This is more like a novel based on a true story than a diary. I think this will be a good read for you and an especially good experience for people with bipolar disorder or other mental disorders.
Enjoy and do leave me a comment. Criticism is especially welcome.
In his office, Dr. Azzam took a sip from his coffee, mildly amused at the fact that it was midnight. He was used to working late shifts in the hospital. It was an essential time for the kind of hospital he works in, for after all, that’s the perfect time to bring them over.
He glanced back at the two files on his desk.
Said the names on the files. He was already done reading. Names after names, and days after days of new, as he likes to put it, customers. Two of them in one night.
He looked at his watch, five minutes past twelve. They’re late, he thought in annoyance. They should be here by now.
Not five minutes later, there was a knock on his door, followed by enter, and a man in a white uniform was standing in front of Dr. Azzam.
“What kept you, Noor?”
“We had trouble with Omar, Doctor.”
“His father wouldn’t stop crying. Kept asking us to wait.”
“So is the case with many first timers. How are they doing?”
“Deeply sedated. They were already in their pyjamas , so it was only a matter of transporting them from bed to bed. They have at least two hours left before they wake up.”
“I see.” Dr. Azzam stretched his back against the chair and took a long sip from his coffee. See you in the morning, Ahmed and Omar, he thought. “Load them with Halo. Ten millis each.”
Noor exited the doctor’s office into the hallway. In this place, almost everything is white. He made his way to the nurse station where he barked orders to the other nurses.
“Two standard Halo’s. Khaled, it’s your turn, I think. Room 6 first.”
Khaled, the nurse, stood up, took the vials and the needles, and caught up with the head nurse. They slowly entered the room whose door had a golden big 206 on it. Noor lit up the bedside lamp, the light reflecting a slightly overweight tanned man in his mid thirties, with long black hair and coarse features.
Khaled finished preparing the injection and gave a nod to Noor who quietly and carefully exposed Ahmed’s behind. Khaled wasted no time, injecting him with the drug.
Welcome back, Ahmed, thought Khaled.
They turned off the light and made their way to Room 8. As Noor opened the door, he frowned; the light was on. He hurried into the room to find the bed, empty. He was out in a second, pushed Khaled aside, turned left to the nurse station, then stopped dead. There he is, thought Noor with a sigh of relief. A man, slightly tall, early twenties, good build, bronze skin, orange hair… Noor raised an eyebrow when he saw his hair color. Omar was at the nurse station, apparently arguing with the nurse there. So soon?
“I’m telling you, my name is NOT Omar Noureddeen! What kind of name is Noureddeen, anyway?”
“Omar?” said Noor, reaching Omar.
“There, perhaps you two have more sense than this guy!” Said Omar turning to face the two nurses, voice a bit too loud for midnight tones.
“Lower your voice.” said Noor.
“Only if you tell me where I am.” said Omar.
“Lower your voice, and I will tell you where you are.”
“You don’t know where you are?”
“You’re in Dr. Khaled Abolnaga’s Mental Health Resort.”
“What exactly is this?”
“You weren’t told you would be here?”
The nurses exchanged knowing looks.
“What’s wrong? Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Look, Omar, we don’t know the details, but Dr. Azzam will explain everything in the morning.”
“Can’t I speak to him now?”
“What do you mean no?” asked Omar, tone rising again.
“Lower-your-voice.” said Noor with a warning tone.
“Whatever, man.” Said Omar, lowering his voice again. “So will you at least tell me what exactly is this resort thing?”
Noor passed Omar, ignoring him. He took his seat behind the reception desk/nurse station.
“What? You’re ignoring me now?” said Omar with a bitter smirk.
“Come on guys. Put yourselves in my place,” said Omar, lowering his voice for the third time. He went back to his last memory; his own warm bed with the surrounding of his bedroom the last thing he saw before…
“Do you have any idea how it feels to wake up and find yourself in a completely different place?”
Noor sighed, then looked Omar in the eye.
“You want me to put it bluntly?”
“Yes.” said Omar with a sigh.
“You’re in a hospital for crazy people, Omar.” said Noor with finality.
Up and Above
Earlier this year…
Omar woke up groggily from his sleep. He had his normal black hair this time. He felt like he had slept for no less than ten hours.
He slowly got up from his bed and looked around in the near darkness. He was in his bed in his own bedroom.
In Omar’s bedroom, blue was the theme; except for a large LCD screen facing the bed, the walls were blue skies with clouds, blue highlights on his bed, bed sheets, wardrobe, dresser and desk, also a blue large bookcase that took up the entire width of the space of the wall on the right.
