July 23rd, 2009
Ugh,” it was a long night even though I came home early and now this knocking on my door. Just ignore it and they’ll go away. Persistent buggers they are. Squinting I open my eyes the room has a faint light through the fog or is it smoke. It’s much too early to get up. I glare at the nearly empty bottle of Jameson, my hands are shaking more than usual I need a shot. This endless cycle of drinking needs to end, but not today. I’ll close my shop for half an hour and drive to East Main Liquor. What happened last night after I got home it’s all still so hazy?
I puked. I remember that. How could I forget one hand braced on the bathtub and the other on the sink as I heaved until my throat was sore. Blood. I threw up blood and lots of it everywhere, the toilet overflowing as I couldn’t stop. Blood and vodka. That’s why I’m so weak this morning, I can hardly lift my arms. I’ve cheated death again I wasn’t supposed to wake. I puked at the bottom of the stairs too. I remember mopping it up, smearing the blood everywhere. Bookshelf, I knocked over a bookshelf. I must have been really drunk or is it the blood loss. Maybe I’ll just close the store for today. I need a break a day off just to sleep.
“Mark open up,” a familiar voice calls from outside my apartment door.
“Dad,” I groan, “must be dad.” I grab the Jameson bottle setting it on the floor in a vain attempt to hide it. My apartment hasn’t been cleaned in weeks. There are empty liquor bottles strewn everywhere, an overflowing ashtray, clothes piled anywhere and everywhere I felt like tossing them, piles of books, and trash everywhere. It was in a word revolting, only an insane alcoholic could live this way. I used to be such a germaphobe how did I let it get to this?
I struggle to sit up and get to the door. The knocking is much louder this time, hurried and concerned. Can knocking be concerned? This one is. Yesterday was my birthday and I hardly even spoke to my parents. It’s way too early for a lecture. I unlatch the door and collapse back on to the bed my legs unable to support my weight. I can feel the wave of unconsciousness coming over me. Must stay awake. I see the disapproval in my father’s eyes, no it’s concern, downright worry. I must look worse then I thought. That’s when I remember the blood. Blood everywhere downstairs. He had to walk through the dried caked on blood covering the floor and splattered up the walls.
“Put on your socks,” he pleads. I’m fading everything is going dark. The fog is creeping in burning my eyes. Unable to see. “Mark we’ve got to get you to the doctor, to the hospital. Put on your socks.” I’m fading further into the darkness. Maybe this is it, what I’ve been waiting for. Not like this, not with an audience. Would he cry? My father never cries, not when someone dies, not when he’s frustrated, never. I grab my socks tugging them on, tightly on my hands and up my arms. Later this will be humorous, but for now his youngest child’s life is in danger. Delay could mean my death.
I’m fading ever closer, closer to the brink. It’s welcoming me to the other side. Screaming, blood curdling anguished screaming. Someone shut that person up! “It’s cold,” the voice cries inside my own head, inside my body. I’m the one screaming my eyes flash open. I’m in the ER now, how did I get here, doctors and nurses huddled around me. A large IV piercing my vein as they dump the blood into my body. I’m near death and they’re saving me. Jerk out the IV and let me fade, fade away from this world. This isn’t how I wanted to go. I thought I’d go silently into the night, not with a struggle, not a fight.
Somewhere in the darkness of my mind Anne Sexton speaks to me, “Death, I need my little addiction to you. I need that tiny voice who, even as I rise from the sea… all there, says kill me, kill me.” I’ve been reading too much of the confessional poets lately: Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell. They speak to me, to my depression, to my hallucinations, to the people implanting thoughts in my head I can’t control. Would a therapist have made things different for me, a different outcome. Am I simply too proud to seek help, too stubborn, too foolish, too drunk.
Time passes fast and slow depending upon your mental state. For the next day I’m certain it crawled by for my parents as they awaited an update. For me it flew by as I faded in and out of consciousness a multitude of medical procedures performed. Before I was able to answer the doctor’s questions they performed an endoscopy banding my varices in an attempt to stop the bleeding. I was given seven units of blood, your body holds ten.