“Thanks, thanks for coming. It means a lot to me. Really. I mean, I know how it sounds, you know? Is that thing on? Should we check? Let’s check. (checks video camera) Sorry. I want to make sure it’s on. I want this recorded.(sits down) What? Oh. Right. (looks straight at the camera)
My name is Ana North. I am in Los Angeles, California. It is currently 11:37 pm Pacific Standard Time. I am being recorded by my psychiatrist, David Sterns, and I have given full, legal, written consent. I am here of my own free will, for treatment and possible documentation.
Are we good? Good.
Listen, I appreciate you coming out. I know that it’s not the normal way to do things, but it’s just...being in a
hospital, with people, tonight? Doesn’t sound like the best idea to me. Or the safest. And I know. I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say everything’s going to be fine, that I’ll see this is just a silly story mixed with my family’s history, and I’m just making it up.
Well. Better safe than sorry, right?
Mind if I...? (fixes a drink, swallows it, pours another) There. That’s better. You know, when my mom went crazy, my brothers and my sister and I weren’t there. We’d gone on a trip with our Uncle Philip, to Disneyland of all places, home of princes and princesses. A last hurrah to our childhood, I’m assuming. Guess we know why now, right?
My mom -- I know we’ve talked about this, but I didn’t tell you everything -- my mom, she didn’t just go crazy. She didn’t just kill my dad and those poor cops. Sh-She mutilated them, carved them up, ate part of them, or tried to. Took four cops and two police dogs to get her off Dad.
My mother’s psychiatrist told me at her funeral that they had to pump her stomach to get my dad’s wedding ring out of her system.
I just don’t want to end up like her, you know? I’m scared of hurting myself, my kid, you, anyone. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life locked up in an institution or prison or god knows what else because I have a natural inclination towards violence.
And it’s not just my mom I have as evidence. My aunt went crazy too, on her thirtieth birthday. But she didn’t kill anyone. No. She just locked herself up in the master bathroom and tried to drown in the tub. When that didn’t work, she used a pair of tweezers to gouge her eyes out. They found her swirling her eyeballs in her hand like those Japanese stress balls you find down in Little Tokyo.
(An alarm goes off) Jesus, that scared the crap out of me.
Sorry. What? Oh. That’s the alarm that is set for the exact time of my birth. Don’t want to be caught off guard. Didn’t I tell you? I’ve taken precautions. Door’s magnetically locked from the outside, there are locks on all the windows. This apartment is pretty sound-proof, just in case.
Phones don’t work in here either, I got a jammer in place. We’re sealed in.
(Leans in) For how long? Until I’m sure I won’t go crazy.
It shouldn’t take long. My dad was dead twenty minutes after the exact time of my mother’s birth. My aunt was found an hour after hers.
It’s funny. That mirror behind you? It belonged to my mother. It belonged to my aunt first, she’s older you know, and after she went off the deep end, it was given to my mom, and then to me. I’m the eldest, so it made sense. It’s the only piece of her I have, I sold the rest, couldn’t bear to have it in the house. But I kept it. I don’t know why, it doesn’t go with anything here, and my kid thinks it’s creepy. I don’t know.
It’s like I meant to have it.
I’ll tell you a secret. Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I can see shades of people in the background. It doesn’t matter where I put it, or how much light surrounds me, there are dark shades of people in the background. There. Do you see them?
No? Are you sure? They’re moving. Still nothing? I see them.
They’re at the edge of the mirror now.
They used to make me nervous, but not anymore. Not since recently. It’s nice, kinda, it’s like having a family that never leaves, but never bothers you. They’re not intrusive in any way.
Oh, you noticed that? Yeah, I took the mirrors out of the bathroom and the bedroom. I didn’t like them, they seemed unnecessary, and besides, that one is floor length. A home only needs one mirror, might as well be this one.
How am I feeling? A little sick, if I’m honest. I feel a migraine coming on. Can we stop? Just for a second? No, seriously. Let’s just stop. Stop. (Stands, goes to camera) I have a headache, so let’s stop the tape. I’m sure everything will be fine. I said stop - STOP THE FUCKING TAPE!”
— — — — — —
Photo by Alex Lopez on Unsplash.