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.

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

Chapter Twenty-Seven – A New Life – In Mom’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – I am 60, Scott is 35, Julie is 32

Talking to Julie these days is keeping me sane. She cracks me up with all of her Pumpkin News. The “Pumpkin Queen of Las Vegas”, she says. Too silly, but really, so uplifting. She’s making something happen in her life, something positive, and I’ve latched on to her calls like a sort of lifeline to happiness. At least one of my children is prospering, making it on her own. Scott isn’t though, so it’s a bittersweet victory. It is hard, day in and day out, living this life with him. I deal with crap and stupidity at work, then come home and feel instantly hopeless. No hope for his life, no hope for mine. All I want to do most days is lose myself in something. Forget or ignore the reality of this situation. But it’s impossible, and it’s eating me up inside. I am guilty of letting my son die, day after day, letting his life slip away. And I just can’t DO anything to change it.

Several months ago, I quit smoking. After 40 years of the disgusting habit, I finally did it. I wanted to be free of it, once and for all. Wanted to prepare myself to live longer, and experience more in life. I want to move, get out of this town. Julie and I have talked a lot about me moving out there to Vegas, starting a different life. She’s quite an inspiration, and I want to be closer to her too. I don’t care if I’m close to the rest of the family, I just want to be near both my children, and be able to start anew, just like Julie did. But I’m fooling myself. I know I can’t go anywhere or do anything unless Scott gets better, or he dies.

I don’t know if I’ll even want to live after Scott dies. I honestly don’t know what my reaction will be, but I’ve been trying to prepare for it. After so many years of false hope, I think I’ve finally given up on the idea of him living a long and prosperous life. I don’t want to give up, I just don’t know what else to do. He talks all the time about moving to Vegas, how excited he is at the prospect of that. At first, it gave me hope. It made me think that maybe he would get serious this time. But it’s been over a year and a half since Julie moved, and nothing has changed. At least, nothing has changed for the better. He’s actually gotten worse, which always happens when Julie moves away. I don’t know why that happens, it just always does. Julie has said she would come back home and take care of Scott again, but we can’t let her do that. This is the first time in all her life that she seems truly happy where she is, and with what she’s doing, and that she’s doing it on her own. We, or I, can’t take that away from her. Can’t ask her to do that. Though some days, I wish I could.

I’m getting old, and I feel it. I want to do something for myself, and have a life while I still have a chance. But every time I start to feel that way, or think that, I think about Scott. He’s nearly half my age, and what kind of life does HE have? I feel selfish, but hopeless. I want him to be better, but I want a life too. I don’t know what to do, just what I want. And some days, I’m not even sure if I know much of that.

But I’m holding on to, and living vicariously through, Julie’s good news and positive attitude. It’s the only thing that keeps me going. It’s the only good thing any of us have. And I’m so proud of her, so sorry for Scott, and so ashamed of myself. All at once.

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

Chapter Twenty-Six – The Hospital – In Mom’s Eyes
2004 – I am 55, Scott is 30, Julie is 27

This is the second time Scott has ended up in the hospital. Julie is with him there, and I’m sure she’ll make sure everything is okay. I’m going down to the hospital in a few minutes too, but told Julie I have to take care of a few things at work first. But I can’t think, and I’ve been on the phone all morning with my sisters, telling them what’s going on, crying, trying to gather myself together so that I won’t be a mess at the hospital. Julie called a few minutes ago, told me they’re going to put a catheter in Scott, so he won’t pee the bed like last time. She’s livid already. Dr. Dick-Head Frazier is Scott’s doctor, and we all hate him. But Julie seems to have things under control at the moment, and Scott is okay. His blood pressure is bad, but not like last time, not like when they just let him sit there, soiled and burning and terrified because no one would help him. God, I hate that hospital.

I feel like I’m failing him again. I should have seen the signs, should have been paying more attention. He’s been hiding out from Julie and I for a few days now. I didn’t even really notice, except that he didn’t really come out for dinner. He would say he wasn’t hungry or that he ate something earlier, and I just believed him. I’m glad Julie is here, because otherwise I don’t think I could do this by myself. I can’t believe he’s back in the hospital, and I think we may lose him this time. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I’m absolutely terrified to find out. I think if my son dies, I will need to be institutionalized. I don’t think I can take it. And that’s why I’m not at the hospital yet. I just want Julie to call me and tell me it’s all going to be okay. But I know it’s not. And I know I have to go down there, help her, give her a break, be there for Scott. And I will, as soon as I can stop crying, stop shaking, start breathing again. He’ll be okay, he’ll be okay. I’m sure he’ll be okay this time. He has to.

When I get to the hospital, they say only one of us can be with Scott at a time, so they bring me back and then tell Julie the same thing. She’s sitting on a stool next to Scott’s bed. Her head is lowered, hair hanging over her face, defeated, tired, something’s wrong. When she hears me coming, she lifts her face. It’s a mess, she’s been crying too. What happened? Julie doesn’t break like this, not in public, not in tears. Sometimes in anger, but not in tears. Oh my God, they’ve told her he’s going to die. Oh my God, something has happened.

