“Finding Normal” by Brook Oliver

I now have my mission in life. I will drive cross country and go to every town library from here to Alaska. I will get a library card and I will check out the maximum amount of books possible. I will then leave to prey upon my next "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tale of Two Cities". I will never return the books. I will just go from town to town smiling at each mousey headed librarian as they take, not knowing, their last look at their books... and my sanity slipping away. Dan Rather will tell every household in America how nuts I am and he will be right. Dr. Smith will smile his smug little "I told you so" grin, and then I know I will be crazy.. Completely insane.

I am normal. There is no one more normal than me. I know not to wear white after labor day and I can tell you exactly what fork to use with your salad. My mother did not take any drugs while she was carrying me and I came out a healthy 10 fingered 10 toed baby girl. I am normal. My hair has never been a color of the rainbow and I never killed anyone.... until Richard. BUT WAIT, I have an explanation. In fact I have a billion. I know you will not believe a word I say and that's ok, I am not telling you this for you, I am telling it for me.

First off, this white towel robe thing I am wearing, believe me, its state ordered. They thing we might choke ourselves on button's or slash our wrists on zippers. I do not know how, but rumor is it's been done. If you think this is bad you should see the rooms. Ok I am off the subject. Damn I do that all the time. It's all part of being crazy ya know.

So... well... me and Rich, we were, I dunno.., normal. I mean I didn't dawn on me until I got to the Hilt' hotel here that me and Rich were any different than anyone else. Well... there was the drugs, and the booze.. And the sex.. And the bruises.. The bruises, now those were the worst. But me and Rich, man, we had some good times. Disneyland, camping I remember one time we went to this place where all the animals just walked around right in front of you and you got to sit in your car and watch. Well we got out of the car and started to pet this huge giraffe... just me and him... .... see this is one reason I am still here and they say I am crazy. I loved Rich, I loved my father. He was the only one that loved me unconditionally. He made me feel special in ways that I could never explain. I had power over him. He made me feel like there was no one else that could make him feel the way I did. I was a daddy's girl.....

The problem was that I found out that I was not the only daddy's girl.

There I go again- off topic. OK So all right, you want to know about the night it happened. Want me to talk about it.. Tell you all about it. Well I don't remember a lot of it.. No... I am lying. I remember everything, that's why I am a nutzo. I know you are thinking "nutzo", how harsh. But come on you have to keep a sense of humor. "Yes I am phcillitated in a mental institution for the duration of an unknown length of time for being unstable." How fucking retarded does that sound? I am a nut, plain and simple.

That night I walked into Lynn's room. Lynn, my little sis. Beautiful girl. Man, she was a spoiled little brat. We were only 2 years apart, most people thought we were twins, but we were very different. I thought the main thing that made us different was she was a mommy's girl. She was a real sissy. I on the other hand could careless about my mother and she had the same feelings for me. I think I understand more now why she hated me, I mean I believed her husband was in love with me.

Well... Lynn, Lynn got anything she ever wanted.. But that night... she had what I wanted, what I needed, what was MINE!

I peaked through the door and I saw Rich and her. I was so angry when I saw that. I mean he was mine. I ran back down the hallway to the closet where he hid his gun. He was on top of her when I shot him. Blood everywhere. I remember feeling so bad that Ma was going to have to clean that mess up. Lynn was screaming and Rich was stretched out on the bed like a blood soaked crucifix. He was mine, she saw that now, mine and mine alone. She could never have him again.

All I could do was laugh. There is some fancy name for my reaction, but hell if I know what it is. I am crazy remember. All I should know is how many pink elephants are walking on the ceiling eating banana's. I laughed because it felt good. For the first time in my thirteen years of life I made my own self feel good. I laughed so hard I peed my pants. Man that police officer was mad when I had to sit my pissy ass in the back of his squad car. It was great.

There was no trial, I am a minor after all. I hear now that some lawyer wants to get me out of here because they just stuck me here for some "unspecified amount of time." So after the police took me away from the only home and way of life I had known........

You know, I don't want to talk about this anymore.

NO WAIT... I do. I have something to say. Today.. Today is my 16th birthday. I should be at the DMV getting my drivers license. Rich, Ma and Lynn and me, we should be eating cake and I should be opening gifts. A month from now is what would be my first high school dance. I would want to take Rich (my father), but that would not be "normal". I would take some stuffy football player who would maul me in the back of his car afterwards, that would be normal. I should be flunking algebra tests and throwing slumber parties. Playing softball and getting grounded for talking on the phone to late..... I know what normal is!! Is it not possible for a person to make one brief mistake without paying for the rest of their life? Rich made my mistake for me! I am the one paying for him. I was a CHILD, do you have any idea what that means?.... I know I never did.

This is not an excuse, I am sorry for what I did. Lord knows the endless hours I have spent crying ....wondering.... and praying. I cant take it back. I don't want to take it back. Its a lot like those library books... everyone gets to use them, abuse them, and return them.

Don't you understand? That moment returned me. I am normal now!!

There are times when I feel crazy and this place.. This place has done that to me. I see what goes on and you always want to know if I want to get out into "The Real World" and that statement in it self should tell you something. You call "out there" the real world... this is not reality and I know it. I know what it going on. This shit you feed us to try and pass off as food, see I know it is SHIT. I will go on, dribbling slowly from one side of my mouth, talking to curtains and finding all kinds of objects to stick up my nose. You say I have to let my years of abuse out before you will let me out, so I will. I think I just did.