Blame

My therapist was visibly angry when I told her what happened Monday. I haven’t been able to function much since my friend let me have it.

Sunday night, we went to trap cats to spay/neuter. She used carriers instead of traps because she felt it was more humane since they’re friendly strays.

My friend left the cats there overnight at the nursing home where the cats lived because she felt that would be kinder than taking them back to her house .

When she returned Monday morning, one cat had got out, so she took the remaining one to the clinic along with one of her cats.

I should have known I was in trouble when I didn’t hear from her and no answer to calls or messages.

At the clinic, my friend had to wait outside with the cats. The stray saw a German Shepherd and tried so hard to get out of the carrier that somehow she succeeded and was gone, never to be seen again. 

I didn’t think I could be blamed for this one. I was wrong.

I was with my worker that Monday morning and my worker knows both the cats and their mentally challenged caretaker, so I told her of the nice thing my friend was doing.  When I heard what happened, I accidentally said I wish I hadn’t told my worker about it.

My friend’s reaction was instant. “Instead of flapping your mouth to her, you should have wished you had been there to help me. If I had extra hands this wouldn’t have happened. “

If I had known she wanted/ needed me, I would have told my worker not to come, and I didn’t offer because my worker was coming at 10 am!

I could feel myself actually becoming angry. “It’s not my fault,” I messaged.

“Nothing’s ever your fault,” was her reply. Then she said she would try to never go to a southern run place if she could help it.

And that’s the last I heard from my friend. I spend so much time trying to avoid her anger, and yet I never can. I’m sure Oscar felt the same way, and the only way he escaped was death.

She’s my only friend. I honestly don’t even know if I got mowed down tomorrow if she’d care beyond finding someone to feed the strays I feed for her. Forty-two years on this planet and this is all I have to show for it.

Intolerable

I’m starting to realize I don’t belong anywhere, and the best thing I can do is stay away from people. I’m never going to stop being annoying, people are only going to barely tolerate me, and most secretly dislike me. I’m just too flawed a person. Someone told me I was an ‘incessant virtue signaler’ and that I can never figure out if ‘something’s a joke’ and that these are terrible qualities. Oh, and that I’m not a good writer.

Then, someone called me ‘creepy, ‘ and I was done.

I take jokes too far, and I’m often the punchline of other’s jokes. It’s just like in high school where I was the brut of every joke and I went along to be liked.

I’m so tired.

My Neighbor is Dead

We probably said about 100 words to each other the whole 8 years I lived here, but I am sad about it. He died Sunday at the hospital. One of his daughters told me. She said he kept to himself.

The fact that it’s September, that he died in the same hospital as my mother, and that they’re mourning his loss while trying to remove things from his apartment, all reminds me. Things in general feel pretty hopeless these days.

I saw him as I saw all my neighbors: as someone who could get me in trouble or talk about me. When someone new moves in, I will be convinced  that this new neighbor will be the one out for me.  You’d think I was psychotic as paranoid as I am. 

His life followed a trajectory I hope for. Only be removed from home when I’m dying. No nursing home. No muss, no fuss.

He did me a solid when I first moved in. I locked myself and my Dondee out of our apartment.  I was scared, too shy to knock anywhere, so I sat in the hallway with my cat debating what to do. Fortunately, my neighbor came home then, and had a maintenance guy on speed dial. I think he always made friends with maintenance, all 500 of them who passed through.

I knew he had been in the air force and a retired cop from his Facebook, that he liked soul. Most of what I knew about him, though, I knew from overhearing over the year. He was probably Domino’s’ most loyal customer, ordering every other day sometimes. I. Knew he wasn’t very mobile and had a lot of pain, was due for another stint in his heart. He didn’t like sounds in the hallway and hated solicitors. He kept up with friends a lot on the phone.

I’m going to miss him in a strange way.

Card Carrying Cat Lady

I saw my friend today in person. It’s been a few weeks. I was so happy.

In the back of my mind, though, the thought keeps going through my head: It’s because of the cats. She wouldn’t touch you with a 10 ft pole otherwise. And she came here today for a reason too.

She’s ordered us cards in case the worst happens. They say we’re each other’s emergency contact and that we have cats home alone. It will be a comfort to have, even though it’s macabre, and forever eulogizes my contribution to this world if I get mowed down by a bus. Cat lady.

She bought the cards when she thought covid was in one of the facilities she works at. It turns out it was just skin strep. When she thought it was Wuhan Scourge, she didn’t want to see me in person. I told her I didn’t care ( I figured I could wear a mask and hope for the best).

