wake up thinking about your saying you were contemplating therapy. I flip through the handouts I read in the program. I pick out some of my favorites, and a blank goals sheet. I take these handouts to work and photocopy them.
During my lunch break, I go to where you work. I tape an envelope containing the handouts behind a bench. I include a postcard. The front of the postcard shows chaos. On the back of the postcard, there is a rabbit. I write: Even in chaos, there is rabbit.
I believe what I write is true. I want you to believe what I write is true.
I photocopied some handouts from group you’ll like. I put them in an envelope and left them taped behind the bench closest to Costco in that side park.
Did you scribble out the bench/I wish you wonder note?
I’ve been avoiding everything with ties to us.
What does that mean? Yes? No? It doesn’t matter, but someone did.
I’ve been to Costco and Supercuts, but nowhere near your store until today. It’s too much, you know.
If I had seen the bench, I would have assumed you had done it. That’s why I picked a bench far away. I didn’t want to see it.
Well, I am not like that. You should know that. I took care of all of your/Avery’s stuff.
True. But I hurt you and you lashed out. It’s a natural protection mechanism. I don’t blame you. I’m not angry about it. I forgive you.
Lashed out on what? I didn’t deface my own graffiti. Someone else did and then added stuff in color. I did think you had done it at some point, before you went into the hospital.
I wonder if one of your friends had defaced the graffiti to help you get over me.
I didn’t have time for that. I was busy trying to die.
Yeah, let’s not do that again. You have so much to live for with or without me.
I didn’t want to die; I just didn’t know how to ask for help. I’ve never been good at asking for help. I’ve given myself a second chance and I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m sure I’ll make new ones, but not so spectacularly. The two attempts are invisible scars on my forearms.
I wanted to call you when Holly sent me the e-mail. I was scared. I also worried that if when I called and it wasn’t to take you back, that you might try harder to end it.
I tried hard enough. It wasn’t my time. Seriously, it’s not your fault. You gave me a push, but I was already in freefall. Don’t blame yourself; I don’t. It wasn’t really about you.
I don’t blame myself, but I still wanted to help you.
You couldn’t. I needed to do it alone. And I had Holly and Avery. And I wrote a lot. It’s like I opened my head and dumped it out. I was lucid and sane by Friday night. I needed to sleep and I needed to talk. I was compartmentalizing everything and I needed to unify my head. Talk about tearing down walls. I needed to do this on my own. But thank you for being concerned.
You’re welcome. I need to go back. Lunch is over.
Thanks for talking.
Later, you and I talk briefly about yoga. You do not recognize the names of poses I am practicing. I think we’re practicing two different things.
Holly makes dinner. We eat together, and then give Avery a bath. He falls asleep early. Holly makes us tea. We sit on the couch and talk about our day. I do not tell her that you and I have been talking.
* * * * *
William Henderson has written for local and national newspapers and magazines, including the Advocate; the Boston Globe; and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism & Communications from the University of Florida, and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Emerson College, where he studied creative non-fiction. He earned a Hearst Award in profile writing in 1998, and various awards from the Washington Press Association, Florida Press Association, and the New England Press Association. Currently, he is a freelance writer, editor, and copyeditor, and a full-time father to his children, Avery and Aurora. He can be reached at email@example.com and through his blog, Henderson House of Cards.
His other Snake-Oil contributions are here.