Walls Devoid Of

Bleh, I am unexceptionably drained so I am just going to jump right in to the prompt that was left for me the other day. I got it yesterday and I really enjoyed it so I took a couple of days to think it over and plan a character. So thank you to PotterPhilosophy for leaving this one for me as well as the support for NaNoWriMo which I would like to return to you as well.

A scene of a teenager who struggles with depression/anxiety/sexuality and their first day in a residential treatment center. Focus on their internal thoughts/feelings/emotions.

Every hallway had been a different blindingly vibrant shade in effort, Jo assumed, to lull incoming patients under the false pretense that this was a happy place and not like those cold, stark white facilities made popular by Hollywood. Beside her the nurse that had greeted her and her parents was still building up all the activities and services that would be easily available to Jo while she stayed here for the next few weeks. She was pretty sure that Jo was supposed to be dreading this but if anything she was looking forward to the long periods of solitude she could lock herself away in. To get away from all the people at school who did nothing but talk about who was screwing who or how so and so were so in love and going to get married someday would be a welcome change.

Not to mention all murmurs of “it’s just a phase”, “you’re so young”, “someday you’ll find someone and want to experience sex with them” from her parents, she could really use a break from that. It’s one thing to have your friends and the idiots that surround you not understand the concept of being asexual (that’s what Jo was, she’d finally came to that conclusion three months ago), but when your own parents neglect the concept the world becomes a whole new level of shitty.

Especially when they assume “the phase” is just Jo being depressed and the solution would be a stint at a residential center where other unhappy and troubled youth surround you. They weren’t wrong about the depression though, she would give them that, it just happened to be from the constant feeling of being alone and misunderstood. The shoving aside of her identity as an oddity or a personal choice, the total lack of respect of Jo from virtually every person in her life. Only Heath had taken the time to listen to her when she came out, looked at informational sites to better understand his best friend. Heath was the only thing Jo was going to miss about being here, thank goodness she got to have visitors and limited phone calls.

Apparently they had reached the corridor that would be ‘home sweet home’ for a while cause her parents stood a few feet across from her with horribly uncomfortable smiles parading as sweet goodbye smiles. The nurse, Leyah her name tag read, stood to Jo’s right with one hand resting lightly on the door knob and the other wrapped around Jo’s file held closely to her breast. Avoiding words felt best for Jo so she stepped forward and took awkward hugs from her mom and dad as they whispered their,”this is for the best”, “keep positive” messages with just enough power to fool at least themselves if nobody else. But she did believe it when they said they would miss her, they might not understand her yet but they do love her in their own ways, and ultimately she will miss them too.

Once that was finished Leyah asked her parents to wait here for an escort back to the main lobby before she turned to Jo and said, “Alright, you ready?” She had kind eyes, eyes that Jo might believe truly wanted to listen and help if she stared long enough.

Taking a deep breath and watching Leyah’s index finger twitch over the smooth silver handle, Jo nodded and followed behind when Leyah moved forward. The common room was a surprising shade of not white, it was a light brown…reminded Jo of the colored foam in her favorite espresso drink. She would never admit it out loud but it was actually oddly calming. Across the room were a few people spread out doing different things; reading, watching TV, playing foosball, even just sitting and talking with what looked like actual smiles on their faces. Leyah informed her there were thirteen of them in total on this wing and that if they weren’t out here now they might be in their rooms or at their own therapy sessions.

It seemed a lot less gloomy and tense than Jo was expecting, nearly inviting like the brochures had stated when she and her parents agreed on this place. They even tried to room similar patients together so they would have people who could understand them on at least a small level and have that outlet if the doctors or adults seemed too intimidating. Looking from person to person Jo wondered what the odds of having another asexual person was, or just a person that accepted that and would listen. For the first time in months she was leaning on hope, believing that just maybe those odds could be good.

When Leyah reached the far back right corner she stopped at an open doorway and faced Jo again with a warm smile on her face. “This is you Jolene, they aren’t really all that inspiring but they do their duty.”

“Jo.” She spit out before realizing how harsh and angry it sounded, she coughed and turned her eyes up to Leyah and said, “Please call me Jo” She stepped inside the room and finally Jo got her white walls stripped of all identity.

A shuffling happened behind her as Leyah opened up her file and jotted down something. “Noted, would you like all the staff and your doctor to do that as well? I can pass along that message so you feel as comfortable as possible.” Quickly Jo nodded and gave a thank you and a smile for the first time since she had entered the building. Turning around in a full circle she took in the height of the ceilings and the medium-sized window that gave her a nice view of the skyline downtown. “I know most people see these rooms as sad or lacking personality but I always prefer to think of them as blank canvases ready to soak in all their occupants have to offer.”

It was bizarrely dreamy and Jo again cracked a smile which Leyah returned before pushing off the door frame she had leaned on while watching Jo get familiar. “So, I’ll let you get settled in and come out whenever you would like. Can I get you anything?”

Upon agreeing to this stay and walking into the building Jo had been positive it could do nothing for her considering it wasn’t going to change her peers or parents and their thoughts about her, but now she was beginning to see it could change her. To help her accept herself more and be better prepared to face all of what was waiting for her back in her world. Dropping the small bag from her shoulder to the bed in the corner she faced Leyah again and said, “Yeah, I know they asked when I got here but that was a couple of hours ago, so could I get a snack?”

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