Archive for July, 2008


 

Thirty amitriptyline will not kill you.  Well, maybe they’ll kill you, but they didn’t kill me.

Of course I no longer recall what the dosage was, just how many milligrams of the depression medication I actually took.  I no longer recall just how many days and nights I spent unconscious in a filthy bed in a tiny trailer somewhere outside of Birmingham, Alabama.  I think maybe it was two or three nights.

They were much easier to swallow than the aspirin.  I hadn’t been able to get the whole bottle of aspirin down, in fact, ten years earlier; a bottle’s worth of aspirin tablets is really fucking hard to swallow without gagging.  The amitriptyline pills, in their shiny, smooth little gel jackets, went down pretty easily with a couple of beers.  They didn’t have the hard edges of the aspirin, or the nasty lingering chalky bitter taste they left after getting stuck twenty times on the way down.  They slid right down like candy, like kisses.

I hadn’t done my research.  I hadn’t even planned it ahead of time, really.  I don’t think I really knew what I was taking, except the bottle had a warning label on it that indicated taking a lot of them was a bad idea. That was good enough for me.  A long-time pill aficionado, I knew they weren’t worth much on the street, weren’t a narcotic; I asked the guy whose bathroom they were in what they were and he said they were his ex-girlfriend’s antidepressants, “and the crazy bitch hasn’t been taking them.”

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Dear you,

Goddamn.  I can’t figure out if I want that one to be about me or if I really don’t.  Salut.  Superior mindfuck job, I’m impressed.

Dear you,

I wasn’t trying to pick a fight.  I was just writing. A lot of times I don’t figure out just how I feel about shit until I write it down.  My writing stuff down is totally different from my having a conversation with you (or anyone else) about it.  I write my way to linear thought (sometimes).  It doesn’t always come until I write it down.  That’s just how I’m wired.  If I was really upset in a relationship-threatening way (from my perspective), I would have spoken to you about it offline.  I would apologize except I’m not actually sorry.  So, er, yeah.  Er, sorry for not being wired right, and for not being precisely sorry.

Dear you,

You are a worthless, heartless, selfish sack of useless crap and I harbor a secret hope in my heart that you are dead.

Dear you,

I hope your raspberries lead you somewhere truly special and welcome.  You are beautiful, one of a kind, and full of so much life and love I wish I could wrap you in ribbons, play you a tune on the fiddle, and dance with you and our daughters on the close-cropped grass under a full moon.  Don’t stop being you.

Dear you,

Never what you expect.  Frankly, I don’t know what that is, and I live a bit in fear of the idea that we might get there.  To the “just what I expected” space.  I mean, ugh.

Dear you,

I adore you.  It’s getting lame, how much I want to say and how little I feel I can, finally, esp. since I’ve never met you in the flesh.  I sure don’t want to come off like some fucking groupie or some such.  But your posts almost always drive me mad with: Je regrettte, or Je desire, or penser, es tut mir leid, je ne regrette rien, mais non, I do after all.  You are so bright and sleek; I’m fine with being on the periphery of that, as a spectator — don’t stop.

Dear you,

I never meant to hurt you.  Except for when I did. But at the time I thought it was self-defense.

Dear you,

I don’t do lukewarm.  So maybe I am still hurt.  That is not really your fault, finally.  I know this. Maybe that informs my caution.  Fair enough.  But you’re part of my personal mythology now.  What else can I say.

Dear you,

Please don’t put me in the middle of this.  You’re breaking my heart and it’s really in a bunch of little fucking pieces right now anyway.  So I guess this is beyond breaking.  It’s grinding into powder, disintegrating, imploding.  None of this is going to be fixed or solved overnight, not after 35 years.  I love you and I am trying to have faith in you and that’s pretty hard, you know.  ‘Cause at the end of the day you’re batshit fucking crazy and a borderline sociopath and a mean drunk and you treat my mother like shit and you should probably be in jail and I probably shouldn’t even love you, but I can’t help it.  I can’t even explain how crazy this is making me feel (or, to be fair, how crazy I’m letting it make me feel).  I’m in about seventy pieces right now and I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  I guess I understand how she hasn’t left you even after the duct tape, the years of benders and driving into ditches, the day to day bullshit, the total lack of empathy, cutting the power to the trailer, and finally the gun thing.  Obviously I left as soon as I could, but I still answer the phone when you call, partly because I love you even though I don’t want to, and partly because I can count on two hands the number of times you’ve called me since I left home at 17, and partly because I know you don’t have anybody else to talk to about this shit right now.  Also partly because you are treating your promise to make this change as a personal promise to me, and I frankly never thought you gave enough of a shit about me or anybody else to ever try to change.  So maybe I answer the phone just because I still can’t believe this isn’t all some fucking joke, because I’m waiting to hear you say, “fuck this, never mind.”  But I can’t be the only grownup here. This is killing me.  And it’s killing my brother.  So please get it together and don’t make me do it.  I really do have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. And I’m not doing such a great job of taking care of my own self right now.

across an ocean

He’s drunk across an ocean and misses me.  He sends a song I cannot play.

