Does Daren remember this moment, I wonder? Standing at the window, forehead pressed against the cool glass, thin arms hugged around his diminutive frame? He is young, here; too young for the haunted shadows beneath his eyes, the stubborn fever in his cheeks, the scabs at the corners of his mouth from fighting the doctors each time they force-feed him a meal. He stares out the window but does not see the dark, dreary afternoon beyond, the walled yard where patients often wander under the gazes of attentive staff. Instead, Daren’s eyes focus on his unfamiliar reflection in the glass. The doctors claim years of trauma and malnutrition are fading his pale hair to pure white, but Daren knows the truth; he is turning into a ghost, dying and decaying in slow pieces. He doesn’t belong here. He doesn’t want to die in this prison and haunt it for eternity, a patient beyond help yet ineligible for release. He’d rather be back on the street, dying from exposure, than trapped within these white walls behind locked doors…

No, better that this memory falls like all the others through the sieve of Daren’s damaged mind. Better it not taint the moment years down the road when he once again stands at a window, forehead to the dark glass, weary and feverish but safe, finally safe. He belongs in this place. One day, sooner perhaps than he would like, he’ll die here and haunt its halls, its rooms, even the man who lays awake in bed waiting for his troubled companion’s return. Until then, Daren deserves to remember as little of the past as possible. Let me be the keeper of these memories instead, the scribe who knows all yet chooses to withhold the worst and most private tragedies from preservation in text.


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