He looked around and could only see darkness. Strange, he thought to himself,if I slept for so long, it should be daylight by now. He got out of bed and went to the kitchen to look at the kitchen clock. He seemed to be maneuvering too well for the darkness. Everything was too dark for him to see anything. It seemed that the lights were out. He went back to his room rather quickly for someone who can’t see anything, picked up his lighter and lit it, looking for candles. He always had those little tea lights by the dresser that he used to simmer essential oils. He lit one, put it in its small glass, and went back to the kitchen. 5:35 the clock on the wall said. Dawn, he thought. When he opened the fridge, everything was rotting. The lights were out for so long that the fridge stopped working. He went over to the sink and on turning the knob found very little water flowing. He turned the knob as much as it would go, and still very little water. No sooner had he taken a glass when the water stopped flowing completely. He turned the knob back and went to the fridge. At least water doesn’t spoil, he thought. When he started to drink straight from the bottle, he realized that he was really thirsty. Wait a minute, thought Omar, how can everything spoil in a fridge when it’s only been like 10 hours?
He decided that his father, who sleeps much later at night, would have known something about this, so he went to his bedroom to ask him. Not to much of his surprise, he found his bed empty. Strange. What is this feeling? He didn’t find his brother in his bed either. He was alone. It feels like this is normal.
He went too look outside the window and saw something shocking. Fog. Everywhere. He couldn’t see beyond the tree that was right in front of their window, even the tree he barely saw. He went back to his bedroom and sat in his chair. He had slept too much to just get back in bed and wait for lights to come back on and that seemingly never would. He decided that he would give it about an hour, then he would get down to the street for some answers. There are bound to be some pedestrians at 7 am, maybe they would know something.
He changed, grabbed his wallet, keys, smokes and cell, but noticed that his cell is dead. There’s no charging you now. So He left his cell, and left.
When he reached the ground floor he saw something that he had never seen before. There was a very heavy layer of fog that covered the ground, it almost made it feel like he’s walking on clouds. It relaxed him more than it scared him.
He reached the street and saw the same thing. It’s all over the place. And there was not a single soul in site. Hardly any cars parked, and no cars at all driving. He couldn’t even hear the remote honking of a car horn, or asphalt being crushed below a tire. Nothing.
He would go to the nearest place that he knew would find someone. His seventy year old grand mother never left her house. Hoping he would find her there, he started walking. It was a 30 minute walk. On his way he noticed that apart from the lack of a single human being everywhere, everything else seemed quite normal, at least when he got close enough. He could barely make anything out because of the fog and cannot even see the ground. Yet, there was the kiosk that he bought his cigarettes from. Turned right, there’s the peanut place, I should be seeing the Basilica Church by now. He barely made out the silhouette of the large church that took up a square in the middle of the street. It became clearer as he got closer. The fog was getting lighter by the minute.But for some bizarre reason, the very heavy one on the ground was exactly like clouds. He was surprised that it didn’t make his feet wet.
Twenty minutes later, Omar had reached the club, if he turned right from there, then left, he would finally reach his grandmother’s place. He turned right and walked for five minutes till he reached the gas station. He just realized that all of this was very reminiscent of a popular series of video games that he liked. He found that amusing. He had forgotten that this is exactly where his best friend, Tarek, lives.
No sooner than that thought had crossed his mind when he found that Tarek was sitting on a chair in the gas station.
“Omar!” said Tarek loudly, waving.
“Hey Omar,” said Omar. Tarek’s first name was Omar, too. “What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing,” said Tarek. “I woke up and everyone and everything was gone.”
“Same here. What do you think is going on?” said Omar.
“No idea. I thought you would tell me.” said Tarek.
They talked for a few minutes, discussing what could possibly be the reason for all that was happening, until Omar had a strange feeling that someone was approaching from the right. The fog in the air had almost completely disappeared by now, but not the one on the ground. He still couldn’t make out anything more than twenty meters away, but he could at least see the gas station and the opposite side of the street clearly.
“What is it?” said Tarek, looking in the same direction.
“I thought I heard footsteps.” said Omar.
A few seconds later, they were able to make out who it was.
“Isn’t that…” said Tarek. “Your friend?”
“Oh my God, yes. It’s Amr Morad,” said Omar. “AMR!” he said loudly, waving at Amr.
“What are you two doing here?” asked Amr when he was close enough to be heard. “I thought I heard voices so I came.”
“Trying to figure this all out,” said Omar. “What’s going on, anyway?”
“I have no idea.” said Amr coldly. The three fell silent. Tarek and Amr didn’t get along very well. You can count on Amr for an awkward silence thought Omar.
