Robert Bard

Posts Tagged ‘bipolar’

Circumlocution

In Mimesis on August 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm

*(As a brief note–and not part of the story–this material was previously published earlier on in this blog, but I have since moved this chapter to later on the story. Hopefully this does not confuse anyone who had read this before. Enjoy!)

 

Sometime after Reginald was almost hospitalized, he and Elizabeth were sitting in the car at a stoplight as she spoke on the phone with a collections agency about a car that she had owned previously. Her voice had been calm at first, saying, “I know I owe money. What I’m trying to get you to see is that the car was repossessed in September, so I don’t know why I have to pay for insurance for it all the way to the next July. Can I get a deferment?”

It hadn’t ended there. This was something alien to him. His parents had always provided him with a car to drive so that he could get to work, or to school, or wherever. They might have imposed strict regulations on using the car, but at least he had one. Now he was driving her to one of her appointments because the medical taxi that was supposed to drive her hadn’t showed up. It was frequently like this. No one seemed to be listening to her voice, especially not the person on the other end of the line. “I know that. I’m just asking for a deferment. I can’t make the payment right now. I’m homeless, and I’m unemployed. I have no money to give you. I just want a deferment so I can try and come up with the cash.”

Even now his parents were paying for his gas because he couldn’t find a job, and it wasn’t just the gas, it was the insurance. He had never paid a cent towards any kind of car insurance from the day he sat in the driver’s seat. His parents had paid it all. For all her life she had worked hard to pay for her own car and her own insurance and her own gas and every other car related expense. Her father had never contributed a cent towards it. In his defense it wasn’t just that he didn’t want to, it was that he couldn’t; he didn’t have the money to give her. When she got into accidents she paid for the car to be fixed, or bought a new one. Reginald’s parents always paid for the damage he’d done to their cars, the ones they provided for him. He’d had too many accidents to recount here, but the main underlying theme behind all of them was that they were his fault, and not the other driver’s. He’d hit parked cars on the other side of the road because he was too busy looking back at his brother who was trying to enter the vehicle as it sped away, backed into parked cars and driven off on multiple occasions, rammed into the side of a car while having an argument with his girlfriend on the cell phone while speeding through a red light, and slammed into a guardrail while a friend smoked a bowl in the back seat and bounced her head off the window and spilled the ash all over his seat. He’d had three accidents without leaving his driveway, causing significant damage to the car. He put enough damage on the same car to total it twice in one month. There were more; there were lots more. All of them had cost his parents thousands of dollars to repair, some of the time out of pocket because if they had reported it to the insurance company his premiums would have skyrocketed too much, or he would have lost his insurance. In total, his parents might have spent more money on buying and fixing cars, and on insurance to keep those cars on the road, than on his entire college expenses.

In addition to the accidents there were the speeding tickets. The most egregious of these was when he was going 96 MPH in a 55 MPH zone weaving in and out of traffic. He did this right past a State Troopers barracks. This was unbeknownst to him at the time, however, but he found out soon enough. His music was so loud (for anyone that is interested he was listening to Tool, the song “Stinkfist” at full volume) that he didn’t hear the siren behind him, and being a fairly unobservant driver it was a while before he checked his rear-view mirror. Apparently the cop had been chasing him for some time. This resulted in an arrest. His parents hired a lawyer, and the four traffic violations, including a misdemeanor and talking on a cell phone while driving, were greatly reduced to minimal points on his license. There were other times that, after blinding a cop with his high beams and speeding, the cop said bluntly that he could smell the alcohol on his breath, or on another occasion that they could still smell the reek of weed on his clothes, and somehow he had managed to pass their sobriety tests and come away with minimal points, if any, to his license, but most importantly without any DWIs or DUIs or anything of the sort. At one point he was shaking because he was afraid the cop would find the drugs he had on him, and when the cop asked why he was shaking he just told him cops made him nervous. The cop had showed up to court, reduced his two-hundred-and-fifty dollar ticket to a thirty-five dollar parking ticket, and said that they weren’t all so bad now were they (the irony in this is that the cop in being a good person was being a lousy cop, the necessity being that to be a good cop you have to be kind of an asshole, and always suspicious, making it so that being a nice guy, and a good cop are two qualities that are diametrically opposed to one another). Another time he had been pulled over without a license on him and wearing batman pajamas and a bathrobe midday, and the police officer let him off because he said he liked batman too. Whenever he got points on his license his parents would inevitably pay for driver’s safety courses that would take up to four points off each time. He’d had to do this numerous times, but even after all the courses, still had numerous points on his license, and an outstanding ticket that he had no way of paying for, but that his parents would eventually pay for, and bail him out again.

