You think someone would notice if I just started screaming?

Writing prompt: “You think someone would notice if I just started screaming?”

I’m at the end of my rope. I’m barely hanging on but the thinnest of frayed threads. I haven’t had a full three hours of continuous sleep in weeks. I can’t even sleep in my own bed anymore. Too much pain there. So I camp out on the couch, playing harmless old black and white re-runs on the tv trying to numb myself into some semblance of rest.

I used to get massages every week to help me relax. I had to stop. I can’t stand anyone touching me. It makes me flinch. Just the simple physical connection with another human being feels like fire on my skin and I’m too raw to handle any form of intimacy.

I work graveyard shift. Driving around in the dark with only the stillness and my own sleep deprived thoughts to keep me company. It’s no wonder I’m not getting any better. I turn on the radio but the voices and words are like nails on a chalk board. The gentle beats of music are like gavels pounding on my already pulverized heart. The wounds are emotional and mental but I’m in actual physical pain. I wonder if I’m going crazy.

It’s only 3 am but the radio crackles in the silence. My guys need me to respond to their call. A female 5150. I arrive to find a naked woman in the middle of a full psychotic episode. She rants incoherently.

Girl, I feel your pain.

My very presence seems to calm her. Maybe crazy recognizes crazy? Maybe pain recognizes pain?

I watch her get loaded up into the back of the waiting ambulance and as the doors start to close I wonder what would happen if I stopped them. What if I just started screaming? What if I just climbed into the back of the ambulance with her and had them take me to the hospital too? What would my guys think If I said out loud that I wasn’t sure I would make it through the rest of the night?

I let the doors close. I pretend I’m listening as my guys talk and joke beside me. I watch as that ambulance slowly drives down the dark, empty street. I feel any sense of hope draining as I watch those wheels slowly turn, traveling further and further away.

I wonder if I will ever be ok again?

I get back into my squad car and drive off, back into the streets alone.

I go 10-8.

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