“Do you want to stay? Or do you want a little break? The nurse says only one of us can be back here.” The nurse is still standing near us, but not too close. Julie shoots her a look even I’ve never seen in her eyes before, and the nurse quietly slips away, pulls the curtain closed. “What happened? What’s going on?”
“Scott? Are you okay for now?” Julie has kind of ignored me, is watching Scott again. He’s got his eyes closed, but tears are running out anyway. She stands up, takes both her hands and puts them on his cheeks, wipes the tears away. She leans in close, whispers in his ear, he nods, she whispers again, he nods again, and then she says to me, “Let’s let him rest for a minute. He’s okay. We need to talk about some stuff.”
“What happened in there? Last I heard, you told me they were about to put a catheter in, and that everything was going to be fine.” We’re both out in the waiting room now, there are sick people scattered around, watching us, listening to our every word.
“Mom, when I was outside calling you, they gave Scott a diuretic shot, just like I told them not to. Dr. Frazier ordered it, and totally ignored everything I said. After filling up two huge jugs of piss, helping Scott fill them, I kinda freaked out. The other doctor finally came, after Scott had filled another one, with my help, and he put the catheter in Scott himself. Thank God for that, at least. But Mom, not five minutes later, a nurse came by with discharge paperwork, signed by Dr. Fucking Frazier! They want to send him home, Mom. They want him to die. I just had another kinda big meltdown in the middle of the emergency room. I burned the paperwork up, right there at the nurse’s station. I think I might get arrested, I don’t know. But I’m tired, Mom, I don’t know what’s going to happen now. I hope I didn’t mess it up, I hope they don’t kick him, or all of us out. He needs help, Mom, he just needs help, and they WON’T HELP HIM! I don’t know what to do, or if I should just leave, or what? I don’t want to leave, I want to be with him. We’re okay together, and he knows I’ll kill for him. He knows what I’ll do to get him better, and I think he’s okay with that. But I don’t want to stress him out more. His heart can’t take it, I don’t think. I don’t know what to do.”

The registration lady has come over to ask us to use the “Quiet Room” so that we don’t disturb the other patients in the waiting room. When she looks at Julie, she backs up slowly, and doesn’t say another word. I’m so proud of my daughter and so worried for my son. I don’t know what to do either, but I know she needs a break. And I need to be with Scott.

“Why don’t you just take a little walk, get some air, or go get something to eat for a few minutes. I know you want to be with him, but you need a little breather. I’ll go in and make sure nothing else happens, find out if they’re going to admit him, or what the story is. You just need a little break. I love you, and I’m proud of you. I’m glad it was you in there, Julie, because I probably would have killed somebody. But for now, I think things are under control, and I’ll damn well make sure of it. I promise.”
“I don’t want to be gone long. I want to be with him. He needs me. I need to see him, so I know for myself he’s still breathing, still here.”
“I know, honey, I know, it’ll be fine, just take a little walk or something, get some air. Then if you want to trade me spots, and come back in, I’ll wait out here.”
“Okay, Mom, okay. Make sure that doctor doesn’t come back, Mom. I’ll kill him. I don’t want him anywhere near my brother. I’ll kill him.”
“I promise. Now go. It’ll be okay, I’ll be with him. Just have the nurse buzz you in when you get back, and I’ll trade you places if we have to.”
“Okay, Mom, okay.

And with that, she was out the door, walking it off, and taking a break. She needed it, and I needed to see my son, alone. When I get back to him, he’s not crying anymore, the light is dimmed in his little room, and I sit down next to him, hold his hand, stroke his hair. I ask him if he’s okay, and he says he’s better now. He says Julie really went off, kicked some ass, got things moving. He says she freaked him out a little, he didn’t know that was in her, but he’s grateful for it. He asks where she went. He wants her back, but he’s tired too, and just wants to sleep. He starts to cry again, but not a lot, he’s scared. I’m scared too, and I don’t know what’s going to happen either. I’m sitting next to my son, my first-born, sorry that I’ve failed him, sorry that he’s in so much pain, so afraid. Wishing I could do something, wishing I could turn back time.

Julie comes back just ten minutes later, and the nurses don’t even mention the one-person-at-a-time rule again. They just close the curtain on us. Julie curls up on the end of the bed, hugging Scott’s legs. I keep his hand in mine, and stroke Julie’s hair while she rests. These are my children. This is my life. And somehow, I just want to make it all better, for all of us.

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

“Well, I’m not going to accept any money from my sisters. After this last attack from them, I’m just over it. And I don’t want to even TALK to them, let alone OWE them anything ever again.”
“But Mom, what if it’s the only thing that’ll save Scott?”
“We’ll just have to find something else.”
“I’m just worried, for both of you. I’m over here, trying to find a solution, but both of you are rejecting the only thing I can come up with. I just don’t understand.”
“Julie, there are no solutions. I’ve just accepted that this is how I’m going to live the rest of my life, ‘til it’s over. There just isn’t a solution, and there never will be one. It’s just what it is, and I don’t want to think about it anymore.”
“So, neither of you think that, in order to save Scott’s life, we should just suck it up and accept whatever help we can???”
“I don’t know anymore, Julie. I just don’t know. I’m tired of holding the phone to my ear. It’s hurting my neck, and I’m tired.”
“Okay, Mom, I just, well, I’m not going to stop searching for a solution. I just can’t.”
“I don’t want you to. I’m just tired. I’m sorry, try not to worry too much. I’m just tired. I’ll call ya tomorrow, k, honey?”
“Yeah, I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too.”

I don’t want to lose my son. So much so, that I don’t even want to think of the possibility of it, even though it stares me in the face every day. I am failing him. I don’t know how to help him anymore. I feel like I’ve tried everything, save quitting my job and staying home full time to care for him. But then where would we get the money to live? And work is my only reprieve. And I hate it there too. Julie, still optimistic somehow, is the only hope we have left. I don’t even know where to turn anymore, and I’m just so damn tired. All I ever wanted was for my children to be happy in life. Now I’m 60 years old, have nothing to show for my own life, and have a son that is going to die. We all need a miracle, and we need it yesterday.

