The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal


The wide eyes of panic, the slight tinge of betrayal in her shoulders; that’s what I remember.

I was sitting on a couch, leaning back into too-thin cushions: little back support. We were playing a tabletop game, our heads engrossed in one of my closest friend’s voice. I get up to get water when we take a break, the other’s voices jumbled words muffled by the kitchen’s tile.

I hear one friend say, “I liked that description of the witch, it was almost real.” I close the fridge door, walking slowly back towards them.

“Yeah, he did it perfectly.”

I realize my mistake immediately.

My aunt loves her Diet Cokes and always flatters me by calling me beautiful. Instantly, I tell her she is beautiful back. Sadly though, she is also a person who got unimaginably unlucky.

Due to wanting to protect her personal life, my aunt and her brother will remain anonymous.

My 62-year-old aunt suffers from schizophrenia and according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, “As many as one person out of 100 may experience schizophrenia.”

As I cross the George C. King Bridge and enter St. Patrick’s Island, it isn’t long before I realise just how different this park is to the business areas of the city or even the other parks in Calgary. While Prince’s Island Park is always full of people, here there is barely anyone in sight.

I never imagined I’d one day be confined in a sterile room surrounded by glass windows, wires stuck to my scalp and body with a gritty paste, told to sleep as a panel of white lab-coats watched me.