View Full Version : Times a charm


Kwendels
07-11-13, 09:48 AM
I know its a lot but you don't have to read. Didn't notice this section until now, youll be be seeing a lot more from this guy! I love writing.
Third Time’s A Charm
Swimming through the humidity to get to the refrigerator you can’t blame him. Taking an entire bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol sounds like a great idea to you right now, too. The chilled air flowing out of the refrigerator does a marginal job at cooling you down. Not actually hungry, you stare at the empty shelves; but all you see are little red pills dancing around like Mexican Jumping Beans. They’re kind of cute, really. They have little top hats and canes, spinning and leaping in unison until they start jumping at you. Kamikaze pills take flying leaps at you, their canes held out in front of them to stab you. You slam the door shut before any of them can hit you. No way are any of those little ****ers going to get you.
You trek through the harsh mountains of dirty clothes making sure to avoid the sharp peaks of unpaid bills to reach the shower. Cold spray washes away dry sweat and lowers the temperature of your body. You close your eyes and enjoy the break from the heat until something hard bounces off your head. You open your eyes to see small blue pills pouring out of the shower head. You risk your hand to reach through the cascade to turn it off. Silence falls around you and you’re left dripping. They seem to have disappeared. You step out of the tub not bothering with a towel and stare at yourself in the mirror.
You remember a morning just like this a year ago. It had been stifling hot all night and you had woken up in a pool of sweat with him plastered against your side. You snuck out of bed without waking him to get ready for work. After a cold shower you had been standing in your underwear when he came in.
“Morning,” you said. He grunted in response as he peed. No one could call him a morning person you had thought with a smile. You stood brushing your teeth and watched while he washed his hands. Before you could do anything to stop him he had you turned around and pinned to the counter. He rubbed the stubble on his chin against your neck where he knew it would tickle before giving you a big, wet kiss on your cheek.
“Happy birthday, baby,” he had told you.
A large white and blue blob of foam is dripping down your chin. You can’t decide if it itches or tickles as it avalanches slowly down your face. When it reaches the tip you lean down to spit into the gritty ceramic bowl. You don’t care if you have toothpaste on your face but you know everyone else will, so you wipe it off.
You hear fourteen commercials for pills on your way to the funeral home. Advil: The every pain reliever. Aleve: All day strong. All day long. Tylenol: The brand hospitals use most. Bayer: Take it for pain. Take it for life. You resist the urge to laugh and turn the radio off.
The funeral home is beautiful. It had been the house of a lumber baron in the previous century and was now fully restored. You can’t help but picture the grand parties, opulent clothing, and snooty people that had once ruled this house. Now you feel ridiculously under dressed in your short black pumps, smart skirt, and simple blouse standing under the looming shadow of the old mansion. You don’t want to go into this building, you decide. You want to stand here on this vibrant green grass with the midday sun beating down on you and melt. You spread your arms wide and soak in the heat. You could do it, you think. All you have to do is stand here a little bit longer. You’re already sweating anyway.
“Hey!”
Someone is trying to get your attention. You ignore them. Can’t they see you’re melting here? Just a little bit longer and you’ll be a puddle. The ground will suck you up slowly and you’ll be spread out within nature. You want to be a tree, you think. Or maybe a few blades of grass. There’s no way any pills could ever get you if you’re a blade of grass.
“Hey! Ellen! What are you doing?” They’re right next to you now. There’s no way you can continue to ignore them any longer.
“I’m melting,” you whisper keeping your eyes closed.
“Then let’s go inside. There’s air conditioning in there,” they say. Clearly they did not understand the concept of melting. You continue to stand with your body in the shape of a t. “Ell?”
You suppress a sigh and drop your arms while opening your eyes. Your sister stands facing you with a frown on her face. “You okay?” she asks.
You nod. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?” you reply. Not counting the pills that seemed to have it out for you, of course.
She doesn’t answer for a moment as you approach the old house. “I still can’t believe they planned his funeral on your birthday. I never liked his parents.” She keeps talking but you’ve stopped listening because there they are. His parents. Here already, no surprise, standing in front of the open casket. Like the guards outside of Buckingham Palace they don’t move or look at you when you walk through the door. They blame you. You should have been there to stop him. They don’t know what you know. That really, it’s their fault. It didn’t say anything about them in the letter he had left under your pillow, but, you know.
They stand there next to each other looking so perfect and together. No one would have guessed that they’d been divorced for fifteen years and were only together now because of a reconciliation two years before. He had told you about the day his mom had looked him in the eye and said she’d “never wanted children in the first place” and “just look at what she was stuck with now.” And the day his dad had pushed him down the stairs. Yeah, perfect, you think walking past them without a second glance.
“You don’t have to do it, you know.” You realize your sister is still talking so you start listening again.
“It’s okay. Someone has to do it.” What is she talking about? You rack your brain until, oh yeah. You have to talk later.
“Missy!” you hear from the door behind you. Your brother-in-law. He’s a strong man. You know nothing as small as pills will be able to take him down.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” your sister asks yet again.
You nod yet again. “I’m fine. I’ll be around.”
She leaves and you realize she led you straight to the guestbook. Before you can escape to your own corner a younger woman comes to talk to you. You should know who she is but you can’t for the life of you remember her name. You thank her when you know you need to and she leaves. As soon as she is gone, another well-wisher appears to take her place. Then another after that. A parade of I’m sorry’s and it’s a shame to lose someone so young’s march through your head, in one ear and out the other. All you can do is nod and hope you’re saying thank you at the right times.
Finally you manage to get away from the damn book only to run into Sophie. His little sister. There is no way to get away politely so you are stuck. You don’t want to talk to her but that doesn’t stop her from opening her mouth. Instead of words all you see are pills pouring from between her thin lips. How can she stand it? Can’t she see all of them piling up around her feet? They are up to her knees now and still her lips keep flapping, asking “Do you remember that Halloween he dressed up as Hugh Hefner? He spilled that bowl of chili all over himself and ended up with second degree burns?”
Of course you remember. You were there, weren’t you? Why is she asking you this you want to know, but she keeps going. You feel you should say something but you are afraid to be buried by pills so you don’t open your mouth just in case. Finally she’s done. Pills of all shapes and sizes form a pile up to her neck. She spots someone behind you to go yap at and walks away. All of the pills scatter to the floor toward you, making you take a few startled steps back.
“You okay?” someone else you should probably know asks when you run into him. You look back at the floor to where all of the little capsules had been just a minute ago. There is no sign of them so you walk away quickly, not answering.
You round a corner only to run into his grandma. Before you are able to open your mouth to say anything she is speaking. “I was so happy when Ben met you. He smiled like I hadn’t seen since he was a young boy.” She smiled faintly as if she were remembering. “He told me when you moved in with him that you gave him reason to get out of bed in the morning.”
You stare at her. What are you supposed to say to that? You go with the first thing that comes to mind and say, “Obviously I wasn’t a good enough reason.” You stay only long enough to see her frown.
You don’t stop for anyone else until you find an empty room. Colorful bouquets and wreaths cover every available space except for one brown leather chair in the back. You take this as a sign and go sit down. Leaning your head back against the wall you close your eyes and slide you hands into your pockets. Your fingers catch on a folded piece of paper that you pull out. You find yourself staring at the letter that you don’t remember even bringing in the first place. You unfold it slowly for the third time since you found it to stare at the black scribble on the page.