Chapter Twenty-Five – Missing Dads – In Mom’s Eyes
1985 – I am 36, Scott is 11, Julie is 8

I come home from work and Julie is asleep on the couch in the living room. I hear Scott listening to the radio in his room. They must’ve been fighting again. God, they fight a lot. I don’t understand it. And it kills me. Why can’t they just get along? I know they love each other, but nearly every moment they are together, they are fighting. What have I done wrong? When did I teach them all that anger? I don’t feel like an angry person myself, but they must’ve gotten it somewhere.

I know Scott is still angry with me for moving us all to Bend from Salem, and away from all his friends. I think things would have been better if we had moved to Hawaii like I originally planned. I don’t know, I just don’t know. Maybe it’s a good thing that job fell through. Hawaii is so far away from the family. I don’t know if I could do this all on my own. And Julie, she’s not generally and angry child, but she’s got a temper, and when Scott pushes her buttons, which he does well, watch out! Wow, that little girl can fight. Everybody loves her, and always wants her around. She gets a lot of attention all the time, and she’s really very smart. Things come easy for her. Scott’s remarkably jealous, I think. Things have never come as easy for him. And he’s not the most social person either. I don’t know if I’m doing this right. How do you raise a boy to be a man, when you’re a woman? I take him out to my Dad’s a lot, I want him to learn what it is to be a good man from my Dad. And I think he will. My Dad is the best man I’ve ever known, and Scott just adores him. And he really loves Scott, how hard he works, how hard he tries. Hopefully it’ll be enough. I was too tired to stop at the store on the way home, so tonight I’m making some makeshift spaghetti. Or goulash, whatever you want to call it. I feel so poor. I am so poor.

It would really help to have some child-support from that bastard of a father these children have. But I’ll never ask him for it. I don’t ever want him in their lives, ever. He’s the worst kind of man. Worse than even Scott’s biological father, who left right at the mention of my pregnancy and never looked back. But Ed, Julie’s father, he’s a monster. Oooh, it gives me chills just to think of his name. He’s sick, and I’d rather kill him than see him with my children. Julie’s started to ask about him more lately. I don’t say much. I don’t want to. I don’t even want to think about him, let alone speak his name, or tell my daughter anything about him. It wasn’t long ago that my sister, wretch that she is, told her shit-head little son about Scott having a different father than Julie’s. I wanted to tell them myself, when the time was right. But that little prick just up and told them anyway. Evil child. Since then, Scott has been acting rather strange. He’s taken to stabbing things, everything, with knives or forks or sticks. He stabs the floor, the loaf of bread, his mattress, a wayward sock from the dryer. And now he’s burning things too. I don’t think he’s a dangerous child, just an angry one. I think he’ll grow out of it before long, probably just getting out some aggression over being left behind by not one, but two fathers. I can’t even imagine how that must feel, and I feel like it’s all my fault.

“Hi, Momma.” Julie has quietly appeared at my side, awake now, but still subdued and coming out of her sleep. She’s a mess of tangles and she looks so sweet and innocent.
“Did you have a little nap?”
“I guess so, what’s for dinner? Do you need any help?”
“No, not really. Why’s Scott in his room? What happened today?”
“We had a fight.” Naturally, they had a fight. Always a fight. Is it ever going to end?
“You two just HAVE to stop all this fighting.” It breaks my heart, and I start to get choked up. I don’t want to cry in front of Julie, make a big deal of it, but I’m so tired, and it’s hard to hold it back. But somehow, I do, at least for the moment.
“I’m sorry, Mom. We didn’t mean it. It’s just dumb stuff anyway. Sorry.” I can tell she feels miserable, probably wishing she wouldn’t even have told me about it. I wonder for a minute what the fight was about this time. But it doesn’t matter, really.

Julie goes to Scott’s room to get him for dinner, and I hear them at it again. Julie just wants him to come out, she must’ve been the worst one in the fight today, she’s the most apologetic now. Something bigger must’ve happened than just a torn-off Barbie head, or a bad beat on the Nintendo. I’m so tired, hopefully they’ll just eat and go to bed. I love them both so much, but I need a break. I need to sleep, someday.

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Twenty-Four - In Scott's Eyes

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

It’s been a few months since I got out of the hospital. I’m finally able to move around better, and do some stuff around the house. I’ve been trying to avoid most of the losers I was hanging out with, and Mom and Julie have scared away the rest. I’m really trying to focus on getting better, and having a life. Grandpa is dying. I want to prove to him that I’ll be okay. He got diagnosed with cancer just as I was having my hospital experience, pretty much. I can’t believe this is happening right now. There’s no time left for me to show him I did it, I lost the weight. He’ll be long gone before I ever get to that point, and it crushes me to know that.

Gramps has been the only father I’ve ever known, and Julie’s too, really. After her disappointment with her real dad, she latched on to Gramps even more than before. And she was already really close with him. They bonded over that though, he was there for her. He never really approved of us meeting her father. Never really wanted it to happen. When he called that Christmas, Gramps was pissed off. He told Mom she was crazy for contacting him again. Told her she was making a big mistake. Told her that us kids didn’t need that kind of man in our lives. And he was right, as usual. He’s always had a good sense of people’s character.

I can’t believe he’s dying. I just have to see it myself, but that’s really the last thing I want to do. Julie’s been going over there to take care of him at least three days a week since he got sick. She’s been working a lot too, I don’t know how she does it. Between me, and work, and Gramps, she’s got to be near the breaking point. I just don’t know how she does it. She’s much stronger than I ever gave her credit for, that’s for sure. And I can’t tell you how close we’ve become through my trauma, and all she’s done for me, all she’s forgiven. I wonder if she’s ever gonna be free, be able to do something for herself, and stop taking care of everyone else. More than ever, I want that for her. And now I have more than enough reasons to do what I need to do to get better.

