has been a problem for him since he can remember, especially when under pressure. So in the duration it took him to stumble over a sheepish ‘Excuse me’, Alfred had already thankfully stepped aside, muttering some other profane things under his breath before taking his own remedy.
This is embarrassing. Completely embarrassing. Some haven’t even stopped looking at him yet, and he feels sick to his empty stomach. Although,
He looks up, almost reluctantly though, as in similar past situations he’d acknowledge an outburst so informal and find that it definitely wasn’t worth the second spawn of degradation. So he’s careful now as he looks over at the surprisingly pale patient idly sat at a chess table, an ironically tanned counterpart with him.
They’re the exact kind of people he would normally avoid at all costs, considering how much taller they looked, and logically probably were compared to himself. Their build was another thing too. If anyone would willingly give him a hard time here, it’d probably be them.
“Come sit vith us, ja.”
If he said no . . . Well, what exactly were the repercussions to that?