I lay still, in the darkness. It was cold. I knew where I was when I felt the thin hospital blanket covering to my ankles and saw my feet, bare and defenceless in the dim light. Muted noises were distinguishable outside the room. I peeked through my lids, swollen (with crying probably) and heavy. I could see a small window in the door and through it, the tops of people’s heads passed back and forth. The cell. I was in the cell. The window was high in the door of the cell, I knew. I must have been bad.
I felt down my body, through the soft cotton night gown. No pockets. A tremor started in my hand. I felt the start of Fear, my old enemy, raised from a short slumber, waking inside me. They must have given me haloperidol, because Fear wasn’t sudden and choking, like he usually was. I let out a small noise. Almost at once, I smelled a lemony scent. My mother must be near. I started crying quietly, hopelessly. There was the sound of a chair scraping gently, and she appeared beside me. Her warmth slid through my skin and Fear shrank a bit, hiding.
“My pebble?” I croaked. “No pockets, Mummy.”
My mother put her hand in mine and I felt it ...the smooth warm pebble, perfectly oval. A wash of relief ran over me. Fear shrank back. I couldn’t feel him at all. I smiled at my mother.
“What happened?” I asked, rational.
“We were eating dinner.” My mother spoke gently. “You suddenly leaped up from the table, and shouted: “It was just here!” and you began frantically searching your pockets.”
“The pebble.” I said it sadly and she squeezed my hand.
“Yes. The pebble.” She looked at me with such love and understanding I had to look away.
“Where did you find it?” I rolled the pebble between my thumb and forefinger, along the ridges the pebble had made over the years.
“I brought you here and your Dad searched for hours. He found it under the kitchen mat and came right away.”
“Are we waiting for the psych?”
“Yes," she said.
We both knew the drill. We sat in the darkness together and listened to the noises of the people outside and I was happy.