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A Bit About B
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Plain and simple.
I once read, in my college years, a story for one of my classes that really crept me out. It said that there’s a certain type of blood that isn’t meant to be disturbed. It’s the black red blood that sits in your very core, that can ooze out of a gash deep enough that moans softly escape from the torn flesh. You know what I’m talking about, right?
But you know what, Doc, I don’t know if blood was meant to stay behind skin. I mean, think about it. If it is then God wouldn’t have made the barrier, our skin, so permeable. Blood—it’s a healing agent, it clots over violated skin and pieces together a new, slightly raised scar that eventually flakes away and becomes almost invisible unless you squint your eyes or really concentrate on trying to see it.
Doc, I backtracked yesterday. I didn’t mean to but I also couldn’t help it. It’s become a lot more difficult to resist. The medication doesn’t help me that much, maybe I need a different prescription but the thoughts I’m beginning to have are starting to scare me. You told me to record some of the thought’s I’ve been having and I have been.
Can I read you something?
Haha, yeah I actually found the little thing inside of Margaret’s dresser. It was empty so I figured that she wouldn’t miss it.
I never know what to write in journals but I guess it’s ok to keep one especially if you’re a nutjob like me haha… Seriously though, I haven’t been feeling too good recently but I can’t actually figure out why. I mean I always hear about other people’s sadness and see remnants of it on their faces but I always considered it an instance of them being dramatic. Like, oh my god this guy is such a bummer he needs to suck it up and take it like a man.
But I’ve realized what a terrible way to think about others battling this sadness. I mean, it hurts. It hurts in places inside you that you didn’t even know you can hold pain. And there are different levels and depths that resonate—no that shakes, that vibrates in your bones. It makes me feel weighed down, I’m so tired. Even your eyelids beging to sag and your eyes are too drained to put in the effort of moving your eyes from one object to the other so you end up staring in one place for hours until you look at the time and realize fuck it’s 4 a.m.
It’s such an invading feeling, that it occupies the spaces between blood vessels and pushes harder against your bones, building up so much pressure it makes you wish your ody could collapse in on itself just to feel any fucking relief.
But what pisses me off the most about all this bullshit, what fucking frustrates me the most is I can’t pin down where it’s coming from That inability feels like a mental disability in my brain like You’re so fucking stupid that you don’t even know yourself that you can even explain why you’re sad.
Haha, yeah I guess. It did come out a lot more poetic that I expected it to.
No, I don’t feel like I’ve made any progress. Doc,
No, I don’t know want talk about that.
No, I can’t talk about that either.
What about Margaret?
She grew up in this little town by the lake that’s not even on the map. She loved-
hated that town. She hated how the town had nothing in it. The nearest grocery store was the next town over and the drive was so boring because on one side there was lake and then on the other there was a single row of houses that hugged the empty “main” road. She also hated her the schooling there mostly because she wanted new people to meet and she was getting sick of her familiar friends. Margeret loved to meet new people. Although the town was a bit boring, she did loved this one woman, she would go on and on about this one homeless lady who lived by the one of the only shops, which happened to be a fucking haberdashery. She wore feathers in her hair and this absurd top-hat that all of us seemed to believe that she swooped up from the garbage outside of the shop or maybe the store owner, who was this really nice old man who was stuck, fashion-wise, in the 1930’s but had the mentality of a modern day feminist, gave it to her as a gift. Anyways, she wore feathers and a top-hat and this long doily-looking dress that Margaret and I used to think belonged to someone’s table, but the thing is that she was the most mentally-there woman that I had ever met. She had the wisdom of a woman beyond her age but the memory of a toddler, I guess that’s why she was avoided. Margaret said that she had lived in that one alley by the haberdashery ever since she could remember, she remembered that woman when she was a kid. She said that when she was a young girl, maybe around four or five, she had decided to run away from home because she had drawn on the walls with crayons.
I know, right?
But, Doc, that’s not even the best part. She drew a cake on the wall and decided it needed a more life-like touch so she smeared frosting over the top. Her mother, Helen, was furious, especially because they had just re-painted the walls. So, her mom yelled at her, and she decided to run away from home because she felt like her work wasn’t appreciated. So, she packed up a knapsack filled with her favorite ragdoll and the rest of her crayons and she thought she’d be hungry so she packed a piece of bread—one fucking piece of bread—all in her favorite rainbow blanket and bunched it up in her hands and dragged it out the door.
