One year ago today I was a different woman than I am now. When I looked at my future, I saw nothing. Nothing alone, nothing without him by my side.
One year ago today, my paranoia came crashing down on me and I could barely breathe under its weight, let alone climb out from under it.
One year ago today, the lies became too much, the truth too clear, and the fear unbearable. It was the fear that did it, the fear that my soul mate was as unreal as his words, that imaginary friends are mirages that disappear.
One year ago today, I checked his ears for the cartoon character earbuds I gave him for Christmas. If he’s wearing them, maybe he’s not mad at me. My obsession: checking for signs of discord. Perusing his body for gifts in quick glances. He wears one of my gifts, maybe he is happy with me. The earbuds are there! He smiles at me, he talks happily to his dogs. There isn’t anything in the intonation of his voice hiding ire or sadness. Perhaps all is well. Or not.
One year ago today, he returned from walking the dogs and went into his room, pugs too. The door closed, me shut out. Me alone and the social worker coming. He was there with me before when she came, supportive, saying what needed to be said. I knock. No answer. Anger? Is he angry at me? Alone. Will I be alone forever? Scared, and the social worker is coming. And the letter he wrote is on the stove for her. Angry? Is that why he left me alone? So scared of him not loving me anymore. Or is he hiding? Does hiding mean he is guilty of something? No. He’s mad at me. Or is he a liar? The letter is partly a lie, making him a liar. Can a liar still be your soul mate? He lies sometimes, it means nothing. It means he doesn’t care. No it doesn’t. He has problems, but he loves me like a sister. He wouldn’t hurt me. Oh God, is he angry at me? What will become of me if I’m without him?
One year ago today, there was a knock on my their door. This is not my home, but a place where I stay at the mercy of the queens kings inside. No, my soul mate is merciful, even if his truth is not always truthful. But here is the social worker and there is the letter. She is not happy. She is angry at him. I am scared and try again to knock at my dearest friend’s bedroom door. I am crying. He must be angry. No, you dumbass, he’s avoiding a confrontation. No, he’s mad at me, he doesn’t really love me. Oh God!
One year ago today, my social worker read the letter penned in my dear one’s artistic script:
750.00 dollars I owed them for paying my mother’s final expenses (I had thought I owed $550.00…but what do I know)
40.00 for a light bill (odd, because I thought the $240.00 I paid a month in rent included my share of everything).
35.00 for a late fee (strange, because I hadn’t been late in giving my share).
PAID IN FULL.
One year ago today, my social worker said loudly enough for my soul mate to hear through the door, “He sat here and said that they would wait until you were back on your feet to pay them back!”
And I told her about the netbook I got too, because of my soul mate’s partner forcing me to take back the laptop I got with my social security check and give him that money or I would have to “get the fuck out of his house,” adding tenderly as he menaced me that I was a bitch and a whore (though he knew I was a virgin). All the while letting me know that his lover acted differently when I was around, that even his dogs did too)
Just don’t let it happen again, admonished my social worker.
One year ago today, I told my social worker a story I was told about my soul mate’s partner. “He’s very mean. He was more worried about a friend of his getting blood on the seats of his van than that she slit her wrists…and when he left her at the hospital, he wouldn’t stay with her.”
One year ago today, I was left alone and I knocked again on dear friend’s door. No answer.
That morning, one year ago today, I didn’t wake up saying to myself, “I guess I’ll pencil in committing suicide today.” But it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision either. I went to bed early many nights too depressed to face the partner of my beloved, he who had a way of making me feel like less than dirt. Secretly my death wish had waxed and waned since the day my mother died. Now, five months later, I reached my cliff. Before that day, though it was a thought, slightly researched. I had researched a while before if one was unfortunate enough to survive death by ativan, ones vital organs may not fail. And so I decided, What have I got to lose now? The only person who really needed me was dead, everyone else would easily get over my loss.
I decided on Russian Roulette Pill and OCD style because I sort of wanted to keep living if my dear one didn’t dislike me now. I wrote a note proclaiming my love in a style mistakable as sisterly love to my soul mate, enjoining him to please take care of my cats and that this wasn’t his fault.
I tucked the note under me in case I decided to stop, and began. One pill. Count to 300. My friend still hasn’t come out of his room. I take another and count to 300. Another and around this time I pass out. When I awaken, the door is open! I stumble in and ask if I can come in. He gave his ascent. I remember asking if he was mad at me and that was when he noticed I was doped. “Oh no! he exclaimed angrily. “That will get you thrown out in a matter of days.”
Was I afraid? No, peacefully, I stumbled back out of the room, decided what the hell, and down the gullet the rest of my Ativan went. How many did I take? My guess is maybe 7 or 9. When I woke up again sleeping next to Babee Dondee my littlest cat, my soul brother said with an edge in his voice “Good morning, or evening actually.” I can’t remember if he asked me to call my friend to get me or if I took the initiative, pobably the former.