“Scott…” Mom is calling me from the living room. She’s just been on the phone, but I don’t know who she was talking to. I was out in the garage, lifting weights and listening to Aretha. But I can hear in her voice that something’s wrong.
“What’s wrong, Mom?” I’ve made my way out to the living room to see my Mom crying, and shaking, and still absently clutching the phone. “Who were you talking to?”
“That was Julie.” She’s crying, and crying, and crying.
“What happened, is Gramps okay?”
“Well, not really, and either is Julie.”
“Mom, what happened?”
“Not much, really, just Julie had to clean him up tonight. He was in the bathroom and couldn’t do it himself. I guess he made it to his room, and Julie went to help him, knew something was wrong, you know how she is.”
“Oh, God, is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’ll be alright, I just wish I had been there. I wish it was me instead. She’s had enough of that lately, ya know, she doesn’t need this right now.”
“When’s she coming home?”
“I don’t know, she wants to stay. We have to figure out what to do now, he needs special care I think, I don’t know what to do. I just want to rock her, and make it go away for her. I wish I was there instead. My Dad is dying and I’m not there to help him. He can’t even wipe his own ass any more, Julie said that’s what he screamed when he came out of the bathroom. He must be so ashamed, so embarrassed, so defeated. I need my Dad. I need my daughter. I’m just so sorry for them both.”
“God, Mom, I didn’t know he was getting that bad. How long til…?”
“I don’t know, anytime I guess, maybe a couple months, at the most, I don’t know, we’ll just have to see, I don’t know.”

We both went back to our rooms not too much later. I imagined Julie, fighting with Gramps to be able to clean him up. He’s such a proud man, I know it must’ve been tough, on both of them. I can’t believe I’m going to lose him. I can’t even think about it. It’s not real, it just can’t be real. He’s everything to me. He’s taught me so much, been there for me through everything. He’s the most important person in my life, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. I don’t want to fail him, or anyone anymore. I don’t want to fail myself. Poor Julie, God this must be hard for her. Just a couple months ago, she was wiping my ass, now Gramps’ too. Poor kid. How can she possibly not break? What is she made of? How are any of us going to make it through this? Gramps is the only person keeping our entire family together. What’s gonna happen to us all?

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Twenty-Three - In Scott's Eyes

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

Oh, God, I’m in the hospital. My heart is beating out of my chest, and I think I’m going to die. I’m so embarrassed. The fire department had to come to help get me into the ambulance. Nine grown men. Nine. Jesus, what’s wrong with me?! How did I get this bad? I’m so scared, I just want to live, I don’t want to die, really I don’t. My heart monitor is going crazy with beeps, I feel like my heart’s gonna explode. I’m so scared. The nurses got me in here, I got in the bed, and they hooked me up to a bunch of stuff. There’s a cuff on my arm, taking my blood pressure every few minutes, and it hurts. There’s some pads and wires stuck to my chest, I don’t know what they are for. Where’s my sister? I’m so scared. What’s going to happen to me? Am I going to die right here, today, in this emergency room bed? God, I don’t feel good, I can feel my heart beat in every fiber of my body, and it’s fast. Oh, God, what have I done to myself?

They are giving me a shot of diuretic so that I can pee off some of the water I’ve retained. So that my heart won’t fail. They say I have congestive heart failure. What is that? I don’t know what’s happening to me, except now I have to pee. Oh my god, I have to pee. They left me a urine jar, but I can’t reach! Oh, no, I can’t reach! Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh my God, I can’t hold it. I’ve just peed my bed. I’m so embarrassed. What do I do now? I push the nurse button, but no one is coming. I push it again. Oh, it hurts so bad. It stings, oh it hurts. Where’s Julie? Where’s my sister? Where’s the goddamn nurse? I’m crying now, I’m so upset, so ashamed, so soiled. Oh my God, I have to pee again. No, not again, please! Oh, well, I can’t help it, I have no choice. I’ve tried to reach the bottle down there, and I just CAN’T! Oh my God, this is so humiliating! What am I gonna do?

“Can somebody help me, please????” I am yelling for a nurse, since my button must be broken. No one has come and I’ve pushed it a thousand times. Oh, please, somebody come help me.
“Do you need something?” Finally, a nurse.
“I can’t reach with the jar. I’m wet. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to do.” I start to bawl and the nurse just looks at me like I’m a big burden, then finds a way to remove the wet sheets underneath me. She stuffs a new blanket under me, leaves, and comes back with a bucket.
“Maybe you can use this instead. It’s a bigger target.”
“I’ll try. I’m sorry. What’s happening to me? Do you know if my sister’s here? Can you check?”
“We’re doing some tests, the doctor’s got to evaluate you and find out more about what’s going on. It won’t be long, I’m sure. I’ll check for your sister.”
“Thank you. I think my call button is broken. Can you check back in a little bit, please. I can’t seem to stop peeing, and I don’t think that bucket is going to work, but I’ll try.” I’m still crying, sobbing really, and she just looks at me like I’m crazy.
“The button’s not broken, we’re just busy. I’ll check back in a bit. Try to use the jar, or the bucket.”
“Okay, and you’re going to check for Julie, right???” As I ask her this, she is already gone from my little curtained-off room, and she doesn’t look back.

The pee is stinging my legs, my inner thighs. Oh, it hurts. I tried to lean off the bed and use the bucket, but pee just went all over my leg, and some onto the floor. Oh, it hurts. Where is Julie? Please, somebody help me. I need my sister. The nurse who took the sheets off last time didn’t clean me up at all. My pee is just sitting on my skin, burning me up. Owwww, God, it hurts. I’ve got to calm down somehow, my chest hurts. I think I’m going to have a heart attack. No one has been in here since that nurse left. No one. I don’t hear anything else going on out there. But I can’t see anything because the curtain is shut. I need help, but no one is coming. I’m just gonna lay here and die. I just know it. Oh, where is my sister?