She told me, SHE CARED. Who would take care of the cats if both of us got sick?

I almost think Bat Flu is inevitable now. It’ll probably kill my fat, middle aged ass too. If I think too hard on it, that it may be here for the long run, I feel a bit overwhelmed. I can’t stop going out, though. When I’m out in the world, even though I don’t really interact with people much, I feel human. I even feel more comfortable with my mask on indoors. Smiling makes me self-conscious. Social distancing is my preferred mode. I like people, but I’m almost certain they don’t like me.

She once told me the reason her now dead boyfriend would call me for comfort was solely to manipulate her. I’d like to think he genuinely needed me, he was crying and sounded desperate. Everyone seemingly has an angle.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg died. It feels like we’ve been foresaken.

I Made It Through

I didn’t cry for my mom, but it hit me hard about Oscar suddenly.

My friend, his girlfriend, talks about him almost every day. Sometimes she even shows me pictures, but yesterday’s photo did me in. He’s in front of his family’s Christmas tree, proudly holding up a Guns ‘n Roses t-shirt he just opened. My brain then seemed to just then fully understand how dead he actually is.

I’m ruminating about a dear online friend who I offended and he never got over. If only I could take it back.

I’m worried that there are bedbugs. It may be fleas. I’m itchy everywhere. I honestly couldn’t take it if that ever happens again.

Dear Mom,

In a few minutes, it’ll be 9 years since you’ve been gone. I sometimes wish the cold I had, had taken the same course as it did with you: pneumonia, sepsis, death. But what can you do?

If only you had seen the things that happened since you flew the coop. I can honestly say it’s better I stay away from people. They smell the vulnerability. It’s happened a couple times now. They act like you’re the best thing ever, and then…

I’m happy for my independence, but I don’t feel the same kind of safe as I did with you. I feel like everything and everyone is transient now. I’m afraid of so many things. It’s almost a given that I’m going to die sooner or later alone. Not many, if any, care about me to the degree I care about them. It is what it is.

I’m still so sleepy. Going back to bed. I will try to be a better person this year, but not right now. Now I sleep.

Love,

Lisa

Funeral

Who knew when I met you in November, you’d be dead in May. Or that you’d die like my mother. That was a slap in the face.

It’s the morning of your funeral and I’m at the Walgreen’s by my house. I grab boxes of soda and candy for your family, a plastic plant, and a scented candle for your mother. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I want to do something with limited time and resources.

My friend, your girlfriend, picks me up at the store and we go to the mortuary. It hasn’t changed much over the years, with the notable exception that the old undertaker who opens the door, wears a mask.

There’s twelve of us in the sanctuary. Your parents, uncle, a cousin, and siblings. Your ex-girlfriend is here too, all the way from Florida. Everyone is spread out, socially distanced, and wearing obligatory masks. You’re up front in a rented coffin, dressed in your familiar flannel jacket. That’s all that’s familiar. You’re bloated up to your father’s size. I wouldn’t have recognized you had we met in the street.

Apparently, during a pandemic, the funeral home runs low on Catholic Spanish speaking priests. Instead, there’s a budget pentecostal woman with a man to punctuate her loud preaching. I understand the sermon in words and short phrases here and there. Something about you being in the arms of Jesus. Your mother weeps and asks people to come up. We are last. My friend tells your corpse that I was willing to give you part of my liver. I feel tears coming. It is what it is. I can never save anybody.

On the way to your house, we stop by Family Dollar to get some prayer candles. The cashier tells us they’re very useful to have in hurricanes. Your mother has a giant shrine at the family home, flowers and candles everywhere. There’s you as a smiling baby, as a grinning teen, and finally a photo of you at 33. No one would know you just had a couple months to live or the secret habit that led you to become septic.

What People Don’t Understand About Being a Mental Midget.

I feel things more than ‘normal’ people do. You might think it’s hilarious to pick on said person, to block them on social media for the laughs, and enjoy their subsequent meltdown. When you’re by turns dependent and avoidant, the rejection is overwhelming. The avoidant side is telling me , ‘See no one really likes you’ while the dependent wonders what I’ll do without them. I feel like this is what will happen anytime I start to love people, that my imperfections and toxicity are too much. I ask the God who took away my family, gave me one friend who half the time puts me down, and now makes me suffer at the hands of people I thought cared about me, why?

I’d have done anything for them.