My best friend told me Soul Bro answered the door, called to me that my friend was here, and promptly went back to playing a video game. There’s the love. As I left though, I recall handing him my suicide note.
I stayed in the ER several hours though I recall little of it, they mainly just monitored my idiot ass, my heart dipping down into the 60s. If one might die simply from judgemental lapses I’d have been a goner.
I was given the option of “voluntarily” being admitted or getting a judge to commit me. It was around 4am a nd I was finally sobering up a bit. I bid adieu to my best friend who had stayed through the whole ordeal, was carted off in a wheelchair by a surly cop and began a 10 day vacation locked away in a psych ward. Ten days because no one wanted my sorry ass and I ended up in a faraway nursing home for 2 months. It was the worst two months of my life, though I absolutely LOVED my stay in the psych ward. It was pretty fun and I met some great folks. I’d do it again if it didn’t entail trying to kill myself and making all my friends tell me they don’t want my crazy self and sending me away to the home. Not fun.
I’m back home, but along with the clothes I quickly grabbed, I brought back more baggage than an airport in December. It’s getting better than it was when I got here, and I’m starting to feel happy more and uneasy less. But the uneasiness isn’t gone, the feeling that I’m merely a transient or at least a guest doesn’t go away. The day my mother died was the day I became displaced in a world where I belong nowhere. Before my mother left, I knew my place. She needed me from the day she realized she was pregnant as I told you long ago. My mother’s great love broke up with her, her two best friends died, and when her 6 month married life ended there I was. Even a therapist I once had told my mom that he didn’t know what would have happened to her if she hadn’t had me.
So where does that leave me today? Every person has a reason for being alive, but some of us find it harder than others to discover that reason. I suppose there’s a reason for me being here too. I’m not certain of much anymore. I don’t know who loves me or if I’m just one misstep away from finding myself alone in the world again. Yesterday, I went back to my therapist for the first time since I tried to play my swan song, and she was less than happy to see me.
“If they threw you out, what are you doing back there?”
“Soul Bro was able to convince The Partner to let me back,” I replied. She listened to my fears, to everything I could cram into 50 minutes. There’s a lot I just can’t say for fear of losing my Soul Bro, and looking back at my reasoning for trying to kill myself, I don’t ever want to risk losing him. I love him that much and am that terrified of being alone (this blog has gotten 10 shades more creeeeepy with this last paragraph. My bad). I am an orphan, a mental midgety one at that, and I don’t have relatives at all. Well, none that care whether I live or die, they made that more or less clear when I told them my mother was dead. Oh well, they were just cousins. Second cousins. I’ll get into that some other time.
I shouldn’t be admitting this junk, but I told my therapist stuff I’d never venture to say aloud (please don’t hate me, Bro, should you read this). I’m not saying he lies a bit, but he stretches the truth until that bitch screams, to make himself look better occasionally. I think. Maybe it’s me being paranoid.
I think he got mad at me for begging to come home and not being “proactive” enough in trying to be independent, so he did the worst thing anyone could do to me. I think he decided he was done with me until I was back on my feet, so he put most of my stuff in my storage unit (including my mother’s ashes), and took two of my three cats to the pound. I was able to get them out because my home health nurse saved them and they’re living with her for now…Soul Bro says I can ask to bring them home in June if The Partner agrees. My nurse told me the story they told the pound that their owner died in September and they had lived in a barn in a rural county.
Soul Bro told me on the phone that my three cats had been picked up by the pound with some strays and that he had mistaken the feelings he had for my mom with the feelings he had for me. Of course several days later he repented, because he is a good person. Perhaps it was a bipolar thing, but it was obvious whoever that other guy had been was gone.
I never told this to anyone, but if I had the opportunity to do it, I’d have tried to kill myself again. When I first came to Window Licker Hall, Millie, a middle aged perpetual cutter/suicidal woman told me if I really wanted to leave the rest home she had half a bottle of pain pills. I told her then, no thanks. Around the time my Soul Bro said he had cared for my mom, but me not so much, Millie came back from a few weeks vacation at a mental intstitution. I was frantic and asked her if she still had the pills. No, she didn’t. And so I was saved again. Now I know regardless what happens, no matter how low I get, I can’t kill myself. I promised my Soul Brother I wouldn’t ever again and I was never so serious in my life. He’s had enough shit to last ten lifetimes (and at least one day of Lifetime Television programming).