I don’t know what I’ve been doing lately. I guess Julie was right, I’ve just been in a rebellious phase. What an idiot. I used to yell at her all the time when she was rebelling, told her what an ass she was. I didn’t understand why she had to act that way. But I realize what it feels like to want to be something different. To want to fit in with any crowd. To need to be accepted. These losers I have been hanging out with made me feel like I belong somewhere. I thought they loved me, or at least liked me. But now I don’t know. I’ve been horrible to Mom and Julie lately, just plain horrible. I’m a liar and a disgusting person. I’ve been treating Mom and Julie like they are animals lately. But they’re the only ones who really love me. God, I’ve been horrible to them, what’s wrong with me? Maybe that’s why Julie isn’t here yet. Maybe she won’t come at all. Oh my God, what have I done. I feel the heart monitor beeping faster, and I’m sure this is it. I’m just gonna close my eyes and die.

But instead, I close my eyes and cry. Between the tears running down my face, and the piss running down my legs, I’m a big, fat, wet mess. Oh, God, please just take me away. Just let me die. I’m ready for it. I can’t handle this anymore. I just don’t want to live anymore. Oh, God, I was just kidding, I don’t want to die. Just please help me. I don’t want to die. I’m so scared. All I want is my sister. Where is Julie? Oh, God, Julie hates me. And I don’t blame her. Why would she love me anymore? I’ve made her life, and Mom’s life, hell – pure hell. I’m such a bad person, no wonder all this is happening. Why have I been such an asshole? Is it too late, really, to make up for it? Maybe it is. Maybe I fucked up too much this time. Maybe I’ve lost them both. I can’t believe how painful pee can be. I think my skin is literally melting off my body right now. It sure feels like it anyway. I deserve it. I deserve to suffer. I deserve to die.

Oh my God, Julie’s here. Is she really here? Oh my God, I’m so happy to see my sister. I can’t believe it’s real. She doesn’t hate me, I can tell. The look in her eyes when she sees me is pure concern. And pain. Oh, God, I’m in so much pain, and I’m so scared. But my sister’s here and I love her.

“Oh my God, Scott, what’s going on?”
“Julie, I’m scared. I didn’t think you were coming. What happened?”
“I’ve been out in the waiting room for two hours, Scott, trying to get in here. I don’t know what their problem is, I’m so sorry. Are you okay? You look horrible, Jesus, you’re heart is beating out of your chest, I can feel it on your skin. Are you okay? What’s been going on back here?”
“I…Julie….I...don’t know. I need help.”
“Well, I can see that. Are you in pain? You look terrible, you’re all red. Jesus, your blood pressure is insane.”
“Julie…they gave me a shot. It makes me have to pee. I can’t control it.” I look down, then away, I can’t believe this is happening. I’m so ashamed. Julie understands right away what I’m trying to say. She lifts up the soiled sheet on top of me, sees what’s beneath it, and freaks out.
“Jesus, God, Scott. Jesus, Mary, mother of God. Christ, Scott, I’m so sorry. I’ll fix it. Are you in pain?”
“Yes, it’s burning, Julie. It’s burning me so bad. It hurts, I can’t take it anymore. I’m so sorry.” I can’t even talk anymore, I’m sobbing uncontrollably, shaking, shivering in shock.

Julie lifts up my legs somehow, slides the soaked blanket off the bed, goes to the sink, brings back some soapy napkins, cleans me up. It hurts so bad, but it’s a relief. She blows on my legs, cools them down. She goes out of my room and comes back with a couple new sheets and blankets. She lifts up my legs, positions a sheet under me. She spreads a sheet over me, then a warm blanket, tucks me in, rubs my feet, tells me it’ll be okay. She tells me if I have to pee, she’ll help. She hugs me, we cry. She wipes my tears away, and rests for a minute. Then she jumps away from the bed like a wild banchee and tears out of my room, leaving the curtain open so I can see what she’s about to do. God, I love my sister. I’m so glad she’s on my side. Those nurses are going to get exactly what they deserve, and more. She’s mad, and she’s on a mission, and she’s good at that. If I ever get out of here, I promise I’ll never hurt her again. I’ll never be mean to her again. She really does love me, and I want to live, if only to show her I can.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Twenty-Two - In Scott's Eyes

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

Everybody thinks fat is funny. I laugh at fat people too. But not as much as I used to, that’s for sure. Mostly I just feel sorry for them. Like I feel sorry for myself. I know what they go through, being overweight in this world. But I get mad sometimes, at all the people who are just a little bit fat, and they go and get the gastric bypass, and they’re instantly skinny. I feel like too many people use that surgery as an easy way out. For people like me, it’s a more necessary option, but for someone who is only 50 or 60 pounds overweight, it just seems lazy.

I feel like a recluse quite often these days. I rarely ever go out in public anymore. It’s just too hard. It hurts physically, but the other part is worse than that. People look at me like I’m a leper. Like they might catch fat if they get too close. Like it’s contagious. I wish I could just walk through a store and nobody looks at me, I’m normal. But it never happens. First of all, I can’t WALK through the store at all. I have to ride a cripple cart. There’s no way I could make it around without one. And there’s only a few of them around I can even fit in anymore. So, people don’t just look, they stare. Sometimes they even follow me down an aisle, maybe to see what I’m getting, maybe because they’ve just never seen someone as big as me. Whatever the reason, it hurts. I feel like a spectacle. Like a freak at a carnival. I try to ignore it, but you can’t ignore something like that. Every way you turn your head, there’s another person staring, laughing, pointing, dropping something other than just their jaw.