The person on the other end of the line did not seem to be getting the point. “You’re not listening to me at all. I can’t pay you because I don’t have any money to pay you with. I’m homeless. I’m not getting any financial assistance, but once I do I can start paying you back. I just need a deferment until I start getting financial assistance.”

The irony of all of this is that Elizabeth had worked in collections before and had enjoyed her job quite a bit. She had told him that the phone dialed automatically, and that on the computer the person’s credit score and history would pop up with all sorts of other information. She was quite nosy at times, and she liked the wealth of personal information that was readily available, with just strokes of her fingertips.

Her car had been repossessed, though, because she ended up not being able to pay the fees for it, but it wasn’t because of anything she had done purposefully. It was just a bad hand she’d been dealt. She had been in a car accident and developed chronic pain, bone spurs, and fibromyalgia had set in. Fibromyalgia is a disease that attacks your muscles in a fairly unknown way. It causes constant pain and fatigue, and the symptoms are similar to having an extreme case of the flu. At the time she was going to college full time and working full time, making Dean’s list every semester, with her first class at eight in the morning, and getting out of work at nine at night, five days a week. She would then come home and cook her boyfriend dinner, sometimes in lingerie, which he would decline and say that he had eaten already, and was too tired for sex. The stress of all this had wore on her until she broke down. She got tired of taking forty milligram Oxycontin twice a day with six seven and a half milligram Percocet in between, as prescribed by the doctor. It hadn’t taken away the pain. It just made it so that she didn’t care. Eventually the pain got so bad that she couldn’t get out of bed. She couldn’t keep her job. She couldn’t go to school. Her doctor told her that she couldn’t work for a year, and gave her six reasons why, and suggested that she go on disability.

During this time Reginald failed his first semester of college because he stopped going to his classes, but then managed to put together a string of five semesters of Dean’s list and one semester on President’s list, but he mostly didn’t work. While she had wore herself out from working so hard, he goofed off and experimented with drugs, including cocaine, LSD, and DMT (and of course marijuana and alcohol). This added to the drugs he had already tried, which included mainlining heroin and eating mushrooms. In fact when he mainlined a mixture of cocaine and ecstasy it had caused Isis to break up with him until he got sober, which took him a year and a half to do.

The inequalities of life were readily apparent in one car. In the driver’s seat was someone who was irresponsible, but who life had blessed with good health, well off and caring parents, and enough intelligence to do whatever he wanted to with his life, once he tired of being irresponsible. In the passenger’s seat was someone who had worked hard all her life until she had wore herself out, and who now was in constant pain and whose doctors advised her to not even seek a job or school for the next year, and yet no one was listening to her, and despite all her hard work, paying into all these government systems, she was unable to get disability, food stamps, or any kind of government financial aid because the system is not only fucked, it takes forever. It had been like this for months. She was (technically) homeless, broke, and in miserable health. Reginald’s voice is irrelevant. It is of the privileged class—the class that had supremacy for hundreds of years. Elizabeth is the oppressed, the underprivileged, the downtrodden, the hand reaching up for help but crushed again and again, but he, if he could somehow redeem his life will try to give her a voice and show her that all hope was not lost, because his one saving grace is that he loves her, and he will do anything for her.

