CW: Mental health, mature language
“You wanna do something fun?” she whispers to me in her sing song voice.
It catches me off guard- it was just us in this little space, and we had sat silently for a long stretch by her standards. I had been fooling myself thinking that today would be any different. She would have to break the silence, uneasy with us just sitting idle. We were such different creatures.
She smiles and talks to everyone, a social butterfly who lives for fun. Making jokes and keeping people laughing, with a natural ability to make friends. She makes people feel important and the whole world fucking loves her. Bright, creative, fun, spontaneous and has an insatiable lust for the good things in life.
Whatever she is, I am the polar opposite, minus the brightness. We share that trait. I prefer to chain smoke- cigarettes and weed- and wallow in whatever sadness or unnecessary guilt I have placed on myself this week. I would rather avoid other humans, unless a favorite human, but even that is best in small doses. If given any opportunity, I would happily stay curled up warm in bed, only getting out to relieve my bladder and scroll the web. Reading the worlds horror stories and getting pulled further into my misery.
I glance into wide eyes, hair that resembled a birds nest and pink flushed cheeks. Fun with her meant an anxiety inducing, dangerous, and more times than not, irrational adventure for me.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head no, a little more aggressive than I felt. Fun with her, was not fun for me. Or least that is what I am being told to believe. It angers her that I believe what they tell me about her.
" Why don’t you want to have fun with me?” she asks a little louder than a whisper sticking her lower lip into some childish pout. Charm and charisma oozing around her voice. I know the sounds will continue to soothe my ears, and suck me in if I continue to listen. She will have me agreeing to go kayaking in Alaska or RVing across the country. Starting a business, buying a property, planning or doing something.
“When was the last time you took your medication?” Asking her was the best way to shut her and the ideas down. Once she got started, it was hard to defend against her persuasion. I always wanted to be more like her. So carefree, so excited, so fun. Even if it was for a few fleeting moments, but I would never admit that.
“Why does that matter?” she spit back at me, eyes narrowed and nostrils slightly flairing. She was quick to anger today, but in her defense, I went direct for the kill. “Maybe 5 days or a week or so. I have lost track.”
I look up again, and see how frazzled and tired she looks. A nervous energy bubbling out of her that would rival that of a meth user. Picking at skin, unable to sit still, mind constantly racing with thoughts. She has taken on a lot of things lately. Projects and ideas that she wanted to work on, and a self care mantra that never seemed to actually follow what she did.
“You really need -”
“You have no idea what I need” she interrupts me aggressively. “and when did you get so fucking boring.” which was said much quieter and skipping the usual rhythmic beats that her voice carried. I had disappointed her, asking about the medication, and she was ensuring I would feel the guilt of that.
“What do you want to do?”
I know that whatever it is she is going to suggest will be something I hate, but I will agree to because of my guilt. I need her and she needs me. She often forgets that we surf the exhilarating rise and falls along side her. The difference is when we plunge deep into the dark abyss, she floats away, safely. Called by her sirens. I get pulled in and stuck there, listening for the sirens, but I don’t have the same super powers as she does. It makes me despise her just a little bit.
She is thinking too long about what she wants to do for fun. This will mean she will want to do something over the top. Riding the highest wave and begging for a crash to tumble us down.
“Let’s take a vacation, or start a blog, or plan a big party. Its almost Thanksgiving. We should host dinner!” All sweet melodies, and she ensured the tempo quickened with every sylabil.
“We don’t have money for a vacation. We don’t need another project, and Thanksgiving is a no. It’s a hard no. That is people, and food, and cleaning. Just no, seriously, you should take your meds.”
“I think I have cancer.” The sentence flows nonchalantly and matter of fact.
“I’m sorry, you what? Whatever makes you think you have cancer?”
“Because I do.”
“Because is not a sufficient answer here. Did you find a lump? Do you have any symptoms? What kind of cancer, and why? I don’t understand?”
“No, but does it really matter? Even if I don’t have a cancer diagnosis now, statistically speaking I will so.. there’s that.”
“That’s a little irrational don’t you think? I mean, honestly.”
“No, I think it means we should live our lives while we are alive.”
This was the part of her that always made me fall a little more in love with her, the longer we spent time together. Her willingness to live and let happen. Her confidence (or delusion), she would land on her feet regardless of what came her way. A wild flower who wanted space to grow. There was nothing she loved more than riding giant waves, fearless in the face of everything. It was everything I admired in her.
“I really think you should take your meds.”
“Ok, so no vacation, no blog and no thanksgiving.. what do you want to do oh boring one? Netflix and chill? Candy Crush, Social Media scroll through. OH OH, Tik Tok maybe? I know that has become a new addiction.”
She was quick to get back to reminding me how unexciting my life was. It was her best offense, and she used it to her advantage.
I quickly glanced up again. Searching for a reaction to my question: “What did they give you this time?”
“I don’t know. Something to help stabilize my moods. It will make me eat which of course, will make me depressed. It is supposed to make the anxiety go away, and will help with sleep.”
“That’s got to be a good thing? Right? " I say with less confidence than I feel.
“No, but you seem to think so.”
“Well, what happens when the first time you feel centered-out or invalidated, whether it is imagined or not? What happens when you get so paranoid that your happiness is going to lead you into terror, that something bad has to happen? What happens when your judgment becomes devoid of any logic and you hurt the ones you love? What happens when the support system you mask things from needs to intervene because the adventure has gone on too long or too far? Isn’t it easier to just take the fucking medication to not have to worry about all of that?
“Tell me, say it- what happens if you take the medication?”
I know this has hurt and I wait for the backlash, but there is none.
She has been defeated, and she won’t look at me. I need to see what defeat looks like to her, but she is unable to show such a serious weakness, a fatal flaw. I can know she has been defeated, but nothing more. I also know what happens when she takes the medication. She is put to rest. The woman who I have started to love the most needs to go away again.
“So, what are we going to do? Wanna do something fun, one more time?” I ask in my best singsong whisper staring back at the image of a wild eyed,bird nest haired woman holding a paper cup with medication.
She and I both know we will meet again, sooner than later. After all, I can only stay away from that side of myself for so long before I need her again, until I need to be her again.
I should really take my meds, but maybe just one more day of facing my fears of sharks and wet suits and surfing first.