To the institution. I remember this part in black and white. The police car threaded up a hill, wheels crunching the ice. Bare deciduous trees, black evergreens, a gray scape of snow, dead grass, frozen earth. A dreary castle at the apex, spires, a place where a dungeon might exist, not a place I wanted to be.
The car stopped just short of a stone portico. The woman unlocked and opened the car door, motioned me out. “Come along, you.”
The sheriff, the escort, and I climbed some steps. The woman pushed me through the door.
I disappeared inside Cherokee.
To forget. I don’t remember much about those first few hours in Cherokee: an intake report, a brief physical, and a mug shot. Maybe even a bathroom break.*
Just the terror, the anger, and the thumping of my heart, all in bas relief, the physical details distorted behind crackled glass.
For two months, I plotted, begged, cajoled, and lobbied for my release. I wanted only to flee the institution, Iowa, my grandparents.