Yes, my therapist ain’t happy, but I am. My Soul Bro is the joy and light of my life. To me he is a gay god, almost perfect. He keeps me laughing, except when I worry I’ll mess up. I imagine him thinking awful things about me. If anything goes missing I imagine him thinking I stole whatever it is. I fear he’ll think I’m on drugs, and I worry that I will never be what everyone expects of me. If I mess up in the slightess way the lack of perfection drives me crazy. One day I messed up and used the bathroom and bathed with his cell phone there. He accused me of taking it and even said that a lot of stuff went missing while I lived there before. I had to swear on my mom’s ashes that I hadn’t touched it. I forgive, but I don’t forget. I could say my theory on who stole stuff, but I will refrain from naming anyone. Soul Bro realized he was wrong and wrote out a note saying I couldn’t be thrown out for any reason, but I think some of the power belongs with The Partner, so who knows? All i can say is I ain’t a thief.
One last confession paragraph before I stop, I now pay about twice what I paid in rent the last time, but I’d pay more to be with my Soul Bro. My therapist thinks I’m being hosed and I don’t care! I think it was The Partner who came up with the sum. The only thing really marring my happiness is not having my cats, which makes me not want to face the plastic box holding my mother. I don’t think I can remove her from the storage unit until I get them back.
If my nurse hadn’t rescued Dondee, the pound would have killed my Mom’s
I met Dr. Sana Johnson-Quijada the first time she left a comment on my blog a few months ago, and she has been a dear blogging friend ever since. Dr. Sana is the author ofA Friend to Yourself, a blog she started to help people become friends to themselves, a concept someone I know (::cough cough:: myself :: cough:: heave:: ) could definitely use.
Every day for a year Dr. Sana, a psychiatrist and mother of three, is writing on ways to be a ‘friend to yourself.’ Her posts, as she says on her About Me page, are from her life experiences and her training, but she often uses fictionalized characters to illustrate her point. She even writes about perfectionism (not that I have a problem with being a perfectionist or anything).
Dr. Sana’s posts are always relevant to the human experience common in us all. Yesterday’s post was about how revenge often ends up hurting you more than the person on whom you avenge yourself. I can’t help thinking with such awful things going on now and those seemingly getting away with it that this is an important message. There is also the self-care tip of not hurting yourself or others, reminding us emotional abuse can be as bad as physical abuse.
I strongly suggest you start reading Dr. Sana’s blog for common sense tips on caring for yourself and those around you. I’m sure you will find her writing as useful and full of insight as I do.
Lily’s mind is addled. She’s lowered the dose of her anti-depressant. Side-effects. Dreams are vivid, disturbing. Eating a rat. Maimed geese. Living in a roach-filled shack. A pervert abusing himself. Despair.
(Author’s note: The exterminator came and they all lived happily ever after).
I was going to post this on March 25th to commemorate my first year of blogging, but my friend invited me over to hang out, so I guess I’ll do it today. I will list some links and excerpts from the past year that I favored. This is a chance to reminisce or to brush up on my ADHD-style masterpieces. Pay attention. There will be a test!
Here is an excerpt from my very first post, March 25,2010:
I worry about murderers, carjackers, rapists, etc. causing harm to my mother and sometimes to myself, but mainly to my mother when we are apart. Look at the news, awful things happen ALL THE TIME. But when something awful could have actually happened I was calm and I handled it.
Ok, so 3 or 4 years ago we tried out a newly opened Chinese buffet. It was later in the afternoon, just past lunchtime, so there was only a couple other patrons and they were in another section of the restaurant (this was before the state made smokers into lepers and my mom could still smoke inside). We were eating, the food was good too, which makes this all the greater a tragedy . Suddenly, one could hear yelling in the kitchen. It kept up steady and seemed to stay in the kitchen, so I felt confident in my safety at grabbing something else. Oh what to get, what to get. Soup? Or a couple of those slivers of cake?
Oh, the possibilities! Oh…….. oh …….oh shit!
The shit had now officially hit the fan. The argument spilled out near where I happened was, no further than 12 feet. A man was surrounded by 3 guys and 2 women, and boy, was he ever pissed. It was a good thing I don’t speak Chinese, but some things are universal, a psychotic rage is distinguishable from someone mildly miffed that he burned the General Tso’s chicken. Psycho Cook then took a soup bowl and smashed it on the floor, but this must have not been cathartic enough, for he soon lunged at another cook. I remained unnoticed and began to deliberate what to do. I wasn’t panicked I remember, a little nervous and disconcerted, but panicking? No, not really. Would someone else have totally freaked out? I’m not sure . Perhaps they would have the common sense to be scared, not just a little frightened. So I weighed my options, a little list in my brain:
A:) Every woman for herself, haul ass out the door and hope your mother will follow. But I would never leave my mother if if any harm could come to her, so scratch that.
