Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ode to the Ramble

This morning I initially woke up to a text message from a man we'll call R. The exchange went like this:
R: "I miss and wuv u!! Wish u were in my cold-empty bed."
Me: "No u don't :)"
R: "Harsh! I just wanna hold u"
Me: "Yeah, but i don't think u really do. Lol, i'm pretty sure i don't smell very good, my mouth is gross, and i'm all sticky and sweaty right now lol. That's all i meant. ;)"
R: "I will give u something 2 sweat about. Jump in the shower i will bring the soap!"
Me: "Oh, R, way too early to be sexy. I'm goin' back to sleep :("

This is a poker player of mine, a man I've talked to just once on the phone, albeit for 2 hours, but still... My thoughts around this guy are shaky. I've known of his infatuation for a while, he always picks on me at work. He watches my every move when I get up or walk around or do, well,... anything. He's always asking me out or asking me about my life when the game dies or hasn't started yet. He's an interesting guy, I'll give him that. But, I'm not attracted to him. If there was ever a time in my life I wish I could force my brain receptors to shoot fireworks, this is probably one of those times. He told me on the phone that he wants to be with me, take care of me, KNOW me. I told him he shouldn't get mixed up with a girl like me. I've got too much going on, and I can't give my entire love and focus to anyone. What I meant was that I couldn't give it to him.


So, after I slept for a little while longer, I decided to get up - or more specifically, my bladder decided for me. I turned on my computer, wished strongly that there was fresh coffee in the kitchen, and had a cigarette. I considered texting my roommate (already at work), to ask about the coffee, but decided against it because I didn't want to annoy him, and that would've definitely annoyed him. I thought about Jeff and Jessica - my friends from Portland who left last night after a 2-day visit. We drank the bar out of liquor the other night - and then had a bathtub party at my house. Good times.


After waiting for what seemed like a year for my computer to start up and get moving, I checked both my emails. Hotmail delivered me some new friends on Facebook, new followers on Twitter, and one of my last Unemployment deposits in my account. But Yahoo Mail delivered something quite different. One of the most touching and sweet and heartfelt...and needed messages I have ever received. Kelly. An old high-school party friend, a new forever friend. A spectacular person. This email, her kind, thoughtful words, brought me to tears. We recently reconnected on Facebook, and discovered each other's Etsy stores, where we have used the "convo" feature to chat about stuff and business back and forth for a coupla months now. She noticed in my recent convos that I sounded a bit down, and asked if I was okay. I wrote a short paragraph telling her I was okay, but yes, a bit down, and wondering which path I should take next in my life. Wondering if I should put some things on hold until I found out if my brother was going to live or die. She didn't know what I was talking about. So, instead of asking...she found and read my ENTIRE blog. And, now she knows. Her email to me was one that complimented my writing, related wholly to my life, reached out quickly and entirely and wrapped around my heart, and asked for true friendship. Yes, is the answer. Yes, yes, yes. A friend like this one is a friend I will forever love, cherish, and give utmost gratitude for. And I can't wait to hear more about her life, share our stories, laugh, cry, and just plain relate...and love.


After making my own coffee, and complaining about it on Facebook, I sporadically watched "The West Wing", uploaded pictures from Jeff & Jessica's crazy visit/drunken escapade, and decided to write in my blog. Now "Philadelphia" is on, and that's a damn sad movie. I need to do my laundry so I have something to wear to work tonight. But I feel like writing, I feel like being lazy, and I wish I had a coffee pot in my room because the kitchen still seems so far away.


I realized the other day that I don't have any pictures of my cat on Facebook. I think I'm a bad mom.


My friend Leanna texted me this morning about how much fun she had with her family over Christmas - and that she spent a lot of time with a new boy. She's going to call me later to tell me the dish.


I'm tired of Christmas coffee creamer...I'm ready to go back to the normal stuff. No more mint and chocolate, just give me the regular ol' Southern Butter Pecan or Caramel Machiado. Christmas is over, and thank goodness for that. Not that I'm being a Scrooge, but well, I guess I am. Though it's a joyous time, it sucks too, and depressed me a bit. I'm definitely ready for a new year, a new start, a new anything. Somehow I got New Year's Eve off at work, which is a great thing. My friend Patty is coming in to town on that day, and I'm sure we're gonna drink yet another bar out of liquor on that night. Everywhere I turn in my house is a mess. Ugh. The Christmas tree is now out on my balcony, decorations and all. There's laundry in five places, the kitchen smells a little bit less disgusting because my roommate finally took the crab-filled garbage out, but it's still a big, fat mess.


So, how am I feeling? Well, a bit overwhelmed, a bit underwhelmed. A bit sore. A bit tired. A bit hopeless. A bit confused. I want a relationship, but not the ones I'm offered. I want a clean house, but I don't want to clean it. I want a business that sustains my life so that I don't have to work for anyone else anymore. But I'm losing confidence. I want to be happy, but it's a hard job sometimes. I want to stay motivated, but it's a lot of work. What I really want is to curl up in my comfy bed and sleep for a month. But, instead, I'll do my laundry. I'll go to work. I'll find something to love about each day, maybe even each moment. I'll force myself to find some light, until the light is just there again. I'll write, and that'll help. I'll love - I'm good at that. I'll hope, even though right now I don't think there's a point to it. And I'll stay afloat.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just a Few AMAZING Women, & Friends of Mine

There's a billion other things I could be doing besides blogging. But I don't want to. I miss writing. After a month of non-stop writing for National Novel Writing Month, and now over a week of absolutely NO writing of any kind, I'm ready to say something. I'm just not sure what.

I'm going home to Oregon for ten days. I'll leave Vegas tomorrow night. I really do love living in Las Vegas, but I'm VERY happy to be going home. I miss my Mom. I miss my brother. I miss my friends the most, though. This town is a crazy place to be if you like having friends. No one wants to let you too close. The general mindset is that either you will move away soon, or they might move away, and who stays friends after that? These people are nuts. I have friends all over this country, and some abroad. Sure, we don't talk every day, or even every year, but we still love each other and care about each other. And when we do pick up the phone, it is like there hasn't been a moment that's passed since the last time. People are intrinsically the same as when you first met them. We don't change much, inwardly. And that's comforting to me.

I want to mention a few of my closest friends today, because I love them, and I'm thinking about them. And by close, I don't mean in proximity, I mean in my heart.

Tracie - My Best Friend - She's in Redmond, OR - I love her smile, I love her momminess, I love her heart, and her strength, and our memories, and even her neat-freakness. She is a miracle, a light, a life-saving breath when I'm choking on my own pain. She's beautiful.

Mariana (Eme-puta) - She's in Ashland, OR - She makes me laugh, she makes me think, she's beautiful, talented, amazing at belly dancing, and a fantastic mother and wife, I adore her. And my life wouldn't be the same without her.

Saranga (Sarangie) - She's in Washington D.C. (or Africa, depending on the year) - This woman is amazing. She has done things most of us only dream about, she is a fantastic writer, friend, philanthropist, and person. Her heart is HUGE, and she's got a brain to match. Lovely, lovely person.

Martha (Marth) - She's in San Francisco, CA - One of my favorite friends of all time. I truly cherish the absolute genuine person she is. There's no bullshit here, folks. The best writer I've ever met, a fantastic friend (the only friend I have who actually writes letters), a kind and strong spirit, and with whom I've had minimal face-to-face friend time, but always significant. There is meaning in every moment with Martha. I love that.

LeAnna (Banana) - She's in Bend, OR - Without her in my life, there would have been much less laughter. My jaw hurts EVERY TIME I spend time with her, because we never stop laughing at each other, never. We have shared good and bad times, and have always come out of it, still laughing. She's one of the most giving and caring and no-nonsense women I've ever met, and I appreciate her for all of it.

Liz (Lizzie, or LizARD) - She's in Toledo, OR - Fantastic human being. One of the most loving people I have encountered, and funny too. She's laid back, happy, and always striving to make things just a little bit better. She's raised a beautiful daughter, created a fantastic business, and did it all mainly on her own - and without complaint. True character.

Jeanine (Jeaninieeeee) - She's in Davie, FL - Spectacular new friend! Talk about caring, loving, supportive, sweet, hilarious, beautiful, and generally A-MAZING! We've only had about 4 weeks of face-to-face friend time, but I'm positive our friendship will last a lifetime. How can you beat that??

Christine (Christiner-Wiener) - She's somewhere in Indiana (I think) - There's not an evil bone in her body. And oh, the struggles she has overcome. I love her beauty, her heart, her passion, her smile, her friendship, and her taste in music! She's simply wonderful.

Andrea - She's in Bend, OR - Though we have had our ups and downs, and spent many years without communication until recently, we have always shared a deep bond of true friendship. Our love for each other reaches through everything, and somehow, we always end up finding each other again. I couldn't be happier about that.

Stephanie (Step-On-Me) - She's in California, can't remember the city - My second roommate in college, she and I have remained friends for a long time. When I think of her, I think about how hilariously sarcastic she is, and how genuinely caring too. She is downright gorgeous, in mind, body, and spirit! I miss her terribly and wish upon a star that we could get together for a drink soon.

Paige (Pagina) - She's in Portland, OR - Oh, what a glorious woman she is! I love her hope, her strength, her matter-of-factness, and her beautiful smile! I met her in college in Ashland, and I think we fought over a boy, initially. But that was a crazy (literally crazy) boy and Paige and I are still friends after all these years. She's so talented, smart, funny, and fantastic - there just aren't enough words.

Lisa & Megan (Twin Miss McCaw-wahs) - They're in Bend, OR - Old, and new friends, they've been such a support to me recently. Through the magic of the internet, we have reconnected, and I can't help but feel like I've missed out on so much of their wonderfulness over the years. They're sweet, caring, hilarious, and encouraging. They're favorite new (and old) friends, and I'm looking forward to knowing them for a very long time. Beautiful, simply beautiful, they are, and in spectacularly different ways.

So, these are a few women, friends, in my life that today, I am truly grateful for, and love dearly. I know I don't have to live in their neighborhoods, or see them every day to know that they love me back, and it'll always be that way. These are the women I know I can count on. These are the people I pile into my heart, shuffle around, and pull out when I need certain things. They all serve spectacularly different "friend needs" and they are all AMAZING people.

