Summer of Sibling Madness
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Sibling Madness between July 4th Street and Labor Day Avenue.
Life can go to extremes from just the simplest push. A slight tipping away from what is normal, what is expected, or planned for and whammy, you’re in a shit storm looking for an umbrella. Now … some people … will tell you, that when such happens, it is best to ride out the “unusual situation” and let life return to normal. Let it find its own balance.
So … what exactly is the advice for when your sister tried to kill herself on the Fourth of July?
Just ride it out?
I mean I’m sure that when someone you’ve loved for decides has taking a full bottle of sleeping pills, chasing it down with the better part of a bottle of vodka, and then–in a drug and alcohol fueled haze–tried to slit her wrist, you should probably just … ride it out. Right?
Um … no.
I am thankful to say that I still have a sister named Adele. That she is no longer trying to make her exit-stage-right from life, and that life has finally returned to some kind of normal. If, by normal, you would accept that I have not seen the noon sun in a month. That I now dress all in black, and live in what, more and more often, looks like the set from the Adam’s family TV show. I also now spend most of my nights in a fetish club or a tattoo parlor.
And I’m sleeping with my sister.
So yeah, normal-ish.
I probably should explain. Well, to begin with my name is Cody. That’s the name I was born with and had thought I would die with … but … well, as things would happen…
Sorry, yeah that really isn’t the beginning. I guess I need to start where the insanity started. It began, for me at least, on the Fourth of July, with a note.
“When your heart tells you the impossible and your head agrees that impossible, then nothing else in the world matters. When what you want doesn’t matter, what you desire doesn’t matter, then it’s all just crap. This world is crap, everything about it is crap. You want to do something and everyone tells you that you can’t. That it’s wrong. Even while your own body is telling you that it’s right? How fucked up is that? I’m done. I’ve had it with this whole fucking place and everything in it. I’ve shit in my own future, past and present to the point I don’t want any of them anymore. No more past, no more present and sure as hell no more future.”
Let me tell you when you find that kind of note, in the shakiest hand writing I had ever seen my sister produce, weighed down with an empty bottle of sec barbitals (that’s those lipstick red Seconals “Jack” is asking his dickhead doctor for, for all you fans of Fight Club) you jump to conclusions.
Racing through the house like a mad man I tore the place apart trying to find my sister. Her room, mom’s room, my room and then the kitchen. When I heard running water, and my feet slid on wet hardwood, I had my clue. The bathroom door was locked, but that lock was secured in nothing but a simple pine wood frame. A strong, determined man could have gone through it by ramming his shoulder into it, two or three times.
A panicked, raving, loon like I was at that time?
Well, I’m surprised there were even splinters left. The tile floor was awash with water, with even more rolling like Niagara over the side of the tub. But then Niagara has never been a bright red.
I crashed into the side of the tub and lifted her in my arms, naked, from the water. That so very, very, red water. As I turned on my knees, to lay her on the floor, I noticed the thick trickle of blood flowing from her wrist to pool in the palm of her hand. I was screaming her name as I grabbed a towel and tried to stop that flow. The bit of damp terry cloth was almost instantly soaked. Red squished between my fingers as I tried to hold it tighter.
I heard my name being called from by the front door.
“Cody what the matter?” I heard something knocked over in the kitchen then a gasp that turned into a scream. “Oh, no! Adele, no! NO!”
“Dial nine-one-one!” I yelled at my mom, holding my sister’s wrist with all the pressure I could apply. Mom, normally a queen of panic first act later, for once in her life did it in the right order. She was screaming into her cell phone telling some operator that her baby had cut her wrist and to send an ambulance.
I held my eighteen year old sister, rocking her in my arms, thinking “baby?” I had to hope that the nine-one-one operator at least got Adele’s age from Mom, before the twit dissolved completely into hysterical tears and useless blame-naming. As I looked at Adele’s pale face, I dismissed my mother from my thoughts, as thoroughly as she had dismissed the two of us after Dad’s death. Let the woman go hide in a bottle till after the paramedics got here for all I cared now. As I whispered my sister’s name by her wet hair, I could hear mom talking to herself, already placing the canlı bahis blame for this on everyone’s door but her own.