B:) Run past the offending party back to my mother. Run, fat girl, run!!! No, that didn’t seem sensible either. Let the lunging crouching tiger become aware of Hidden Dragon here? Not a good idea in my estimation.
C.) Act normal (or fake it in my case since I ain’t never been normal, just seen the brochure once or twice). Yes this is the best idea. If I ignore whatever the screaming, striking cook is doing and act like an unconcerned customer I might have more of a chance at not attracting the ire of this poor guy. Time to not be too particular, so I grab a bit of orange and start back, walking as far away from Psycho Cook ‘n pals as I dared. One of the waitresses sat at the table with my mom kind of hiding out. The waitress said to us, “I hate Chinese people. All they do is fight.” ( disclaimer: She was Chinese or Malaysian herself, so she could say that I guess). She proceeded to tell us the story of the restaurant. Appears a few guys got the idea of opening a restaurant together. Too bad that among the angry lot, one was totally insane and off his meds. Happens in the best of restaurants.
Meanwhile, the fray moved more towards the kitchen and another waitress came over. “We got to go now! He threatening to kill people.”
Ever the scrupulous idiot that i am I tried to give them money fast, but they said not to worry about it. Fair enough, but I did manage to give the waitress 10 bucks at least and wouldn’t take it back. This all happened really fast. One or two of the men stayed with the wigged out chef and everyone else made for the door. When outside several people got into one car and left. The other patrons had already left before hell broke loose.
Safely away my mother and I were like “well…that was….different.”
The fireworks were beautiful and I think we had the best view we ever had, sitting in our fold-out chairs in clear view of where they were shot off. Then we went to the Chinese take-out for some soup. This joint gave birth to the term “seedy.” There’s always interesting people there. Someone opened the door to yell to a patron that their mutual pal is in jail, but she already knew and was cross but seemed to not view it as being as newsworthy as her friends did.
Soup is a rather ritual-oriented meal, especially the robust hot and sour they serve at Seedy China. The soup is spicy hot and would not do for the average Anglo to gulp down, but it is the best I’ve ever tasted. In case you aren’t fortunate enough to know how to eat a pint of soup the proper way, allow me to school you on the perfect and essential way. You can thank me later for this vital skill.
Please recall, gentle reader, we did not grow up in a sty and must actaccordingly. Unfold your napkin and set it in your lap (if you are lucky like me your stomach is one large flap and if utilized properly, can act as a ‘paperweight’ for the napkin in your lap). Take your spoon and begin. Begin from the left and take sips until you’ve taken a sip by dipping your spoon, working vertically until you’re at the right side of the bowl. Then put a few of those crisp noodles, at least 3 of them since you really prefer things in 3′s. Eat the noodles in your soup. Now repeat the entire ritual until you’re done, and if you’re good at it, people won’t even realize you have a ‘strategy’ for eating.
Once upon a time (like yesterday), I took a look in the bathroom mirror and my eyes were red, particularly my right eye. Not like bloodshot-been-opening-my-eyes-too-long-underwater-someone-been-on-a-drunk-red, much weirder. A horizontal line seemed to divide my eye in half in the middle, reddish at the bottom half and normal white on top.
I looked into the eyes of death.
My mind began to conjure up what symptom of my imminent death was this.
I had mostly given up my of several years’ obsession with the idea of contracting AIDS by bizarre means not pertaining to intercourse or needles, so scratch that one for now.
Cancer? Maybe that’s it, I thought. I always swam in outdoor pools without goggles due to my high tolerance for chlorine, and I loved looking at the sun’s rays dancing on the pool’s bottom.
So I ask my mother, a retired nurse, what dread disease is this one?
What malady is about to dispatch me, to nail the lid of my coffin, strike me down in the prime of my life?
Apparently, the good people of Rich White Cemetery in their good sense, believe a decent cemetery should expel all living patrons by 5pm sharp regardless of time of year. But the fun part is locking the gates without a glimpse for suckers who failed to read closing time upon entering. I wasn’t too concerned, though, since I had my cell phone, not to say that would be too fun a call to make to the cops. I suggest we walk around, that surely somewhere remained unlocked, especially since I saw a not-so-paranormal-looking couple just a few minutes ago walking.
Two gates locked, we’re padlocked in Perdition. We keep walking until a third gate. This one looks a tad different and I walk up to it, a side entrance and the damn thing opens like the pearly gates to Glory. Mama walks back to our ghetto fabulous classic 1994 Mazda MPV, me waiting so no one locks this gate on us. I look at this gorgeous azalea I remember from last year, a dark red-purple flower about the size of a common magenta azalea but much darker, so awesome. I take a peep at the graves near the gate, all the while keeping my eye on said gate. No one, not St. Peter, not the devil, not a grounds keeper, is gonna lock that damn gate without me at least screaming loud enough to wake the dead.
