How do I even begin? I mean, how the fuck does one approach something like this. I don’t have a clue. But I’ve got to get this shit out, so I’ll just put it bluntly . . . a very close friend of mine tried to kill herself. OD’ed on prescription drugs. And gin . . . my gin.
You may remember her, I wrote about her a while back . . . about her trip to the Anorexia Ward. That was an ugly post. Disjointed. Painful. Filled with bad memories.
Unfortunately, the sad end to that post was only the beginning of this story.
I thought I knew her story. She’d told me so many personal things. Things she’d never told anyone else. Not even her therapist. I don’t know why she told me all this shit. These horrors.
These unbelievable fucking horrors.
She said I was “safe.” And safety truly meant something to her. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
So when she was discharged from the Anorexia Ward, I offered her a place to stay. She’d been having trouble at home. Purging . . . again. She was in distress and spiraling quickly.
She’d only been out a week.
But then, she hadn’t really been ready to come home in the first place. I’d said previously that the anorexia ward was a place designed to keep people in. They don’t let you out.
Unless your insurance won’t pay anymore, that is.
Then they kick your ass right the fuck out. She was on a feeding tube until the very last hour. Everyone knew she was ill, but they sent her on her merry way nonetheless. See ya! It was probably for the best though. They never did a thing for her.
Except “up” her meds.
That’s what they call ‘em . . . meds. Because “drugs” just doesn’t sound so good. But that’s what they are . . . drugs. Every bit as addictive as crack. And people kill themselves with this shit all the time.
It makes me fucking sick.
So that’s where we were. She’d been staying with me for a few weeks – I’d “fattened” her up. She was always so comfortable eating around me. I guess it comes back to that “safe” thing again.
So I took advantage of it.
There I was, in my new baking job, bringing home bread and pastries and cookies everyday. Foods she couldn’t resist. Fattening foods.
I knew what I was doing.
But if you’d seen her when she got out you’d understand. She was a fleshless shaking wisp. A corpse. So weak. So frail. Nothing but sorrow on her bones.
So I fattened her up real nice.
She gained weight. She gained strength. She gained vigor. She even stopped shaking. Everything seemed to be going so well. I thought things were going to be fine after she left to go home. I thought she’d finally turned the corner.
I was so fucking wrong.
And I guess that’s where this story really begins. You see, this is the part that haunts me. The part I can’t understand. Or just don’t want to understand. I wish I could forget it. But I can’t. I remember it too clearly . . .
I remember the phone call from the unidentified phone number.
I didn’t answer.
I remember checking the message a half hour later.
It was her therapist. She called me because there was no one else she could call. She’d seen my friend that morning and was worried because my friend told her she just wanted to “go home and go to sleep.”
I guess therapists are bound by certain rules and regulations. She’d had to get permission to call me with her concerns.
And I’d let the call go straight to my voicemail . . .
“Please call me when you get this message.”
I didn’t call her. I called my friend’s home. No one answered.
I called her cell. It just rang and rang.
Then . . . “hmmm?”
Her voice was so week and muffled. I barely understood her.
”Are you OK?”
“Hmmm . . . fine . . . sleeeepinggg . . .”
“What’s going on?!”
“Mmmm . . . fine . . .”
She was so fucking out of it. I didn’t know what to think. Did I just wake her from a med induced sleep? Or did she OD? I couldn’t tell. So I pressed and pressed. Finally she told me . . .
“Tennn Klonnopinnn . . .”
My heart sank.
“Annd tennn Bennnadryl . . . I think . . .“
I didn’t find out about the gin until later. It’s a good thing. I was panicky enough.
“Jesus. What did you do? What the fuck did you do?!”
“I jusss wannnna sleeeeep . . .”
She was becoming nonresponsive. I was losing her. What the fuck do you do? I wanted to keep her on the line. Keep her awake. Keep her alive. But I had to call 911. So that’s what I told her.
“I’m going to hang up and call 911. Just stay awake. Don’t go to sleep! The paramedics will be there soon.”
Or something like that. I don’t remember exactly. By that point I was in my own little world. Lost. But I had to get my shit together and call her family.
Later that evening, in the hospital, they told us that she probably took even more pills than she’d said. And she’d downed ‘em with gin. Gin that I’d bought for us. Gin we’d drunk together. The very same bottle of gin we were drinking when I came up with this post. When we’d come up with that post, I should say. Sittin’ there, sippin’ away. Gin and tonic . . . our “summer drink of choice.”
Sometimes I feel like I’ve got the Midas touch . . . but instead of gold, whatever I touch turns to rot.
Ah, for fuck’s sake. I guess I’m still a little lost when I think back on these things. I don’t know how to feel. Or what to think. I’m glad she’s alive. I’m glad her family didn’t get the call that starts off, “I’m so sorry, but . . . are you sitting down?“
I’m glad for second chances.
Or third, or fourth, or whatever the fuck she’s on now.
I’m just glad she’s still a part of our lives.
So they sent her back to the Anorexia Ward for another stay – as if that was gonna help anything. She just lost more weight while she was there. Thank god her insurance only covers a three week stay . . . otherwise she’d be back to skin and bones at the rate she was going.
Now she’s staying with me again. Because I’m “safe.” And my little red barn is a “healing” environment, as her therapist would say. She can visit the cows in the field out front, or go for a short walk to see the horses nearby. And she loves to feed the chickens . . . and so they love her. They come running around every time they see her.
She’s been here for awhile now, but she’ll be leaving soon.
She’s gonna enter some program that’s supposed to help her. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or some shit. I hope it works. I truly do.
Because when I look to the future, despite myself, I fear what lies ahead . . . what may still come. More pain. More sorrow.
So much regret.
I pray I’m wrong.
Thanks to my close friend for giving me permission to publish this piece. Stay well . . .(Original photo by Amanda M. Hatfield @ flikr)