She was a quick little thing because she was half way across town within minutes- which I guess doesn’t say a whole lot because this was a small ass town—when the homeless woman saw her and called her over. The funny thing is that Margaret refused to tell me what the woman told her, but she claimed she told her something that resonated with her, in her very being, which amazes me considering she was so young to still remember what she was told. But whatever the woman told her was enough to send her back home. Her mom hadn’t even noticed she had left.
Her memory was infallible. She remembered things, small minute details that a normal person wouldn’t remember.
Like she would remember the recipe for a the best lemon chicken that she learned 3 years ago, the exact floor board in our old apartment that squeaked if you stepped on it the right way ,the shade of orange on the parking meter where we had our first kiss.
Haha well that’s kind of an awkward story, Doc.
Mmmm well it was our third date. I had stupidly forgotten my wallet at my shit-hole apartment and so Margaret and I were outside the restaurant both a little drunk with my apologetic ass saying over and over again about how I was going to buy her a lobster double what she had to pay for both of us. She was giddy from the bottle of white zinfandel she killed without my help and was throwing adorable sassy remarks back at me and just being so goddamn amazing. And we stumbled back to the car, Margaret hanging on to the sleeve of my jacket trying to keep her composure. She was giggling so much over my stupid jokes about the Transformer’s movies, which I’m not even sure was relevant to our conversation.
But anyways, we get back to my car and I see that I have a ticket on my windshield and one of those fucking metal shoes attached to one of my tires, apparently I had parked in a no-parking zone. Margaret was losing her shit, she was laughing so hard and I couldn’t help but laugh with her because being with her during this situation just made it ok. And so I called her a cab while I waited for the tow truck to see if I could talk my way out of this and so she was leaning against the parking meter and I was leaning against my immobilized car and we were just talking.
The thing is that we were just talking about everything and nothing. We talked about why we thought the moon was white, structuralist versus essentialist literary critique, our favorite animals, what we thought the clouds meant to us. Just nonsense. Then she got quiet and looked down at her purple velvet pumps, pushed her amber hair away from her eyes and looked back up at me. I asked “What?” and she said “I don’t know much about you, I don’t know your mother, I don’t know where you grew up, I don’t know if you have any pets or if you had a bad experience with a waitress at a coffee shop you decided to try on a whim, but I like you. You make me feel ok about stuff.” She flashed a toothy smile and looked back down at her feet. Her face had flushed maybe from the wine or embarrassment out of her sheer honesty or maybe a combination of both.
Doc, I know how incredibly cheesy that sounds. But I loved her there.
It was a feeling I had experienced before, we talked about my relationship with Cath, it was like that except palpable. It wasn’t cluttered with those damn butterflies you feel in your stomach or the rush that explodes and clogs your throat if she brushed your arm the right way. It wasn’t filled with adrenaline, it was homey and familiar.
But yeah the rest I’ll save for myself because that kiss is something I don’t talk about with anyone but her so let’s move on please.
My life with her? It was tough in the beginning. She especially was very hard-headed about giving up her apartment. I remember the argument we had. She claimed that I was making her give up her independence and I kept reassuring her that her independence was hers I just wanted to be a part of her life and she said that I was a part of her life and she needed some time before she agreed to anything,
I guess I understood her insecurities I mean living with someone is a big deal but I just wanted to be with her. It was that plain and that simple for me. Eventually she came around one night when we were lying down on her wooden floors. We had actually taken acid.
Yeah, we did drugs every now and then, like smoking pot was a weekly treat for us and honestly, I felt like it brought us closer together.
So the room was warping around us and she started squirming around on the floor. She kept asking me over and over again if we were still in her apartment. She made me promise every time she asked. It wasn’t either of our first times meeting with Lucy, we both had our crazy druggie college years.
Oh, Lucy is kind of the code name. Like MDMA is Molly, marijuana is Mary Jane and LSD is Lucy. They’re all lovely women haha.
But yeah the walls began to disintegrate around us and it seemed like the only stable thing we were touching were the floorboards and our hands that gripped each other’s tightly. The night sky that we could see from her window crept over the ceiling swallowing it whole and lapped at the edges of the walls like tides on a shore. It was an incredible moment for us. I asked her if she was seeing this. She said that she was seeing everything.