Take time today to call a friend. Take time to love someone. Take time for yourself. Take time to connect. You'll never know who you might find out there in that big scary world, and believe me, there are TONS of beautiful, sparkling gems to discover. These are a few of mine.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, (Final) Chapter Forty-Two - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Forty-Two – Dreams – In Mom’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – I am 60, Scott is 35, Julie is 32

I dream that my children will both be happy and healthy one day soon. I dream that Scott will live a long life, and a life without pain, or heartache. I dream that Julie will find her niche in life, and really go for it. I know she can do it, she’s an amazing woman. When I look at her, I know I’ve done something right in my life. When I look at Scott, I know I’ve done a lot of things wrong. But I wonder how they both grew up in the same household and ended up so different. I know I treated them differently, growing up, but if anything, Scott should be more stable. I gave him more love, more care, more help, more attention. Because he needed it. He always needed it. Julie has been such an independent child, all her life. She’s had such big ideas, and big determination to match. She’s a shining star, whose shine won’t be tarnished, by anything or anyone. And that girl, that woman, has been through hell and back in this life. When I really think about all she’s been through, I am amazed. So much so, that I cannot speak, and usually cry for her. And yet, she seems to have overcome it all, and in a strange way, USED it all, to become who she is today. And that is one amazing young woman.

I dream that Julie finds someone to love her and appreciate all that she is, and all that she does. I dream that she’s able to be a mother soon, it’s all she’s talked about since she was a little girl. And she’d be a wonderful mother. I want to have grandchildren, and I’m afraid Julie is my only hope. Most days I don’t even think Scott will survive the year, let alone get better quick enough to find a wife, and have children. I dream that it’s still possible for him, but not often. I can't let myself look that far into the future with him, because I’m afraid to get my hopes up.

I do dream, though, that Scott gets better. Because the alternative is that he doesn’t. And I still really don’t know what’s going to happen if he dies. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I think Julie will make it through, but I worry that this could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back for her. With as much as she’s already endured throughout her life, this may be the thing that finally breaks her. I don’t know. But I don’t think so. I guess we’ll just see what happens. I dream that he gets better so that I can too, so that Julie can stop worrying about him, so that we can all stop worrying about him. And we can get on with our lives.

I dream that someday I will find enough courage to write a book. I’ve wanted to write a book about so many things throughout my life, and I still want to do it. I still have ideas. But I haven’t got the time, and I haven’t got the energy to do it right now. It takes a lot of energy to live with Scott, it wears me out. But Julie just had a big surprise 60th birthday for me, and she put together this book of sayings and well-wishes from all the family and my friends. At least half the book has quotes from people telling me to write a book. They said some really nice things to Julie, for her to put in that book, about how smart they think I am, and how talented I am at writing. God, it made me feel good to hear that, gave me a big boost, and definitely got me started thinking about writing a lot. I will do it someday, and I don’t even care if I ever publish a thing. But to do it, to accomplish that one feat, to write a book, would be my biggest life long dream, and the one I would hold dearest to my heart if I ever got to do it.

I dream that someday my children will be independent of me, but not that they’ll forget me. I want them in my life, and nearby. They are good people, and we’ve been through so much together that our bond is stronger than I’ve ever felt for anyone else, even my own parents. I fear that when they become independent, they won’t need me anymore, or won’t want me around. But I know that’s nonsense, really. When Julie finally has a family of her own, I’m sure she’ll want to bring them to Grandma’s house. I can’t wait for that. I imagine Julie with a few kids, a couple of little girls, maybe a couple of little boys too. I want to spoil them, do Grandma things with them. Like my Mom spoiled Julie, and Scott. She treated them like they were angels, she treated them like they were friends. She let them in on little secrets, and taught them things they still remember. I can’t wait to have grandbabies to love. I can’t wait to show them all the love that my parents gave me, and my children. And all the love I have in my heart for my own children. I just hope they’ll be able to meet, and get to know their uncle, Scott.

My son, Scott, is what I dream of most nights when I sleep. I dream sometimes that he’s thin, sometimes that he’s twice the size he is now, like a cartoon character. I dream that he stops breathing, I dream that he just falls over one day, falls over dead. I dream that he gets better and laughs all the time. I dream of him with my Mom and Dad, how he was when he was little. How he followed them around and was like Dad’s little shadow. How Mom used to put him, then later Julie, in bed with her as babies, so they’d sleep through the night. And they slept there until she after she died. I once caught Julie taking a nap in Mom’s bed, after she died. She was holding one of Mom’s empty bottles of perfume, and the electric blanket was on HIGH. She was sweating, with one leg hanging off the side of the bed, and one under the covers. She was out like a light, but I swear to God she had a smile on her face. And I wondered what she must be dreaming about. Maybe it was her Grandma, maybe it was the water dogs she and Scott had caught that day, hundreds of them. Maybe she was dreaming about school or her friends, or me. But she was smiling, and sweating in that blanket, and I didn’t touch her, or make a sound. I just held that picture in my head for always. For me.

Tonight I want to make my dream what I want it to be, so let’s see if it works. Tonight I’ll dream of easier times. I’ll dream that Julie and Scott are safe and happy. That before too long, a miracle will happen, and all things good will start for us. I’ll dream of that miracle all night, and when I wake up, it’ll be here. Someone, somewhere, will save Scott, save us all.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Forty-One - In Scott's Eyes

Chapter Forty-One – Dreams – In Scott’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, I am 35, Julie is 32

I had a dream this afternoon that I was dead. But I was a skinny dead person. It was really weird, and I woke up sweating. But I’m glad I was skinny at least. I don’t want to be a fat dead person. I don’t want to be fat in heaven either. I hope it doesn’t work that way. I dreamt I was floating over my old grade school in Salem. I saw all my old friends on the playground, but I couldn’t stop and play with them. They couldn’t see me, or hear me call their names. It was a shitty dream, really. Except the skinny part.

Most days I dream that I become thin, that I can move around with ease, that I am living on my own, taking care of myself, and living a normal life. I dream about going places and doing things I’ve only read about or seen on t.v. I want to travel, and see things, and meet regular people. The friends I have are losers. I don’t even like them, but I feel like they’re the only friends I have, so it’s better to have loser friends than none at all. But most days I can’t stand them. And don’t want to see or talk to them, but I do anyway, because I don’t want to be a bad friend to anybody, even losers. I’m bad at enough things, friendship doesn’t have to be one of them.

I dream about Julie becoming a mom. I know she really wants that someday, and she’s not getting any younger. So, I hope she gets it. I hope she finds a good man, and falls in love, has a couple of babies, and lives happily ever after. I wonder sometimes why she hasn’t done that yet. I hope beyond hope that it’s not because of me. She’s put a lot of her life on hold because of me, and if that’s one of the things she’s given up to take care of me, I’ll never forgive myself. I think we actually had this conversation a few years ago, and she assured me that I wasn’t the reason, that she just hadn’t found her true love yet. But I’m not entirely convinced. Especially because she tells me now that she is thinking about coming home to take care of me again. Leaving Las Vegas…for me. I can’t let her do that, I just won’t. That’s the last thing I want. And she’s really doing well there, I can’t take that away from her. But I guess I can’t really stop her either. I’ll be really pissed off though, if she comes back. As much as we probably need her, as much as I need her, I don’t want her here. She deserves to have a life. And so does my Mom, and so do I, for that matter.

I dream for my Mom to live her life to the fullest while she can. But she’s so tired all the time, and in pain too, I worry about her. I don’t know if she’s ever going to get better either. And with the stress I cause her, and the stress of her job, I’m afraid she’ll never have the energy to do the things SHE wants to do. But I dream that she finds a cabin to buy, way up in the woods somewhere, filled up with books to read, and with lots of windows for her to look out of while she’s writing her own. I dream that she’ll be able to travel again too. I know she wants to go back to New Orleans, she really loved it there. And she’s been wanting to go help them somehow after the hurricane. They still need help, and she still wants to go, so I dream that one day it’ll be possible for her. Mostly, I dream that she feels better, and is able to live a very long life. But I’m not sure how that will turn out if I die. I don’t know if she’ll break down, or if she’ll fly free. And the sad part is, either way, I’ll be dead.

I dream that one day, I won’t think about dying so much. That I will be so consumed with living, that the thought of death will only enter my head when I’m in reverie about the loved ones I’ve lost. That it won’t have anything to do with me, or Julie, or Mom. I dream that at some point, this nightmare will be over, or that one day soon, I’ll wake up thin. Just wake up that way. And be done with it. I fantasize about buying clothes in a regular store, going in a store at all, without being stared and pointed at. I wonder if I’ll always be looking over my shoulder as a result of being a huge man. If I’ll always be leery of people. If I’ll ever trust anyone fully again, outside of my family.

I dream that I could turn back time, to before I was really fat. And do it all over again. Knowing what I do now, about my body, about my mind, I dream that I had another chance. And in that dream, I turn out happy.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Forty - In Julie's Eyes

Chapter Forty – Dreams – In Julie’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, Scott is 35, I am 32

I dream about doing a lot of things in my life. I dream about having a bakery, a place I go to every morning at 3am to start baking breads and muffins, and all things yummy. I dream of becoming a published writer, writing novels, and articles, and children’s books. I dream of traveling to Italy, Norway, Australia, and many other places. And I dream of getting married someday soon, having a family of my own. I’ve always wanted a lot of kids, but I’m getting older now, and don’t know how feasible it’ll be to have lots of them, so maybe just a couple. I don’t know, but I dream about it, about being a Mom. And about owning a business, and doing what makes me happy in life. Fortunately for me, there are a lot of things that make me happy in life. I’m passionate about several different arts and crafts, and I love people. I love talking to them, learning about them, helping them when they need it, and befriending them. I love being needed by people too. It makes me feel important, like I can help somebody. I think it’s so important to me because of how hopeless I feel about helping Scott. I don’t know, maybe I just think too much.

I have other dreams too, the regular kind you have while sleeping. Lately they have been strange, unsettling. A lot of people from my past have popped up, people who I don’t care to see again, ever. But there they are, in my dream. Otherwise, I haven’t even thought of them in real life, so why am I dreaming about them? I’ll never understand dreams like that. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why can’t sleep just be sleep? Why do I have to think of crazy bad things while I sleep? There’s enough running through my head during the day, enough to kill a horse. I don’t want to think about bad things when I dream anymore. But I guess it doesn’t work that way.

I dream about me and Scott going places together. About him having a family, and inviting me over for a barbecue. I dream that he’s normal-sized, though I don’t even remember a time when he was even close. I have to imagine the whole scenario, make it up. But I can see it, I can see the day when he can put his arms around me, and I can put my arms around him. I can see the day that we don’t have to worry about how to get somewhere or where he’s going to sit when we get there. I can see the day when he isn’t on pain pills, and has a smile on his face most of the time. I can see him healthy. I dream about that all the time. I want that for him so bad, for him to have a normal life, to be able to have his own dreams again, real ones, reachable ones.

