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LAce Posted Monday, October 18th, 2004
Whitby's Psychiatric
Kathy Fish

I want to live at Whitby’s Psychiatric Hospital with my cousin, Amy.

We’ll hold hands like buddies on a field trip and wait our turn to get checked in. I’ll make jokes about the head nurse with the three chins so she’s not so nervous.

We’ll take turns slamming ourselves against the walls of our padded cell and howling at the happy, smiling moon.

(At Whitby’s, the brains of the criminally insane float in jars of formaldehyde. Dr. Overstreet, the founding psychiatrist, locks himself in his lab every night and pokes them with a long-tined fork.)

I’ll sneak down to the cafeteria and get raisin cookies for her when it appears she is getting too thin. I’ll go along to her therapy sessions and do all the talking.

Amy has a strawberry mole on her cheek and a scar on her top lip like the blister my baby brother got when he nursed. I asked her once how she got the scar and she said a dog bit her there when she was little, but I do not believe this story. She lives with us when she’s not at Whitby’s because her mother died. No one will tell me how. I have my theories.

When my mother raps the Pillsbury rolls on the countertop, Amy runs from the room with her hands over her ears. She is too frightened most of the time, but when she is high she is not frightened enough. People laugh at her for wearing cowboy hats and running around with grown up men. People laugh at me for being her cousin.

The last time we visited Whitby’s I found Amy sitting alone in a room full of sagging leather couches. Her wrists looked like a child’s poking out of the frayed cuffs of her sweater. I held her hand and said, “I’m here now. You don’t have to be scared.” And for some reason, that made her laugh. She thinks I am just a kid, but I am thirteen years old and I know the size and shape of the heart’s pain, too.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Ellen Meister [ ] on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 5:42 AM
Once again, Kathy Fish proves that she is the Goddess of Flash! Kudos, Kath. This piece packs a wallop!

Posted by Robin Slick [ ] on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 6:03 AM
Oh Kathy Fish, this is so, so wonderful! Reading this piece made my morning*

Posted by Katrina Denza on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 7:18 AM
Wow! This is powerful, Kath! Well done.

Posted by debbie ice on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 7:39 AM
Oh, Ms. Fish picks that perfect word, phrase, image that sets a scene. Lovely writing. I enjoyed, as usual. Yay, kath!

Posted by Myfanwy Collins on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 8:25 AM
Kathy Fish, you are AMAZING and so is this flash. Wow, wow, wow!!! The last line has sent goosebumps up and down my arms. oh!

Posted by Katie Weekley on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 9:55 AM
You are the queen of flash. Excellent piece!

Posted by Marcia Lynx Qualey [ ] on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 4:03 PM
Sad and hopeful and beautiful. Wonderful, wonderful, Kathy.

Posted by Willa Burke [ ] on Wednesday, October 20th, 2004 at 9:57 AM
I don't even know how I came to this site, I was clicking this and that and what a gift to stumble upon this story. I will remember the name Kathy Fish and the beautiful details of the strawberry mole and the cold hands and the frayed cuffs on the sweater. This made me cry. Best, wb.

Posted by Ellen Parker on Wednesday, October 20th, 2004 at 10:58 AM
Kathy Fish, please marry me.

Posted by Sharon Hurlbut on Wednesday, October 20th, 2004 at 3:49 PM
Exquisite, Kathy. This one will haunt me for a long time.

Posted by Saleh Razzouk [ ] on Thursday, March 9th, 2006 at 4:02 AM
Stories of Kathy Fish are close to reality, but as we want it, not as it is in the real world of facts. She implies to unwind her views the lexicon of every day conversation, so to make literature part of life, not a heavy guest invades it. No doubt she is not epic writer, but still expressive, and she depicts the human essence in depth ( linguistically and thoughtfully ). Good pen indeed, even promising.. Saleh Razzouk - journalist

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