I want to be fucked up so bad. If I could do a bender for a weekend and have it not ignite an obsession to live the rest of my life like that, I would. I’d do it all the time. I just keep fantasizing about that state. Imagining the feeling of being out of my head, out of my body. Somewhere else. I want to be in a dark basement with weirdos, sweating to terrible music. I want to find myself afraid, in a dark alley with strangers. I want to sell my soul for the night. I want to dig a K-hole with my bare hands. I want to walk straight into the woods, full steam ahead. Instead I just keep climbing to the roof and sitting on the ledge with my feet dangling over. Kicking back and forth like a kid. I’d love to know what that looks like from street view. Wicked Witch of the West in reverse? No one ever looks up anyway, which I find so strange.

Burying Nan was alright. I felt really cold about it. Completely functional and emotionally – totally numb.

If I felt anything it was proud of who she was and then slightly lonely.

Nan used to say, “On my tomb stone it’ll read Finally Free.” I don’t think she lived a life that could have been described as easy. I think it was all quite difficult for her.

The night before Nan died my mother slept at her bedside and gave Dzia the night off. Until this point he had kept vigil in her room, rarely leaving except for an occasional shower and maybe a meal out. She said Nan seemed comfortable and despite her inability to speak, she insisted upon a few things. She would cough to tell people to leave the room, she would motion when she wanted something. My mother said she kept one foot firmly planted on the ground all night and into the next morning. The nurses would come in, change her, move her and she’d shift her foot right back on the cold, tile floor. They would tell her to lay back, try to adjust her leg and with surprising strength, she’d keep her foot rooted.

As I heard this story I recognized it immediately. It’s an old alcoholics trick. If you’ve ever gotten yourself so intoxicated that you think you might not survive the night or the psychosis might finally take over permanently or you’re about to trip into a world you might never get out of, you sleep with one foot on the ground. It’s the only thing that keeps you in reality. As you fight the invasion of the ‘other world’ you can force your head back to your foot and remember what’s real. This hardwood floor.

As the morning came and my mother was getting ready to leave, Dzia resumed his position at his wife’s bedside. Nan started to cough, telling my mother to leave the room. She looked at Dzia and said, “It could be close. You might wanna settle up.” Dzia walked around the other side of the bed to hold Nan’s hand and my mother walked to the hall. When she went back in, her father was on his knees, his head buried in her lap and his arms around her waist. He looked up with infantile fear in his eyes and said, “I think she stopped breathing.” Both Nan’s feet were under the blanket.

Later I heard him tell his friends she hugged him back. That he had felt her squeeze.

Nan had the ability to be rather vicious. Lots of that was directed at Dzia. Ages ago Dzia was an active alcoholic. Once he sobered up he said he would spend the rest of his life making it up to her. So no matter how she treated him, he would never leave her side. Decades of fierce love and retribution. He did it. I think they both did. I hope he has been liberated. What I fine man.

We spread her ashes in this pond on the South side where she used to go as a kid.

I was away for a week, all points of contact were pretty busy except for the tiny Greek in a blazer. We spoke everyday for hours at a time. Shortly after my return to town, everything was called off with her. Obviously it’s for the best if we’re playing by morality, if we’re playing by love and loneliness, it’s the worst.

Last night I sat on the roof with a neighbor who’s a doctor of some kind. He said I would most likely not survive a leap off of a six-story building. Something about spinal compression and blood on the brain. I’m definitely not willing to live with paralysis or anything that makes me look weird, including a wheel chair. It’s not that I want to die, I just want to feel what it feels like to fall through the air.

When I went to rehab for the first time, I pretty much failed out. I was asked to leave and  I was put in a psych ward for what was to be 6-12 months. By conning my way through the system I was able to get readmitted to rehab on the condition that I would now actually give a shit and that I’d start my 30 day stint from day one. I would have done anything they had said. I had the willingness that only the desperate can posses. The problem was I had used up all of my chances. My health insurance refused to pay for a second go around and the price of wellness is far out of reach for any working class family. And they were all right. I had fucked it up so many prior times. I had been offered help with a disgusting amount of rapidity and each time I had confidently spit in its face. I was told to pack my bags again and put them by the door. And then the day just went on. Seemingly everyone forgot about me. I stayed and finished the 30 days. Once I got out, it had taken me a while to find out what had happened. Nan had paid for everything.

I just want to keep telling stories about her. About the whole process. But it seems self-indulgent to submit happily carless peers to such weight. She was simply lovely. And little sparks of serotonin go off in my brain when I remember it all. It must be not half bad to go to sleep one night and wake up in the glory land. I think I’ve over romanticized the situation but that’s what feels good. And for fuck sake, I just wanna feel good.

– JT


  1. Pingback: Welcome to a new friend: JIMMYTONY | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

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