And I dream about Mom being happy. Happy with her life, enough so that she decides to embark on new adventures, or find herself a new man. She’s a beautiful person with a spectacular mind. She’s amazingly talented at writing, and so much more. She is the best friend anyone could ask for, and I know she wants to do something besides take care of Scott. But at the moment she won’t allow herself to even think of it. Someday, I dream that she will be happy. That she will dream again too. That she will live the life she deserves. That Scott and I both will make her proud. That she’ll leave behind her guilt. And that she’ll do what she wants to do, once and for all, for herself.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Nine - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Nine – Today, Tomorrow? – In Mom’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – I am 60, Scott is 35, Julie is 32

Today I came home and Scott was up, in the kitchen, leaning on the counter, trying to catch his breath. He was angry, and sweating and in pain. This is what I come home to most days, or if not, he is in his room, laying and watching t.v., laying and listening to music, laying and reading, or just laying. He’s in bed a lot these days. I know he gets up sometimes, because he does the laundry, and does the dishes. But he doesn’t do much else, and isn’t interested in doing much either. He’s awfully depressed these days, and I don’t know what to do about it. It takes a lot for me to even talk to him some days, because it seems like there’s nothing to talk about but his weight. And there’s nothing good about that. Julie wrote him a letter about going to the ranch in Texas. She talked to me about it too, but I don’t know what to think.

I don’t know how we’d get him there. I don’t know if he’d make it or not. I don’t know if it’s the right thing. I just don’t know. But we don’t have the money anyway, so it doesn’t really matter I guess. I won’t let my sister pay for it. I just don’t want to deal with her anymore. And Julie asked me if I’d rather just let Scott die, than swallow my pride and accept the money. Of course I don’t want Scott to die, but I didn’t have an answer for her. If that IS the only help we can get, and my pride gets in the way, how will I ever deal with the guilt of that? Am I going to cause my son’s death, because I’m stubborn? Because I don’t want my sister’s help? There has got to be another way.

Today Scott was mad because I didn’t renew his prescriptions in time, and he’s going to be out of pain pills some time this weekend. He’ll go through withdrawals and I’ll find somewhere to go, out of the house and away from his temper. He’s mad at ME, because I took control of his medicines a few weeks ago. I have them hidden, from him, and from his so-called friends. Someone had gotten into them, and taken a bunch of different ones, leaving him short last month too, way short. Who would do that? I don’t know about these people. They all have mental problems, and other problems. Not a one of them is on the up-and-up, and they’re bad for Scott. They just depress him, and distract him, and suck any energy he has away. So, I took all his pills and hid them, have been doling them out to him daily so that we don’t have a problem again. But I forgot this weekend was a holiday, and that the pharmacy would be closed certain hours. I forgot, and he’s mad. He has been crying, and is feeling really down, hopeless too. I can’t help him, I don’t know what to say anymore except that I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the life I’ve made for him. I’m sorry that he’s in pain. I’m sorry that I can’t help him. I’m sorry that whatever I did when he was growing up made him turn out this way. I’m sorry for a lot of things, every day. But mostly I’m sorry that he’s probably going to die. Without ever having a relationship, a home of his own, or a child. Without ever traveling to another country, or even another state as an adult. Without ever becoming what he wants to be, and succeeding at life, reaching his goals. He’ll probably never experience any of that, and I’m sorry about it. Sometimes it makes me so sad, I just want to disappear. Forget about everything, start over. Sometimes it makes me so angry, I just want to punch something, or someone. But most of the time, I just feel numb.

Tomorrow is the weekend. I’ll stay in my room most of the time, play on my Nintendo DSi that Julie got me for my birthday. Lose myself in crossword puzzles or books or stupid t.v. shows. I’ll try to stay calm when Scott freaks out. I’ll try not to let this house get me down, how dirty it is, how broken it is. I’ll read the paper and lose myself in that. I’ll take a nap, or take a drive. I’ll get through one more day by sheer avoidance of it. Tomorrow is a new day, my Dad used to say. But tomorrow is the same day as today, and the day after tomorrow will be the same as that. And one day, tomorrow is going to be the day we bury Scott. And that one day might be sooner than we all think.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Eight - In Scott's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Eight – Today, Tomorrow? – In Scott’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, I am 35, Julie is 32

Julie sent me this letter, and God it made me feel bad. I know how she feels about me, and I know I’m letting her down every day. But I don’t know what to tell her. I’m not going to that ranch. More than anything, I don’t want to owe anyone in this family anything – ever again. My aunt – the one with the money – has been treating my Mom like shit lately, and I won’t have anything to do with help from her. I don’t want it, and I don’t need it. I can do this on my own, if I can just find a support system of some sort, just find some help locally. I need a trainer. I need someone, and want desperately for someone to just come to the house every day and kick my ass into gear. Make me work out. Make me do it no matter what kind of fit I throw or tantrum I have. I need someone like that. And I need an exercise bike. Something to work out with. But it’s virtually impossible to find one that will sustain my weight. Mom and I thought we found one not long ago, but it didn’t work out. It never works out.

I talked to Julie a little bit about her letter, finally. It took me a while to be able to talk about it at all. I wasn’t mad at her for anything she said, just hurt about it a little. Just feeling depressed and exposed. I feel her hopelessness growing and it’s exactly the opposite of what I need from her. But how am I supposed to expect her to have hope? I’m a big fat loser who never does what he says. I have a bad temper. I can’t stay motivated. I lie, still, about what I eat. I don’t know why she still loves me at all. But she’s trying really hard to find me help. I love her for that, but I feel like I’m disappointing her even more every day. I don’t call her very often because I don’t want to talk to her about ME anymore. I don’t want the conversation to end up where it always does…on my diet, my exercise, my plan, my efforts – or lack of them, my sleeping patterns, how much I lay in bed. I don’t want to talk about it anymore! I don’t want to be THIS anymore. Some days I consider killing myself, but those days aren’t really very often. I just want so bad to disappear sometimes, and even try and will myself to have a heart attack. I want Mom and Julie to have the lives they deserve. I want to have a life too, but if I can’t have that, then maybe at least THEY can, without me around. I feel miserable. All the time.

I did actually look at the ranch website the other day. It looks like a pretty cool place, actually. But it freaked me out to think of going there. What if I went there and Mom and Julie never came to see me? What if they just went on with their lives, without me, and forgot about me? What if I died there? Most people don’t really know what they’re in for when it comes to caring for me. I have a bad temper sometimes, mostly because of the pain, and the pain pills. I can’t control myself sometimes, and I say the meanest things. What if I got kicked out? What if I couldn’t do what they needed me to do? The whole idea scares the shit out of me, and there’s got to be a way to do this at home. I’ve got to find a way. But, God, I’m tired. And, God, I hurt. All the way to my soul and back, I hurt.

Tomorrow I’m going to start boxing Vlad, my rubber boxing statue. He helps me get out my aggression, he’s the only work out I can handle right now, and only for a few minutes at a time. Tomorrow, I’m going to make a new plan. I’ll make a healthy grocery list, make some phone calls, try to find another exercise bike, and make Julie proud. Tomorrow, I’ll get on it, and stay motivated. Tomorrow is another day, and I look forward to it. I’ll make it happen…tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Section Prelude & Chapter Thirty-Seven - In Julie's Eyes

Scott's Story
Today, Tomorrow?

Every day now, I picture my brother’s funeral. I’m sure we’ll have it out where Grandma and Grandpa are buried. I’ve been there a lot, so I can picture it well. For some reason I still picture him in a casket, although I know we are going to have him cremated. I don’t know why I picture that, but it’s always a silver casket, a big one. And it is a big task to unload it from the hearse. It rains on that day, like it always seems to at funerals. Everyone comes, and cries, and hugs me and Mom. Everyone is racked with guilt and sorrow. They all whisper about how young he is, about what’s going to happen to Mom and I. We go back to Gramps’ house where my aunt now lives. There is a lot of people, and food, and the fire is hot. Everyone eats, and sweats, and stares at nothing, and talks about nothing. I just wander around and look at all the food. I hate it. I want to throw it all to the dogs. It killed him, and I hate it. I can’t even eat a bite. I’ve just lost my brother, and the whole world is worse off for it. Every day now, I think of that. And I think of what else I can do to try and save him. And this is my answer. These pages, this mini-novel. This is the only hope I’ve got, and all my chips are in, my cards on the table. And I just pray to whoever or whatever is out there, that it works.

Every day now, I try to focus on losing weight, getting better. I know my Mom and Julie are feeling hopeless, and Julie is really losing it, but I’m still trying to do something. I just get so discouraged, so tired, and it’s so hard to stay motivated. I need help, there’s no denying it anymore. Julie tells me to find the help, get on the phone, work harder, find somebody. And I want to, but I forget, or get tired, or lose hope myself, or get frustrated. It’s not that easy, and I don’t know how to stay motivated to do ANYTHING, even make phone calls. I don’t think that’s going to work anyway, so what’s the point? Mom barely talks to me anymore, except about what I need to do, what we’re going to do to change all this. She’s so frustrated and angry, and I don’t blame her. I’m just a big disappointment to everyone. I really hate my life. But I still want to strive for a better life, to make something of myself, to travel, see things, move out of this town. I want to be able to help children overcome weight issues someday. I want to be a businessman. I want to move to Vegas and see my sister. I want to succeed. But I can’t do any of those things until I get better. Problem is, every day I feel worse. Every day my pain gets the best of me. Every day I don’t do what I need to do. And every day I give up a little bit more. I’m losing hope. Every day.

Every day now, I come home and go to my room. I have such a hard time dealing with Scott without getting angry, or upset, or even hateful. I don’t mean to react to him that way, I just love him so much, and I’m so worried he’s going to die, that every day I lose control of my emotions, and any hope, a little bit more. I just don’t know how to cope with it anymore, except to hide from it, try and forget about it, and become numb. I want so much to help him, but there’s nothing more I can do. I’ve tried everything I know of to try. He talks all the time about moving to Vegas, about getting on with his life. Then he does NOTHING to make it happen. It’s all empty words, empty hope, empty dreams. He’s lying to himself, setting himself up for failure. Again. And I can’t even bear to listen to it anymore. I have failed him. I don’t know what to do. And every day, I wait for him to die. I wait for him to die…every day. My son.

Chapter Thirty-Seven – Today, Tomorrow? – In Julie’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, Scott is 35, I am 32

A couple of months ago, I talked to Scott about this ranch I found in Texas, a place he could go to get better. I have been researching and making phone calls for years now. But most recently spent about two weeks on the phone with every hospital and treatment center across the country, looking for a solution for him. Looking for help. Besides this ranch, Rancho Cortez, there’s nothing else out there. There are a few facilities on the East Coast, but they don’t take Scott’s Oregon health insurance, and he’d have to be a resident to get state health insurance first. Since that’s pretty much impossible, and we can’t afford to pay $10,000 to $15,000 a month for his care in a place like that, things look pretty hopeless. The ranch is still expensive, for sure. It costs about $4000 a month, and that’s the discounted work-program cost. I think he could really prosper out there, and I think it’s the only solution for him. But he doesn’t like it, and the only person that can help pay for it has pissed off my Mom, to the point where now she won’t accept help either, even if it means saving him.