We were both quiet except for her occasional “You promise we’re still in my home?” and then finally she stopped talking. I looked over at her, the air twisting and contorting with her profile. Even with her face twisted up, she was still wonderful. Her eyes were wide open, her pupils consumed her green irises. And then she said, “I want to live with you.” And that was it. She moved in the following week.
A couple of months later I asked her what changed her mind about moving in because we had had countless arguments about her not moving in, I remember one of them got so heated that it nearly ended us. And she said, simply “Because I love you.” It was the first time she told me she loved me. I loved her, but I never said it because I didn’t want to say it first.
I remember the first time I said “I love you” to a girl and it ended in me being in tears, not necessarily from heartbreak but because she was a bitch who kicked me in the nuts because she thought it was too early and I was becoming obsessed with her. Needless to say, that one experience sort of ruined “I love you” for me.
But anyways, yeah after I was able to get her to move in with me, things just sort of naturally took off. That was the thing about Margaret, everything moved so seamlessly, I can’t really pick out one day with her that I can say honestly that I hated. There were some days I liked more than others obviously but there was never really a day that I wished I wasn’t living with her.
How did I propose?
I proposed at the faded orange parking meter where we had our first kiss. This time, though, my car wasn’t about to be towed. The great thing about the little restaurant we had our third date at was that it was next to this salsa club named Chia’s.
Margaret loved to dance. Given she had two left feet but she loved the idea of moving her body in unison with the beat. She had been taking salsa classes there for a couple months and had been refusing to demonstrate for me anything she’s been learning. So one night, she came out of our bathroom wearing this crimson gabardine with thin straps and a neck line that plunged down below her breasts until the fabric singed around her little waist and flowed away from her hips. She twirled for me giving me her cheekiest smile and my jaw dropped when she showed me her open back, her skin glowing from the candles that she had lit on top of the dresser next to the bathroom. I had never seen anything—anyone so… fuck, Doc, the word beautiful didn’t even begin to describe her. And that was just her dress she had her hair up and her eyes all smoky, the way I told her I liked it. She told me to put on a good suit and I had never gotten dressed so fast. When we got to the salsa club, Margaret lead me to the dance floor and pressed her self up against me. And she started to move. I had never danced with anyone so fluid and seamless and she kept eye contact with me the whole time. I had never seen her so confident and so sexy and she was perfect. She was just perfect.
I had been carrying around a ring in my pocket for a few weeks waiting for the perfect moment and it was the perfect night. We drank and we danced until the club closed and we were the last ones on the dance floor. The bartender got sick of us and kicked us out. But as we we’re walking out of the club, Margaret stumbled to the parking meter where we had our first kiss and she looked at me and slurred out if I remembered. How could I not? She leaned up against it like she did that night her face flushed from the drinks she had as she continued to giggle. I don’t want to go into detail but I choked out a speech I had been rehearsing for her and I got down on one knee and I proposed and she said yes and I was the happiest. I was so happy with her.
Yes, Doc. I miss her everyday.
I don’t know if I can.
Doc, please I don’t think I can yet.
Then please give me a minute.
It had been a week since my son was born, Margaret hadn’t made it through delivery.
My son was still in critical care, he had jaundice. The doctors weren’t sure if he would make it, he would eat nothing and he slept for most of the first week of his life, waking up briefly before tiring out again.
I sat in the waiting room for most of it, visited him once. Seeing him in a glass chamber, I didn’t know what I felt, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to see him until after he was out of that thing. I wasn’t able to sleep— so many thoughts ran through my mind, so many useless thoughts like when I have to pick up dry cleaning or whether or not I left the faucet running again, thoughts that I wanted to punch myself and thank myself for thinking. I had really terrible memory and Margaret would always make fun of me for it.
“You’re memory really is god-awful!” Margaret danced around in the puddles in our kitchen. Her bare feet making a satisfying plop after every leap. Her belly, with our son growing inside of her, bounced with her.
I leaned against the entrance rubbing my temples. “I can’t believe I did this again!” The water had already stained the hardwood and the finish on our newly painted apartment started to fade a bit. “We just got this kitchen remodeled!”
“Oh c’mon,” Margaret chimed holding her belly as she wiggled her toes in the water. “It’s not a big deal.” She brushed her grown-out bangs out of her eyes as she looked down and watched her feet.
