The Forgotten Men

A Christmas melody was playing somewhere in the background as she listened to people whispering nearby. She was slowly awakened from her deep sleep. She couldn’t clearly hear what the voices were saying and tried to closely to discern their words. They were surely talking about her. They were always talking about her, but she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t hear them clearly. She wanted to tell them to stop, to leave her alone, to go away, but she felt suppressed.

The voices always disrupted her sleep; they were always scrutinizing her, judging her, examining her like an insect. They looked down on her with their callous eyes, inspected her body, scanned her brain, and scrutinized her every move. They analyzed her skin and eyes. Pricked her with needles, poked her with cold instruments, and often withdrew blood from her. When the physical examinations ended the inquiries began. They interrogated her, psychoanalyzed her, manipulated and Argus-eyed her every move, invading the little privacy she had.

Every day she was audited and evaluated. There were always more tests she had to endure and worst of all, they were never friendly nor gave her kind words. If she refused they held her down, sedated her, restrained her until they were finished.

Nothing changed, nothing ever got better. She slept alone, though she wasn’t quite alone. She could hear them and see them in her mind. They were always watching her, murmuring things among themselves, controlling her very existence. They controlled her freedom. They made it very clear to her that her life was in their hands. That’s how it’s always been, at least to her recollection.

She felt dehumanized, other times scared and alone. They didn’t even care to call her a name. She was number 116724. She had a name. She was certain of it. It made her mad that they whispered while she slept. Talking about her like she was an insect being dissected. An insect they studied, pinned, and then put up in display. She couldn’t keep count of how many of them came in. They were new faces, new reasons they were coming in. Why couldn’t they leave her alone? She didn’t ask for this! Stop!