After about the fourth or fifth attempt, not only do you lose count, but you begin to realize exactly what's happening and what to do about it. More importantly, you want to do something about it... you choose to seek help.
The most paradoxical truth in all of this is that once you are ready to admit that you are crazy, once you finally tell someone that you live in fear of yourself and what everyone arounds you reads when they look at you... well, you realize that this is the most concrete evidence of your sanity and that you do have a chance. You're not crazy anymore. You're merely too intelligent to deal with th mundane, everyday things around you. And you're much too smart to off yourself.
Last night's occurrence I'm sure won't be the last of its kind, but it was definitely a breaking ground in this what had, until this point, been a vast wasteland of emptiness. Holding desperately onto my brother's hand in the last of the 24 hours that very well could have been my last, the light peeked out at me. One hour before the calendar date changed, I saw the first beginnings of the first sunrise in these last dark 2 years. It reminded me of that song "Worlds Away" by Summer at Shatter Creek. You know the line, "I know all of the specifics of your life. These last 2 years have been one long dark night. The tunnel's dark and you don't see an end from where you've been."
I guess I just realized that I had changed, but that all was not lost. With some help, I could find those parts of me again and have a reason to hold onto them.
I showed up at Stephen's door around 10:30 P.M. By the look on his face, I must have been in worse shape than I thought; though, in all fairness, considering my Plan A actions for the evening, I was in pretty bad shape. Stephen and his mother have an affinity for taking in stray dogs and nursing them back to health... an admirable way of living. Again, I had become the most recent stray. It had happened before, but prodigals don't always own up to their problems enough to face and conquer them the first time around.
I didn't feel at all like I could cry, but somehow the tears came, not in sheets or downpour, but in that weak sort of way the sky likes to project rain on those melancholy days when nothing eases the pain and you can imagine that the sky knows how you feel.
"What have you done?"
What have I done? I had been asked this question throughout the evening. In truth, it angered me a little that this was the first conclusion most people seemed to want to jump to; that somehow my actions were horrible enough to have an adverse affect on the state of my appearance. My sin: begging for an ounce of pity where a gallon of love seemed lacking.
This question did not bother me coming from my brother. A. Because he knows me well enough to tell the difference in the cause my sufferings. B. Because I had done something, and had something left to do. At any rate, I was halfway to my goal.
I'm not really certain what I said, if anything at all, before I unzipped my jacket pocket and tossed the bottle of sleeping pills between us on the bed. They got lost for a second in the comforter, one of those blue and white colonial patterned fabrics that reminds you of fine china. This allowed me a second to begin.
"I stole these from work."
"Well, I figured 60 was enough. Not too few, not too many. I didn't really want to waste them."
"Oh, Jesus, Chels. Why?"
"This is just all too much."
"The two jobs? Are you working too much?"
"Was it the guys you're seeing? Did something go wrong?"
"No... just... everything." How do I explain this without sounding more crazy than a girl who just stole a bottle of sleeping pills from her place of employment to off herself? "I made sure that I was off tomorrow morning just in case it didn't work. I also had a draft text saved to send to you so you would know to call an ambulance if I got too scared to go through with this. I know, I know. It's pretty stupid."
I was a great deal calmer than someone should have been, but maybe it only seemed that way because my voice still hadn't returned. Stephen turned off the fan so he could actually hear me.
"Well, you're here right now so I don't think I need to tell you that this isn't the way to go about things."
"Yeah, I kind of decided to come out here first. At first it was just to say goodbye and have a last drink with you, or some kind of nonsense like that. Then I decided that I should probably tell you. I'm kind of supposed to tell you anything." I use a lot of filler words when I'm nervous, or when I feel like an idiot. This situation happened to be the latter.
"I mean, I figured that if it worked, at least I wouldn't have to worry about any of this anymore. I was kind of hoping that there was a heaven... that maybe I would see Dad again. Maybe I'd meet my little girl. You know? Stupid... just stupid."
"No, it's really not that stupid. It's just, well, sometimes you have a fucked up way of rationalizing the situation. I do the same thing. What if it didn't work, though?"
"Well, I guess I figured that if it didn't work, at least I'd get a break... even if it was in a hospital. And that maybe people would come and see me. That maybe then they would understand. I even went as far as to convince myself that I wouldn't get fired from both jobs and that they'd throw my case out the window out of pity for me. But even if that didn't work, at least I might feel loved for just a minute... maybe, I don't know... I guess I was just asking for attention. Goddamnit, this is so fucking stupid. I knew I was crazy. Why on earth would I ever feel the need to bring anyone else into this mean, selfish existence? Absolutely fucking retarded."
"Something happened last night, didn't it?"
"Yes. Well, it was more this morning. I got angry and started pounding Jack last night, so I don't remember much of it. But I couldn't hide the sadness. It was just like your mom said. When I can't control it anymore, everyone can see how sad I am. I guess I was a little annoying, too. At least, I'm pretty sure I annoyed him, tying to get too much attention. I, by turns, feel like I'm in his way when I go visit him, and then feel a little underappreciated for the effort I'm putting into this. Something told me that I shouldn't have gone last night. Then this morning, I just... I told him too much. And I tried to set a rule. And I told him that I wasn't crazy, knowing full and well that I am. When someone tells you that they are not crazy... that's pretty much a red fucking flag, you know? I fucked up, and majorly. I can never see him again."
(To be continued...)