My Elly,
I’m sorry I couldn’t live up to all of the promises I made to you. I wanted to be there for you but I can’t keep up with everything. I feel suffocated with no way to escape. I hope one day you will be able to forgive me. Know I always loved you.
Yours Always,
Ben

Just like the first time you read it, all you feel is numb. You want to be sad. You want to be angry and throw things. You want to cry. But you can’t seem to work up the energy for any emotion. You think maybe one day. One day you’ll feel more than just empty but today you’re just hollow. You refold the letter and slide it back into your pocket as the door slams open.
“There you are,” Sophie says walking in. “It’s time.” She grabs your hand and pulls you out the door and through the funeral home. Flashes of dark polished wood and uncomfortable chairs flash by your eyes before you reach the room at the corner of the house. It is big and open, filled with rows of chairs and an aisle up the center leading to a podium and his casket. Everyone is already sitting down and the pastor his parents chose is droning on about what a loss it was. You and Sophie stand in the back until he is done speaking and invites others to come say a few words about Ben. Sophie pushes you forward up the aisle so you have no choice but to go up.
What is there to say? Your boyfriend of two years decided he couldn’t deal with his life so he let 250 Tylenol slide down his throat. What was so hard to understand? On your way to the podium you think of something wonderful to say about him but when you’re finally standing, looking at the sea of faces, everything you think of seems cheesy. He was a great guy. It’s such a shame he decided to end his life early.
But he wasn’t a great guy. He was an ordinary guy with great problems. Isn’t that what he had told you so many times when he was sitting up all night staring at the T.V.? Sure things had been good at first. It had been two years since the last time he had a run in with pills. Three years from the first time. But you just couldn’t seem to keep him happy in the last few months. You know it wasn’t your fault. Things had gone downhill when he had been laid off. You did everything you could to reassure him he would find a new job soon; he just had to keep looking. But there were more and more days when you had come home to find him sitting on the couch; until one week he was there in his pajamas every day.
He said he was going to leave you. You deserved more than just a jobless loser like him. Somehow you convinced him that it didn’t matter if he was working; you loved him. You told him you would move if he wanted to. Go somewhere with better job opportunities. That seemed to work for a few weeks but soon it had been back to sitting on the couch all day and staying up all night. Until one day, one day you came home to find the apartment silent. You had called his name hoping maybe today had been a good day, that maybe he was actually out looking for a job.
You had walked to the bedroom with a smile on your face thinking about making him a nice dinner. But you hadn’t made it any further than the doorway because he was lying on the bed. You had tried to make yourself believe he was just asleep but deep down you knew. You walked to stand next to him and there it was on the floor. The bright red cap staring up at you from next to the bottle you knew was empty. You had called 911 even though you knew it was too late; then went to sit in the couch to wait. Point, was all you’d been able to do when the EMT’s had arrived. All you could think about as you sat there while they wheeled him out the door, was how much you wished you had air conditioning. The heat made people do crazy things.
You open your mouth hoping something appropriate will come out but all you can hear yourself say is, “Third time’s a charm.”