Her voice was tremulous as she spoke into the phone, “I used to work in collections. I know that by law you have to give me a deferment if I ask for it. That’s what I’m asking for. Can I get a deferment please?”

The conversation could go on for hours. She had explained to him that collections agents are only allowed to say certain preset phrases, and they just regurgitate them back to you over and over, but by law if you ask for a deferment they have to give you one.

She went back and forth with the collection’s agent, and then the collection agent’s manager for quite some time, all the time just asking for a deferment. She explained that the constant calls from the collection’s agency were filling up her inbox and that her social services workers were not able to leave her messages when they needed to, and that this was exacerbating the situation by delaying the process of her getting aid, and that the fact that she was not getting aid was the reason that she couldn’t pay the collections. She explained that she really wanted to pay off the collection’s agency and restore her credit to some semblance of its former self, but that she would not be able to do it for at least a month, and that she was asking for a deferment only until she started getting assistance to help her. Finally the manager gave her some vague response about giving her a deferment for some indeterminate amount of time; it could be three days, it could be three months. Either way they wouldn’t tell her any more.

She hung up the phone and turned to Reginald, and said, “Sometimes, I just want to shoot myself.”

The Waiting Room

In Mimesis on August 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm

On one side of Reginald stood his mother, and on the other, stood Elizabeth. They had been waiting for hours already, and moving deeper and deeper into the heart of the hospital, passing stations at which Reginald was examined by more and more doctors and nurses. They had started at the emergency room waiting room, and then had been transferred to the psychiatric ward waiting room, where Reginald had been asked to strip out of his street clothes and put on blue “paper clothes.” Now, after hours of waiting, the nurse was telling Reginald that he could only have one visitor with him in the innermost waiting room. Reginald hated to choose. Here was the woman who had given him birth and been with him through all his hardships, his most constant advocate. She had fought so hard for him when he had gotten expelled from his school—both times—all to make him have a better life. On the other side was the woman that he had loved since elementary school, and the woman that he had hoped he would someday marry. It was really an impossible decision. He was frustrated to have to make this choice. He turned to Elizabeth, “C’mon, let’s go.” With that, he turned his back on his mother and followed the nurse into the interior of the psychiatric ward, abandoning his mother to the cold, bright waiting room. He looked back over his shoulder; she looked heartbroken.

In the interior waiting room Elizabeth held Reginald’s hand. “You’re going to be alright,” she said to him. “Everything is going to be just fine.” Reginald could feel his anxiety growing, but Elizabeth was like a shot of heroin right in the jugular, and calmed him down immensely. He felt he could not do this without her. There were other patients in the waiting room with them, eating strange, awful tasting hospital food, and Reginald could feel their eyes upon him. This close scrutiny made him perspire, and the cold drops of sweat ran down his brow.

Reginald and Elizabeth watched the waiting room television silently; Jeopardy was on. It was Children’s Jeopardy, and every once in a while Elizabeth would whisper the answer to Reginald. For some reason he thought this was a sign of Elizabeth’s brilliance, though the children on the show were no more than thirteen. As time went on, Jeopardy turned into Wheel of Fortune and Reginald could feel himself growing increasingly impatient. He was not like the loonies in here, he was thinking to himself; he was sane. His outbursts at home—though increasingly violent in nature—were typical, and no cause for alarm. He was excellent at rationalizing to things to himself, and could manipulate anyone with his words into thinking anything; now, he would manipulate them into thinking he did not need to be here.

As they waited to be seen by the doctor, Elizabeth held Reginald’s hand, and tried to calm him down. It was evident from Reginald’s face that he did not want to be here, and she spoke encouraging words to him. She was the only reason he was here, and the only reason he could be here. The thought of an involuntary hospital stay terrified Reginald more than anything in the world, but he trusted Elizabeth more than he had ever trusted anyone, and if she said things were going to be okay—though nothing seemed to verify it—he believed it. They had always shared a special bond, and it moved Reginald that Elizabeth not only did not run away during this time, but that she was here in the hospital with him, holding his hand. He knew that he had a long history of mental disease, but so did she, and though their love was in a way bizarre and dysfunctional, it comforted Reginald. This union of two kindred souls put Reginald’s heart at ease, even amongst so much anxiety. He knew he was not like the other people in this room, and the thought of having to spend an indeterminate amount of time confined within the walls of this hospital with them was driving Reginald to panic. Thank God, he thought, I have Elizabeth here.