It was the music Adele listened to. It was the friends she hung out with. It was the teachers at the school she went to, putting so much pressure on kids these days, failing Adele in her senior year “For God’s Sake!” She also said it was my fault. Dad’s fault. The moon’s fault. It was “That damn Goth girl, Kelly’s fault.”
As I lightly kissed Adele’s temple, and tasted copper on my lips, I knew Mom had at least part of it right. This was about Kelly, more so than Mom knew. Hearing sirens, I fished a towel from the bar overhead and covered my sister’s bare chest and hips. I knew she would not want them to see her like this. Yes, I knew it was partly Kelly’s fault, but I couldn’t blame her. There was no point in blaming the dead. Even when I knew it was my sisters’ love, for that girl, that made her want to chase her into the grave.
That’s what that letter must have meant.
“When your heart tells you the impossible, and your head agrees…” what else could that mean? My dear sister had been in love with another girl and that girl had died in a car crash just days ago.
“Silly fool,” I whispered. “No one would have cared.”
I pulled her tighter to me and held her bleeding wrist all the tighter still. I was holding her like that when the kitchen suddenly filled up with blue-on-blue uniformed men carrying red and white tackle boxes. In fact those men had a hard time talking me into letting her go.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
Looking back on that night, I can see now why my confusion about the letter was so easily arrived at. I mean, up until till that point, I had always thought of my sister was the stable one of the two of us. The normal one, I guess would be a better way of saying it. I was the head banger, grunge, death-metal guy with the red tribal tats. She was the, yeah slightly odd “Goth” type, true but when compared to me? Vanilla normal. Well, I was wrong it would seem … or maybe not, given that I’m currently dressed in black leather pants in the middle of August.
A lot happened in the next few weeks after that night of blood, pills, and depression. Adele awoke in the hospital, her arm bandaged like a mummy, with me sitting beside her holding the other hand. The one with the handcuff hooking her to the bed.
“No, I’m the fucking archangel Gabriel.” Leaning in, I looked her in her sleep-drugged-glassy eyes. “Welcome to the afterlife, will you have smoking or nonsmoking?”
With as much as her body had been through, with all the crap they had pumped out of her stomach, and with two dozen staples holding her tattered wrist together, she looked at me and slowly smiled. I placed my finger on my lips and moved it to touch that smile.
“If you can smile, for whatever reason in this world, then it is not time for you to die.” When she went to look away from me I moved my finger to under her chin and turned her back to face me. “Do you hear me? It is not your time. Don’t you ever do this again. If for no other reason than that you are, my, only reason to smile.”
“I love you,” she said softly. The words choked out. Her throat was no doubt dry from the ordeal it had to endure to get the drugs out her stomach.
“And I love you.” I took her hand back in mine. “I’m sorry about Kelly, but that’s life. You have friends, you love them, some more than others, but they have their own time under the sun. You can’t end your life because their time has ended. Even if you were in love with them.”
Adele looked at me puzzled for a second, even as her eyes were getting heavier, and then shook her head as sleep was taking her.
Curious as to what that meant, I sat back to waited on her to wake up again.
** ** ** ** ** **
The next few days were stressful for me, terrible for her and probably a drunken haze for Mom. I can’t say for sure about Mom. I moved out the moment I heard her drunken complaints about where half a bottle of her vodka had gone.
I never wanted my relationship with my mother to be this way. Never. I’ve tried to get her older brothers and sisters to help me. It’s a pity to say it, but they have washed their hands to her. I often wished grandpa was still around. That man could at least make his daughter listen. But then if I was wishing for people, that have passed to come back … I guess, wishing for Dad to come back would be the one we needed the most. He had been the cornerstone of Mom’s life. Not us. Not her children.
In a drunken rant, one night not long after his death, she had confessed to not wanting us. To nearly aborting me. To having been begged by our father to carry first me, and then later Adele to term. My sister had exploded into rage at that statement, but for me it had been a cold burn. Cold anger not hot. A sliver of ice that took up that place in my heart where my Mother had always lived. It was from that moment that bahis siteleri I felt like an orphan.
