Early evening had come around for visiting hours and I was in one of my many shitty moods; not in the mood to bug Andre, so I sat in the observation room in the window seat by the oak- which despite meaning more irritated glares from Jacqueline in the staff office- was the only place I could find some kind of silence or solitude when everyone was visiting and I couldn’t sneak out back. But that had been easier than ever since a wishful thought and the one lamp light broke and no one got around to changing it for months. I was waiting for my family to arrive so we could play the board game I had reluctantly chosen, Apples to Apples. Jacob had ignored me for a week again, but we were good for the day. Though tonight he was at his weekly meeting and I didn’t particularly feel like having my ass chewed, so I used the time to speak questions to the air for awhile, or to myself, or God, or who/whatever else was listening. Highlighter had immediately joined me outside the window I had cracked open, perched on the oak tree branch, chirping spiritedly at something.
Some time later Highlighter flew away and I turned to see that my parents stood out in the lobby, Shawna directing them into the observation room. I hadn’t seen or hardly spoken to my them in some weeks; I simply had nothing of any point to say to them, or to anyone really. They sat on the couch adjacent to the window where I remained leaned against the window pane. Dad had come from work, still in his suit.
“How are you?” mom asked hesitantly, appearing wary that I would be too honest.
“I’m fine. I’m fan-fucking-tastic actually. I mean, relatively speaking. How are you guys? How’s life.”
“We’re fine. It’s fine. Just working a lot at grandma’s as usual. You’ll have to see all the renovations and the new furniture when you get out.” mom replied, more animatedly.
“Cool. Doubt I’ll want to make the trip, I’ll just be honest up front.” “How’s James?”
“James is OK. Stressed as always. Just started a second job working for Steve.”
“That’s gonna be trouble, those two together…” I replied, unable to convey the appropriate humor.
Mom talked for a while about the work on the house and all the furnishings things she had purchased at discount as usual. I pretended to give a shit as usual.
“Have you been doing any writing?” Dad finally changed the subject, trying to ask a genuinely benign question. They knew I wrote angsty poetry and whatnot from time to time but had never read anything I’d written. Not that I wanted them to, because it wasn’t for art.
“No. But I have stared at blank pages for hours before realizing that I just don’t give a shit.”
“Hm. Shawna told us you’re writing an autobiography for her?”
“So she’s deluded herself. She’ll likely have to pry it out of my cold, dead soul one session at a time. I do feel bad for her, I’m not making her job easier. But hey, life’s a bitch.”
“You know, I’ve always thought you could write a book about your life. Maybe to help some people understand their own loved ones with ‘illness'” he volunteered.
I hated when he used that word, but I knew what he meant. But maybe He was right; maybe I had just been ill, for a very, very long time.
“You know, the reason God hasn’t answered any of your prayers to die is because you have to write a book first,” he laughed. That had been a long- running joke of ours.
“Don’t say that, ” mom interjected, very hush hush. “we’re not supposed to talk about that stuff.”
“Well then, give me a pen!” I grabbed the red pen from beside me and feigned a sudden enthusiasm.
Shawna had specifically instructed each of us that we were to talk about absolutely nothing but small talk- Just my fucking forte. I silently set up the board and divided up the cards, too slowly because I was far, far away in my mind; drowning in all the things I could neither speak of nor resolve
I layed down the first card. “OK, the word is ineffectual. ‘”
Only one thing of which, I wanted to ask why they had essentially kicked me out and stranded me in a place where I had no freedoms and the absence of which over the months did me no good but harm. I wanted to know what the ultimatums would be when I did finally get out. I honestly didn’t care about anything but getting as far away as possible from that place. I don’t know why with treatment I could never seen to settle into any manageable routine in regards to my constant anxiety and pacing in my mind “like a caged animal,” Jacqueline called me. One thing I sucked at in life was adaptation. Pathetically so, with all efforts I could rarely ever get it to happen and I’d never figured out why; as though some of the most basic normal necessities of being human eluded me,akin to needing to draw blood from a turnip. I had only gotten progressively more stressed, tired, angry, and in pain the more I was trapped in the house-cage and around people all the time. I was tired and desperate enough that I had been talking to the Catholic John Doe from the internet about possibly moving in for a while. That would suck too, but there at least I had any freedoms and choices I could execute or manage. But I felt like I was losing my mind as always, but didn’t know where I could ever find it again anyway.
But I didn’t even want to be anywhere anymore, I didn’t want to bullshit up waiting to see hope in the distance anymore; because as much as a weak, self- defeating cop- out as I know it sounds, I absolutely didn’t believe whatsoever that I would ever get “better”. After over a decade of trying to get “better”, I had only gotten much, much worse in every regard. No amount of treatment programs, drugs, or talk therapy alleviated the constant inner war; and I knew I would never outrun what always came right back no matter where I went or what I tried- I knew I’d always fall back into old ways because nothing else felt any good either, or it felt worse. Surely this all was putting me through unnecessary additional suffering. But I knew to say such things was arrogance, despite that I still believed it with every fiber of my being; but I was the only one who believed it, so I was powerless and again being forced into what was “best for me”, still even as an adult.
I wanted to scream all of these things at my undeserving parents in front of me; how at this point I prayed and wondered every hour why I had been born- called out of the nothingness. I needed to scream for every burden for which there was no relief, for every thing that was misunderstood; I wanted to destroy everything in the room and then destroy myself. But no one would ever know just how much rage I held inside. I never showed it; Because the only person I was angry with was myself. Because I was a fragile, addicted, selfish, hopelessly miserable failure that was beyond help if I couldn’t even imagine a future of better, because all I’d seen better to be was just a different kind of misery, tolerance, and compromise for all the things I hated but lacked the strength to change. I’d rather the devil I knew until I was finally dead- to do and take whatever the fuck I wanted until it destroyed me; and that was my plan- to hit the wall at the highest speed possible to ensure my oblivion. Because there had accumulated too many problems with no solutions- so particularly agonizing that it seemed they had been designed for me; perhaps its simply that what you avoid controls you. But I had already tried everything else and beyond a reasonable doubt I had concluded that ending myself was the only way to end this battle of attrition of which I knew there was no winning, and I didn’t want to be around when it came time to lose for the very last time.
Of course I recognized that this was the still young and immature part of myself that wanted to actually say any of these things. Objectively I knew that it all would sound lame and melodramatic were I to say it aloud; but I suppose the cliches are cliche in that they are commonplace in truth; but I still despised cliches. But all of these things continued to chew at me as they had every waking moment for a time experientially longer than fathomable.
“Kat…… KAT,” my dad’s voice broke into my deafening world. “It’s your turn.”
I looked back at the seven cards in my hand, considering which word I thought best fit the description “mythical”. Between thunderstorms, Nicholas Cage, my love life, zippers, lethal injection, oxygen, and Samuel L. Jackson; “my love life” was an easy choice.
“That’s terrible,” mom laughed.
“Generational curse,” I fake smiled. I grew even more frustrated as I could feel the tears threatening my eyes again.
“Are you OK?” she asked.
“I’m fine.” I drew another red card.
“OK the word is ‘imminent,'” dad read.