“Don’t you think it’s strange?” said Omar after a minute of silence. “That only the three of us are… around? And that we happen to know each other?”
“It’s also strange that we happened to meet at this time and place without any kind of planning.” observed Tarek.
“No. There was a kind of planning, just not ours,” said Omar. “Perhaps God planned it.”
Amr didn’t say anything. He just stood there watching.
“Guys, I have a theory.” said Omar. “It’s a little crazy, but… what if something caused everyone but the three of us to disappear?”
“Judgement day?” said Tarek.
Always the eccentric, eh Tarek? Thought Omar.
“Yeah, right!” said Omar, amused by the idea. “And why do you suppose we’re left here talking? Did they forget about us?” asked Omar sarcastically.
“Could be.” said Tarek.
“What about you, Amr?” asked Omar. “What do you think?”
“I don’t know.” said Amr as coldly as ever.
Could it be? Is this really the truth?
“Guys… if this is judgement day, shouldn’t we er… be judged?” said Omar.
“Maybe we’re supposed to be at the court of God like everyone, or wherever the judging is taking place,” said Tarek. “Don’t see how we can get there, though.”
Then it hit Omar. It was a crazy idea but it was worth a shot.
“Maybe we can sort of… ascend.” said Omar.
The three of them exchanged looks.
“Look you two, maybe if we think it, we can do it,” said Omar. “Here, each of you take a hand” said Omar, presenting a hand to each of them. Tarek took Omar’s right hand. Amr took his left.
Strange that they are actually complying with this, thought Omar.
“Okay, on the count of three, we’ll both think that we’re going there.” said Omar.
“Where?” asked Tarek.
“Where we’re supposed to be,” said Omar. “Just think very hard that we should be where we are supposed to be, and maybe we’ll get there. Amr, are you listening?” said Omar looking to his left at Amr.
“Yes.” said Amr to Omar’s surprise.
Omar closed his eyes.
The next thing Omar knew was that they were travelling so fast he could barely open his eyes. He nevertheless opened his eyes like slits with a massive effort, and looked down. One second he saw the ground as if from an airplane, another, as if from a space ship, then he saw the Earth getting smaller and smaller very fast until it disappeared. So did the solar system. Even the galaxy. The next thing he knew, he was lying face to the ground.
In the beginning he couldn’t open his eyes. He took a deep breath and smelled a fragrance better than anything he had smelled before. He felt grass brushing against his cheek when he moved his head dizzily. Facing the ground this time, he took another breath, and the sweet smell was even stronger. It appears to be coming from the ground! thought Omar. He was finally able to get up, on his knees, eyes still barely open. When he was finally able to open them enough to take in the surroundings, he laid eyes on something he had never seen before.
The ground was covered in grass. But not any grass. It had a shimmering gold color. He was in a clearing, with a river ahead of him, beyond the river he saw green trees that did not grow randomly like any forest. They were arranged in lines as if organized by someone. Above them he saw a sky of sorts, whose colors changed depending on where in the sky you looked. Wherever he focused his eyes in the sky, below his point of focus would be a light purple color like lavender, and above it the color would smoothly and elegantly fade into a light pink color like rose. He saw two great orbs in the sky, a big one, and a small one facing it, but he couldn’t tell whether they were suns or moons. They were either suns in a cloudy sky, or moons in a clear sky. But because the sky was clear, he thought they must be moons. He also noticed a small hill with edges like a cliff on the left of the view, far away, it hid part of the river from the view. The cliff was surrounded by trees, and there seemed to be a black structure on top.
“Is this… heaven?” asked Tarek when he got up, looking around dizzily, but in amazement.
“I suppose so,” said Omar. “Problem is, we never got tried. Why would go straight to heaven?”
“Maybe this isn’t heaven,” said Tarek. “Just a place for us to stay until we are tried.”
“Strange. Are you saying that if someone is destined for The Fire, he would still wake up here?” asked Omar. “No, it doesn’t make sense.”
Tarek frowned in thought.
They helped Amr up, and then all three of them looked around together.
“Over there,” said Amr. “Is that a cave on top of that small hill?”
“Yes, you’re right.” said Omar. He felt a strong sensation that this cave was pulling him. It was simply the place to be. “Let’s go there.”
“Couldn’t agree more.” said Tarek.
The trio walked together through the meadow, making their way towards the hill. It took much less time than Omar thought to get there, and all the while he couldn’t believe how nice the air seemed to smell; like a white musk perfume back on Earth, only infinitely better. It was not too light it was hard to detect, nor too heavy as to suffocate. When they reached the hill, they found a slope that goes along the river, surrounded by trees, which they could use to climb the hill and get to the cave.
