Part II: Up the Hill Ep. 1

The Day Hospital is not really a hospital. Not even a ‘hospital.’ It’s just a large one-floor building like you might see on any college campus.
Having cleared the last step of the staircase, I’m standing on new ground, facing the entrance. The first thing I notice are the doors—normal glass doors like any office building would have—not the heavy locking double-doors I’ve become used to.
Inside there’s a long hallway with a desk at the far end. I roll along with my stuff past closed doors with little signs that say things like “Anna’s Group,” “Claire’s Group,” “Drea’s Group,” then past what looks like the entrance to a large auditorium.
It reminds me of the first day of elementary school, walking through the long hallway looking for a room with my name on the door and feeling lost. I guess hearing ‘hospital’ made me think of zombies hooked up to some kind of anti-junkie machine, calibrated perfectly to eradicate each one’s particular longing. The only piece of medical equipment I do see–sitting unused on a battered old thrift-store table–is an automated blood pressure cuff, like the ones they have at pharmacies.
There’s a woman behind the desk, older, but with large red-framed glasses and a warm, open smile, and a lush paradise of platinum curls flowing around her head. Probably nice shoes too. She stands up and comes around the desk toward me. Tasteful weathered-brown slingbacks. I knew it. It’s a gift I have, you see.