World Gone Water - Jaime Clarke

Sonoran Rehabilitation Center Entrance Essay

Why I’m Here

Charlie Martens

I am not a good person. I don’t need anyone to tell me that I am not a model citizen. People can always improve and I want to be a better person. I want what better people have. In my own defense, though, I do have moments when I reach up and brush my fingers on the brass ring of kindness, charity, and compassion.

In further defense of myself, I have to say that I am principally proud of who I am, proud that I have navigated so well with what some have called a faulty compass. Before anyone in here judges me, or starts an intense investigation into who I am, first you have to come to grips with the following ten ideas:

1. I am not a son of privilege, yet I am not an orphan of poverty.

2. I do not hold degrees from institutions of higher learning.

3. I am not handsome enough to operate on looks alone.

4. I have no family traditions.

5. I have the same dreams everyone else has, dreams whose origins are in the common myths of our time.

6. I am easygoing but will sometimes tend toward violence, if provoked.

7. I believe in equality.

8. I am a protector of those things in life that are smaller and weaker than I am.

9. I can’t stand ignorance, idiocy, or intolerant behavior.

10. People talk about me in terms of sweetness and charm.

I don’t pretend that these ten ideas define me, but they help you get a better view from where you are, looking down on me. The view from here is not one of looking up, I assure you, but merely looking out.

An eleventh idea is that I do not judge people.

If you want to know how far I’ve come, you have to understand what I’ve overcome. I don’t just see things, I feel them. You can blame a fascination with appearance and how things seem on any modern thing you like. I did. But I didn’t find any answers in blame, and maybe the only truth I know is this: You have to feel something to understand it.

You ask me why I’m here, and I’ll tell you that I’m here to feel my way further into the world. I haven’t been remanded to your custody. I simply took Detective Rodriguez’s advice. Your only job is not to judge me based on what you see.

Exit Interview Report

I, Jane Ramsey, in my capacity as a clinical psychologist employed by Sonoran Rehabilitation Center, located in Maricopa County, Arizona, do hereby swear that this exit interview report contains my personal evaluation of Charlie Martens. This exit interview is being conducted after the completion of Mr. Martens’s voluntary nine-month stay.

STATEMENT OF FACTS: Mr. Martens was a person of interest in a sexual assault investigation in the state of Florida, though he was never charged due to the unreliability and ultimate disappearance of the accuser. On the recommendation of Detective Florio Rodriguez of the Boca Raton Police Department, Mr. Martens enrolled in SRC. Upon his successful treatment, Jay Stanton Buckley has guaranteed Mr. Martens’s position as a functioning member of society, gainfully employed by Buckley Cosmetics in a public relations capacity.

TREATMENT: Mr. Martens participated in every aspect of SRC’s program. His monthly journal entries and essay assignments are appended herewith. At Mr. Martens’s request, his creative writing exercises have not been admitted to the record.

OBSERVATIONS: Mr. Martens’s rehabilitation at SRC has been a concentrated effort to even out his mind about the opposite sex and relations with women. An unexplained, alternating inborn hostility and passivity toward women has, in my opinion, been leveled, and a truer, more mature personality has been erected in its place. During his stay at SRC, Mr. Martens has displayed mannerly and cordial behavior toward the women here, both on staff and inpatient alike. Personally I find Mr. Martens a pleasant and charming individual. His presence in group and on the campus here shall be missed.

The following is a complete record and true account of Mr. Martens’s rehabilitation.

Signed and dated this day——

Jane

If you ask me about Jane, I’ll tell you that she is a fine woman. It is true that in the catalog of women in my life, Jane would come under P for “plain,” but she is tender and we go together pretty good. Besides, I prefer not to make aesthetic judgments.

The thing I like most about Jane is that she looks best without makeup. On one of our first dates, right after I