I dream of you still
Lying in a pool of black ink
December 22, 1998
I remember the night I found you. It had been a long day and I was looking
forward to being alone. I'm ashamed to say that I was relieved to find
the lights off when I first got home. When I did find you though, lying
there, lifeless, in the dark, it took me a few seconds to realize what
had happened. The reflection of light made it seem as if you were lying
in a pool of black ink. My first reaction was to clean up. Clean the house,
clean the bathroom. Clean you. Dress you. I wanted to cover your naked
body that left you so vulnerable. I wanted to make you presentable, before
a hoard of strangers accosted our house to find you lying there, as I had,
lifeless, drenched, in your own blood.
I dream of you still. Often you are sitting in the kitchen when I come
home from work. Smiling, you hide your gaze. Like when you were a child.
A small, small child. And, I was your world. I look at you feeling surprised,
delighted and betrayed. And you smile, as if it were all a big joke. I
wake only to feel hopeless. I force my eyes shut. I pray for sleep, hoping
to find you again, in my dreams.
Other times, I dream of you as a child. How it felt to hold you. I take
you into me, your feel, your smell. Your tiny feet climb my bare legs,
slipping on their slope. Hands clasped behind my neck, with your bare legs
draped across mine, you press your cheek against my face. Your face is
cold. I feel your breath as you whisper "I love you, mom." I
will give you the world, I think.
There are times too, when I dream of you, lying there on the cold hard
ceramic floor of the bathroom floor.
Your blood has permanently colored the white tiles a shade of pink.
Your father suggested we change them, remodel the house and take a vacation.
My only response was a cold solid no. I punish him, you know. Though, I
realize it is not his fault. I have begged him to talk to me. But he won't.
I have screamed. I have yelled. I have accused him of all the insensitivity
one could imagine. And still, he will not cry. He has never cried. His
battle must be fought in silence and as a result so must mine. A stoic
approach to an experience which for me is wrought with emotion, outward,
spilling, messy, demonstrative emotion. But, I too am silent.
I wonder still, which of us failed you most. Which of us pushed you
to this desperate final act. Perhaps we both did. I am clearly aware of
the shortcomings we harbored as parents. Life has not been easy for us.
Our marriage has not been easy. And often, most often, you were the victim
of our sad union. I wonder if the sadness that enveloped us, the emptiness
that wreaked of us, was the cause. I wanted to leave, you know. There were
so many times when I stepped out that door, taking you with me, never wanting
to return. But somehow I would always return.
And still, there are so many questions. What exactly were you thinking?
What made you so hopeless at such a young age? When did you stop talking
to me? When did I cease to be your world? Why couldn't you have just come
to me? I could have, would have, made it better. Time would have made it
better. Then I think of my sorrow. My immense and deep sorrow. The hopelessness
that surrounds. And I wonder, I wonder, if time too would not have failed
you as it has failed me.