Safely delivered from captivity, we go downtown to have a look at the teabagger rally, I mean the Tea Party, that has gone on all day. We listen to Sean Hannity on the radio waxing rhapsodic about the noble Tea Party activists nationwide and Reagan this, Reagan that. Every time I listen to Hannity, I tend to think if he could dig up Reagan and marry him he would, anti-gay marriage or no.
So the noble tea folk are down at the federal courthouse at the river. Good for them, I suppose, since the joy of being American is the ability to protest for what you believe. It’s WASP Party 2010 downtown and rather fun to look at as long as you recall everyone is entitled to believe as they like, that is until I see this one woman and I have my What the Flying Fuck?! moment of the day. She has this sign, “Obama, Go Back to Kenya. I Will Buy the Plane Ticket!” Now, I could be wrong, but to me it sounds like some racist saying no more than “Go back to Africa.” Sure, I get the whole Birther rumor popular among some people. But honestly? Honestly. Could Obama be from Kenya and a closet Muslim? Could I be an Ethiopian albino and a closet Hare Krishna? Anything is possible, but probable? Um no. She has a right to her opinion and I have the right to think she’s plumb ignorant with a limited touch on reality.
Unfortunately, it seems I favor quite a few excerpts from my first 2 months. I know these aren’t literary masterpieces, but they were my first efforts. I think I got better at not rambling so much as I went on. I hope those of you who weren’t here from the first like this, and my first dear readers like “Lisa in Review.”
Do y’all like this and should I continue this base self-aggrandizement? Am I just being redundant?
I gotta do a book review on a book I got from bloggingforbooks.org. Hey, I was like, “Eh, what the hell? Free book! (I enjoyed it too, but don’t worry I’m not becoming a book blogger except every now and then).
Retrieve my stupid political post from Rejectionville and post it here. It’s a moot point now anyway, but whatever.
Finish my damn Christmas Post (once I get my netbook back from the pawn shop).
Do more OCD; less tangenty, boringy stuff.
Still want to write more of my memoirs, thrill a minute.
Answer my comments much faster.
I love you all and thank you for everything. Y’all don’t even know how much you mean to me and how you’ve helped me,
PS, If anyone dislikes this color let me know or even the font.
Divine providence mandates that every year my mother’s birthday falls the same week as Thanksgiving, so that is where I begin this heartwarming tale.
I think this 400 mg of Luvox, 100 mg over the maximum dose for elephants, is helping me in my excesses. I think. I know it can’t be I’m more sensible now, shit no. Common sense and I have never been bedfellows, so I must believe this gigantic dose is keeping me from my usual holiday rituals of spending every damn spare penny on my mother. I love buying gifts: Birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Kwanza gifts, Rosh Hashonah gifts – I’m down for it. But by miracle or pharmaceutical, this year I decided I’d wait until the day before my mother’s birthday to buy for my mom in the idea of seeing what my budget will allow. Way too sensible for me. Definitely the drugs or Jesus is about to gallop through on his white steed, take your pick. I’m more inclined to believe the former because I know me and my compulsive generosity, a good thing and a bad thing. Anyhow, my newfound austerity might have worked for our good if we didn’t need a damn car battery! Yes, our car battery decided to give up the ghost. We always end up at the pawn shop twice each month, three times if you count bailing my stuff out at the beginning of the month. Part of the money I got on a loan from my netbook went to pay for the car battery, around 90 bucks, plus we now contend with a $250.00 car payment since we had to get rid of the transmission failing ghetto van in September, around the time of the great kidney debacle. Anyway, poor mouthing over for a second or two, all I could afford my mom this year for her birthday was a $5.98 chocolate fudge cake from Wal-Mart.
“Could you put a rose on it, please?” I ask.
My mother is with me and she picks yellow. Later she says, “I wasn’t really thinking what color would be prettiest on the cake, just that I like yellow flowers.” Well, whatever works, and it looked pretty nice. Not Prince William/ Kate Middleton cake fit for royal weddings nice, but nice all the same.
Would you like something written on it?” asks the young woman running the bakery.
Eh, what the hell. ” Um, ‘Happy Birthday, Mom,’ please.”
When we get home, we hunt down leftover candles from the ghosts of birthdays past. ” One will be fine,” says Mom.
Oh helllll no. “No, one of each color,” I, Queen of Evening and Fairness Rituals, have spoken. Yes, it seems unfair to use only one, when there are other colors too. But sparing the feelings of birthday candles is normal. Extra added bonus: Mom didn’t even burn herself when lighting the candles on the microscopic cake. I’m sure her wish will come true now!
