Spring outside of the Talk Shack is always surprisingly beautiful. You’d think that outside of a very run down, old help building, nature would be pretty deceased. Instead, fresh flora buds decorate the practically bare trees and glistening dew drops hang off the bright green grass. The sun blares bright, releasing scorching heat open us all. Almost picture perfect, like in those ludicrous, fictional stories.
“Come on Caitlin, stop hanging around,” Mum snaps as I let the glimmering dew seep through a small hole in my trainer. Jumping off of the grass, Mum grabs my wrist and ushers me into the Talk Shack. I shake her off, a little embarrassed, and fold my arms.
“Mum, I don’t need to be man-handled by you. I can go somewhere without you grabbing me at the wrist and dragging me off.” The cool breeze that had whipped my brown hair was now gone, barricaded by the modern day sliding doors.
Sometimes I think that modern day distracts us from the true beauty of the world and the past. After all, kids are so trapped up in online societies they don’t bother to get involved at the true societies in reality. When they hit eighteen everything’s a big blow. No more second lives like in the video games. You die, it’s over. No more help buttons. If you don’t have help, think for yourself. Then there comes the politics and the political parties and taxes and rent and in the end your brain simply explodes with all this bizarre and hurtful reality. If you don’t get used to it young, how will you get used to it when you’re old? Perhaps if people stopped making electronic devices and started selling more books, then youth and modern day society would be better educated.
“Well Caitlin you tend to wander off and I would like to have my daughter return home every night, thank you very much,” retorts Mum and I just shrug.
“Oh, hello Marian! Caitlin,” the receptionist nods at me curtly. She’s never really liked me but she’s never really liked any kid that has walked in here. Although every single parent she sees, somehow she ends up kissing their butts and acting all smarmy and nice. Her little act usually doesn’t fool any kid but all the adults enjoy it and think she’s so nice.
“Hello Susan! Are you well today?” Susan nods, the fake pears on her necklace bouncing up and down to the rhythm of her head. Against her wrinkled and tanned skin, the pearls seem paler and twinkle ever so slightly in the dull light. Outside, the brilliant sun shines bright but the doors are opaque and the sunlight is shut out.
I think it’s awfully cruel to shut out nature. How would you like it if nature shut out you? That natural sun-light is perfect for eco-projects and a source of light. Why waste money on electricity bills? I had to do an entire PowerPoint presentation to my class on eco-systems. Most people were bored but I got an A so I was pleased. Miss said that it was ‘informative and bursting with facts and diagrams cleverly constructed using technology.’ All my classmates said I was a boring, mental nerd. That night I cried myself to sleep.
“I’m very well, thank you for asking. How are you? MK giving you any grief?” Her eyes quickly divert to me and flick away. That’s what the staff call us, MK’s, which stands for Mental Kids. They think we’re un-intelligent and haven’t cracked the code. It was figured out five minutes after the code was created.
“We had a bit of trouble with her being defiant. I suggest you watch out, she’s a bit moody today,” whispers Mum, jabbing a thumb in my direction. Susan nods understandingly but she doesn’t have to deal with us. The Talkers have to and so does the Kitchen Maids who serve us sugar-free orange squash and sugar-free biscuits. Sometimes, on people’s birthdays, they hand out sugar-free lollipops too.
We’re not allowed sugar. I am because I have a pretty low case of MHS or as I call it: Crazy. MHS is Mental Health Syndrome which is where my Mental Stability is not balanced. There’s a boy called Miles who goes here and he has a really bad case of Crazy. Someone gave him a chocolate chip cookie and he nearly ended up in the back of police car. He had to go down to the police station, but he was given a caution due to his medical condition.
“Bye Caitlin, sweetie,” says Mum in a sugary, high voice and kisses me on the forehead. I wave as she walks out of the door, feeling a quick blast of warmth as the sliding doors slide open. Without even bothering to check in with Susan, I stride past the reception desk and through the double doors. This place is like a second home to me. I come here every week but we can come any day and any time. My eyes spy the worn down banner bearing the words: TALK TIME! Several of the letters have faded or rubbed off and one corner has come loose resulting in the entire banner to dangle loosely from its place. In front of me are doors, each individually labelled. I go to the second furthest and knock. The label reads: MISS HELEN. J, CAITLIN DAYS.