Not long ago, I wrote Scott a letter, telling him how I feel about everything. The response I got was less than satisfactory. He still doesn’t want to go to the ranch, he doesn’t know what he wants, and he’s full of excuses. Here’s the letter:

My Dearest Brother Scott,

I wanted to write you a letter because I can't sit down and talk with you in person, unfortunately, and over the phone is not right either. I really want you to know how I feel about some stuff and for us to try and figure out a solution together. I love you so much and I don't think you can even imagine or understand it fully. The reason I don't think you could really fathom the love I have for you is because it is clear that you don't have much love for yourself, and I even wonder if you can really feel love from me or anyone else under those circumstances. That being said, I really DO love you so, so much, and hopefully one day you'll understand how much. And maybe one day, you'll love yourself too. You are a wonderful person with a ton of great qualities. You are very intelligent, kind, caring, understanding, giving, and loving. You have a heart the size of Mount Everest. You are a very special person and I cherish you as my brother.

I know you don't like to hear things I have to say about your life sometimes, or never. And I know you don't particularly like to talk about your issues at all most days. I understand you have a lot of depression at times, and your physical pain is nothing I ever want to imagine, or ever could. I can't and won't give up on you. I want my big brother back. Right now. It has been years and years since you have just called me out of the blue to ask how my day was. I call you quite often to ask how your day is, encourage you to feel better or stay on track with whatever the current plan is, or just to talk and share things with you. I remind you to make a doctor's appointment, or stay positive. I try and teach you ways to train your mind to be in a happier place. I try to help you however I can from a distance. Most of the time I feel like I'm just annoying you. Most of the time, I feel like you want me to give up or stop suggesting things or just plain go away. Sometimes you seem to cheer up when I call. Sometimes we have a good, hopeful talk about the future. Sometimes you aren't too tired to hold a conversation. But those times aren't very often, unfortunately, and I just want a big brother again. I want you to be in a place with yourself that you are healthy and happier, and where you actually call ME, ask how my day is, give me advice, encourage me, just plain chat with me - and laugh. Quite frankly, I don't think it's even possible for that to really happen for now. I liken it to if you were dying of cancer. I would never expect you, in that condition, to be able to care for anyone but yourself because it would be more important for you to focus on your health or recovery than on anyone else. I know you love me, and I know you have a very special place in your heart for me. But I also know you can't fully participate in that love or our relationship because of how sick you are.

I want so much for you. I want mostly for you to be happy and healthy. I want you to travel, see things, meet people. I want you to be able to work again, and be successful. I want you to have everything in life you desire. I want you to have hope. I want you to have a relationship and maybe even some kids someday - if that's what you want. I just want you to have every opportunity and joy in the world. I really do. It's been almost 2 months now since we talked about the ranch in Texas. You told me that if this glycemic index thing didn't give you big results that you would go there. I don't think you're getting the big results you were looking for. But, you still don't want to go, and now it's because you don't want family to pay for it. This may seem harsh, but would you rather have family pay for a program like that, or pay for your funeral? Or pay every day - in lost love, feeling helpless, losing sleep, losing hope, losing years? Money can be made back, paid back. Life cannot. There is going to be a payment made either way. It is your decision as to what kind of payment, and who makes it.

I know you are scared about getting a treatment like that. I know the unknown comes with a lot of fear and uncertainty. I know you would be leaving all the comforts of your current daily routine, home, and life. You would also be leaving the comfort of having Mom. Having Mom to help you with meals, help you with living expenses, and help you by having someone to blame so nearby. Honestly, looking at yourself as a singular entity is one of the scariest things to do. Giving up the security blanket that is Mom, in so many ways, is a huge deal. I know you don't want to hear it, but you know it's true. We've all done it. I'm sure at times I blamed the both of you for me staying in Newport so long. I'm sure she's blamed you for some of her misery. And I know you blame her from time to time for yours. But once you truly face yourself, without having anyone else to look at, you can be free of so much pain. It is the hardest thing, to look at yourself honestly - all the good and bad - and then find a way to love what you see, and have faith in yourself. But you need to give yourself that chance. And Mom needs that chance too. To find herself and love herself - without either one of us getting in her way. We all need that chance. I took mine, by moving to Vegas, and I think if we all stay out of each other's way, but are still able to be there and encourage each other in healthy ways, we will ALL be happy. The trouble is, at this point, we all love each other so much that we can't figure out how to let go - and let each other fly - without being enablers for each other's demons.

For the life of me, besides fear, I don't see any reason you wouldn't jump at the chance to go to Texas and start living again. I know fear is a very powerful emotion and feeling and force. But to let that get in the way of your life - or just even being able to live at all - is unfathomable. You are stronger than that. I know you. You have fought this battle for so many years - and it takes strength to even make it this far - incredible strength. I know you can do this, but I know FOR A FACT that you can't do this on your own. And you can't do it in Newport, living with Mom, and having distractions like Archie and others. And you can't do it without a professional - or team of professionals at first - keeping you on track. You have said this many, many times yourself. You know the truth in this. But, with the right place, and people, and structure, you can succeed. And every step of the way, it is YOU who is accomplishing each goal along the way. It is YOU who does the work and feels the satisfaction of that. It is YOUR life, and YOU will make it fantastic one day. You always refer back to the time you lost a bunch of weight before as a reason you want to "do this on your own". But you didn't do it on your own then either. Gary put you to work on a strict schedule. Anita fixed your meals. The guy at the gym created workouts for you. People and a system got you going - and kept you going. And when all of that went away, you reverted back to old habits and depression. And you were also 100 pounds less when you started that particular journey. Also, a lot of things and life and stuff has transpired since then. A lot has changed in your body. A lot has changed in your mind, and spirit. There is no way you can do this "alone". No way. It's stupid even to try, because you are just setting yourself up for failure, more depression, more guilt, more unhappiness, more hopelessness. A glutton for punishment I guess. I don't know anymore.

If your main concern for not going to Texas is the cost, maybe you should call and talk to the owners. See if there is any way to scholarship some or all of the cost with a promise to repay in advertising or inspirational seminars once you have accomplished your goals. Show them how adamant you are about living life and inspiring others with your story in the end. Tell them how desperate you are to get better and how hopeful you are about the progress you will make. Find a way to make it happen. But with your social security money each month, a few hundred from Mom and I, and other family support, you could be on the way to a new, happy life within weeks! Also, I understand you are physically sick - probably your gall bladder. But what if the doctors can't do anything for you until you lose weight? What if you have to lose 100-200 pounds before they can make that problem better? Are you going to give up? You won't make any major progress where you are...so why not go to Texas and make REAL progress right away? Maybe that would fix a few problems with your physical health. Doing nothing won't fix anything. So, maybe you don't want to go to Texas. Find somewhere else. But find somewhere. The only reason I searched and searched and spent hours upon hours on the phone with dozens of places across the country is because I knew you wouldn't do any of it for yourself. The ranch in Texas just seemed to be the best fit. But by all means, please look for yourself, and find somewhere that appeals to you if you need to do that. I'm just gonna say, it's a lot of legwork - and I've done it already - so I would hope that you could trust me on this one. It's a very discouraging search - dead ends all over the place. But do what you have to do. Like I said, just do something. Take charge, take control, and GO FOR IT!!

I'm hopeful for your life and your dreams and successes. I'm hopeful to get my big brother back. I'm hopeful that you'll make the right choice. I'm hopeful that one day soon, you'll find the complete serenity of knowing and loving yourself. I'm hopeful for your journey. And I love you - to the moon and back a thousand times.

I also hope that in this letter you find my love, some change-of-heart, a renewed passion for life. I hope you find some truth. I hope you understand what this letter is for - but if you don't - it is for you. For you to know how much I love you, and how much I want to help you get better. For you to understand that I am here for you, and that I want you to stay here - for a very long time. For you to realize, once and for all, that you are worth so much in this world. You deserve happiness. You deserve life. And you can do it. I believe in you. Still. And always.

Love, Julie

Rancho Cortez - Ranch number: 830-796-9339 or 866-797-9339
Rancho Cortez - Personal number - Mary/Larry Cortez: 830-796-3541

Scott’s answer to this letter came many days later. I called him, and he said he had read it. Said that I was right on with 90% of what I said. That the 10% I was wrong about was the ranch. That he wouldn’t go, wouldn’t take the money from family to pay for it. My heart broke in a million pieces. I don’t know what else to do. Today, I’m feeling very hopeless and sad. And all I want is for Scott to have a chance at tomorrow. To really have a chance. But I can’t force him, and I can’t change his mind. And I can’t do a damn thing but wait and see.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Six - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Six – No Time – In Mom’s Eyes
2004 – I am 55, Scott is 30, Julie is 27

My Dad is dying. I can’t bear it, I can’t believe it. And it’s going too fast. There’s no time left for me to tell him how much I love him. No time left to tell him everything I need him to know. And there’s no time for Scott to show him he’ll get better. Scott is tormented by it. He’s losing it more and more every day. Julie and I, and my sisters, have been taking care of Dad for the last four months, spending time out at the farm, making sure he’s as comfortable as he can be. Every time I go out there, he’s a little bit worse. He’s losing weight rather fast, won’t hardly eat anything. And he has these coughing attacks that scare the daylights out of me. He can’t breathe, he can’t hardly walk anymore, and I’m losing him. We’re all losing him.

Julie is out there now, she’ll be there for two more days. I don’t know how she does it. It’s not even her dad, but I think she feels closer to him than some of his own children. Scott is doing a little better physically, thank God, because we do need Julie’s help with Dad. Julie’s been taking care of Scott for a few months now, bathing him, cooking for him, trying to keep him on track, and positive. But it’s been hard for her. She acts so strong and tough, but I know it has beaten her down a bit. And now this, now she’s taking care of MY Dad. Taking care of my son, taking care of my Dad. She takes care of everybody, and I wonder when she’s going to take care of herself. I worry about her. She’s so smart and talented, I just want her to be free. I want her to do something for herself, for her own life. Before Scott came, all those years ago, she was starting to make a plan for her life. And it sounded exciting. She was going to New York, or Italy, or even Portland. She was going to write books, and be an entrepreneur. She had so many hopes and dreams, and plans. But she stopped dreaming and hoping and planning the day Scott got here. Her entire focus switched to him. And now it’s on her Grandfather. Now she wants to be with him. Help him. Help us all. She’s got two jobs, her brother, her Grandpa, and the commuting between it all. I really don’t know how she does it. I’m in awe of her, yet again.

