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Searing pain mocking as the figure struggles to raise it’s body off the streaked linoleum floor. The bruised knobby legs stagger under the wasting frame. The female face deems an age of not twenty, yet the bruised swollen sockets befit a female of fifty. Pain and misery mutely cry desperately, contemplating a prison break through the dilated pupil prison, but to no avail. There is no escape from this trip. No escape from the wasted life. Wasted oxygen. No dice to roll, no two hundred dollars to collect on payday- life is not a game. The life is a game to him.

He’s coming home soon. He’ll most likely be agitated…and drunk. Demanding money- “my dealer’s been on my ass the past couple’a days ya damned ho’ why ya always shootin’ up more than me, it should be yur dumb ass he’s after, not mine!”. How am I supposed to live like this unless I’m high? Smack, crank, angel dust, special k, blotter, shrooms- you name it, I’ve done it. What else would help me escape? That’s what the point of drugs are isn’t it? Whether your popping Xanax your hack of a psychiatrist prescribes you because fuck if he knows what skeletons haunt you, or blowing a line of primo Columbian fish scale coke, drugs are an escape from reality for those who cannot face reality. For those who wish for a different life, even if for just a few hours. A happy life, where one’s body feels as if it’s drenched in sunshine in the Caribbean receiving a reiki massage and being fed plump grapes by a midget in a  bow tie. Drugs are for cowards. For those who would rather inject friendship, love, and serenity all in one shot. I am a coward. But my life didn’t give me a choice. Or is that just my excuse? The drugs are talking again. I should just stop breathing.

Would they be proud of me? Of what I’ve become? Nah, they don’t give a fuck- never did, never will. Was there ever hope? Ever potential? Some people, especially politicians, say that there basically is no hope for kids raised in bad impoverished abusive households. Am I proud to confirm this statistic? I used to swear I would contradict it. I was smarter than that. Are all those brain cells dead now? I can recall a Spongebob episode where the people living in Spongebob’s brain throw out “files” hence erasing his memory- is this just humor or could it be true? Are my little people mad at me? Or have my files been stamped for years- EDIT. Where’s that encouraging Staple’s “that-was-easy” button when you need one?

It’s incredible how many bruises and broken bones the human body can withstand. Honestly. I counted 53 bruises all over my body. Not to mention my history of broken bones- right wrist, both legs twice, left shattered kneecap, both arms, nose four times, six ribs, tailbone, collar bone- all stairs accidents obviously. Plus that deviated septum. Mother used to say I was pretty once while she stamped Marlboro butts on my arms. Jealous she was no longer pretty- guess that’s what happens when you smoke meth for twenty years of your pitiful existence. 

He’s home early today. Drunk as a skunk. Mad. Mathematical calculation- when he’s mad, that’s equals at least five more bruises with a thirty percent chance of a broken bone. Bet they didn’t teach you that in math class.

I saw an angel today. It was dream worthy. I can’t believe she chose me, out of all the people on Earth, she chose to help me. I felt so honored, so undeserving. Why me? To tell me I still have a chance. To shed a ray of hope on a wilting tulip, abandoned in a lonely flower garden party for one. She told me everything would be alright. I am better than him. I thought I was in love once- love is mischievous. Cupid must have stumbled as he aimed his arrow, because he sure done got this one wrong. He is evil. I must get away. I must reach salvation. Drugs are a facade- a temporary escape. I am in need of a permanent escape. The only person who can help me is me. That’s how it’s always been, and that’s how it always will be. In this cruel world, who can one ever truly trust- every man for himself.

Allowing your eyes to zone in on the frenzied scratches imbedded in the bathroom door, tainted with ancient nail varnish specks, and deep telltale scratch marks, you wait, hoping it still breathes comatose life. Not unlike a Roman legionnaire preparing for the great battle of Carthage, you mentally prepare for the inevitable release of Dante’s inferno that seeks to penetrate your fortress with a catapult of fire balls.  Television volume blaring, you make out Eric Cartman’s degrading whine; “How ‘bout we sing Kyle’s mom is a stupid bitch in D minor”? Wondering if Trey Parker and Matt Stone realize the sick game your puppet master was inspired to create as a result of yesterday’s episode, you wish for a telepathic connection with a 911 operator. You cringe and hesitate before channeling your imaginary ESP, remembering the last time you tried to call for a savior. You close your eyes to halt the mascara streaked tears; you are determined to never give him that satisfaction. Wheezing whiskey breath echoes menacingly on the other side of the paint chipped gateway. Fixating glazed eyes on the grimy linoleum floor, you silently yearn for the power to part the floor like Moses parting the Red Sea for the Israelites. After further consideration, you conclude your wish to be hopeless; after all, you can only wear a poker face for so long until you have to throw down; to find that you were drawing dead* all along. Where is Wild Bill Hickok and his dead man’s hand** when you need him? Tossing your matted locks back in despair, there is nothing left for you to do but patiently await the nightmare with the apprehension of a five year old putting out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, it will not be the shiny black boots of jolly old St. Nick landing in this chimney; you are a waste of his hour glass sand. You cry every Christmas: Santa can’t even place a piece of coal in the lonely stocking waiting in it’s hiding place under the bed. Grabbing the jagged blade from the shower, you catch Nemo’s twinkling eyes laughing at you; egging you on. You allow one crimson drop to fall, one after the other until the sea is rollicking at your feet. Where is Moses to part the Red Sea now? You hear the boogyman’s ferocious rants as he furiously kicks the flimsy wooden threshold over and over as you cover your ears and wish you could clutch your teddy bear and yell for mom to come in and turn on the light. You wait in terror as the scratch marks splinter into a hundred shards, revealing the familiar work boots, and your heart sinks to the bottomless pit that has become your soul; there is no escaping this fate. Eric Cartman cackles in the background as the shards rain down on you like light rain on a lazy summer day. You are temporarily blinded as the demon emerges from the darkness to drag you through Dante’s seven levels to join Cain and Brutus in eternal hell. You are his now.

With your bloodied wrists wrapped around your body, you rock back and forth in the fetal position as the blows rain down. Each new punch is harder than the last; they leave you gasping for air and pleading for a peaceful death. Crumpled and broken, you lay on the floor and try to act dead. Too bad you failed drama class; he doesn’t buy it. He jerks you to your feet and whips you into the shower so hard the shove propels you into him. He curses and pushes you back down into the tub. Struggling will not help you; he is stronger than you. He holds you down as you thrash and kick; the ice cold tub is filling up fast. You slip out of consciousness; your eyes cloud over as water overflows out of the tub. The demon is gone; a white angel is hoisting you up. You figure you have passed on, to purgatory perhaps, because after all, you’ve been a bad girl and surly aren’t going to heaven. Your eyes flutter open; you are on a bed, and your angel is holding your hand and gently injecting a needle into your arm, assuring you that you’ll be able to sleep after it. Is it a dream? You wake up; everything is white. You glance at the floor; the linoleum floor is white. Taking a deep breath, you glance at the door. It is freshly painted cotton white. You breathe a sigh of relief, until something suddenly catches your eye…a faint telltale scratch mark on the white padded door. Padded for your protection. You close your eyes; is this home?

Freedom. The freshest, most invigorating feeling. The same feeling our founding fathers heard hearing the ringing liberty bells. I feel at home in the woods. Peace. Serenity at last. The bird sound, cheering me on as I barrel through the trees like a marathon runner. Almost there. I’m going to prove them all wrong. I’m going to show them. I’m escaping this fate. Almost there. Almost there. 

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