“Is that edible?” asks Mom, picking up a little square that has “fudge” written on it, or is it just advertising that the cake is made of something akin to fudge? I take the paper-thin square from mom and pop it into my mouth. Uh oh, it is a little piece of fudge and I feel a tiny pang of guilt go down with the tiny piece of chocolate, Oh well, she gets the piece of cake with the rose on it.
And it’s a fine cake, extremely tasty, the best non-ice cream cake I’ve about ever had and officially I lost “The World’s Worst Daughter” award….until I woke up in the middle of the night with a craving and finished the cake for her. I’m the sort of person who will give the last of anything to my mom without batting an eye….BUT. But if it’s the middle of the night and I’m alone, buh-bye chocolate, hello gluttony.
Now for Thanksgiving. The day before, the kind woman directly across from us in the next building asks my mother if she likes sweet potato pie, and Mom, without thinking, told her the truth.
“Oh,” replied the woman. As Mama continues her gardening, it suddenly strikes her that the woman wanted to make her a sweet potato pie. Uh oh, what now? So off she goes to the woman’s apartment and knocks on the sliding glass door. “Did you say sweet potato pie or sweet potato vines? I was thinking you said sweet potato vines and it occurred to me you might have said sweet potato pie.” Elegant save, Mom. Wonder if the woman believed her?
“I thought you might have misunderstood me,” said the woman. Faux pas averted, though I was mortified by my mom’s mishap even more than she was. We came home from my therapist and it was time to collect the pie. I went over too. The therapist wants me to try to be more sociable, so this is a great opportunity to carpe diem or whatever.
I’m certain the woman thought, There’s that weird girl, but we made a quick and polite acquaintance, Mama only managing to embarrass me once. I recently noticed the woman and her husband’s friendship with a squirrel, which filled me with apprehension for both the squirrel and Phillippe, my cat. I wasn’t concerned for my other two cats, Oscar and Dondee are both a bit too small to catch more than a lizard or tiny bird if they’re lucky, but Phil Jr. is an ardent squirrel eater, alas. I can’t blame him, but murdering beasties is his instinct, not mine. For instance, several days ago, Babee Dondee got out into the hall, went into the laundry room, and knocked over a water bug onto it’s back. Flailing and miserable, it couldn’t right itself and Dondee left it alone. No one to see me around, I gently tap it with my shoe until it’s turned over again. I hate those things but it wasn’t in my apartment and it can’t help it’s a water bug, can it? Blame Kafka or karma, but really, it’s one of my OCD quirks and I have no desire to lose that one.
My mother mentions the squirrel, whom the couple named Charlie, and I’ll be damned if she didn’t start talking about Phillippe’s love of squirrels and eventually ended the conversation with an “If Phillippe ever does get him please don’t kill our cat!” Basically, she said since Charlie was an older squirrel she doubted Phil could get him and how he refuses to be a house cat (Mom didn’t mention he vengefully pisses in her bed should he not be at liberty to come and go as he pleases 24/7), giving her request at the end to not murder the kitty.
Embarrass me! But it was promised the woman wouldn’t, because she’s afraid of cats. A cat chased her when she was a child and somehow her sister fell down the stairs we later find out. She isn’t the first person I’ve known scared of cats either. Ain’t phobias grand?
So, we have some sweet potato pie and it isn’t so bad at all. To me, however, sweet potato pie will remain pumpkin pie’s sinewy bastard cousin…but it is extremely appreciated all the same.
The next day is Thanksgiving, and it is decided we will have a picnic at the arboretum since we can’t go to The Golden Corral for Thanksgiving, which is a buffet.With what money we have left from having to get a damn car battery for the damn car, we get Swanson’s Hungry Man Turkey and Dressing dinners. Lucky they were buy one, get one or we’d have to split one. We also got some cranberry sauce and a salad which was basically lettuce, cheese, and salad dressing, hee.
A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving
We nuke ’em and pack ’em back into their paper boxes to keep ’em warm and over the river and through the woods to the arboretum we go (incidentally my grandparents are buried in a cemetery in walking distance behind the arboretum). The weather was cloudy with a couple drops of rain here and there, but warm and we found a small picnic table. As we ate two couples passed by our scene of Rockwellesque domestic tranquillity. I’m sure it warmed their hearts and I’m always glad to to be a help to humankind. Soon we were reenacting the First Thanksgiving too and our Indian came to the table to share our repast. Our Indian was a a little orange and white cat whose tag said “Monkey.” we were glad he came to visit, just like being home. He hopped onto the bench next to me and I petted him. I had done ate all my turkey, so my mom gave him a bit, to which he turned up his feline nose. Afterward, we walked the arboretum and their lovely rose garden, which is always blooming no matter what time of year, and past the Japanese-themed garden, whose miniature tea house a local mystery writer used as the murder scene in one of her novels (it was a good book too).