“Hi Mom.”
“Oh, honey, what’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Um…oh, Mom, I’m just so sad.” Julie is crying, it sounds like she’s been crying for a while, and it’s hard for her to speak. My heart breaks for her, and I’m worried about my Dad too.
“Honey, what HAPPENED? Are you okay? Is Gramps okay?”
“I guess so, I don’t know Mom. It’s not good. He…can’t…he…isn’t able to…” She breaks off in a sob, and I don’t know what she’s saying. It’s frustrating and I’m worried. I don’t know what to say, so I wait. “Mom, it’s just, he had a hard time in the bathroom tonight. He couldn’t wipe his own ass – or that’s how he put it anyway, or screamed it when he came out. Oh, Mom, he’s so ashamed, so embarrassed, so sad and angry and upset. And I can’t make it better. Oh, Mom, I’m so sorry for him, for me, for us all. He’s going too fast, just too fast. And he can barely walk, Mom. He’s so mad. He hates that tumor and I want to cut it off for him, but I can’t. He gets his knife out all the time and asks me to cut it off, and I just want to do it. I can’t stand how unhappy he is, I can’t stand his pain, Mom. Oh, Mom…he’s so upset. I had to clean him like I did for Scott. He didn’t want me to. I told him about doing it for Scott and he finally let me. He was CRYING, Mom, CRYING. I just can’t take it right now. I need my Mom. I needed to talk to you, tell you about it. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to worry you. I don’t want to make you worry. I’m sorry. I just needed to get it out. I just HATE this, WHY HIM? He’s supposed to live forever, Mom, FOREVER. I don’t want to lose him, Mom, I can’t bear it. He’s the only father I’ve ever known and it just hurts so bad. And he was so upset, so embarrassed. I hate that for him. He’s so angry, and in so much pain. He only had a few minutes in between cough attacks today, Mom, it was a really rough day for him, and it had to end like this. I just don’t know what to say anymore, I just don’t know what to do to make him feel better about any of it. I can’t really help him. And I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“God, Julie, you don’t have anything to be sorry for. It’s a good thing you’re there for him, especially today. At least you know what to do. If me or my sisters were there we probably would have freaked out a lot worse than you. You did a good job, honey. I’m so proud of you. It’ll be okay, I promise. We’ll figure it out, I promise. Do you want to come home early? I can call somebody else to come take your place, or come over there myself.”
“No, Mom, I don’t want to leave here at all. Until he does. I don’t want to miss a moment of his life ever again. I don’t want to leave him, I don’t want him to feel this way with anybody else. I don’t want him to be humiliated again. I want to stay here, but I know I can’t. And it’s killing me.”
“Honey, you need a break. I understand how you feel, but it’s not possible for you to stay, you know that.”
“I know. I just…I just don’t want to leave him. I love him.”
“I know you do, honey. Try and get some sleep tonight. Let me know how things are in the morning. I’ll have someone come out if you need help. We’ll figure it out, I promise. Just try and get some rest tonight. Tomorrow’s another day. It’ll be okay.”

Even as I say the words, I know it won’t be okay. It’ll never be okay again. Julie is broken, and my Dad is dying. My son is struggling with his life, I am lost in mine. Nothing’s okay, or ever going to be okay again.

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Five - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Five – The Rebellion – In Mom’s Eyes
2003 – I am 54, Scott is 29, Julie is 26

Scott is going through a rebellious phase, I guess. I’ve been through this before, with Julie. But Scott is much older than she was when she rebelled. He’s too old to be acting like this now. It makes me so angry what he’s doing, that sometimes I could literally kill him. He has destroyed my cute little house. He’s brought despicable, crazy, criminals and juveniles into my home. We’ve been stolen from, lied to, and treated like crap. I am fed up and I just want to escape. Most nights I just stay in my room and drink. I just want it all to go away. Julie has been trying to hold things together, but they fight so often now, it’s like they are children again.

Scott has taken to calling us names, telling his friends we are horrible, and lying about what we do to him and how we act or what we say. He paints a terrible picture of us to his “friends”, these scumbag felons, and homeless people that pass through our house every day. They take what they want, they use Scott for EVERYTHING, they are killing us, and he is the mastermind behind it all. Maybe he wants us to hurt as much as he does. He’s always angry, always blaming the world for his condition. Or blaming the family, or blaming me. Or blaming Julie. He eats and eats and eats these days. Those assholes bring him fast food all the time, they know how to get to him. They know, and they use it to get what they want. They don’t care about him, they don’t care about anybody. They are users, and manipulators, and sleezeballs. And Scott can’t see any of it. He’s so na├»ve about people, about the world. He’s never lived in an apartment by himself, never paid his own utility bills, never had the responsibility of an average adult in the world. Now he blames that on us, on me mainly.

They just took Scott, in an ambulance, to the hospital. I have been drinking all night, so Julie followed them in the car, and I’m staying home. I think this is the best place for me right now. Julie can handle this. She’ll take care of it. I don’t want to see it all happen, I can’t bear to see my son die, and I think that’s what’s going to happen. Julie will call me and let me know what’s going on, probably every five minutes or so. She’ll be fine, she’ll take care of him. I just can’t right now, and even if I was sober, I don’t think I could be there. Once they stabilize him, IF they stabilize him, Julie can come get me. And I’ll go see him then. I just can’t bear it all right now. I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack myself. I’ve been calling my sisters, telling them what’s happening. They know I’m home, and Julie’s at the hospital. They think it’s a good idea we did it that way. They are making a plan, some sort of plan to help, I think. But there’s nothing that’s going to help him, no one can do this. It’s impossible.

Julie calls me to tell me she’s been in the waiting room for over an hour and no one will let her back to see Scott. She’s angry and about to explode. I tell her to calm down, that maybe they had to run some tests or something, that I’m sure everything is okay. She’s anxious and scared, and angry. And I realize I should be there. I really should be there. That’s my SON in there, and I’ve passed the responsibility of him off on my DAUGHTER. What kind of mother am I? A drunk one, that’s it. I’m a drunk, and this probably IS all my fault. I can’t drive down there. I can’t do anything now. And I’m not there for my son, my only son, my first-born. Or my daughter. I’m not there, and it’s a mistake.

I’ve started cleaning the house, trying to keep busy, trying to stop crying and DO something. I’ll wait for Julie to call again, tell me everything’s going to be okay. She’ll call soon I’m sure. But I want the house to be clean when they get home, so I’m scrubbing things in a frenzy, chain-smoking and lighting candles all over the house. One of Scott’s little hoodlums comes by to see him. I yell at him out the door, tell him to get the fuck off my property, that Scott is in the hospital, and that he might die. I tell him it’s probably HIS fault, and that he better get off my property before I call the police. He leaves, and throws a beer bottle at the house. I’m so tired of all of this. I just want my son to be healthy, to be happy, and to be free of all these crazy people he’s picked up lately. I don’t even know where they all came from. I think the word spread around town that Scott’s an easy mark, and they all hopped on the bandwagon to take advantage. They’re like leeches. Scum-sucking leeches, and all they do is hurt us all. Scott thinks he finally has friends. He thinks they love him. He thinks he loves them. He’s going to be so hurt when they all disappear. There’s going to be some fights. There’s going to be a lot of unhappiness around here for a while. That’s IF Scott comes home. IF he makes it through this. God, if I make it through this it’ll be a miracle.

Julie calls me to tell me she’s going in to see Scott finally. It’s been over two hours since they got there. What the hell has been going on? She says she’ll call me with an update as soon as she can, so I keep cleaning. I’ve got to keep busy, keep moving. Because if I stop, I might not make it. This is the hardest thing I’ve experienced in a long, long time. I should be there, I don’t know what I’m doing.

I don’t even know what time it is anymore, but I hear Julie pull into the driveway. I have a dust rag in one hand, a bottle of Windex in the other. Why is she home? I go to the door to ask her this very question, but she is still at the car, opening the passenger door…for Scott. He’s home. They’re both home. I almost think for a minute that I’m imagining it, but within moments, they are both in the house, Scott already laying down in his room, Julie sitting on the couch in the living room, shaking and smoking, smoking and shaking. And sobbing.

“They wouldn’t admit him, Mom. They said there’s nothing else they can do for him tonight, and that they needed the bed for more patients. They discharged him. Told us he had Congestive Heart Failure, monitored him for a couple hours, if you can call it that, then told us to leave.”
“Is he okay?”
“No, Mom, he’s NOT okay. The entire time he was in there, when they wouldn’t let me back to see him, he was pissing himself in the bed. He couldn’t help it. They gave him some shot that makes him pee, and he did. A LOT. Then they just left him in there. No one even came to check on him except once. A mean nurse, he said. When I got back there, he was soaked, Mom, soaked. And burning from the urine. He’s got rashes on his legs, Mom, and they were BURNING from his pee. No one would help us. I cleaned him up and changed his bed MYSELF. Mom, I don’t know what to do. He’s not in good shape, he can barely breathe. And no one will help us.”
“Oh, Julie, I’m sorry. I should have been there. It should have been me. I’m so sorry.”
“There’s nothing you could have done either Mom, and you couldn’t have done what I did either. You could never have lifted him up with your back, and it would have just killed you to be there at all. You didn’t need to be there. It wouldn’t have mattered.”
“God, I’m sorry.”
“Will you get me a glass of wine, Mom? Please? I need a drink.”
“Sure honey, I’ll get you anything you need. Oh, baby, I’m so sorry, I’m just so sorry.”
“I’m sorry too, Mom. I’m sorry too. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Four - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Four – Fat is Funny – In Mom’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – I am 60, Scott is 35, Julie is 32

At the beauty school today, some of the students were standing outside my office, where the time clock is, laughing. They were laughing so hard, a few of them, that I had to see what they were laughing about. I went to my door, looked at them, and they were all turned around and staring at a woman in the waiting area. She took up most of a bench that normally would hold three people comfortably. She was a ginormous, fat woman. They were making ba-da-boom noises, and comments about how she was going to fit in the stylist’s chair. They thought it was sooo funny. Fat is funny, I guess. But I just turned to them, told them they were all insensitive idiots and went back into my office, closed the door a bit too hard, and sat down at my desk. I didn’t hear anymore laughing after that, just a bit of whispering…little pieces… stupid of us… son… really fat… sorry… Whatever. People are cruel, and hurtful, and stupid. And my son has dealt with all of them.

It has been several years since Scott has traveled far from home. And, as a result, I don’t go many places either. We kind of just hermit up in the house, stay to ourselves. I don’t blame Scott for not wanting to go out into the world. It’s painful for him, hurtful. People are so, so mean, and heartless. They’re just plain stupid most of the time. Don’t they see how good of a man he is? Don’t they see his heart? Don’t they know how smart he is, and funny? Why won’t anyone see him for who he is, not WHAT he is? People are so shallow. Especially around here. The only friend Scott really has any more is a grown, almost elderly man, who is mentally retarded and illiterate. Scott needs someone in his life who challenges his mind, who makes him think, and think positive. Most of the time, his friend is so depressed about his own life that he brings Scott down off any sort of positive roll he might be on. I want Scott to meet some normal people, have some normal friends. But he won’t, because it would mean he’d have to go somewhere in public.