After an hour or so in the interior waiting room, Reginald was called to see the doctor; Elizabeth came with him. They walked slowly along the brightly lit corridor. Hospitals make a person feel insane, even if they are not. The lights are blinding, cold, and sterile, and the walls are painted white with no ornaments on them. Everything that could be used to hurt oneself is removed, or hidden away—even pencils and pens. All the beds in the place have straps on them so as to secure patients if they get too restless, which adds to the paranoia and claustrophobia. Any sane person would not want to be in one of these places, even to work. They entered the doctor’s room, and sat down. The doctor was a large, robust, Indian man of about forty or fifty, and had glasses that made him appear slightly fish-eyed. When he spoke it always appeared as though he were just catching his breath. “So what appears to be the problem?” he asked Reginald.

With great difficulty Reginald thought about what to say. Though he had been having violent outburst recently, he did not want to be confined here. He simply wanted a strong anti-anxiety medication to relax him. “I’ve been having a lot of anxiety lately,” he said at last, “and frequent outbursts.”

The doctor looked at the chart, flipping through the pages. “Did anything precipitate these outbursts?” he asked Reginald. He was studying Reginald. His eyes moved over him as a mechanic studies an engine with a malfunction. It was hard to tell if the doctor even saw people anymore, rather than patients. The people who come in to mental institutions are perhaps at their weakest moments; they are fighting for their lives. The doctors work as though they are on an assembly line; they make adjustments or send the car back for repairs to the shop upstairs.

Reginald knew he was playing a game here. If he were to get the desired medication he would have to make the right moves. Unfortunately there was no disguising the truth in this situation. In some ways he would have to be brutally honest and just hope for the best. “I took some ecstasy and acid and I seem to be having a manic episode,” Reginald explained to the doctor; “To add to that my hands are shaking considerably.”

The doctor swiveled back and forth on his chair. His clothes looked tight on him in some areas, and loose in others. The suit did not quite fit him. Suits are not quite made for large people. The doctor scratched his chin and scribbled some notes into Reginald’s chart. Reginald could not see what he wrote, and he had always wondered what it had been anyways when he had seen doctors. They were always scribbling notes furiously. “Do you have a history of drug abuse?” the doctor asked Reginald.

Do I? Reginald thought to himself. He thought back to the years and years of drug abuse that he had been through. He had first had a drink at five years old. It had occurred when he was downstairs in his parents’ basement with a friend playing near the liquor cabinet. He had often seen his father drinking scotch, so he decided he would take a swig. Never before had anything ever burned his throat like that, and he rushed upstairs and started chugging orange juice. His mother had inquired as to what had happened, but he just said he was really thirsty, and she just shrugged it off. Later on, when he was around seven, he had gotten drunk off his parents’ wine with his younger brother when no one was home to watch him. He had started smoking marijuana in sixth grade, and had become a regular user by ninth. It was also in ninth grade that he started getting drunk more regularly and started smoking cigarettes. He stopped going to school and started getting high or drunk every day and ended up spending two and a half years in ninth grade. This was the beginning of Reginald’s substance abuse problem. By fifteen or sixteen he had started shooting up coke and heroin, and experimenting with mushrooms. He ended up getting arrested and quitting those drugs for the duration of his probation, but still drank and smoked weed. Somehow he never failed a piss test. His method of “smoke for three weeks, and then don’t smoke for a week” seemed to work for his monthly drug tests, and the probation officer let him off after two-and-a-half years for “good behavior.” He remained clean off hard drugs for a few years after probation, but by his early twenties he was back to shooting coke, and when he wasn’t doing that, snorting it as well—which never had the desired effect. He experimented with acid during this time, and fell into a nasty DMT habit, which nearly resulted in his committing suicide after a severely bad trip. This most recent episode had included ecstasy (which was cut with heroin and methamphetamines, as Reginald later found out), acid, marijuana, and a research chemical that Reginald knew little about. When the doctor asked him about a drug history, he was unsure of how much of this to relate. “I’ve done heroin, coke, mushrooms, acid, ecstasy, DMT, marijuana, and alcohol,” he finally related.