My eyebrows furrowed. “I can’t even remember to do something as simple as turn-off the goddamn faucet! If it’s not the kitchen sink, it’s not setting the house alarm, not locking the car door, locking my damn keys in the car, the dishwasher…”
Her green eyes looked up at mine. “Those are all very small things baby.”
“But… What if it’s not a small thing next time?” I took a few steps into the kitchen. She continued wiggling her toes, her smile not flickering. I brushed her hair from her neck, revealing that scar. I touched it.
“Don’t you dare,” Margaret held my face. “It was an accident and you know it.”
“All I had to do was tell you not to go into the kitchen, and I couldn’t even do that.” I nuzzled her hand.
“Stop.” She held her fingers up to my mouth.
“What if…” My voice broke off and I held her stomach and pressed it against mine.
She kissed me softly. Her lips giving me familiar shivers. “You won’t.”
“Because,” she looked at me firmly. “ I know that you’re going to love him so much that you won’t let anything hurt him.”
“God Margaret, I hope you’re right.”
“I am.” She winked at me and pressed her lips and her body against mine, with our son nestled between us both.
Nurses would stop by every now and then and inform me of his condition and also to check up on me. He was getting better, slowly, but he was getting there. I nodded, trying my best to listen to what they were telling me, but I could only hear the words coming out. I could hear words and voices and I knew what they were trying to tell me, but it didn’t all seem real—I couldn’t register a thing.
After two weeks or so, I was able to sleep. I don’t know how long I slept I never woke up rested. I felt tired, and my body ached the way did after I had broken up with my first girlfriend in high school and at my mother’s funeral. But if anything I felt numb, nothing. I don’t know if I was feeling so much that my mind shut down or if I really just felt nothing.
I hoped it was the first one.
After about three weeks, a nurse woke me up at about six in the evening, telling me that my son was stable, and I was able to take him home. Everything was a blur, the nurse, the paperwork, even my son. I couldn’t see his face properly. But nonetheless, I took him back to our apartment. My apartment.
Doc, the drive back was… I can’t even tell you, I don’t remember. All I know is that I was waiting in the garage of our building for a good hour or, at least it felt like an hour, my mind completely blank, and our son sleeping in the car seat. We lived in a high-rise on the eleventh floor with a view of the lake. Margaret had wanted to live in a building like this so badly, ever since I had met her, and when we got married, I wanted to give her this. She rarely wanted anything, but this apartment. It was my job to give it to her.
I got him up to our apartment and I remember walking in and just standing in the middle of the living room, feeling so lost and just wishing that I would hear Margaret’s voice from the kitchen, telling me that I’d left the faucet running again. I wished that she would walk into the room, smiling at me and she would take him from me and that everything would be ok, and everything would go according to the plan—our plan.
God, the silence was so overbearing and everything felt so heavy, he suddenly felt so heavy and that’s when I finally saw his face.
He was a copy of Margaret. That tuff of amber hair was hers, that nose, those lips, those eyes, oh god those green eyes looking directly at me. I broke down. I just started to cry and I couldn’t stop and I fell. I nearly dropped him, and that’s when I realized how fragile he was and how incredibly tiny.
Hate quickly filled the space in my heart where I was supposed to feel love. I remember thinking how I would ever be able to love this kid, the child that took my Margaret from me. In that moment, I hated him.
My body was burning, my fingers, my eyes.
I looked up towards one of the windows that faced the lake. And then a thought came to mind. I remember thinking how easy it would be to just start over.
The window was open.
And I walked towards it.
He squirmed under my grip, screaming a sound so shrill that it still rings in my ears. I wanted it so bad, to get rid of this permanent reminder. To just have a second chance.
And I did.
The police came almost instantaneously. And I remember them banging on the door, I was sitting on the couch just not thinking of anything. Just sitting there and I got up and I opened the door and I knelt down. I held out my hands and they walked me out. And as I was passing I saw the orange tape that surrounded my son’s body. And there so much blood, I didn’t know something that small could have that much blood. I didn’t know that something that new to the world could already have blood that shouldn’t be disturbed.
I told you earlier that I’ve been having thoughts. Scary thoughts.
Doc, you wanna hear something terrible?
I don’t feel bad. Not one bit. And that is what scares me the most.