Christmas is coming up again, and the family party is going to be here at the coast this year. Scott won’t go, again. It’s been years since he’s seen most of the family. He has too much anxiety, and too much pain. Too much guilt. He hates himself, and is so introverted that he doesn’t even want to see any of them any more. I don’t really want to see them either, but I’ll go. And like always, I’ll probably end up having a pretty good time, but I’m just not into it this year. I am just as reclusive as my son, I guess. And I don’t want to have to explain, for another year, why Scott isn’t coming. Hear every new person that arrives ask me the same questions, give the same answers. And Julie doesn’t want to do it again either. And Julie’s afraid this will be the last chance Scott has to see all his family in one place. She’s sure he won’t make it another year. And she’s probably right.

Scott’s cousins used to tease him about his weight, all the time they were growing up. They laughed and laughed and laughed at him. He made the biggest splashes in the pool, ate the biggest piece of cake at the party. He was big enough that they’d threaten their friends he’d sit on ‘em if they did anything wrong. They watched him grow and grow and grow. But no one has seen him the size he is now. And though they say they want to see him, I’m not sure they really do. It will disgust some of them. It will make others sad, worried. It will make even more sympathetic to Julie and I. And that’s what we hate the most. Their looks of sympathy. Their words of sorrow. Their “I’m sorry’s”. All it does is make it worse for us. For all of us.
For Scott to go to this party, there would have to be a lot of special arrangements made. We would have to find a chair he could sit in comfortably. A sturdy one, that wouldn’t collapse under him. We’d have to borrow some sort of over-sized wheelchair from somewhere so we could even get him into the party, or up to the room where he’d probably stay the whole time anyway. We’d have to deal with his tantrums, since his anxiety would take over and he would lose his mind with it, turn mean probably, or just cry a lot. We’d have to make a special trip to the Big ‘N’ Tall store to see if there was anything he could wear besides a t-shirt. Anything we could stretch over him, that was decent enough to wear to dinner. And he probably wouldn’t eat anyway, too many nerves, too many eyes watching him. So, he won’t go, and it’s probably better off. There’s a lot of little kids in the family now too. They don’t have as much restraint as most of the adults do where Scott is concerned, and I’m sure they would, at the very least, stare or point or laugh at him, without even realizing it. It’s just too much, all in all, and I don’t blame him for staying home. But it doesn’t make it any easier for anyone else either.

I suppose there were times in my life where I laughed at a fat person, and now sometimes I wonder if I’m being punished for that. I haven’t always been the best person in life, and I’m sure my karma rating isn’t at its best. But, what could I have done to deserve Scott? The pain he suffers every day, and has suffered for years and years, is immeasurable. I have failed him, and I don’t know how to fix it. And I don’t want to talk about it, and I don’t want to live it anymore. Fat is not funny to me anymore, and never will be funny again. Fat has ruined our lives. Fat will take my son from me. Fat will break me.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Three - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Three – The Fish Farm – In Mom’s Eyes
1997 – I am 48, Scott is 23, Julie is 20

I’ve been taking the kids out to Grandpa Fishie’s house, my Dad’s house, since they were born. Actually, when they were just little babies, I used to take them out there to stay for a few days, so that I could have a break. Raising children alone isn’t easy. I had a life before they came along, I had friends. And now my life is all about them, and it always will be. Both Scott and Julie have very special relationships with my Dad, and also had great relationships with my Mom, when she was alive. I miss my Mom so much. But I’m grateful the kids had the experiences with her that they did. I’m surprised sometimes at how much they remember of her, actually. Julie was only ten years old, and Scott thirteen, when she passed away. But she definitely left her mark on them. Oh, I miss my Mom.

Julie left for the fish farm this morning, wanted to get over there early to see Gramps. And Scott. He’s been living out there for several years now, helping my Dad with the farm, going to school off and on, and working too. He loves it out there, and he loves his Grandpa. There isn't anything they wouldn’t do for each other. Julie has been going out there every month or so, to visit and make Dad his cookies. She loves it, and he loves it too. I swear, if he didn’t have those cookies, he probably wouldn’t eat at all. She makes him dinner, and lunches. She plays the “fish wife” and takes care of the fishermen. They feed the fish together. They try to get the “big birds”. Oh, they’re funny together. They adore each other. It’s so nice to know that Julie and Scott have him, to be a father figure, to be a friend, to teach them things about life only a man can teach. I’m eternally grateful for that.

“Hi Dad.”
“Oh, hi there. Didn’t hear ya.”
“I guess Julie must have made it out there, huh?”
“Yup, she’s in the kitchen. I guess we’re havin’ dumplings tonight.”
“Well, that sounds good.”
“Yup, I think she might be brewin’ somethin’ else up in there too.”
“I suppose…cookies, maybe?”
“I hope so, getting’ low. Me and the dogs, we have a few each day. Two for the dogs, two for me. Two for the dogs…”
“Well, I’m sure she’ll get you all stocked up.”
“Yup, got the freezer cleaned out for ‘er this mornin’. Lots o’ room in there now.”
“How’s the peckers?”
“Fat.” He chuckles a little bit, then says, “All they do is eat! And shit. And eat some more. Lots o’ fishers today. I think Jelly made about $350 this afternoon. New record this week.”
“Wow! Really? That’s great, Dad.”
“Ye-up. Pretty good. Wanna talk to ‘er? Don’t know what she’s doin’ right now. JELLY! PHONE! YER MA!” He’s holding the phone in the air, waiting for Julie to come get it. He doesn’t say goodbye or anything else to me. He’s not much of a phone guy, really.
“I guess you made it, huh?”
“Oh, shit, sorry, I forgot to call. Gramps and I got caught up visiting on the porch, it just slipped my mind, sorry.”
“It’s okay, I figured as much. How’s he doin’?”
“Good, Mom, seems good. Wants me to get on the scale, tell him how much I weigh. I teased him about his belly, and he swears he’s lost 20 pounds. Same ol’, same ol’. He’s way excited about cookies though, I can tell. He cleaned out the entire outside freezer this time. I’m gonna have to make a lot this time, get him REALLY stocked up. What a tard, he’s so funny, Mom. God, I love it out here. So peaceful.”
“I heard you were quite the Fish Wife today.”
“Oh, he told you that? Yeah, the big $350! But I’m sure Harv. Jr. will beat me when he gets out here, I guess he’s comin’ out in a few days, gonna fix the hatchery or something, I dunno.”
“Gramps sounds excited about dumplings too…wish I was there…sounds yummy!”
“Gosh, he told you everything already.” She laughs, “He’s a doodle, mama. Too funny.”
“How’s your brother?”
“Oh…fine I guess.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Nothin’, really.”
“Is he standing right there or something?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
“Oh, well, just tell me how he looks. Is he bigger?”
“Um, yeah, quite a bit.”
“Oh. Well, did you talk to him?”
“Not much. I tried. Not a good time I guess.”
“Alright, well, you can tell me more about it when you get back. Just try and have a good time. Be the helper. I’m sure Gramps will appreciate it. He loves his JellyBean.”
“I know, I LOVE that. I love him too, so much. I just love coming out here. I should do it more often, really.”
“You should. We’ll work it out. Anyway, just have a good time. I love you honey, tell your brother I love him too. Call me before you head home, and have fun.”
“I will, Mom, love you too. Have fun without me! Haha, don’t have too big a party though – no messes!”
“Yeah, right, big parties every night. Lots o’ boyfriends too. Think I found a hundred year old one at the store today, no teeth, maybe I’ll invite him over.” We both laugh and laugh, then say our final goodbyes and hang up.

I wonder how bad Scott is. I’m not shocked, but I’m worried for him. I think there might be something wrong in his system, something that makes his body gain weight unnaturally. He did have a lot of problems when he was a baby, all the way up through grade school, really. Maybe it’s something I did when I was pregnant with him. I did drink, and smoke, but we didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that back then. We just didn’t know. And I didn’t drink or smoke a lot. But maybe that’s it. I don’t know, I just feel there’s something wrong. We need to get him to a doctor and find out what’s happening in his body, before it’s too late to turn it around. I wish there was something more I could do.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Two - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Two – Unforeseen Circumstances – In Mom’s Eyes
2001 – I am 52, Scott is 27, Julie is 24

Just a few months ago, I was happily living my life alone, for the first time since Scott was born. Both my children were doing their own things, working on something or other, succeeding in life. Or so I thought. Now, Julie has been back for a few months, after a horrendous turn of affairs in her life. I don’t know how she’s managing, really. She’s much stronger than I gave her credit for. And actually, I really needed some help at work, so the fact that she’s back home doesn’t bother me so much. And I’m glad to be here for her. Over the past year, she has tragically lost a man she loved, and for whatever reason, decided to try a relationship with her father again. As history repeats itself, so did the end of that relationship, again. I’m not sure she’ll ever want to try that again, but the poor child has a very forgiving heart, bless her soul, and apparently she’s a glutton for punishment too. I don’t know, I just want her to be happy. But she seems to be making a plan, trying to stay positive. I catch her just crying sometimes, out of the blue. But for the most part, she is motivated to change her life, and do something happy with it.

On the other hand, my son is on his way back home right now, and I fear this won’t be as hopeful a situation as Julie’s. He had some sort of falling out with my brother, and moved out of their house after living there for almost two years. He moved back in with my Dad, and by the sounds of it, gave up all he’d been fighting for, and gained his weight back. I haven’t seen him in several months, I don’t really know what to expect. I’m scared for him, for all of us. And I don’t want to go through this again. I’m glad Julie is here, because at least she seems to kind of keep us stable. We all love each other very much, but with everything that we’ve been through in our lives, there’s some tension once in a while. And we fight. At least, that’s what used to happen. Julie and I have gotten along pretty well over the last few months. She’s been busy at work, fixing all that’s been broken there. It’s so nice to have someone smart there too, we joke about it all the time. Being surrounded by so many stupid people all the time can really wear a person down. But Julie and I can joke, and laugh, and we have so many inside jokes too, it actually makes work kind of fun most days.

I’m nervous about seeing Scott, but mostly about seeing what shape he’s in mentally. I know there’s something wrong in his brain, or chemicals. He just doesn’t think about things right, he never has. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very intelligent person, but somewhere in his brain, logic gets lost a lot. And emotion overcomes him. He’s got a bit of a temper, especially since he’s been taking so many pain pills. And he’s generally just unhappy again. I don’t know what to do for him, but I know he can’t stay at my Dad’s anymore. Besides Scott needing a change of scenery, my Dad is fed up too. He can’t afford Scott, with the ever-growing grocery bill, and the ever-changing moods, he’s just had it. And he’s so concerned about Scott too…doesn’t know what to do anymore. I don’t want him under all that stress. Scott is my responsibility. He’s my son, and I’ll take care of him, whatever the problem is. Julie and I will handle it together.