Then off home we returned, me driving, and I didn’t even run over anyone, go figure.
Okay, so I’ve been working on this on and off since May. Today’s posts, mercifully cut down from one giant 3000 word monster to a couple posts, is the beginning of my life story and will continue it when there’s nothing better to bore you with. The story of my father is told here as I remember it being told to me over the years, so if I get something wrong, I will let you know. As weird as this story sounds, it is the truth as best I know it.
How did I become this way, an obsessive-compulsive woman-child; a timid, anxious individual? Genetics? Brain damage at birth? Life experiences, both remembered and forgotten? Alien abduction? Almost all the above? Probably.
The years 1976-1977 were not good years for love or fashion. People walked around wearing puke green, brown, and orange; all the while love conquered all, including common sense. At least this was true in my mother’s case. What do I mean? I mean Mama sure knew how to pick a man. She decided to dive into a gene pool of green, stagnant water and I am the result. My father was an alcoholic, which in itself is nothing new or that different from other people. It’s all in how my mother met my father that is the difference. You see, my mother was a nurse who at the time worked as a counselor to alcoholics, which is where she MET her husband, a patient. Love Story. Just how my father beguiled Mama, I’m not sure. She was 34 then, her true love turned out to be a prick, and several years had gone by since their break-up. Perhaps she was super lonely and my father was a nice fellow. Likely also, and this is a trait I see in myself too, she had a similar urge to save or help people .
My grandmother, Zoulean, yes that was her name, always warned my mother against marrying a drunk or dating anyone she wouldn’t consider marrying. There is even a story showing how much Grandma hated intemperance. When she and Grandpa first got married they stayed at his parents’ home. The first night they stayed there, Grandpa and his two brothers decided to go out together, a boys night out. So my grandmother went to bed, only to be awakened later by the brothers’ wives.
Hazel and Margie were two prim sisters who had married my grandpa’s two brothers. “Come on, Zoulean, our husbands are in jail. We gotta get ’em out.”
“Y’all can go if you want, but I’m staying right here,” said Zoulean.
Which set the sisters clucking. “You can’t leave your husband in jail overnight!” exclaimed Hazel, and the two sisters clucked, clucked, clucked until they were gone. The whole house was roused from sleep, but Grandpa’s parents sided with Zoulean. He had left his new wife in a house with people she barely knew to go carousing with his brothers. Let him stay overnight in jail. Would serve him right was their verdict. Apparently, alcohol is no cure for claustrophobia, and Grandpa learned his lesson well spending the night in that jail cell.
Maybe it all made my father more appealing, forbidden fruit. Forbidden by parents and no doubt kind of frowned upon by Mental Health for upping and marrying the patients. But whatever. At least she didn’t meet my dad years before when she worked an internship at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. (Fun fact: John Hinckley resides there nowadays). So my mom married my dad in a charming civil court ceremony and they honeymooned in South Carolina after he asked her, “Do you want to get married?” Their married life together and apart and together again lasted a whole 6 months. Like I said, love conquers all, right?
But it wasn’t all bad. He was a binge drinker, so he wasn’t drunk all the time. He was a good guy when he wasn’t drinking, I’m told. Give the shirt off his back type of guy. But just before he went on a binge, he’d get agitated acting, like something was building up in him, and voila, a several day binge.
(Stop the presses a moment. Here is where I grow suspicious of Daddy Dearest and wonder if his contribution to my genetic make-up was that of Mental Midgetdom. Almost every man in his family was a drunk, which makes me wonder what the hell they were trying to dull down. Anxiety? Depression? Was it compulsive? Or were they just a bunch of assholes who could find no better diversion than getting plastered?)
My father was also supposed to be a smart man, though he only made it up to 8th grade before his family needed his labor. My father’s life consisted of living by his wits and hands. At one point in their six month marriage, my parents decided to move to Alabama where my father could find work in landscaping and carpentry-type work. While there, my parents started going to a Baptist church and Dad slowed down on the drinking for a time. For a time. But in the end the alcohol won. Their relationship went something along these lines: Things are ok. Things are not ok, so Johnny spends up the money drinking. Johnny sobers up and swears he’ll never drink again. Things are ok. Things are not ok….
Once when good and sauced,but before he got into angry drunk mode as was his custom, he told Mama that he was part Cherokee Indian. When they said in vino veritas, they probably didn’t mean imbibers of Wild Irish Rose Whiskey. Before my mother knew him, one of my father’s jobs was ‘orange picker’ in Florida. I suppose he got himself a good tan out there working with his co-workers, all Mexicans. So good in fact that when Immigration rounded up everyone, they picked up Johnny too. Before he was deported, however, he was able to negotiate his freedom. Perhaps it was my dad’s southern accent that tipped INS off, or maybe it was that he didn’t know one blessed word of espanol. My hair is dark too, but very curly, my cheek bones aren’t pronounced (even when I wasn’t chunky), and my eyes are a dull blue, so how do you like them apples, kenosabe? Just another mystery, though Grandma told me she knew that family forever, “and there weren’t no Indian in none of ’em.”