Anyway, back to Adele … they held Adele for seventy two hours, while doctor after doctor, psychiatrist after psychiatrist took a poke and prod at her mental health. It was a coin toss there for those few days as to whether or not she was going to end up in a mental institution for more observation and treatment. There were promises from her, and from me, requirements from her to contact people several times a week. A nurse was to come by the new apartment–that I had by that time rented for the two of us–for a month to make sure Adele took all her medications.
Then at the end of August, she was to be reexamined. And possibly a whole new course of treatment might be in the offering.
There was one question however, in the middle of all this, that caught me off guard. It was on the one day that I saw my mother in a somewhat lucid state. The doctor had asked our mother if Adele kept a diary. Mom had said no.
I knew that was wrong. She did.
It wasn’t in paper form, it was kept on her computer. I had seen the file while working on her computer one night, stored with what she must have thought a clever file heading. It was the address of our first house, and my birthday in numbers. I didn’t at that time have a need to open it, I was up to my digital-nose in a Conduit Virus, but when I mentioned it to her she said that it was private thoughts.
Later that night, was when mom got drunk and asked about the missing bottle of vodka, had I grabbed my stuff and for some reason Adele’s computer. I spent the night asleep in the parking lot of the hospital and went in to see my sister at the first moment I was allowed.
“I moved out of Mom’s. It isn’t worth the hassle just to save a few dollars,” I told her as I took a seat next to her. They had uncuffed her arm after that first day, but there was still a hospital security guard standing nearby. What they figured she would do I don’t know. There was nothing in the room sharper than a rubber band.
Adele shook her head and snapped at me. “Cody, there is no way you can pay the rent on an apartment and keep up with your classes! The repair shop doesn’t pay enough for that.” She sat up in the bed a bit, and I heard the guard’s key ring rattle as he moved in the hall behind us. Eavesdropping no doubt.
“I’ll make do,” I told her.
“No. You have to have the System’s Administration Degree to keep the job. That was the deal Uncle Michael made with you. He maybe our uncle but he is a pain in the butt first. And a business man before any of that. It you don’t finish those classes, you won’t have the bachelor’s degree he said you had to get to keep working for him.”
“I know the job,” I said, absently smoothing out the blanket over her legs. I felt her knee under the cloth so I stopped. “I can do it without the classes.”
“He won’t let you,” she said shaking her head. I heard a steady beep behind her start to go faster.
“I’ll tell him it’s just for a few months. Till I can get some money saved up. Then, I’ll start taking the classes again.” I snorted. “I’ll lay it all on mom’s drinking, he’ll understand that.”
“Why did you move out?” she asked suddenly.
Very reluctantly I told her what had happened.
When the nurses arrived, in response to her crying, I was asked to leave and the guard stepped into the room to make sure I did. Adele told them not to make me leave, that it wasn’t my fault, but they kept insisting that I go. It didn’t come to the point of his hand on me, physically escorting me out, but it was getting close enough to it that I told Adele I would call her later and left.
It was only once I was in the parking lot that I remember that I had neither looked at, nor asked her about, her diary file. On the computer I had left up in her hospital room.
Pissed, at far too many things to list, I spent the rest of that day apartment hunting. For places in my price range. I called Adele at lunch to see how she was doing. She told me she had talked to Mom on the phone. Then … she told me to go by Mom’s house and get her stuff. That she was moving in with me, so I needed to make sure I go a place with at least two bedrooms.
This change of planned living arrangements would cause a few problems with the psychiatrists. They somehow seemed to think that a change of scenery, and her not being in the house where she tried to end her life, would somehow be a bad thing. They also had some reservations about me looking after her instead of our mother.
A woman that would possibly sell the two of us for a case of liquor.
Have I mentioned I think my sister’s doctors are quacks?
I cannot believe how much effort it took to get a woman out of a hospital bed and into a place to live, where someone not only loves her, but was promising to look after her. You would have thought she was leaving to go live in a crack house with bahis şirketleri a drug dealer, who was going to pimp her out for twenty bucks a pop. That was the feeling I was given. It wasn’t the apartment; it’s in a nice section of town. It wasn’t even me, true I’ll admit my record isn’t perfect but all my wild oats were sewed when I was in my mid-teens. Maybe, it was the few tattoos that I have left from those days. Okay, more than a few. An even dozen sure and they are large, but it’s not like they are on my neck or anything.
