I woke up with cotton stars sticking to my arms. A patch of desiccated currants waiting to be cleansed. I am twenty years old, and wearing my own blood as a mask. I sank beneath my moon stained quilt and slept. To sleep I had to swallow pill after pill, and at some point I felt nauseous and lightheaded with electric eels ricocheting from ankles to knees.
I thought I was older yesterday. When I finally stood up to leave my bedroom I heard the tv mumbling in the living room. I listened without moving, and then stepped into the kitchen where I bumped my moms shoulder as I was looking back at the time. I apologized, and moved on. I looked at the clock, and it was a little after eight p.m. I can listen to my moms laugh all day. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s like the first time she’s ever laughed, the first time something made her scrunch up her nose and mouth, and a sound like love sewing itself into our hearts. My dad is sitting on the light beige leather couch next to her, with that same feeling radiating on his face.
It’s just me right now. Their other children aren’t here. One is off living his life in college, playing ball. The other is out with friends doing god knows what? Me, I sit in my bedroom and watch actors run across the screen, screaming or crying or dying.... I have my own world, and I like it here. I am working in a hospital, where the smells waft into my soul, overwhelming every shallow step I take. I stop working, my body goes limp. I find an empty waiting room and silence blows me away into another body, another place. I'm waiting for daylight to gather in the windows, to breathe steadily. There are these monstrous printers spitting out patient results. I drag them to their destination, not daring to look into others' faces.
I work a few nights a week. The rest of the week I dream and dance alone. I come out for dinner with my parents. Occasionally my brother shows up, but usually he eats out, or in his room. My brothers look more like my dad. Very Italian. I’m French Canadian through and through. I have a lot of fear in living. It’s the most difficult task anyone will ever have to aspire to, this breathing in and out, and moving your lips when necessary. I’m not sure why I’ve turned out this way, but should I have to change who I am? I either feel nothing or too much, and sometimes I pray for death. It’s all very dramatic and silly, I know.
The other evening, just as the light was flickering and then fading on my wall I decided to die. I had a bunch of pills. I took everything I owned. Diet pills, leftover medicine from a doctor, other over the counter medicines... whatever I had I swallowed. It was the strangest feeling. Every part of my body was becoming a statue. Gravity found me out. I held onto the walls to get to the bathroom. My eyes and mouth turned to stone. I lie there frightened of my last breath, and then accepted death.
It didn’t work. I woke up the next night, no one ever knew. I suppose I didn’t have the right tools. I see my mother and father, and how they love each other, and I wonder why I can’t love and be normal. I should speak to them. Tell them how much I want to die, that I cut red sunlight from my wrists and want to sleep and sleep. I’m never able to articulate what I feel, and I believe they wouldn’t know how to help me.
I’m sitting at the dining room table, it’s shaded glass covered in a patchwork of autumnal designs purchased at our local Kmart. I let my foot travel down the twisting wicker legs, staring at them as they eat their Sunday dinner. spaghetti and meatballs every Sunday. You can smell the garlic sautéing, and the sauce bubbling. Eventually the meatballs are frying, and maybe even garlic bread melts in the oven. I’m about to speak to them, tell them about the bloody shadows and disgust I have for myself. Maybe they will understand? Maybe I can be fixed? “Mom, dad can I talk to you?” they keep eating. Did they hear me, are they mad at me? I try again. Nothing. Why aren’t they answering me? I get up, go around the table to them, close my eyes, breathe in and out, and open my eyes again to tell them everything.
I wake up with my moms crocheted blanket tangled round my right leg, my dads silver necklace sweating on my neck. Mary is sweltering in that silver. I’m in their bed, large blue flowers blooming across its chest. They’re gone.