He’s asleep in Mobile and doesn’t wake up twice a night wondering where I am.

She’s in Pensacola somewhere and thinks about me twice a year.

She’s on the Gulf Coast and I like her better as a memory.

He kisses me on the forehead and leaves me sleeping, dreaming of half-breed demons with faces like angels. 

Dear you,

Like you were telling me something I don’t know.  I know exactly when that was.  It was New Year’s Eve 1995.  According to my journal, it was my idea, but I no longer believe (if I ever did) in the integrity of the personal record-keeping.  Regardless, yours was the first face I saw when I woke up in 1996, and I’ve not forgotten, nor have I forgotten that you left the next day for a job in Virginia and I didn’t see you again for years.  I wrote, “Too many what-ifs in the world, and they don’t do any good.”

But it doesn’t matter.  I remember the important things.  I remember the smooth plane of your shoulder, the flat, taut beauty of your belly, the curve of your arm and the softness of the skin behind your knee.  I remember the feel of your hair between my fingers, the feel of your fingers in my mouth, the feel of your two hands clasped in mine.  I remember the taste of you and the way the ground fell out from under me and the years rushed in like an unmanned train when I kissed you.  I remember the mosquitoes and the beer and the darkness and the Naugahyde sofa in the hunting lodge.  I remember aching when you touched me and wishing we could stop time for a while before somebody came looking for us.

You remain, to this day, for me, something of honey and the light at dusk slanting over the top of the barn roof in Citronelle.  You are the smooth coolness of lacquered mahogany worn slick and rich brown from the touches of a mingled generation of children.  You are a bittersweet surprise and the warmth of a horse’s coat in the stable at winter.  You are the scent of amber and the heat of set lights and the taste of tears I will never cry.  You are, now, inextricably, tied up with a few songs I used to be able to sing without thinking of you.

When you lean against the bar in downtown Mobile, thirteen years after I last kissed you other than the European-greeting-way, and say “New Year’s Eve in the hunting lodge – I’ve never forgotten it,” I simply don’t know what to say, other than that I love you, I have for thirty years and I will keep on doing so, and I didn’t kiss you last time you were at my house because I remember you saying, a couple of years ago, that you would never, ever do that while you were with somebody else again.  Good for you.  And good for her.  It’s maybe a little cruel of you to bring it up, considering I then have to play Good Citizen, even though I now know you still remember what I taste like… but that’s ok.  I can be a grown-up about  this.  And I will be.  Even though I can’t look at the velvet mini dress with the cigarette burn in it without thinking of you in the darkness of an apartment that belonged to neither of us.  And I can’t smell amber without thinking of the first time I smelled it on you, after I’d given you a small box full of it as a gift. Even though I can’t think much about my childhood and adolescence without thinking of you — of Notasulga and halved artichokes and houses made of octagons and archery targets and a pot of soup that would feed the whole world… well, you’re in there, inextricably, and I guess I’ll always wonder “what if.”  That’s not so bad.  Our children are getting to know each other, our families are still good friends, and in ten years I’ll still have something of you.  I guess I can live without that something being you.

But I remember.  I remember the important things.

Dear you,

Remember when you fell down the stairs at your mom’s house?  I was really scared – it was a horrible sound.  YOUR life flashed before my eyes for a few seconds.  I’m really glad you were able to stand up at the bottom.  I wasn’t able to hook up with your mom while I was in town, but give her my love.  And take some for yourself.  I’m quite damaged, but I don’t do lukewarm; I can love, in my own way, for whatever that’s worth,  for whatever bitterness that leaves us to suckle at the end of the day.  Hope it’s not all bitter for you.  I wish you only the best, and I’m ok with your best not having me in it.  We do the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment in which we have to do the doing.

Dear you,

The nights are so much worse than the days.  Really, they’re pretty bad.  So why you would listen to me, I have no idea.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.  In fact, I got nothing.  Is the blind leading the blind worse than the blind leaving each other alone?  Still, I hope you heard me.  I hope I did some good rather than just Interfering.

Dear you,

If you get yourself shot in a Wal-Mart parking lot, I will personally raise your ass from the dead, kill you again, and then mutilate your corpse.  I appear to care a great deal about you against my better judgment, and I appear to care enough to be very worried about what you’re planning to do next, career-wise.

Dear you,

Your eyes are beautiful.  I’m heartbroken that you can’t see out of them.