I drove up to my little apartment and bounded up the stairs at around the usual time: 6pm. My heart did a familiar little flutter as I tried the door. Locked. Relief. So he’s still inside, that’s good.
I opened the door and entered. Barenaked Ladies was playing loudly from the laptop. Many Barenaked Ladies songs deal with mental health, depression and suicide. I opened the cabinet above the fridge and shook the bottle of Ativan. No, he hasn’t taken any. Good boy. Ativan is used in emergencies only for panic attacks. It’s also an anti-convulsant and when abused, can be dangerous.
I have faith in medication, I believe in the Prozac Nation
Aah, I recognize this song.
I caught a glimpse of him through the sliding door. He was lying down on the balcony, staring at the clouds and chain smoking his Menthol cigarettes like a chimney. He normally only has a pack a week, if that.
I don’t hide every time I’m seen, but I try not to get caught.
“Hi sweetie” I said and knelt over him. My tears pooled around my eyes, running down my nose and onto his shirt “how was your day?”
“What do you want from me?” he asked me in a half-gruff, half-pleading voice.
“I want you to live” I retorted gently, in a tone that meant the answer should be self-evident.
He rolled over, his own tears streaming down his face and wetting his cheeks.
I said nothing. What exactly do you say to that?
“You’re not going to do it, you’re never going to do it”
“Get up you lazy bum and go clean the dishes.”
“If you kill yourself I’ll never forgive myself.”
“You still have something to live for.”
“I will give you something to live for.”
So, I silently lay down beside him, my shoulder touching his.
“Killing yourself the slow way then?” I asked as he started another cigarette.
He shrugged me off and turned over. Mental note: humour probably better suited to some other time.
Call the police and call the press
But please, dear God, don’t tell my friends
He absent-mindedly sang the tune as he smoked, his free hand moving in time with the music as though conducting.
“No one ever listens to these words” he said knowingly.
“What triggered this, do you think? Was it my email?”
“No,” he shrugged “I was triggered this morning, you made a list.”
“Yes, I did, and you have achieved quite a lot of things on the list, I am proud of you”
“He shook his head”
“It’s the first step to kicking me out, you make a list, they always make lists”
“I’m not going to kick you out” I said reassuringly
“That’s the second step”
“Oh really, and you read about this on Wikipedia I imagine?”
“No, it just always happens this way. They make lists to do or things I didn’t do and then I eventually fuck it up, I always fuck it up.”
“You’re not fucking up, you’re doing fine”
“I’m sorry that everything I touch turns to shit, I’m sorry I’m making you miserable” he turned to me with pleading eyes “I wanted to make you happy”
“Well, yes, I am kind of upset now” I smiled through the tears “but I will get over it”
Make excuses for behaviour
Can my illness be my saviour?
Hid my heart while you still gave yours
“So, why are you chain-smoking?” I continued casually
“Something to do, I guess.”
“Have you ever smoked this many before?”
He shook his head drowsily “no, never this many”
“So, why so many now, punishing yourself?”
“I am in pain”
“Yes, sweetie, I see you’re in pain and I can’t imagine what kind of pain you’re in. I’m proud that you didn’t take the Ativan or alchohol.”
“I’m not allowed” he said as if reciting rules from some list.
“So, is the smoking helping?”
“No, not really” he put out his 7th cigarette and slowly made his way inside.
I paraphrase and the actual conversation was much longer, but you get the gist. Stephen has been kicked out by his parents (for the third time in his life) the details of which I will elaborate on when I get the chance. I am now it, his last line of defense. The last person left holding the bag because no one else on this miserable planet seems to give a damn. I am doing everything in my power to ensure he gets the medication, therapy and emotional support he needs to recover from his illness.
Now, you may say that he orchestrated this all. To that I say: balderdash, it’s not possible. No one is that devious. There may be some who say I enjoy being the hero and that I am doing this because I get some sort of perverse pleasure in rescuing people or that I want recognition or sympathy from people. To them I say: rubbish. The one overriding thought that spins through my brain is: “run away, run away, escape, this is too much to deal with”. I would love to just leave this whole mess behind me. What keeps me going is compassion. Charity, love, agape. Call it what you like.
The thing that scares me is I am supposed to leave in July and I can’t take him with me.
This is where it ends
This is where it ends