I see Scott pull into the driveway, and yell to Julie that he’s here. We are both nervous, but want to greet him with happy faces and welcoming hearts. We’ve talked about it a lot, actually. We know he’s not doing well, and we both want to make sure he knows we’ll get through it together. We’ll find a way, and we are here for him. When we see him, I think both our jaws drop – without warning or control. Jesus, Scott is huge! What the hell has happened? I didn’t expect this, Julie didn’t expect this, and I don’t even think Scott expected this. It’s downright shocking, unbelievable. He comes in the house, goes straight to his room, and lays down. I don’t know what to say, or do. I don’t know what to think. He’s in trouble, big trouble. And I have no clue what’s going to happen this time around. How did this happen? How did he get back to this point so fast? What has made him this unhappy? How are we going to fix it? A wave of hopelessness fills me so entirely that I can’t even stand up anymore. I go to my room, sit down, and cry. Whatever life I had, whatever life Julie had, whatever life Scott had, is over. This is all we will do for a long time. There’s no hope for a better tomorrow. This is too big, he is too big. This is beyond our control, and I’m scared.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-One - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-One – Found a Dad, Lost a Dad – In Mom’s Eyes
1989 – I am 40, Scott is 15, Julie is 12

I’m waiting for the kids at the airport. They’re coming back from Ed’s, Julie’s dad’s house in Philadelphia. They are upset, and hurt, and it’s all my fault. I can’t believe I actually thought he had changed. I don’t know why I was so stupid to think that the kids should meet him, get to know him. I should have listened to my Dad. He told me they didn’t need him, none of us needed a man like that in our lives. He was right. And I should have listened. I’m so sorry I brought him into their lives. And, God, poor Scott. Finally a chance to have a dad, albeit an adopted one, and this happens. And Julie, she wants a dad, her dad, so badly. I should have just told them he died. I should never have let him in their lives at all. God, I’m stupid. I just need to see their faces, see what damage has been done. I’m so sorry for what has happened to them. I can’t believe I made such a mistake. I can’t believe I allowed this.

The airport is busy, people everywhere. I’m waiting for them to come off the plane. I need to see their faces, see that they are okay. God, it seems like forever. Where are they? Please tell me nothing happened. Where are they?

I see Julie first, carrying her little purple suitcase. She loves it. Scott is walking beside her, his arm around her shoulders, protecting her from everyone. They don’t see me yet. Their faces are tired, scared, worried. Their faces are sad, angry. I get to them and their faces change in the bat-of-an-eye. Big smiles, bug hugs, relief. Julie starts crying. I start crying. Scott tries not to, but he starts crying. I can’t let go of them. I don’t ever want to let go of them again.

“Are you two okay?”
“We’re fine.” Scott is trying to be tough.
“Well, let’s get going. I missed you guys sooooo much! I don’t ever want you to leave again! Are you sure you’re okay? You had a tough time this time, huh?”
“We don’t EVER want to go back there, Mom. We don’t have to go back there, ever, do we?” Julie is scared and angry, and the look on her face is horrible. God, I’m sorry I did this to her. God, I’m sorry.
“No, honey, you don’t ever have to go back. It’s okay, you’re safe. We’re going home. You’re with me now, it’s going to be okay. I’m sorry, guys, I’m really sorry.”
“Well, it’s not YOUR fault, Mom! You didn’t know he was going to be like that! You didn’t do it. Don’t cry, Mom. It’s not your fault. He’s crazy, that’s all. But we don’t ever want to go back. We hate him.”
“You don’t ever have to go back, I promise. Let’s get to the car, you can tell me about it on the way home. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us.”

The three of us walk to the car, my baby blue T-bird. Scott doesn’t even argue, lets Julie ride in the front. This is a first. I’m worried about him, he hasn’t said two words, and his face hasn’t changed from its original state of sadness, anger, and worry. I want to take it away, turn back time, never have this trip happen. I want him to feel safe, loved. Julie is holding back, silent. I know the story is coming. She’ll tell me everything soon, but I’m afraid to hear it. And I feel like she’s afraid to tell it. There’s something about her that’s different. Something has changed in her that I don’t recognize. She’s nervous. And I don’t like it. What could he have done? How did he put this fear and trepidation into my children in just two week’s time? Why did I ever call him? God, I’m stupid.

“Okay, do you want to talk about it?” I’ve gotten us out of the airport traffic, and we are on the interstate, heading home. The kids have both been silent. Julie is picking at her fingernails. Scott is wringing the sleeves of his jacket. Silent. These are not my children. Not the children I took to the airport two weeks ago.
“Um, Mom, if I tell you some really bad stuff, are you gonna get mad at me?” Julie is so nervous. “No, honey, I won’t get mad. What happened?”
“But, Mom, there’s some bad words. And I have to tell you about it, because it’s important. But I don’t want you to get mad.” I have to hold back a laugh. She’s worried about saying bad words in front of me. That’s what’s got her nervous. Oh, silly child. I hope that’s the worst thing I have to hear.
“No, honey, I won’t get mad. I promise. It’s okay. I promise.” Somehow, I keep a straight face for her, because she is dead serious. And she’s still scared. She looks in my eyes, sees my approval, and explodes.
“Mom, he’s a slave-driver. All we did was work in his shop, painting it, waiting on customers, cleaning everything. We had to call Robyn, “mom”, but we didn’t mean it. I’m sorry about that. We didn’t mean it, really. She’s not our mom, but he MADE US do it. He’s so scary, Mom. He’s creepy. He’s crazy. All we did was work. At his shop, at the house. He wouldn’t take us hardly anywhere. All we did was work the WHOLE time, mom. And he’s creepy. He gives you a hug and it doesn’t feel right. There’s something wrong with it. He’s weird, Mom. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he’s MEAN and CRAZY. When we called you the other day, we had a big fight with him the night before that. This is where the bad words come in. I’m sorry in advance, but I have to say them. Scott was doing the dishes, and I was supposed to clear the table, and wash it off. So I did, TWICE, Mom. I thought I did a good job, and I was tired, so I went upstairs to rest. He came up after me a few minutes later, made me come back downstairs. He had found a little tiny smudge on the table and written “clean me” in it with a toothpick. CLEAN ME, Mom, with a TOOTHPICK! I’d had it, Mom, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and he was scary, and I just wanted to come home. I told him no, threw the dishrag at him, and ran upstairs. Scott came up there too. I was really upset, Mom, crying and stuff, I couldn’t even catch my breath. He’s just so psycho, I thought he was going to kill me. He came in our room, Mom, he came in and he was REALLY mad at me. Scott told him to leave, and he pushed him into the wall. He PUSHED HIM DOWN, Mom, and came for me. He grabbed me by my wrist and started dragging me out of the room. I was so scared Mom, I didn’t know what to do. I thought he was going to kill me. I bit him and scratched him and kicked him, and he let me go. There was blood in my mouth, Mom, BLOOD. I screamed at him, and said bad words, lots of bad words.” Julie takes a breath, finally, looks over at me, and says, “I told him to leave me the FUCK alone. I said the F-word a few times, Mom. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, honey. Really, it’s okay. What happened after that?”
“He left our room. Scott and I stayed in our room. Scott was hurt, his shoulder and his head are bruised. He pushed him HARD, Mom, and I thought he was gonna KILL us. Why is he so mean? What did we ever do to him? Why doesn’t he love us like a real dad? Mom? I’m sorry I messed it all up. I’m sorry we don’t have a dad anymore because of me. I’m sorry I messed it all up. Scott says he isn’t his real dad anyway, so he doesn’t care, but I don’t believe him. Sorry, Scott, I don’t really believe you. I’m sorry I messed it up for you. I know you wanted a dad too. I’m so sorry.” And then Julie dissolves into a puddle of tears, shaking and gasping, and sobbing. She thinks this is her fault. Oh God, what have I done to my children?
“Julie, this is not your fault. It’s my fault. I should have never called him. I should have never brought him into your lives. And as God is my witness, I swear I’ll kill him if I ever see his face again. I’m so sorry, to both of you, for putting you through all this. I’m so, so sorry. I’m proud of you both for doing what you had to do. I will never let you get hurt by him again. I promise.”
“Mom, he said really bad stuff about you and Grandma and Grandpa, and all our family. He said you were all major alcoholics. Said Gramps started it all, that he was the worst, besides you. He said we’ll grow up all messed up because of you, because you drink too much. I hate him! He doesn’t know a THING about you! He doesn’t know how you tuck us in every night. He doesn’t know how much we laugh, and how much fun we have. And he doesn’t know how much we LOVE each other! And, we’ll NEVER love him like that! He’s just jealous, he’s an asshole. I hate him, we BOTH hate him. I’m sorry he said those things, Mom, but we don’t believe him. We didn’t listen to ANY of it I don’t know what his problem is, but he’s got a lot of problems, actually. He’s creepy, Mom, and the way he hugs you, is, well, there’s something wrong with it, Mom, it’s just not right. It’s creepy.” Julie reaches in her bag to get some gum, which makes me glad because I’m ready for her to stop telling me the story. I don’t know if I can handle much more, and still be able to drive. I’m so angry, so upset, so sorry for their pain. I’m sick to my stomach over it. I just can’t believe that I let this all happen. Julie pulls something else out of her bag, she is rigid, irate, in a state of shock and disbelief. “Ohmygod, Scott, he PUT THEM IN MY BAG! I can’t believe he PUT THEM IN MY BAG! WHO. DOES. HE. THINK. HE. IS? I’m sorry, Mom, he gave us these…these books and stuff on being the child of an alcoholic. I threw them away. But he must have got them back out of the trash, and he PUT THEM IN MY BAG. Wow. He’s scary, Mom. I’m sorry.”
“Honey, there’s nothing to be sorry about.” I am so angry, I can barely breathe. Who DOES he think he is??? He’s been trying to turn my own children against me! I’m going to kill him, I swear to God, I’m going to kill him. What if they believe him? What if they hate me for it? What the hell am I supposed to do? I can’t believe this.

We rode along, all of us crying quietly for several miles. I think Julie has lost it. She’s just holding those damn pamphlets, and crying, staring out the window. Scott has his head down, sorry, I’m sure, for all that has happened. They think it’s their fault. They are so wrong. It’s all my fault and I’m so angry, so sorry, so tired.

“Here’s what I think, Mom.” Julie turns to me, and Scott perks up in the back, scoots forward to hear her better. There’s a fiery little twinkle in her eye. There she is. My girl. She rolls down her window, and page by page, tears up those booklets and throws them out. She says “asshole” with one page, and “fucker” with another. She says “crazy” with one, and “creepy” and “sick” and “mean” and “psycho”. And then she says “good riddance” for the last one. “I love my big alcoholic family, so there! And I love you, Mom. Forever. You’re all I need.”

