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I am a murderer. Weren’t expecting that, were you?
The Truth With My Mother
I don’t know why I do this. The table is set; both of our plates placed opposite each other on the large dining room table. My food is hot and ready and steaming and I just sit. And I wait for someone who isn’t going to come. And I know she’s not going to come, of course.
The only sounds are coming from the scrape and scratch of my fork against the plate. My beating heart. My angry breath. I‘m bitter, as per usual, though I have no right to be anymore. She’s not going to come through the front door and suddenly want the dinner that I’ve cooked. The one I cook every night in her usual spot at the table, just in case. She doesn’t know I do it anyway.
She’s not suddenly going to smile and hug and kiss me like a normal mother would; like nothing happened. Because life obviously-- painfully-- doesn’t work that way for me. She’s probably sleeping in some stiff, uncomfortable hospital bed right as I eat the dinner I’ve made for two, while I fume at myself for being so stupid.
And apparently I’m psychic because I am right. Another meal goes to waste all on my hopeful stupidity. I’m once again stuck in this oversized three-story house all alone. My pills in one hand, solitude in the other ready to face the screaming silence that awaits me.
Yeah, stupid Hailey.
Today is the day I should be going to school. But I don’t. I know that I should because I have a Biology quiz I didn’t study for and a Spanish paper due today. I don’t care, though. Instead I lay in bed and suffocate in the bright pink depths of my walls and sheets. I hate them. My dad didn’t.
And I am thinking. I’m thinking about that degusting looking stain on my hardwood floor and all the stuffed animals in my closet that I haven’t looked at in seven months. And I think about what it would be like to die.
I’ve been close before; I have scars on my arms to prove it. Different scars; intentional scars. I have medication to back it up, too. But I find myself wondering what it would be like to actually pull through with the idea. I assume it would be a lot like floating when I’m done. Or maybe it would just be nothing. Black. I don’t know how I’ll die, but I know I will some day. Probably soon.
I’m sure my mother wouldn’t mind. After all, I’m the cause of all the s***tines in her life as of late. Why would it matter if I was gone for real?
And all of a sudden I can’t breathe under the covers of my King-sized bed. So I run to my balcony, because my mom is a doctor and she can afford something like this. And I stand and listen to the noises of the world around me. And there‘s nothing. Because I live nowhere but somewhere at the same time. It drives me crazy.
The air outside is a mix between breezy and slightly, but not really, warm. It reminds me of Spring and I find myself thinking of Virginia. Because it’s beautiful there.
And all of a sudden I can breathe right again. Except for the tightening in my chest because Tuesdays are the worst days in my week.
So I get dressed, ignoring the ugly marred skin of my body and pull a long sleeved shirt from my dresser. Some pants. Some shoes. And a scarf. I do my hair and when I absolutely have to I look in the mirror in my bathroom, against my better judgment, I do.
I see my father; same black hair. Wavy and natural. Same ocean eyes. Gray but really blue. But I also see dark circles and bloodshot eyes and just….a murderer. It’s degusting.
I avert my eyes and try my hardest to not look at myself in the mirror, brushing my hair and pulling this piece back and leaving this piece forward and focus on other things besides my face.
I haven’t eaten since last night. I think. I can’t remember. But all I know is that I’m hungry. Really hungry. So I go down the fourteen steps of the third floor, the ten of the second floor, and into the kitchen and start to eat whatever is in the first box I pick and mix it with milk. I don’t taste but keep eating. I’m in the middle of another bite of whatever-you-call-it when….
And I hear it. A slam. A bang. A groan. A laugh. A rustle. And then I see them. My mother and Unknown. A man. He’s carrying her with his hands on her bottom and his face to hers. And he’s shirtless. So is she. Then as if by great surprise there’s a gasp of horror.
I drop my spoon and now there’s a mess I’ll have to clean later. I am furious because I am stupid. And I am stupid to think that she’d care. Even a little. Even a fraction.
“Hailey!” she says.
“What are you doing here?” she asks.
“Oh my God,”
“I’m so sorry.” she says.
But I don’t care because I am gone. I leave the house in a hurry, trying my best not to think about what I had just witnessed. The moment for them is not ruined. It never existed. I never existed.
I go to the playground near the cemetery because I know nobody is there. Nobody has ever been here; the cemetery can be a pretty daunting place to five-year-olds. But not me.
It’s just me and the dead.
I sit in my usual spot on the merry-go-round and just stair at the sky. My eyes are stinging with the bright light of the sun, but I don’t close them. I wait until everything is watery and I see little stars. Then I close my eyes.