No one ever talks to me, or just says “hello”. They mainly say things to the people next to them, things like “God, he’s fat!” or “Wow!” or “Look at THAT!” or my favorite, “Jesus Christ! What’s HE doing in a GROCERY store?!?!” Assholes. They don’t stare or make fun of old people, or ugly people, or other fat people. Just me. I guess the other fat people look skinny when I’m around. Good for them. At least I give ‘em a break, if I can’t get one myself. So, I don’t go out very often. Julie is always telling me that I should try and go out somewhere for recreation, to meet new people. That, when they get to know me, they’ll treat me differently and it’ll make me feel better. She just doesn’t understand the anxiety I have, and how bad it is for me out there. I know she’s seen it, I know she knows it happens, but she just doesn’t get how painful it is, I don’t think. I’m sure she’s right, though. If people actually got to know me, instead of judge me from the outside, I’d probably have more friends, more things to do. But it just feels like an impossible task, and makes me nervous and tired just thinking about it. Besides that, it is really too painful for me, physically. My pain has gotten so bad, it takes my breath away after only a few steps now. My knees have no cartilage left, my back is screwed up in every place, and the whole of my body just hurts constantly. I wouldn’t even be able to move if I didn’t have pain pills. And I hate those too, but at least they keep me mobile, or as mobile as possible anyway.

What I do most days now, is lay in bed, in-between short chores, and watch t.v. There are a lot of motivating shows on now about losing weight, but there are more shows where fat is still funny. Sometimes I still catch myself laughing along, but it’s because I temporarily forget that I’m fatter than that. I’m fatter than ALL of that. The only other people I’ve seen on t.v. that are as fat as me, have been on TLC. “The Half-Ton Teenager”, “The 1000 Pound Dad”, there are a few of them. Most of them die, or fail at losing any significant weight. It’s sad, and I think about myself and what’s gonna happen to me. I don’t feel good at all, physically, or mentally most of the time, and I wonder all the time if I might not wake up one day soon. If my heart will just give out. I wonder what’s going to happen to Mom and Julie, how they’re going to react. I wonder where they’ll have a funeral, and sometimes I can even hear what people will whisper. “This didn’t have to happen”, “Why did he let himself go this bad”, “It’s probably better off”, “Now his mom and sister can get on with their lives”, “There’s nothing more any of us could do, was there?” I hate that this is what people will say, instead of saying things about what I have accomplished, or who I am as a person. Julie will probably speak about me like that, instead of the bad stuff. But only Julie. Everyone will cry, I’m sure, but mostly for Mom and Julie, not because I’m dead.

There’s really not much that’s funny about being fat. Not being able to breathe isn’t funny. Not being able to walk isn’t funny. Being laughed at, stared at, pointed at, isn’t funny. Losing faith in everything isn’t funny. Wishing you were dead isn’t funny. Loneliness isn’t funny. Seclusion isn’t funny. Food isn’t funny. Fat just isn’t funny, no matter how you look at it. But don’t tell the rest of the world that, because maybe they might actually have to find something that really is funny, and stop bringing attention to everything but themselves, and their own flaws. Now, that’s funny. But not really funny “ha, ha”.

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

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

I see Julie pull in, here to visit Gramps, make him cookies I suppose. I’m out back chopping wood, again. It’s a never-ending process. I don’t know why we can’t just use the fricking furnace. I don’t really want to see Julie yet, or more so, I don’t want her to see me. I’ve gotten pretty big since last time I saw her, and I just don’t want to see the disappointment in her eyes. I don’t want to hear the comments she’ll probably make. I don’t know how this all has happened. I don’t know how I’ve gotten so big. I work really hard, do a lot of physical stuff all day, most days. I know I eat a lot, I’m addicted to food, but why am I gaining so much weight? It’s just not fair. Other people eat a lot too, but seem to never gain a pound. My cousin Mike, for instance, he works a lot too, and eats a lot, but he’s all cut and trim. I don’t get it. There’s something wrong with me, I just know it.

Gramps is calling for me, Julie must have asked where I am. He’s taken to calling me “Skinny” now, which is not funny. I hate it, actually. But I guess it’s his way of not calling me fat. I guess that’s better somehow, I don’t know. Anyway, I’m not gonna answer him, I’ll just let the two of them catch up for a while. Jesus, I hate chopping wood. It hurts. My back is all screwed up, and my knees are hurting a lot lately. I know it’s because of this weight. I have to sit down a lot now, and it pisses me off. I just wish I was normal-sized. I don’t want to be like this anymore. I just hurt all the time. I think I’m gonna quit for the day. Just gotta get some wood in, and then I’ll be done. Julie will make us something yummy for dinner, she always does. God! Why do I always have to think about FOOD! Why is that the ONLY thing that ever gives me happiness? Forget it, I’m just not even gonna eat tonight. I’ve got to get over this. I’ve got to stop thinking about food every second. And eating it. Ohhhh, I hate this. My life sucks. And my back hurts, and the damn dogs are in my way coming in the door with the wood. And I’m sweating, and Julie is in the kitchen already, and I just want to crawl in a hole, I can’t even look at her right now.