“How much,” the doctor inquired.

“Not much of anything,” Reginald said. “Just experimenting really.” It was true, in some ways. Reginald did do a lot of experimenting; the drugs he’d done the most of had been marijuana and alcohol. For the most part he had limited his use of the other drugs—not because he didn’t want to do them—because he couldn’t afford them.

“Anything else going on?” the doctor asked. The doctor’s skin was glistening with sweat. The hospital wasn’t even that warm. His belt was around his navel, his pants up outrageously high. It was like he was wearing a zoot suit.

“No,” Reginald lied.

For the first time, Elizabeth spoke up. “Show him your legs honey.”

Reginald felt betrayed. They might keep him now if they thought he was a danger to himself. He knew that Elizabeth was only acting in his best interests, but he didn’t give a damn about his best interests. He just wanted some goddamn Xanax to calm him down and get the fuck out of there. The doctor looked at Reginald with a quizzical look on his face. “What is she talking about?” the doctor asked.

“I cut my legs,” Reginald squeaked out. He really hadn’t wanted to say anything about it. The room felt cramped with the three of them in there in the small office. Elizabeth was sitting to his left, and the doctor was sitting in front of him. The door was shut, and even if Reginald wanted to run, he couldn’t get out of the interior waiting room; the door to the waiting room was locked. Reginald began to feel very claustrophobic. He suddenly felt as if he may not go home. For the first time in his life, he felt anger towards Elizabeth.

The doctor nodded. “Show me,” he said, and gestured for Reginald to get up. Reginald’s paper clothes crinkled as he stood up, and he pulled down the pants so the doctor could see his naked thighs. The doctor inspected the cuts on his thighs. “These are superficial,” he said bluntly.

Reginald felt relieved and offended at the same time. Superficial? he thought. I cut myself with a Buck knife! Outwardly he breathed a sigh of relief. This meant that the doctor did not think he was a danger to himself. “Yeah,” Reginald said. “I wasn’t really trying to harm myself.”

The doctor explained to Reginald and Elizabeth that he thought Reginald only needed a medication change, and that he was going to write Reginald a prescription for Xanax and Cogentin and adjust the other medication that Reginald was on. He wrote the prescriptions and told Reginald what Reginald had been waiting all night to hear: that Reginald could go home—and with a Xanax prescription as well.

Sound and Fury

In Mimesis on December 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Cacophony! Cacophony! Reginald could not get his bearings. He was screaming at his family in the kitchen of his parents’ house, brandishing a knife and waving it at them, threatening to kill them. This had been going on for some time. He couldn’t explain it. He didn’t know why he was doing it. He just couldn’t control the anger. It surged through him like a current of electricity and he just exploded. One little spark and the whole powder keg went up. He really couldn’t control himself.

“Yeah, dad?” he screamed. “Well I’ll come to your fuckin’ nursing home and beat you to death with a baseball bat! You’re gonna get old someday, and I’ll be fuckin’ waiting for you! Who do you think is supposed to take care of you when you’re old? First chance I get I’m pullin’ the fuckin’ plug!”