I should have died that night, I think as I feel the sun beating down on my skin and it almost feels too hot despite the chilly air. Like my body is going to burn; my ashes will blow with the wind and onto the cemetery and I will be gone. Good. There would be no more Hailey Rayne, the girl nobody cares for. The girl who was just another walking person, but not a person at all. My mother would have a better life. Possibly with Unknown; they’d have little half Unknown children and I would be gone. I would be nothing and everyone would be happy. Nothing.
And the best part: I will finally be happy. Because I will be with the one person who loved me most and we’d just be ecstatic together.
A stupid smile crosses my face slowly at the idea.
And I hear footsteps. They crunch against the weird bedding that is the playgrounds’ turf. I turn my head and see a boy, probably no older than me, slowly make his way to the swings. He’s far enough away from me, but still too close.
His hair is a dark brown. It reminds me of chocolate. It’s almost short, but not too much. His eyes are a Jolly Rancher blue and are blank as they look at me. It doesn’t even look like he sees me, really, but he says something that is too faint for me to hear and I know that he has. There’s a hint of a smile. He’s probably high right now. A candy man, maybe.
The park seems too small now that there are two. He’s violated my space and now….it just feels weird.
So I leave without a second thought, leaving the dead alone in the cemetery for another night and Jolly Rancher alone to his solitude.
The thing about my mother is that she just doesn’t care. Not at all. Not even a little bit. If she did she would come home to the dinners I cook for her, unknowingly hoping she comes through that goddamed door and eats with me. Just takes a night off from saving lives and save mine. Because if she would just sit and offer a smile I would be good.
The thing about my mother is that she’s killing me. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. She’s killing me and she doesn’t even see it. Because she’s too busy f***ing Unknown to care. She’s too busy working to care. She’s too busy hating me to show any emotion to try.
Thus, I go up to my bathroom, like every other night.
I lock the door.
I take out the razor.
And I make myself bleed. Not enough to kill me…. But still enough to hurt my arms immensely. The razor cuts into my skin with ease, knowing the patters of my arms well; we’re well acquainted friends.
The only friend I have.
And it too is killing me.
Slowly but surely, it’s killing me.
He’s in my seat. Jolly Rancher. He’s taken my seat in English class. And he’s smiling at me. I don’t know how this has happened, but it has and he’s taken my seat.
What an a**hole.
I’m watching T.V. on our much-too-big plasma screen in the living room. There’s a man who’s preaching about God and how we should follow His holy pathway of life.
“God is with you,” he says.
And with that I take my nighttime pills and raise my glass the television. Screw you, I think as I down the rest of my water and forget about the world.
Today is the day Jolly Rancher tells me his name. Apparently it’s Adam and apparently he’s high. I can see it in his eyes. His pupils are big as saucers and he reaches his hand out like he wants me to shake it. I don’t. He reeks of pot because I know what pot smells like.
I stare at Adam hard with a scowl. He has the decency to look somewhat scared of me. I want to shake his hand because….there’s this pull. I can’t explain it and I don’t want to figure it out. Instead I just stare at him. Because I really want to shake his hand. So I tell him, “Come back to me when you’re sober, jacka**,” and I get up right as the bell for next class rings.
Hopefully he’ll take the hint. I want him to. Because in him I see me. And that’s not someone you want to be.
I leave him with his hand outstretched still and don’t look back.
Everything is quiet. The wind is whipping wildly today and I don’t care. Because I brought flowers and they were twenty dollars. And because the old lady was nice I buy a bear too. I name him Charlie so he can have a friend, even though he’s not a friend at all. My shoes crunch on the leaves as I make my way toward the glossy gray plaque.
My knees are cold as I rest on the ground and my hands are shaking as I place them by the plaque and put Charlie next to them. My eyes sting with unwanted tears but I keep them at bay. I don’t like them and I keep them at bay.
Two words. He doesn’t speak back.
My hands roam through my hair and I pull at it and I just stair at the plaque.
Yeah, I just stare.
I am here without really being. My medication is kicking and I think about Jolly Rancher-- Adam. His eyes seem to haunt me in my thoughts.
There is a cliff that overlooks the ocean not far from my house. The waves crash wildly against each other; almost like they’re fighting each other. I like it here and that’s why I come here every Sunday. As the waves crash I imagine that they’re trying to talk to me.
But they don’t really want to talk. They want to take me. Each wave is trying to get me to jump. And every time I come here, I look down. It’s a really long jump.
And I conclude that if I were to die, it would be here. I would jump and the waves would finally get what they want. The big rocks at the bottom will impact my fall and I will be dead. The waves will take me along and I would just drift.
Yeah, I would just drift.