By Nicole Cater
Yep, you read that right, coloring. As previously mentioned, there are not a lot of interesting things to do in the clink. Coloring is certainly not a bad option. There are plenty of coloring books, crayons, markers and colored pencils. Art is healing. Except that all of the coloring instruments are blunter than a wooden spoon. God forbid Barb goes streaking and pokes someone’s eye out with a sharp crayon! We can’t have that happening on the ward.
So you color the best you can with these horribly used implements. If you’re brave, you can ask a nurse to sharpen a pencil for you. Which she will only do half way. We’re still crazy, remember. But I like to color. It’s soothing. I also liked to tape my art to my door. Considering my door was right across from their desk, and it gave them something to look at, my nurses were more than happy to give me all the tape I wanted. It was MoMA a la Nut Hut.
But seriously, I prefer the light touch method anyway, so the fact that most of the colored pencils weren’t sharp didn’t bother me too much. Pinkie Confession Time: I actually keep a huge box of colored pencils and a few coloring books on hand at home anyway. Like I said, it’s soothing. Staying within the lines, choosing the perfect color scheme for the picture, this stuff is important. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not. Plus, we’re talking tangible benefits here, people. You can actually see your product as you finish it. Coloring is cool.
But it’s especially important to look cool while doing it. Not really for the sake of the population of the Nut Hutters. It’s because one of your besties from high school to your mid-20s just walked up to say hi. She works for the Nut Hut. And you so obviously don’t. Here’s how the conversation* went:
“Nikki, what are you doing here?”
“Oh, you know, just chillin’. Heard the food was good here. How are you doing Sophie?”
“Fine, fine, are you going okay?” Um, now call me crazy (please), but is this the right question to ask someone trapped in a mental health facility?
“Well, you know, some things got a little…” When encountered by a situation you are not, and could never be prepared for, my favorite mode of conversation is obfuscation.
“Don’t worry, you’re in the right place!”
“So I’ve heard. You wanna switch outfits? Mine’s more comfy, I swear!” This was not a joke, she was wearing the cutest black with pink pinstripe pants and pink cardi with a fabulous giant flower barrette. It was CUTE!!
“Ha ha, that robe does look killer on you though! And look, you kept your own socks. Argyle is so in, you fashion icon!” This is why old friends can be good friends, they get you.
Hugs were given all around, even though there is a strict “No Touching” policy, no one was going to stop Sophie from damn near breaking my spine. She gave me her number, again, I already had it. To say it was humiliating is maybe going a step too far. But it was a strong Def-Con Embarrassing Four, for sure. But damn, at least I looked cool while I was coloring.
*As you may have noticed, those who knew me prior to running off to college call me Nikki. I don’t like it, I try and discourage it, but it somehow never goes away. Nikki is the booger I can never fling off my finger.
This is our new Wicked Short Stories page with submissions from various Authors. Please look for bio-snippets about the Author at the bottom of the various pieces. Enjoy!