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Micky and Laura

Fifty two year old Micky D was walking and weaving into traffic along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  When he told the police that he was heading to Philadelphia (250 miles away) to his girlfriend, they committed him to my psychiatric hospital.

“Let me go, doctor, let me go!”, Micky pleaded with me,  “I don’t mean no harm. I just wanted to see Laura and I didn’t have money for a bus.”

It turned out that Micky fell in love with Laura back in his freshman year at Penn State.

“How long did you date her?”, I asked him.

“Oh, doctor, we never dated….we actually never talked….but, doc, the way she looked at me, I’ll never forget.  She loves me.”

Tragically, near the beginning of his freshman year, Micky’s life fell apart.  He started hearing voices and then believed that he had special powers to read others’ minds.  He stopped washing his hair and brushing his teeth. He lost contact with his friends and fell behind in college, ultimately dropping out.  Micky was hospitalized and diagnosed with Schizophrenia .  

But he never forgot Laura.  She became embedded in his memory, his passion, his life.  Forever.

Every couple years since, Micky would venture from his Schizophrenic group home and trek eastward.  His destination was “somewhere in Philadelphia“ where he was certain Laura would be waiting for him.

Micky’s records indicated that no medication had ever helped his psychotic symptoms nor was there any treatment that could quell his devotion to Laura:  “She wants to marry me, doctor, please let me go.”……..

And then, wouldn’t you know it, Micky asked me to join with him to sing a famous oldie:

“Tell Laura, I love her…!”

…One year later, long after his discharge from the hospital, I heard that Micky had died, died from cancer.  I cried that day.  But I also smiled, recalling Micky and his singing with so much heart and affection.

As the years have passed, I think about Micky from time to time - his trek, his long journey not only to Philadelphia, a destination never realized, but also his journey through life.  Micky was all alone in the world, his family having abandoned him years earlier when he fell ill.  And so he carried Laura inside of him, forever.  She became his life’s mission.  He never let go of her, and in his own way, he found purpose and connection.

Life is paradox.  

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