And I know we’re going to be okay. Somehow, we’ll all get through this…together.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty – Coming Home – In Mom’s Eyes
1999 – I am 50, Scott is 25, Julie is 22

Both of my children are out of the house and doing well. It’s the first time in a long time that I can say that. I don’t know how long Julie is going to last at Club Med, things seem to be pretty bad for her there, but you never know. And Scott is doing so great at Gary and Anita’s. He’s lost over a hundred pounds already. There’s something else, too. He’s excited about life again. He’s positive, and hopeful, and happy. I don’t even remember a time when he felt this good about himself, ever. It makes me so proud and happy for him. And I feel free.

For the first time in forever, I am doing what I want to do, and enjoying the little things in life. I moved into a cute little house, no more apartments, thank God. I sometimes go to the book store and just sit, and read, and visit with Sandy, the owner, for hours. Because I can. I eat what I want, when I want. But, I have been eating better than I used to. I don’t drink very often these days. I don’t feel like I need to. But when I want to, I do, and there’s no one around to make me feel bad about it. But, I don’t drink very often anyway, and I feel better. I’ve started taking vitamins, and taking walks. My heart is free of burden, of worry, for the most part. My children are making it on their own. And I’m happy.

I’ve been out to visit my Dad a lot lately too. There’s just something about that place, and him, that makes me feel whole, comforted. When I was younger, all I wanted was to get out of that tiny little backwoods town, as far as I could go. But now, I love it. It is calm, serene, and it is where I feel most at-home. Dad loves to hear stories about Julie’s adventures, and I show him pictures she has sent. He can’t even imagine the places she goes, and what she’s doing, but he’s so proud of her nonetheless. But what gets to him the most is hearing about Scott and all his progress. It almost brings him to tears, and sometimes does. He’s so happy Scott is finally getting better. He’s so proud. He’s been worried for years, and he loves Scott like he was his own son. I hope, for his sake, for all our sakes, that Scott stays on track and makes it to the end of this okay. I don’t have any reason to think he won’t. Things seem different this time, and I have every faith he will succeed. And, I’m hopeful.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Twenty-Nine - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Twenty-Nine – Home from the Hospital – In Mom’s Eyes
2004 – I am 55, Scott is 30, Julie is 27

This morning, the doctor told us all that Scott was going to be released today. We knew it was coming, but I think we all hoped he would stay a while longer. I’m terrified of what’s to come for Julie. But I can’t do what she’s about to take on, I just can’t handle it. This morning it was all laid out by the doctor.

“So, at home, someone is going to have to help you bathe, Scott. At least until your leg swelling goes down enough for you to do it yourself.”
“I’ll do it.” Julie pipes up immediately. Thank God. Because I can’t do it. Physically or emotionally, I just can’t do it. The doctor then directs most of the rest of his instructions to Julie, as if neither Scott or I are still in the room.
“After urination and bowel movements, he needs to be thoroughly cleaned, and re-bandaged. You’ll need to apply the cream lightly to his rashes, and keep those areas dry and covered. But let them breathe a little in-between cleanings too.” Julie nods. “You’ll need to closely monitor his medications, make sure he’s taking the antibiotic twice a day, his blood pressure meds in the morning, and his thyroid pill at night. He’ll need to drink more than average amounts of fluid. Make sure he sticks to this regimen on his pain pills as well. Too many, and he could become dehydrated. Did the nutritionist give you a meal plan?”
“Uh, yeah, we went over some of that. She’s given us some good ideas, and I think he has an appointment next week to see her too.” Julie’s face is getting paler by the moment. She’s afraid, unsure, and lost in a sea of instructions.
“Do you understand what all needs to be done for Scott now?”
“It’s pretty straight-forward I guess.” Julie looks at Scott and gives him a reassuring smile. The doctor seems to notice that he and I are still in the room.
“Well, so, is everyone on the same page? Do you have any questions?” He looks at each of us, his head tilted down, peering over the edge of his glasses, holding the discharge papers. We all nod. Scott signs the papers, and the doctor leaves. Now it’s time, all of a sudden, to go home. A nurse wheels in an oversized wheel chair to get Scott downstairs in. Julie just stares out the window for a while and none of us say a word. We know we have to go, but we’re not sure how this is going to turn out. And we’re not really ready for it.

After getting home, all of us were exhausted. Scott went and laid down. I went to my room, and Julie just sat in the living room for a while, then made an early dinner. We all ate, for something to do, I think. But I can guarantee you that none of us had much of an appetite. We’re all waiting for the first bath. None of us want it to happen. Scott is humiliated. Julie is scared. And I just plain can’t even fathom that my youngest child is about to bathe my 30-year-old son. And I am guilt-ridden.
I hear Scott go to the bathroom, I hear Julie running water for the “experience”. I hear her singing too. She’s so nervous. I hear Scott sniveling. He’s crying again. Tears are running down my own face, but I won’t make a sound. I can barely breathe, I’m so anxious and sad and my heart hurts for them both, for all of us. I wish I was stronger.
I can’t hear exactly what Julie is saying, but I can tell it’s something to try and soothe Scott’s pain. I can tell she’s trying to keep it together and make him feel better all at the same time. I am in awe of her. I don’t even know how she got this strong. I don’t know how she’s doing it. But she is. And before too long, they are done. Julie has turned out Scott’s bedroom light, walked down the hall, and sat down on the couch. I think she lit a candle, or maybe a cigarette. I have to see her face. I need to see Scott’s face too. My babies have just been through something that I couldn’t help with, and I’m so sorry for that. But I need to see their faces, know they survived it, know they’ll be okay.

I peek in on Scott, turn his light on again. He winces, covers his face, his eyes, from the light. I sit down next to him, rub his temple, stroke his arm, and ask if he’s okay. He says he’s fine, he’ll be fine, just tired, ready to sleep. I kiss him on the cheek and leave him, turn out the light. He’ll be okay, I think, eventually.

I walk down the hall to the living room. Julie’s head is in her hands, a cigarette between her fingers - wavering too close to her hair, a candle lit on the table, and a tremble in her shoulders.

“Are you ok?”
“Really? You don’t seem fine.” Julie shrugs at this, lifts her head, opens her palms to the ceiling, takes a drag from her cigarette, and blows it out in a long, smooth stream. Her whole body seems to deflate with that exhale, and the tears expose her truth. She is exhausted, drained, horrified, sympathetic, and sad. You can see it all cross her face, one at a time, like pages in a magazine, or a slow-motion replay. I want to take it all away for her. I want to make it all better, but I can’t. I can’t. And I’m sorry.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Twenty-Eight - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Twenty-Eight – Addiction – In Mom’s Eyes
1993 – I am 44, Scott is 19, Julie is 16

Julie and I are fighting a lot these days. Scott has permanently moved out to my Dad’s. He says it’s so he can go to school, but I think he just wants to be away from us. I don’t blame him. Julie is doing God-knows-what, and I have been drinking a lot too. I know I shouldn’t drink as much as I do, but I just can’t help it. It’s been a struggle for a long time, and I’m so stressed out right now, that all I want to do is escape.

I don’t even know what Julie is up to. She’s been hanging out with a bunch of new kids. I don’t even know where she found them. Some of them are way older than her, and it worries me. She’s too young to hang around 21-year-olds, and some even older than that. I know she’s doing drugs, I just hope she doesn’t get in trouble. I don’t want her to do the things she’s doing, but I’m afraid if I push her too hard, she’ll go further into it. And she started smoking. She was stealing my cigarettes for a while, and I confronted her. She thought it was a big joke. I don’t want her to smoke, I REALLY don’t want her to smoke. But, she does. I don’t know how much, or really what else she’s doing, but it all makes me nervous. So, I drink. I drink to forget. I drink to escape. I drink because it makes me feel good. And some days, I drink because if I don’t, I feel like I’m going to die. I know I have a problem. But, it’s my problem, and everybody needs to just stay out of it.

We are on our way out to my sister’s house, near my Dad’s, for the Christmas family pre-party. At least Julie can’t get in too much trouble out there. I have a beer between my legs during most of the drive, drinking the whole way there. But it’s not anything new. When you get into that neck of the woods, it really doesn’t matter. There are no police, everything’s a back road, and nobody cares. Except Julie. She’s embarrassed by me. She thinks I’ve ruined her life, and Scott’s. She told me so a few weeks ago, during a big fight. She thinks I don’t remember because I was drinking. But I remember most things that happen when I’m drinking. And she said some awful things. She was really trying to hurt me, and she did. I know I’ve said some terrible things to her too, over the years. It torments me to think about what I’ve said to her when I’m drinking. It kills me inside. I hate it, and I know I’m a bad person for it. I don’t mean what I say when I drink the hard stuff. I don’t even KNOW what I’m saying most of the time. But I remember it the next day, and I hate myself for it. I don’t blame Julie for screaming at me, for finally fighting back. I’m just a little scared that she’ll really fight one day. She’s got a lot of anger these days, where that came from I really don’t know. But I haven’t been the best mother a person can be, I know that. And I think, she must be mad at me for our life. I don’t blame her. I blame myself.

I’m looking forward to seeing Scott, although I know he’s not happy with either one of us. And I know he’s gaining weight. I probably won’t see him until tomorrow anyway, because tonight we have the party, and I know he won’t come. He’s embarrassed by me too. And he doesn’t like to be around me or Julie much these days. I worry about him because whenever I talk to him, he’s always tired, always bitter. And he’s always talking about food. I’m not sure what’s going on with him, or why he sounds so depressed all the time. Maybe he’s just angry with me, or Julie, or both of us. Maybe he doesn’t like school anymore. I know he hates his job, but it seems like there’s something more going on. He doesn’t talk to either one of us much.

He’s been taking a lot of trips into town, my Dad says. And I wonder what that means, what he’s doing. But when I ask him, he just says sometimes he needs to get away from the farm for a bit. I understand that. I grew up out there, I know how secluded it is, how lonely sometimes. I know how much work he does, and how helpful he is with Dad. I’m glad he’s there, but I miss him too. I’m proud of him for going to college, though I know it’s been a struggle for him so far. He was never very good at school, Julie and I always helped him through, finished projects and wrote essays for him. I’m not sure that was the best thing to do for him, but I just couldn’t bear to see him struggling so much.

We pull into MaryBeth’s driveway, it’s full of cars, there are Christmas lights on everything, and music playing, people laughing, everyone is drinking. I’m ready for a stiff one. Julie and I walk into the party, greet people, say hello, and someone puts a drink in my hand within a minute. I’m grateful. Julie disappears. About a half an hour later, Julie finds me again, she’s got a beer in her hand, and I can tell it’s not her first. I tell her it’s not a good idea, and she scoffs at me, rolls her eyes and takes a swig, tells me she’s going to go up and see Scott, then head down the road with her cousin to another party. At this point I don’t care anymore. I’m feeling light and happy, and surrounded by friends. As long as she brings my car back before going to the party, I don’t care what she does. She really can’t get into too much trouble out here. So, I let her go. Someone asks me about Scott, I tell them he’s been working hard, then we all lose ourselves in the alcohol, the party, the people, and the holiday. My kids’ll be okay. They’re good kids.

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