When they reached the cave, they noticed a natural bridge surrounded by plants that crossed the river to the tip of a similar hill on the other side. They then entered the cave. It was dark.
“I wish it was a bit brighter in here.” said Omar. No sooner than he had said that, torches were lit around the cave. It was like a large room, not very different from a hotel room sizewise, but empty.
“Nice!” said Tarek. “Do you think our wishes would come true here?”
“Let’s test it,” said Amr. “I’m hungry, I wish there was anything to eat here.”
On finishing the sentence, a round part of the rock in the middle of the cave rose up, knee height, like a table, then there was an echoing poof, and the table was filled with food. Plates of oranges, grapes, apples and bananas. Plates of salads, cut up nicely. Drink that looked like grape juice. And a big round plate in the middle with a small roast pig on top and surrounded by rice and peas.
“Isn’t it prohibited for us to eat pork?” asked Tarek. “Oh, right. We’re in heaven.”
They sat cross legged at the table and ate and drank to their hearts content. The food seemed to refill whenever anything ran out. They talked and laughed and laid back against the cave floor, their stomachs full. The cave floor seemed much too soft for rock. Time passed by quickly and before they knew it, it was night time. They slept where they laid.
After what seemed a long time, Omar began to wake. He felt his senses coming to him slowly. He quickly remembered that he was in heaven and was terrified that it may all be just a dream.
“Please don’t let it be a dream. Please don’t let it be a dream. Please, please, please, don’t let it be a dream.” He opened his eyes. “Shit, it was a dream!”
“And the next thing I knew,” said Omar in the cell phone in his hand, lying on bed. “I was waking up in my bed.”
“That’s a wonderful dream,” said a girl’s voice from the ear piece. “So what’s bothering you so much?”
“What’s bothering me is that I was there,” said Omar. “I had it all. Wish I could have just stayed there. I mean… the whole thing felt so realistic. I was in an amazing place, then I woke up and I’m back in this hell hole.”
“You wish you were dead and that you were heaven?”
“Isn’t that the point of life? To be tested so that we can find out if we’re going to make it, there. Well, it looked like I passed the test. Now, I have to take the test again.”
“How long were you asleep, exactly?”
“You’re telling me that you experienced a dream with at least ten hour’s duration in just two hours?”
“Crazy, huh? But that goes to prove it even more.” said Omar excitedly.
“That it was a vision.” said Omar “How realistic it was, how well I remember it, how long it felt. It was just unearthly hours. Like I was in some spirit world,” Where time flowed differently. “They say that who sees heaven in a vision, goes to heaven.” finished Omar.
“Is that why you want it to be a vision so badly?” said the girl. “I don’t think it’s true anyway.”
“See heaven and go to heaven? Sounds too easy.”
“Whatever you say, Heba.” said Omar. “So what are we doing tonight?”
“Nothing. It’s already 7 PM, there’s no time to do anything.” said Heba.
I have an idea! thought Omar. But no, I won’t tell her, I’ll make it a surprise for her.
“Well I guess I’ll talk to you later then.” said Omar.
“Okay, Omar. Love you.” said Heba.
“Love you too.” click!
Omar threw the phone aside and thought about his plan. It’s been a while since I took any walks. I’m gonna walk all the way to her place and surprise her. I’ll talk to her from under her window and she’ll think it’s so romantic, especially that I walked the whole way. He got up, went to his desk, and lit a cigarette. He smoked while day dreaming that the dream was actually real, and that he was still in heaven. That he wished to have a girlfriend. A real girlfriend, one that will help him lose his virginity. It’s pathetic, isn’t it? Said a voice in Omar’s head. That you’re 21 and you’re still a virgin? How do you live like that? Omar replied that it was not only his problem, it was an entire country’s problem. To have sex, you need to get married, for that you need a job and a place. For the first, you need a higher education that will land you a job that won’t make you enough money to pay the electric bill anyway. For the second, you need to work till you’re fucking retired before have saved the cost of the cheapest of flats.
Yeah? And you’ll simply wait till you get the money?
Would you rather I be a sinner? Asked Omar.
Omar opened his closet and picked out a white t-shirt and blue jeans. He changed into them and left the apartment. When he reached the street, he noticed how crowded it was and felt thankful that he won’t be driving. Sometimes, the streets would get so crowded that walking would actually take less time than driving, and that day looked like one of those days. He stood there for a minute, deciding on which route to take, then he started walking. Although that he was in one of the richest neighborhoods in Cairo, everyone lived in apartments. It wasn’t always like that, for twenty years ago, it was all villas. As time went by, the owners of the villas found out how much money they could make by selling their villas to investors who would be replacing them with tall apartment buildings. The only people who did not sell their villas are the ones rich enough not to need the profit. While walking, he noticed one of the beautiful villas, stopped, and looked at it. Perhaps I’ll be able to afford you one day.