The point is … the point is, she’s my sister, and I love her.
And I wanted to look out for her. Which is a hell of a lot more than that self-absorbed drunk, that reluctantly brought us into this world, can claim. I had a place where Adele could stay. It was safe, it was nice. It was not too far from where she works … if she still had a job there. I mean most places like a bit of notice before you take that much time off … especially when it’s because you tried to kill yourself. Right?
But her doctors were giving us hell about it. Stethoscope wearing fucktards.
** ** ** ** ** **
Well, it turned out that she in fact did not still have a summer job. That not only had Adele been fired for not showing up, but that her place there had already been filled. By the boss’ high school freshman niece. When I went by there, to get Adele’s last paycheck, if I’m any judge, I would have to say that the niece may have already been filled by the boss as well. She came off with that whole “I’m a jailbait slut, but someone has to be” kind of attitude. Not that I had long to talk to her. I was ushered into the back and then the bastard that had fired my sister wanted to know what was going on with her.
I believe “fuck off” was about the nicest thing I had to say to him at that point. Hard to say, I was shouting through a haze of red, with a throbbing of blood making my temples hurt. The police officer, who escorted me out the building, was very nice though. He even said he understood. I really think he did at that.
He didn’t arrest me after all.
Adel’s boss had certainly been telling him to do that, probably because of the cup of hot coffee I threw into his face.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
“I’m fairly sure I remember something in our lease agreement about not painting the walls odd colors.” Standing in the living room, with a sack full of burritos and tacos from Taco Hell, I have to say I was a bit … surprised.
I mean, the walls of my new apartment were not black when I left.
“There is nothing odd about black.” Adele, placed her paint brush in a Ziploc baggy and climbed down off the step ladder. “Is that dinner? I’m starving. Day, after day, of nothing but hospital food. Bleeck!”
Looking at my paint-smeared sister, I had to smile. She actually looked … well, if not happy per-say then … better. I took another glance around the room at the flat black walls. Well, if this is what it takes to get her to loving life again, so be it. We gathered at the little newspaper covered kitchen table. I moved a few empty gallon paint cans out the way and then held out a chair for her.
“Oh, how formal. Why, thank you sir.” She wiggled herself into the seat.
“Would madam like to see the wine list? I can’t say we have anything that pairs well with bean burrito, but I’m sure arrangements could be made to send out for some Arbor Mist.” I handed her a soda from the second bag.
“I’ll have the MD20/20, my good man! Only the fines in low-grade alcohols for a feast like this.” She opened up her first burrito and started burying it in mild sauce. “Did you get me any Cinnamon twists … oh, you remembered. Love my brudder!”
“Uh, huh. Yeah. Heard that one before.” Crunching my way through the first of my tacos, I looked at the walls. They were not fully painted yet and already the room was shadowy. The bare bulbs, in the three lamps, were now struggling to light the room. “You know how dark it’s going to be in here when you’re finished right? You will need a flood light just to read a book.”
She nodded, her mouth full of beans. I watched her tongue chase red sauce off the corner of her lips. “I’ll brighten it up with some things I have been looking at over the years, but that Mom would have never allowed in her house. I have this really cool lighting affect I want to try. You use sticks, painted white, and a bulb to make shadows on the walls. It looks like trees.”
I fell silent for a bit. As much because I was struggling to keep fragile corn shells from breaking as anything, but a growing thought began to nag me again. It was a question I had been avoiding since she woke up at the hospital.
“Sis, I want to ask you about ….”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she cut me off sharp. I looked up at the tone to find her looking right back at me. “Not ever. The scars are enough of a reminder that I can’t get anything in my life right, not even my death. I do not want to discuss why I’m a complete failure.”
“Do what?” I set my half-eaten food down. “Just how the hell do you figure that your life is a failure? It’s just getting started. You’re not even nineteen yet!”
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