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I was just thinking about this girl named Crystal I met during my in-patient stays at Halifax, a facility for behavioral teens under 18.
I was there for cutting, something I didn't even have a term for at the time.
I was about 13, 14.
It wasn't popular to cut, then.
There weren't articles warning parents every other day in the newspapers, then.


Crystal was 'A Suicidal', and there longer than anyone else was.
At 16, she was easily the most beautiful human I had seen to date.
She often sat around with her long hair down, drawing pictures of pictures in magazines.
This was obviously a talent of hers, and I always wanted to ask her to draw me something, but was too shy.
Crystal talked to me, which came as a shock.
I wasn't used to being acknowledged by people I considered beautiful.
And she did it so naturally, as if I were beautiful too,
as if I owed her nothing for our conversation.

A random day, excitedly she whispered to me, while we were all in line, shoeless
"I know how you can still cut, if you want to. The toilet. Use the porcelain pieces off of the toilet"
I laughed, nervously, not knowing how to respond.
There was no time, though, as we were rushed off to some activity.

We all had rooms we shared with one roommate.
We weren't allowed to close the doors, so the night shift nurses could easily make their checks of each room down the long, wide hallway.

One night, I was awakened by horrible screams.
Terrible, ghastly cries and screams, that I couldn't separate.
I pulled the blankets over my head to drown out the sound.
My roommate crept out of bed and stuck out her head cautiously from the side of our door frame.
"It's Crystal", she whispered.
I quickly joined her side to see what she was talking about.

There she was, thrashing and kicking against the two male nurses trying to hold her still.
There was blood everywhere...down the walls, pooled on the floor, streaked on the fabric chairs kept in the middle of the hallway for nurses to passively keep watch on.
She wouldn't stop screaming, and I ran back under my covers and started crying.
My roommate just stood there, wide-eyed, silent.

They must have given her a shot of something, because a few minutes later, Crystal was whimpering, and then quiet.
We then heard a gurney being rushed down the hall, and all kinds of adults yelling.
I closed my eyes tightly, and tried to fall asleep.

The next day, everyone was whispering about how Crystal had somehow broken pieces of the toilet, and used them.

When she was allowed back, maybe a week later, she had thick blue casts and bandages around her wrists.
She told us she has to have a blood transfusion, flatly.
Now she was required to have a 24-Touch attendant, someone who had to be close enough to touch her 24 hours of the day, not matter where or what she was doing.
There wasn't a lot of talking from her afterwards, she was very quiet and subdued.
Something had changed, but I don't know what.

On the day of my discharge, Crystal was still there, and she told me goodbye.
I was reluctant to leave, but I knew I had to.

I was discharged from in-patient, and moved into out-patient.
Out-patient was held in the same facility, but a different section.
You went there for school in the morning, and left for home late afternoon.

A few months later, while we were in the cafeteria area eating our lunch, the in-patients filed in.
They were sat down, and quieted.
We weren't really supposed to talk to them, for one reason or another.
And there was Crystal.
She saw me, and smiled.
She mouthed something to me, using hand gestures, but I couldn't understand her.
I furrowed my brows and shrugged.
Then she said out loud, matter of factly "You are beautiful".
I shook my head no, laughing,
but she nodded yes, very seriously.
So I stopped laughing, thinking maybe this was something to be taken seriously.

We were instructed to file back to class soon after that, and that was the last time I saw her.

I wonder if they changed the toilets.

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