The Itsy Bitsy Suicide (Long Poem) Pt. I

When my grandmother abandoned me
on a Friday night, I was watching
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I was on the couch, the small loveseat my father
bought when he moved to Fishers–
It was our weekend together.
Friday, August 20th
2009.
I thought, I haven’t heard from her in awhile. I’ll
call
tomorrow.

My father, never one to push
me, shook me awake that night. Whispered.
Cried with me as he said she had a heart attack.
Her legs over the side of the bed. Small, fat body motionless.
God, I cried. Like my heart had burst. I had put all my dreams
into her, like she was my Easter Basket.

I remember
her touching my hair one Easter, saying
how thick and beautiful it was.

Right now, I can’t explain it. The anger and pain
for a woman I knew only five or so years. Mother loves to
say how terrible she was, how crazy, how…
the list goes on.
I want to forget the list. Tell me something good.
Tell me
tell me that time she made you tea, sewed your wedding dress.
Remember the soccer game, when I made brownies
and she was diabetic but
ate them anyway? Remember when we went to
Florida
Grandpa couldn’t drive well
so she had to? Remember when
on September 26th, 2007 I got
my period, and later you, me, and her
went to Target, bought a 7 dollar t-shirt?

I accidentally put the cardboard applicator in,
and we laughed, like you expect
the Golden Girls to
laugh. With their
bosoms, with their
shiny hair.

The Letter: An Outtake

This is an outtake from the book I’ve been trying to write. 

 

xoxoxo

The day had been long. Susan was tired of this day, where people stared and whispered and mocked. She was exhausted by all the careful planning she had done, and angered when it had fallen through. Now she wanted peace and comfort.

Susan stared at the note in careful concentration. There was no salutation or address.

I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. I won’t try. You are the best thing I had, and nothing can ever change that.

Be back soon!

I love you.

Dad

She had long ago memorized every word of every sentence on the paper. No differentiation of tone or hidden meaning of phrase was to be discovered. Today, she simply stared at the strokes of the pen in the letter ‘I’, and ‘l’, and ‘e’. The ‘v’ and ‘u’ were nothing special. But it was the ‘y’ that always captivated her—she could see him clearly in her mind, writing out “I love you” on the flimsy page. The curve of the letter was stained with excess ink. He had stopped. She could feel it.

Susan closed her eyes, and thought of his hands pausing over then-smooth paper.

He was thinking about how he didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to write this letter. He could go back and scribble it all out. He could burn it in the fire. He could throw it in the trash, and return to his room, kiss his wife and child goodnight, and sleep it all away.

Still, he paused.

He looked down and saw the black ink pooling on the paper, and he finished the ‘y’. The ‘-ou’ accompanied it.

It didn’t matter what the words were or what they meant. She had ceased to care. All that mattered was the jet-black ink stain in the middle of the ‘y’ on that crinkly old paper. This was proof that her father loved her. Maybe still loved her. She didn’t know if he was alive or not, and told herself it was irrelevant.

Some nights though, Susan would open that little drawer in her desk and stare at the paper. Around here, paper was rare. It was fitting that her father should put to pen his last thoughts. Not many did━when someone escaped, you knew why. And you knew where.

Susan rubbed her fingers across the edges and placed the sentiment in the drawer with a soft swoosh. If her mother found it, she would not be happy.

This is Not a Super Depressing Parental Divorce Post. Well, actually…

I wrote part of this coming back from Texas two days ago.


Tuesday Evening, July 29th, 2014. Texas. 

I wish I could say I felt some great pain when my parents finalized their divorce early this week. But honestly, I feel nothing. I don’t. Feel. Anything. This isn’t a change. This is a pebble a kid threw into a great big lake. There are ripples, certainly, but does this pebble graze the fish? Does it wound the frog? No. It settles amongst the millions of other pebbles in that vast lake that is my life.

Perhaps I should reminisce about the time my parents were happy—the times they kissed and held hands and talked late into the night before going to bed. I do not remember this. I have never known a time my parents loved each other, or showed affection. My oldest memory is a fight. I never heard my mom say she had ever loved my dad until I was 17. I first saw their wedding photos six months ago. The album was nestled in between the gardening handbook and a bird index.

Thursday, 2 AM, July 31st, 2014. Indiana.

No. When I said I felt nothing, it wasn’t quite true. I was numb. I was awaiting the blow. But when Mom. Nate and I got home, we discovered that the papers were incomplete; therefore it isn’t finalized. They are the most ridiculous ‘married couple’ I’ve ever known. And the odd thing is that I had prepared for an obstacle, and I found myself relieved when it appeared. I do not want this to happen. I do not want this change. A part of me wants it to go on as before; the fights and the insults that hide the resentment and hurt. Perhaps I’m a sadomasochist…

When I was in middle school, my mother got me What A Girl Wants (VHS of course, because DVDs weren’t nearly as popular). In case you don’t know what it’s about:

Yeah, basically it’s the best teen movie ever.

I would watch this movie all the time, and crying, I’d think, “Why her and not me? Why does she get the happy ending? Where are my perfectly-in-love parents?” I mean, I would have loved the sexy British hunk, but that was not the priority when I was twelve.

Now, almost fourteen years after they separated, I still feel a twinge.

