The Wilted Flower

They said she came in voluntarily.

‘She walked in, still smelling of vodka… with a smile on her face and a pouch of thick powder in her satchel. She didn’t struggle when we took them away from her; she just stood: smiling, and looking forward… as though someone else was there beyond us.’

Things got worse in the evening when the sound of her tears filled the narrow hallways. In between she would scream the names of those that had left her behind in Haight to ‘die’, when in truth they had left her in the LSD clinic, to be treated by the doctors who wanted to know more about the disillusioned hippies.

That was what she was: a disillusioned hippie. The death of the summer of love had in her eyes, killed the ideologies she had left her life behind for. There was no more need to spread the word, she thought… no more turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. But there was nothing more she could do.

LSD had changed her for the worse, and she needed help. That was why she came, ready and willing to wear the hospital whites of a patient at the Thebault Center and to learn more about what had turned her crazy.

“There is no cure,” the doctor tells me as I watch her sit and sketch. “It’s gotten worse.”

“Will she need to stay here forever?”

“I’m afraid the escalation in her mental inabilities will not deem her fit to return to society,” the doctor replied. “I don’t think we can afford to see her run straight into a speeding car just because she thought it was her missing ‘self’.”

I nod, my head down as I try not to catch her eye. “Thank you for your time, doctor.”

I walk out with my head down and my eyes fixed on the door. I take out my keys and step into the car, turning on the ignition as I close the door and prepare to drive away.

Tomorrow, I will see her for the first time and sit with her.

We will play with toy dolls and draw photos of the summer in Haight.

The doctor tells me they have purchased crayons in the tie-dye shades that she loves.

I smile.

Tomorrow will be beautiful, and I’m proud.


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