Twenty minutes later, he reached Heba’s place. She lived on a flat on the first floor, so it was easy to pick out a few pebbles and throw them at her window, which Omar did. Heba did not appear. Maybe she’s used to kids bothering her in this same way after they found out that it’s a girl’s bedroom, he thought. He took out his phone and called her.
“Open your window.” said Omar when she picked up.
“You’re not there, are you?” said Heba.
“Maybe.” said Omar
He saw her window open. Out peeked a young girl in her late teens, flawless white skin, long silky black hair, large oval eyes, but to Omar’s disappointment, a large masculine jaw, long nose, and quite the petite breasts. It was quite an improvement, nevertheless, over his last ex, Hoda, which asked Omar to rate her. It was a disaster; he told her a 2 out of 10. He would probably give Heba a 5.
“Hey, Heba.” he said over the phone, looking up at her and smiling.
“What is this about?” she asked.
“I just missed you.”
“And that makes you come all the way here?”
“Come on, I just wanted to see your smile,” said Omar. “Don’t you think it’s romantic?”
“Whatever. I’m going back inside.”
“Hey. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, I’m just not into this romantic bullshit.”
“You think Romeo and Juliet is romantic bullshit?”
“Yes! That’s the bullshit of all bullshit!” she said. “Good night, Omar.” with a shake of curtains, she was gone.
Omar squeezed the phone in his hand as if to crush it, but released it, and walked mopingly back to the main street. He didn’t feel like walking all the way home anymore, so he just took a cab. While on the way, the song lonely kind of went off in his head, remembering his last good relationship with Hoda. True, she wasn’t pretty, but at least she wasn’t so infuriating. He wondered yet again why she had broken up with him after two whole years. When he reached his home, he changed, put on the angriest music tracks he can think of, and started working out, fueling every push and every crunch with his anger.
An hour later, he was lying on the ground, looking up at the ceiling, deep in thought. Perhaps I could just go to the North Coast. My grandmother would be so happy to have me, and I could just get away from it all and forget about this whole year. I just finished that piece of shit college for the year and I do deserve to relax.
Omar got up and looked at his wall clock. It was only 9 pm. He picked up his phone and dialed Heba’s number.
“I’m going on vacation to the North Coast.”
“Great. I was thinking of going there too,” she said. “When are you going?”
“Tomorrow. I think I’ll start packing immediately.”
“Okay. Let me call my mom and tell her that we’re going to see her tomorrow.”
“Your mother is there?”
“Yes. She’s staying in her Shalleh in Harbor Village. I thought I told you.”
“I must have missed it. Sorry.” said Omar. “Anyway, call me back and tell me what she told you.”
“Okay. Bye.” click!
Harbor Village is the most famous summer destination in Egypt overlooking the Mediterranean. The prices of places there is sky high, and it is notorious for being the place of the rich, powerful, and of course, the corrupt. Omar is no big fan of Harbor Village, there is only one destination to the North Coast in his heart and that’s the much smaller and more humble village where he shares property; The Pioneers.
While he packed his bags, he thought about the place he loves so much. How he spent entire summers there since his earliest years. The friends he made. The books he read by the beach. The adventures he had around the village. Apart from the numerous Shallehs, there were only one of three other destinations in The Pioneers; the swimming pool, the market and the mosque. Indeed, the village is exactly as he likes it: simple and clean.
The phone rang. It was Heba of course.
“Great news! Mom can’t wait for us to visit,” said Heba excitedly. “I even asked her if you can drive me, and she said yes!”
“Wow. She’s always been very open minded.” said Omar. “Hope you don’t mind riding in my car. It has no air conditioning, you know.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. Is there a problem?” said Omar, sensing danger.
“There’s no way I’m riding that piece of shit!” said Heba angrily. “We either go with your mother’s car, or I’m not going.”
Why don’t you go to hell? Thought Omar
“Fine. I’ll call dad. Ask him for permission.”
“Oh thank you Omar. You’re the best.” she said sweetly before hanging up.
Around the time he finished packing, his father had arrived. In spite of his father’s great discontent, he agreed to lend Omar his mother’s car. He initially resisted, but Omar played the I-am-now-21-with-right-to-inheritance card and got away with it. Little did he know, that was the last time he would ever be allowed to drive his mother’s car.
To Be Continued… on request at least…