Heidi Neale 2014 and 2016
The Swan - 20 Years On...
Sitting in the middle of his dull, square room Peter Watson watched the moment when a bullet from a 22 rifle pierced the soft skin of his thigh. He watched the terror and pain shrink from his eyes as he leapt from the tree into his own backyard. Slowly the hallucinations faded away into the harsh reality of his life as the nurse came in with his lunch. It had been almost 15 years now since he had been outside his room. His hallucinations got so bad that whenever he went outside, he re-lived the moment when he was shot out of a tree. The nurses have bought him breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and have bathed him once a week but deep down he wished that they would just leave him alone to die.
“Peter, you’ve got a visitor!” the nurse said sweetly.
It had been 18 years since he last had a visitors. His mother and father moved away and his friends were scared of his mental condition.
He was excited yet nervous.
“Who could it be?” he thought.
He quickly ate his lunch and sat on his bed waiting. As the visitor entered the room, his jaw dropped, he felt his face go hot with anger and confusion. Why, why had the person who haunts his dreams and hallucinations come to see him? Why?
Looking old beyond his years and shabby as if he had given up on life, Ernie slowly walked into the dull, square room Peter Watson called home. He calmly moved across the room and took a seat opposite the bed where Peter was set. He stared at him and he stared back as silence filled the empty room.
“What are you doing here?” Peter asked with anger still shaking in his distant voice.
Peter just looked at him wondering whether to believe him or not and whether or not he cared.
“So am I. I hallucinate every day because of you.”
The last of Ernie’s happiness was drained.
“Why are you here, why are you telling me this?” Peter pushed on, “Why?”
“I’ve come to apologise to you, before I die.”
Peter was overwhelmed and confused, “What, why?”
Ernie rolled up his rag like sleeves and showed Peter his wrists.
“I don’t let myself forget that day.”
A thick, silvery grey substance filled my lungs as I took my first breath f the morning. I opened my eyes and found that the hazy air was filled with waves of blinding smoke. I got up out of bed and immediately knew what was happening. Fire.
He was never truly there. He looked but didn’t see, heard but never listened, and touched but never really felt. He was somewhere else entirely, consumed in a world of his own imagination. He had escaped dry reality and filled a world with all the things his lacked. He filled it with the love our world had turned to hate, equality not greed, life and not death. He was a daydreamer, caught up in his own paradise.