In another alcohol soaked scene of domestic tranquility, Dad called the police saying he had a gun and was going to kill himself. My mother was not amused.
Talking to the police outside of the house, my mom leveled it out with them, seething. “NO, he DOESN”T have a gun . NO, he is NOT suicidal (though at that point, Mama probably could have killed her husband with her own hands). The police worried about leaving her alone with her drunkard husband, but Mama swore she would be fine, and she was. The fact of the matter was my father on a drunk aspired to being wife beater, but never could reach his mark. Kicking or trying to lash out at the air all the while hurling bizarre combinations of curses and insults, my dad wasn’t fast enough or coardinated enough to actually catch my mother.
Sometime in all the breaking up and making up, Mama got pregnant and miscarried. She wanted that baby, ailing marriage or no, but for whatever reason my sibling ceased to be before it had a chance to become.
The final break up saw my father running out to the car in his underwear as my mother drove away. She circled around once to make sure the man she married got back into the house safely, and that was that. Little did she know when she made the long trek home to her parents that for about two weeks a memento of a marriage best forgotten grew inside her.
Wild Irish Rose photo used w/o permission from blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com
[tweetmeme source=”lisaexclaimed”] It is 9:15 in the morning when I decide to get up. Just as I’m about to launch myself from a mattress that is older than I am (hey it works, even if you can see the springs it’s a quality item), the phone rings. The phone by my bed has a cord so twisted, so impossible to untangle, that it takes about three seconds after I pick it up to actually get the damn thing to my ear (note to self, you might oughta get a new phone, maybe…). It’s my therapist’s office. 1:30 pm Wednesday is my next appointment. Good thing they call a couple days beforehand, or -might as well not lie- I’d have forgot it this week since it’s a week earlier than my usual appointment because my therapist is going on vacation…..Funny though, didn’t Mama say she found a card saying my next appointment was September 20th, and I explained, “Oh, that’s probably ‘cause she is going away.” But I also remember thinking, Don’t remember it being that far in the future. Eh, Mom probably was mistaken. Anyway, hurry up and get up now…you still have time.
But time is slipping away before cut off time I realize and scurry to the bathtub. Hmm, clothes drying over the tub, best bathe instead of shower. I do it according to prescribed formula. Since today has nothing on my plate in the outside world, it is a gold Dial bar soap day. Aren’t you glad you use Dial? Don’t you wish everyone did? Sure I do, but only on certain days. Other days are reserved for Dove body wash. By the same token, today is not a hair washing day, just a struggle with your finger-in-the-light-socket curls with a wet brush day. Ouch and sigh. I look at my watch. Still have 5 minutes.
I grab a cookie to stuff down my gullet, when I make my dire mistake… telling Mama who called. The September 20th controversy begins. “You probably just got it mixed up,” I say.
“You should call them.”
“I’ll call ‘em later” I still have time. The big hand isn’t touching the 12 at all, it still isn’t 10 am.
“No, you should call them now. It may be someone else’s appointment.”
Whatever, Mommie Dearest. You may still get there by 10, I console myself. Good people listen to their mothers. Good people LISTEN to their mothers.
I don’t particularly like being the initiator of conversations on the phone except with my closest friends. The receiving end is great, I feel in control and that person wants to talk to me for certain, but I can handle one call. I hang up. Still time. Still…..
“1:30 pm. Wednesday. No appointment on September 20th.”
There that’s settled, then. Um, no.
“But I thought you said 1pm earlier.”
“No, Mother, I’m sure I said 1:30.”
“I coulda swore you said 1:00.”
Fuck. An. A.
“I’m not calling them again. You can call them if you want ‘em called!”
And heaven help us, call she did. I could hear her on the phone. “So 1:30 pm on 7/21….Oh August 4th.”
That’s what I get for not remembering to throw out old appointment cards! Turned out it’s my psychiatrist that’s on September 20th too. I look at my watch, the long hand is touching the 12 just barely. 10 am. Game over.
Dammit! Dammit! DAMN IT!
It is a rule inviolate that if I don’t get outside by 10 am, I will not allow myself to sit outside until after 3:30 pm lest I get a sunburn. If I’m out and about I don’t care, I’m rather tanned, but I feel that I must have this rule. Otherwise I might get a carcinoma, melanoma; or, almost as bad to me, more hideous brown spots on my face.