A Wedding and No Funeral

Wednesday

The longest week of my life started Wednesday, March 19th at 2am, when I received a Facebook invite to my friend Jeremy’s wedding. It was on Monday, March 24th. A normal person would start panicking and immediately decline (“Grrrr. You didn’t give me enough time!”). But not me–I’m excited. My first wedding as an adult! The last wedding i went to was in 2005. I was in fifth grade. So I immediately said, “Hell yeah!” and started planning. I planned what I was going to bring, wear, and say. And in the midst of all this, my brother received some frightening news.

Backstory

A little over a month ago, my brother started dating this Olympic-level gymnast named Bri. Two weeks ago, she went to Arizona for the Olympic pre-trials, and suffered a bad fall. She broke two ribs, her wrist, cracked two vertebrae, and had a concussion. After doing back surgery, Bri eventually came back home to Indiana, seemingly fine albeit drugged from all the pain medication.

Thursday-Friday morning

On Thursday at noon, my mother called. She said that Bri suddenly had to go into surgery because she couldn’t feel her legs. They thought the doctors hadn’t fixed her back. The doctors also had to relieve pressure on her brain. When my brother heard the news from her cousin, he immediately freaked out, said Mom. There was a chance she wouldn’t survive the surgeries.

I remember telling myself I would pray. As an agnostic, I usually find praying to be hypocritical. I personally feel odd trying to ask for leniency or consideration from a being I tell myself I have no knowledge of. It was the only thing I felt I could do. But I soon forgot about it in view of the enormous amount of homework I had, and the personal statements I needed to write. I called my father. He told me her first surgery went well, and they were transferring her up north. So I went to Starbucks without my phone, and worked until 11pm. Arriving back at my dorm, I picked up my phone and felt sick.

Missed phone: Mom. Missed phone: Mom. Missed phone: Mom. Text: Mom Missed phone: Dad. Missed phone: Dad. Missed phone: Mom. Text: Mom. Missed phone: Mom.

I read the texts.

“I’ve been trying 2 get hold of u. Nate’s in bad shape. Bri’s passed away. He’s devastated.”

“Can u call us? He needs u. I don’t know if I can take care of this by myself.”

I called her, scared to know more but understanding it was my duty.

“Hey. I’m sorry,” I said.

“It’s okay.” She was oddly calm.

“What…what happened?”

Bri had gone into shock during her second surgery. The brain surgery was fine, oddly enough. But her back surgery was the turning point. When my brother heard she died, he broke down. My mother was so upset, she started crying over the phone.

I talked to my brother for a little bit. But I could not think of anything comforting. What do you say when someone’s world sustains a crack that size?

After almost an hour, I ended the conversation, saying I would be coming home Friday afternoon.

That night, I could not get to sleep. I wrote One Fan is Different and went to bed at 5am.

Friday-Saturday

Everything was cloudy. Not just the weather, which was once again cold. Each building, each car and street sign had a shadow on I-69. I tried not to feel anything. My father, on the other hand, seemed so nonchalant it was insulting. Perhaps it was because he’d been a funeral director. Maybe after so many deaths, they stop becoming people and start becoming bodies. Things to pity and bury.

Nate was different. He was cloudy too, I could see. I did not expect him to be sunny, per say. I do not know what I expected, but it was not this anxious, unable-to-eat Nate. It was not this Nate who paced to hear funeral arrangements and guarded his phone.

On Saturday, my great aunt Mary had her 85th birthday party. My whole family decided to go, though my parents have been separated for 13 years. I was once again angry at my father, who told his family what happened. Why should they know? It would only produce unwanted pity.

But by the end of the day, I was glad they knew. It would have been difficult explaining my brother’s distance and sudden tears, and his obsessive texting. There was something wrong. Her mother, who on Thursday promised to have a funeral service for her in Indiana before cremating her in California, was not returning his messages or calls. I am glad they were there to support him.

Sunday

It was all explained the next day. Mom and I were fixing lobster–a rare treat for us, done for Nate. Mom sent him to the store for lemons, and when he came back, his face showed something. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“She isn’t bringing her body back. They cremated her.”

It was the saddest outcome we could expect. He couldn’t do anything but cry for awhile.

 

On the wedding front, I was prepared. I bought baby clothes as wedding presents, and bought hummus, pastry puffs and mushroom turnovers. I invited my father to the wedding in case there weren’t a lot of people.

Monday

We were very glad we decided to leave early, because the groom, Jeremy, changed the venue to the bride’s sister’s house thirty minutes before the wedding. I should explain that this was the weirdest wedding I’ve ever and will ever encounter. I call it a potluck wedding because the literally said, “Can you guys bring food? We are short on cash, thanks.”

Jeremy and Sylvia were 22 and just welcomed a baby boy to their family a month ago March 1st. I was more dressed up than either of them, which made me feel weird. And the “priest” was in a t-shirt and jeans. We waited for an hour so the last guest would arrive, but I’m glad we waited.

They did the ceremony in the living room, a room so small that 25 people could not fit–some had to stand in the kitchen walkway. But it was homey, and after awhile, I got used to everything. I also got to hold a 3-month old baby boy! He cried for most of it, but hey.

Now

I. Am. Exhausted. I am starting a new job in two days, I am rehearsing for Vag Mon all this week and next, and my life goal right now is to sleep 9 hours. But if my class on religion has taught me anything, it is that without suffering, you would not survive. Trials and pains are what drive us to seek shelter and food and companionship. So I will try to get through it all as best I can.

Thank you for listening,

Chloe