It was lovely weather. The torrential downpour late in the night paved way for a tranquil morning with a gentle breeze, overcast sky, and a wayward raindrop falling every now and then. The atmosphere was a sea of tranquillity. The patient sat on the floor at the foot of his bed. Legs folded, eyes closed, he embodied the tranquillity all around him. Had I met him somewhere else, I would have taken him as the source of the serene atmosphere. But this was a mental institute.
“Hi there,” I said. On not receiving a response, I wondered if I should just let him be.
“It’s alright. You’re only doing your job,” he said. When our eyes met, I felt placid and smiled.
“How come you’re here?”
“I’m a mystic.”
“That’s no reason for putting you here.”
“Yeah, but the problem is that I’m the only one who thinks I’m a mystic.”
I smiled once more, wryly. So did he. I clicked my pen.
“I come from a small village and a humble background, so nobody thinks I can be a spiritual leader. My village shunned me and my parents hushed me. I didn’t let up, though, and managed to get by on my own. As I travelled, people did start following me. But that worked against me.”
His spirits deflated like a switch was turned off. The drop in his lilt increased the silence, and it suddenly seemed ominous.
“What happened?” I ventured with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension.
“One of my initial followers asked me if it was okay to do something for his happiness. I talked to him about what happiness is, and why it helps us be the beings our maker designed us to be. I might have trailed off a bit, for he was gone before I could notice. I wondered if I was able to convey my thoughts. As it turns out, I wasn’t.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked, lowering my voice to match his shallow pitch.
“His idea of happiness was killing people. My words gave him the backing he needed, and being the devout follower he was, he spread the word about me. The authorities always like to apprehend mystics. In the end, it was my own intellectualism that got me here.”
I couldn’t bring myself to ask him anything else. Before me was a broken man, battered by the world, abandoned by those around him, yet trying his hardest to maintain his sanguine nature. I was only able to speak once I left the room and saw the head guard. I asked him what he thought about the patient I’d visited.
“Oh, such a shame. You’d think he would be of so much help on the outside. Damn fine actor!”
“Actor?” I asked. The head guard turned towards me and smiled.
“Oh, you poor fool. You fell for it, didn’t you? Can’t blame you, to be honest. If he weren’t brought here for impersonating a drunk airline pilot and killing over fifty passengers, I’d find it really difficult to keep him here myself!”
The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight