Glass Kisses

April 28, 2008
I sat cross legged in the overwhelming leather chair. I was in an unfamiliar office, which smelled of some distant memory I couldn’t identify. The office was what I imagined a college Dean’s office would look like, but this office did not belong to a Dean, and I was as far away from college as I could imagine.

After five minutes of waiting, I lifted up the sleeve of my sweatshirt and examined my old scars. They fascinated me in a disturbing way; I remembered every single one, their stories. After ten minutes I abandoned my mutilated arm and sat, staring out the window at the rain.

I was bitter, I thought that-perhaps, if I had succeeded in killing myself, I could be apart of this rainfall, be nothing but a small drop of water, falling where I please, pelting the earth mercilessly. But I wasn’t, I was here, in a ‘mental health facility’.

I kept watch out the window, imagining for a moment, that I succeeded, that I was flying weightlessly through the air with no direction, when the door creaked open. I didn’t acknowledge the door, or the person stepping inside the room, instead I slouched farther into the chair.

The person who entered the room cleared their throat slightly, so I tore my eyes away from the window and faced them. What greeted me was a Barbie doll in the flesh. The Barbie smiled at me, it was completely fake. She stretched out to her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Dr. Boston.” Her hand remained outstretched, but I didn’t take it, instead I just nodded at her. I wouldn’t bother being happy or polite, I wasn’t feeling either of those things, and she already thought she knew who I was; nothing I did would change that.

Dr. Boston cleared her throat again, and sat down in her leather chair across the mahogany desk. “So, Sydney” she said.

“Syd” I replied, going instinctively by my nickname.

She smiled, licking her lips, she was a lioness over her prey, “Syd, do you know why you are here?” She asked.

I smiled bitterly, laughing, I would play her game “No, I don’t”

She shook her head, “You’re here because you attempted suicide by over-dosing on pills and cutting yourself repeatedly.”

“Why do I belong in an asylum?” I asked, testing her, I could barely keep the smirk off my face.

“You’re not well,” The Barbie replied.

I snorted, “Not well? Why don’t you just make it plain?” I was through with the bull****, “Why don’t you just call me crazy?”

“Do you think you’re crazy?” She asked, jotting words down on a notepad.

“No,” I replied, rolling my eyes, and folding my arms, “But you do. You think I am just another sob story, right? One more broken girl to add to your record, you think I am just like everyone else. But I can tell you now, Dr. Boston, you’ve got me all wrong. I can promise you that.” I was almost finished, but I had one more question for her, before I would allow her to speak, “Since when is wanting to die equivalent to going crazy?” I asked,

She paused, “Well, it certainly isn‘t healthy. Why would anyone want to die?”

I snorted, “Why would anyone want to stay alive, when there is so much hope beyond this world?”

She smiled awkwardly, “There is no proof that there is life after death, Sydney.”

“That’s why you have faith. If man had no faith we would be nothing. You have to have faith in something.” I said, leaning forward, “Let’s just say I took easy street; people do it all the time.”

“What do you mean by that?” She asked, more interested, perhaps, then she should have been.

“Let’s take for example, a gold digger, women or men who marry for their own benefit, who marry to gain financial stability and freedom. They aren’t locked up in a ‘mental health facility’ for doing what was best for them.” I reasoned.

“But gold diggers aren’t hurting themselves” She replied.

“Smokers are, every time they have a cigarette they are burning their own lungs, they will feel it in the long term. Drinkers hurt themselves; they kill brain cells, and destroy their liver every time they drink. How can you say I am at fault for cutting, or for attempting suicide, when so many other people are doing the same thing without knowing it?” I was growing angry, I was tired of no one understanding, and I was tired of everyone judging.

Dr. Boston was silent; I knew she couldn’t disagree with my logic. “Smokers and drinkers and gold diggers are completely different situations. Why did you commit suicide, why did you cut?”

“Those are two completely different questions, with completely different answers” I replied, leaning back against the leather.

“Let’s start with the cutting that progressed to suicide. Can you talk about it?” She asked all concern now.

We were in the eye of the storm now; soon, it would get worse.

“It’s not easy” I whispered. I had become vulnerable, and she realized that, “I had so much darkness. It sounds dumb, but I just didn’t know where I was going, I usually dealt with my emotions through writing, through venting, but I couldn’t vent these feelings, I didn’t know anything but darkness that enveloped my life.” I was speaking freely, disconnected from myself, “I scared the hell out of myself the first time I did it; I thought I was a creep, it just felt so good, the adrenaline, the rush, the...omnipotence over my life. I was in control over my pain, and I was drunk with it.”

She had been staring at me intently, and hadn’t realized I had stopped speaking, she cleared her throat and sat up a little, “So you became addicted,”

“I guess, it just felt good, you know? It started out, like once a day, but then it was never enough, nothing could tear through the black, and I just kept cutting, because it wasn’t enough.”

“But you knew it was wrong?” She whispered,

“I convinced myself it wasn’t,” I replied, “I told myself that it’s just my way of dealing with stuff. You have a smoke when you’re stressed, I cut. You drink to relieve pent up frustration, anger, stress, I cut. I just viewed it as my thing, my way to unwind.”

“But you are hurting yourself by thinking that way, by thinking there is no problem.” Dr. Boston replied

“Go treat everyone fairly then. Go call every smoker crazy, every drinker crazy, hell, call everyone crazy, by living everyday, we are risking death. Is everyone not slowly committing suicide in different ways? Reckless drivers are putting their life in jeopardy every time they speed, they make that decision to put their life on the line, yet they are not condemned by being put in a mental institution. How about severely gluttonous people, they eat in excess, knowing how bad it is for their bodies, but they aren’t considered mentally unstable” I was practically yelling at her, I was so angry, I was intense.

The Barbie paused for a moment, assessing my state, my rapid breathing, my clenched fists, my angry face, “You’re placing everyone in the same boat so you can justify what you did to yourself.” She replied.

“I convinced myself long ago that I was right; there is no convincing me otherwise. Your medical textbooks don’t have the answers to my logic.” I replied, falling back into the deep leather chair, longing for the blade as my frustration grew.

“They don’t,” Dr. Boston admitted, “But tell me why did you decide to attempt suicide?” She asked

“I was unsatisfied with life,” was my short and simple, but truthful reply.

“I see” Dr. Boston said, folding her hands together, “Why?”

I paused, “I had no purpose here. I wasn’t looking forward to anything but death, so why not make it come sooner?”

“What made black come into your life?” Dr. Boston asked, “Why were you so unhappy?”

“My mother raised me on glass kisses,” I replied,

She seemed taken aback by poetic reply, “Please explain”

“She kissed her men alright, but never me, she never cared for me. Have you ever heard of a mother who refused to touch her children?”

“Your mother wasn’t attentive enough to you?” Dr. Boston asked, jumping all over my reply, obviously hoping for a quick diagnosis

“I guess you could say that, if neglect means that she never talked to me, never showed she cared. Oh, she had her money, her men, her booze and her fancy dinner parties, which were practically every night, but she never wanted me. I would have had to have been a bottle of booze for her to see me. To her I was nothing but an inconvenience, a mistake that would remind her everyday of her broken heart.” I replied, all the words pouring out without permission.

“Why so much hatred?” Dr. Boston asked, “She was still your mother.”

I sighed, this woman didn’t seem to understand, “She was cold. Unbreakable. All she did was spit lies and hate. You want to know what she said to me when she found me in the living room, somewhere between life and death? She said, ‘Damn, Sydney, I hope you didn’t stain my carpets’”

“I’m sure she didn’t--”

“That’s exactly what she said to me” I yelled, “Her only child. As I was dying. Bleeding out onto the floor and all she was worried about was the carpets because she had just had them cleaned.”

Dr. Boston sat, quite obviously stunned, that a mother could say that when their only child was dying, “You have the typical signs for child neglect, your mother’s neglect obviously took a toll on you.”

“Obviously,” I said, fuming,

How did I give everything away? One counseling session in the loony- bin and I had given it all away, my best kept secrets were up for grabs. This doctor knew everything now. There was nothing left to know.

And as frustrated as I was, I felt relief, a sharp sense of a weight being lifted, of floating, like the rain outside.

“Is there anything that makes you want to live Sydney?” Dr. Boston asked, “There must be something worth living for.”

I paused, “Happiness is worth living for. But happiness is no longer a reachable concept.”

“It is,” she replied, “It is really possible if you understand what’s wrong, and how to cope. Your logic makes sense, but you can’t change the whole world in a day, Syd.”

I nodded pretending I understood, “Can I go now?” I asked,

“Sure,” she replied, “I’ll see you tomorrow, same time same place.”

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