"Hey Scooter, how are ya?" Julie’s all peppy, and annoying.
"Fine, MOVE DOG!" The dogs are always in the way. Dogs are more revered than people in this neck of the woods. "Shit! Dammit!" I’m grunting and sweating and cursing as I lug firewood in the house with an old wheelbarrow. God, I just wanna die.
"Want some help?"
"No! I'm fine." I snap at her and am instantly mad at myself. Why am I taking it out on her? She’s done nothing wrong. She’s just being Julie, which is a good thing. But why does she always get to be the good one?
"Okeeey." She knows I’m in a mood. I hope she doesn’t take it personally. I’ll visit with her in a second, when I’ve rested a bit. When I calm down. I need some water, god, I’m so damn thirsty. But after unloading the wood, I’m just too tired to get it. I make it to the couch in the back room, and plop my fat ass down, wipe the sweat off my face with my shirt, and pant like a frickin’ dog. Everything is so hard to do lately. I hate it.
"Here, have some water." As if she read my mind, Julie hands me a glass of water and sits down next to me. I guess I’m gonna have to look at her now. See the disappointment in her eyes. Face her thoughts. "Workin' hard today, huh?"
"Yeah, always." She’s looking at me, but just right in my eyes. She doesn’t see my fat! She doesn’t see my fat! Wow, her eyes look happy to see me. I don’t see any disappointment or shame. It’s just not there. Wow.
"What do you want for dinner tonight? Thought I might make chicken dumplings for Gramps. Sound good?"
"Mmmmmmm, yeah, nummies." God, dumplings sound good. Food sounds good. I’m starving. My sister’s here, and she doesn’t hate me, and she’s gonna cook me dumplings. I love life sometimes.
"You're a dork, and I hate when you make those sounds."
"Why? They're my nummy sounds."
"Yeah, that's why."
"Whatever." Well, there it is. The disappointment, after all. Not in her eyes, but in her words. I guess it’s just my life now. One big ball of shame. I’m tired. I’m hungry. And I’m sick of my life.

Julie heads back to the kitchen, and I stay on the couch for a while. She sings and chops things, and puts things in a pot to cook. She mixes and pours, and puts things in a bowl to bake. Making dumplings, and cookies, all at once. She’s doing all things that make Gramps happy. And she loves it. But it bothers me sometimes, that she can just come out here every once-in-a-while, make him a couple dinners and dozens of cookies, and he’s over the moon about it. He talks about her visits for weeks, until the next one. I work all day, every day, for him, and he never even says ‘thank you’. He rarely ever tells me I did a good job, or anything else. But that’s just the way he is. And I still love him. I wish I could make him proud of me. I know he loves me, but I wish he liked me more. He can’t stand to see me the way I am. And I can’t stand to see his disappointment. I just wish things were different.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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

Chapter Twenty - Unforseen Circumstances - In Scott's Eyes
2001 - Mom is 52, I am 27, Julie is 24

Well, I've royally fucked everything up, again. I'm on my way to Newport to move back in with Mom and Julie. What a loser. Poor Mom, she finally got rid of us both, and now we're both back. When's she ever gonna be able to live HER life without the burden of Julie and I? This sucks, this all sucks. I am fat. So fat I can barely drive my Jeep anymore. The steering wheel pushes into my stomach so far that I have a constant bruise from it. I hate being this fat. I guess I'm crazy. I guess there's something really wrong with me. I mean, who loses over 200 pounds, then gains it all back in less than 6 months? Who DOES that? God, I hate myself. And I hate living at Gramps’ now too. It's so secluded, it's so depressing, it's so lonely. That's why I've been eating so much. For comfort, I guess. All I've done is eat, without even thinking most of the time. But when I do think about it, sometimes it makes me sick to think about what I eat and how MUCH of it. I'm a fat pig. I hate myself. I should just drive off a cliff right now. End it all. I don't want to be anybody's burden anymore. I'm so tired.

I'm afraid of what Mom and Julie are going to say when they see me. Afraid of what they'll think. Last time they both saw me, I had gained a little bit of weight back, but not like now. I am surprised myself, at how I look, how big I am. I try to avoid mirrors. I haven't weighed myself since I left Gary and Anita's house. I don't even want to know. I know I'm bigger than I've ever been. I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know why this happened, and why this is my life. I hate it. I really feel bad about leaving Gary and Anita's. I didn't want to admit it, but it's really because of my own pride and stubbornness. All Gary did was ask me to pay a few expenses. I should have just done it, then I wouldn't be in this position. I wouldn't be moving to Newport. I wouldn't be so fucking fat. But my feelings were hurt. A few months before I left, I had an accident on an extension ladder. The thing wasn't latched right, and when I got to the top, it gave out, sending me about 20 feet to the ground in less than a second. I went through physical therapy for a few months, but my knees are shot. I'm in so much pain all the time, and it doesn't help that I'm a big fat pig. Every pound of weight I gain makes my pain that much worse. I'm in a fog all the time, pain pills - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Anyway, when Gary asked me to pay some rent, or expenses, it just pissed me off. He was barely paying me anything for the work I do for him anyway. Then I wasn't even able to work for a few months, and all of a sudden, when I'm the brokest, he wants me to give him money. It just hurt my feelings, mostly the way he put it, made me feel like I was just a big ol' burden. But I work too, I cook sometimes, I clean the house or do the laundry. I help out. But he just made me feel like I wasn't doing ANYTHING and that I was just mooching off them. It hurt my feelings, and I lashed out, and then moved out. I wish it would've never happened. I wish I didn't have such a bad temper sometimes. I wish I could go back. But I can never go back. I'm so ashamed. Especially now, that I've undone all that Gary, Anita, and I did together. What they did for me was life-changing, it was a chance I'll never get again. I think it's why I eat so much, to forget about my shame. Somehow I'm gonna have to find a way to do this on my own. Or just kill myself, and be done with it. This option seems like the better one at the moment.

