A dingy, gray mist hovered between the stripped-mined Appalachian Mountains. Coal dust shrouded everything in Shelby, a mining town in eastern Kentucky where Lacey Simmons wrung out the last diaper and slung it on the clothesline. She ran inside, slammed the door closed, and turned the bolt. Peeking through soot-covered windows, she scanned the countryside for her tormentors. They were out there for she had heard their voices and felt their eyes bearing down upon her.
Hearing footsteps behind her Lacey whirled around to face her mother, Elena Bentley, who held her whimpering baby granddaughter.
“I’m wide awake and ready to eat, Mama.” She remarked handing Lacey the small, wide-eyed bundle.
“You don’t have to tell me when to feed my baby. I guess I have enough sense to know that.” Lacey snarled as she snatched the baby and walked towards her bedroom.
“Honey, you’ve been awful touchy lately. I’ve heard you pacing up and down in the hall almost every night; I reckon you haven’t been gettin’ enough sleep for one thing.
“And what’s the other thing, Mama? You always need to point out my flaws, don’t you?” Lacey snapped, sitting on her bed and opening her blouse.
“You don’t eat enough to keep a fly alive; you’ve lost a lot of weight. What’s the matter, Lacey?”
“None of your business.” She shouted, pulling little Barbara close to her bosom.
“I’m just worried about you.” Mrs. Bentley said, tears welling up in her eyes.
“I’m gettin’ ready to make lunch. What can I fix you?”
“Nothing, just leave me alone.” Lacey hissed at her mother through clenched teeth.
Mrs. Bentley backed out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Twenty minutes later Lacey placed the sleeping baby in her crib. She walked across the hall to her room, closed the door, and lay down on the bed. Maybe her racing thoughts would leave if she could relax.
She remembered how happy she had been a few months ago. God had blessed her with a loving husband, healthy baby, and a godly mother. She was the happiest and most blessed person this side of paradise. Now He, along with everyone else, had turned against her.
Lacey believed her husband Bobby was cheating on her and wanted to get her out of his life. She knew the Big Ben on her nightstand had really been a ticking bomb. The clock now lay at the bottom of the creek.
Why was God, her family, friends, and neighbors so against her? Why was the telephone company listening in on her conversations?
Lacey sat up in bed. She heard a voice in her head say repeatedly, “You are going to die.” She ran from her bedroom to a hall closet, and locked the door. Inside, Lacey collapsed on the floor and lay in a catatonic state.
“Lacey, what’s wrong?” Her mother yelled as she pounded on the door. “Open up Lacey. Lacey?”
* * * * *
Lacey awakened to a beeping sound. Bobby and a strange man stared down at her.
“Well, hello Sleeping Beauty. I was wondering if you were ever gonna wake up. How do ya feel?” Bobby said, reaching for her hand.
“Groggy. What happened? Is this a hospital?” Lacey asked, noting the IV attached to her left hand.
“Yes, Moreland Psychiatric Hospital. I am Dr. Williams, Mrs. Simmons. Let’s elevate your head and we can talk about your illness.”
Lacey placed her hand on her head as the bed slowly raised. “Oh . . . Why am I so dizzy?”
Dr. Williams spent the next hour with Bobby and Lacey explaining Lacey’s diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia and his treatment plan. Besides medication, she had received one electroconvulsive treatment.
Later that evening as Lacey sat in a chair squinting out of the barred, dingy hospital window at the city lights below, she struggled to remember the past week but could not. Bobby said they had a baby girl but she could not remember the child. Dr. Williams had warned her that she might have some memory loss.
Lacey looked up at the ceiling and prayed aloud, “Lord, I don’t understand why this has happened to me but I’m trusting you. Please help me.”
Glancing around the room she saw a plaque beside the door that read, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12. (KJV)
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