I told Gramps I was moving back with Mom so I could get healthy and be in a more active environment. I promised him I would work on it. I think he was somewhat relieved to have me gone. I know he is very concerned about me, but the way he shows it isn't really very nice. He gets angry with me now all the time. And the way he looks at me makes me feel like a piece of shit. I just can't handle it anymore. I don't want to be his disappointment. I think that's why I eat so much, to give myself approval, since I know he doesn't approve of my life. I just feel like my life has spiraled out of control. I tried to go back to school for a few months, but quit like a loser. I went back to work at Target for a few months, but quit that too. Hate that place anyway. I've been working on the farm, trying to keep things up since no one did much while I was at Gary and Anita's. But it's too much work for one person, and I'm tired of it. I don't have any money, all I think about is food, all I do is eat, and I think I eat so much so that I can have control over SOMETHING.

I'm almost to Newport, but I decide to stop at Dairy Queen and get something to eat. I order three double bacon cheeseburgers and two corndogs and a large Coke. The lady at the window looks at me, looks at the bag of food, and I think she almost decides not to give it to me. I know what she's thinking. I can hear her thoughts - "wow, look at him, does he really need all this food!". I grab the bag and drive off, start shoving a burger in my mouth. There is too much food, but by the time I get to Newport, 6 miles away, it's all gone. God I'm a pig. And I think I'm still hungry. But how is that possible? I must eat so much to fill a void, to make the emptiness go away. It must be a really big void.

I’m tired. Just so tired. And I don’t want to be here, in this town, in this place in my so-called life. I hate myself. I’m in pain, and I need a nap. When I see Mom and Julie, they are visibly shocked. I don’t blame them. I’m shocked too. But all I wanna do is lie down. So I do.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where I Belong?

My cat is curled up on my bed, snoring. I wish I could sleep like my cat. I wish I could sleep, period. It seems as if most nights I sleep for about 4-5 hours, get up, fuel myself with coffee, and think about when I can possibly fit in a nap, which never happens.

Lately, besides writing my NaNoWriMo novel and trying to build my pumpkin bread business, I've had a lot of things going on. I've been babysitting my neighbors' son, he's 8 years old. He's a really good kid, actually, and I'm glad to have him around most days. I'm teaching him about business, and philanthropy. He's making jewelry to sell in my Etsy shop online, and half the proceeds are going to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Like I said, he's a pretty good kid.

My friend, one of my old poker players from home - Toby, was in town about a week ago. He stayed at my place for a few days - and what a riot that was! Toby has a lot of energy and is funny as shit. He's about my age, has got fiery red hair, and grew up with about 10 siblings, so he's got a really great sense of humor. And he LOVES Vegas. He really does it right when he's here. Inevitably, I drop him off somewhere at around 9:00pm, and he calls me around noon the next day, totally wasted and lost, and asks me to come find him and bring him home. So I do. And I love it. He's hilarious when he's that wasted, pure entertainment.

Toby's two favorite sayings this trip:

"Giggety" - sometimes "Giggety-Goo" For him, this means "cool" I think. Or "awesome". Or something like that.....I think.

"Indeed" - this is literally every other word out of his mouth. Me- "Toby, we need to get a burger." Toby- "Indeed". Me- "Let's have a beer" Toby- "Indeed". Me- "Don't you have any other words to say besides 'indeed'?" Toby- "Indeed". You get the picture.

The first night he stayed at my place, we stayed up all night and drank, and played online poker, until we both fell asleep sitting up at about 5am. We fought like crazy people while playing poker online - and god, it was fun! We would be full-on just yelling at each other about how stupid our play was, and then start cracking up and shadow-boxing. Toby's like another brother. And almost nothing ever bothers him.

After I picked him up from downtown one day, we stopped at "In-N-Out" to get a burger, and the line was so long, we went inside. I don't even know how he was walking at that point. We sat and waited for our food, and watched the burger-makers and fry-cutters and order-takers do their work.

"They're like bees in a hive. They move so fast." Toby is astounded.
"It's busy. Lotta burgers to make, I guess."
"I've NEVER been inside an In-N-Out before, wow." Toby is having a revelation.
"Pretty exciting."
"I worked in fast food for two summers, and I think everyone in the world should have to do that, before they can get a real job. Ya know, so they know how bad it can be. And always strive for something better." Toby is reflective.
"Not a bad philosophy."
"I don't think I could wear the hats though. They're pretty gay." Toby is serious.
"I don't know, I think they're kinda sexy." I smile. "and the big huge safety pins they use to pin their aprons on, now THOSE are hot!"
"Wow! I didn't even SEE the safety pins!" Toby is excited.
"Yeah, makes 'em kinda 'grunge', ya know. A little edgy."
"Yeah, the safety pins really make the outfit." Toby is laughing.
"I'm about to chew my arm off, I'm starving, aren't you hungry?"
"Yeah, I think so, I don't know, probably. Why did you come pick me up? A big drunken mess. Why would you DO that? I can't believe you came and found me." Toby is rambling.
"I told you, I picked you up because I wanted you to buy me lunch. And I figured you'd owe me if I picked you up. I was hungry, that's all." I laugh and he laughs back.
"I think I'm gonna just shut up and put my money where my mouth is." Toby is reciting the same song that's been stuck in his head since he got here, but it fits, and we both start laughing hysterically.

Needless to say, it was great to have a bit of home around for a few days. I miss my friends there. I miss playing, and dealing poker there. And I miss just having someone to call when I want to go hang out. Vegas is a strange place, with strange people. On the outside, they look normal, but in reality, they are all reclusive, degenerate gamblers. Or just plain hermits. And as I type this, I have just declined a Thanksgiving invitation so that I can stay at home and cook for myself. Maybe this is where I belong, after all.

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