His dad was screaming back at him, all red in the face, drops of sweat dripping down from his bald head. The redness of his dad’s face was even more sharply contrasted by the whiteness of his hair, or at least what was left of it. His dad’s hair was white primarily from raising Reginald. His dad was yelling from a recliner on the other end of the room, in the family room that adjoined the kitchen. There was no wall in between them. Reginald’s mom, his brother, and Elizabeth were trying to diffuse the situation. Reginald’s brother stepped in and said, “Hey, I’m not going to sit around and listen to you threatening to kill the whole family. Put the knife down.”

Reginald didn’t want to act like this. He was hurting inside, deeply hurting. He just didn’t know how to express himself when he got like this. It was like riding a rabid bull. There was almost no controlling it. “Yeah?” he screamed at his brother. “Well, I’ll fuckin’ kill you too!” He took the knife, and for a brief moment was actually going to kill his own brother, his best friend since he was a boy, only two years separating them, but at the last moment started stabbing the cutting board instead. The knife broke, and the impacts on the wood made his hand slip, causing him to cut his hand. Blood started coming from the wound in a steady flow. Reginald began cursing profusely. Elizabeth got a towel and started caring to Reginald.

“Calm down, baby” she said. “Do you want to go for a walk? Get some air?”

Reginald agreed to go, and they went out the door, slamming it on the way.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Elizabeth asked once they were outside.

Reginald was silent, fuming. His jaw was clenched, eyes staring straight ahead. His hands were balled into fists, and he held a paper towel that was turning red with blood from the cut on his hand. After they had walked about a half a mile in silence he stopped and turned to her. “I don’t know what’s wrong,” he said, his breath labored, but returning back to normal. “I can’t control it. The other day I spent an hour in my room listening to Mozart really loud and cutting my legs with a Buck knife, then with my razor because my knife wasn’t sharp enough. Today I almost stabbed my brother.”

Elizabeth reached out and pulled him into her arms, hugging him tightly. They stood for a couple minutes like that, and Reginald could feel himself relaxing in her embrace. “I love my brother,” he said. “People used to think we were twins. We went everywhere together. My mom even dressed us up in identical outfits for school picture day.”

He stood back a little bit so that Elizabeth could see him better. His eyes had a hyaline transparency to them, and his gaze was far off. “I feel wrong about the way I treated him. I used to try to knife fight with him when he was only two years old, and I was four. I beat on him viciously until he took wrestling and was able to finally beat me up. I always wondered if he took wrestling so that he could. I want to tell him that I’m sorry, but I just don’t know how. I want to tell my whole family that I’m sorry.”

Elizabeth nodded, and said, “This will come in time. They’ll understand.”

Reginald let out an exasperated sigh, “But what if they don’t? I haven’t exactly been the easiest to grow up around. All my relationships have fallen apart because of my mania. I don’t know how to explain to them that it’s the disease.”

He hugged Elizabeth, and they stood there for a moment in silence. “I think you’re having a manic break because of the ecstasy you did with me at the festival. You should probably go to the hospital and get evaluated,” she said.

This was Reginald’s worst fear. He had been evaluated before, but every time he minimized why he was there. He did not want to be kept overnight. He knew Elizabeth was right, but he didn’t care. He’d made it twenty-four years without visiting a hospital, he was sure he could make it another twenty-four years without one. He told Elizabeth as much.

She looked up at him as she held him a little tighter. “If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your family. Do it,” she said, “for me.”

He sighed, and the tension that was built up in him evaporated. There was no one else on Earth that could talk him down like this. No one. “C’mon,” he said. “We’d better get going if we’re going to make it to the hospital.”

A Chemical Reaction

In Mimesis on December 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Somewhere in upstate New York, Reginald was sitting in a tent with Elizabeth and her brother Benedict at a small music festival. Outside the tent there could be heard a thundering bass line that emanated from a gaily painted school bus equipped with monstrous subwoofers. The merry pranksters were alive and well, it seemed.

“The white pills are called ladies,” Benedict explained, “and the pink hearts are called, well, pink hearts.”

Reginald was concerned. He thought when we went on this trip that he was just going to be doing acid or mushrooms, or maybe even DMT if he was feeling adventurous, but his mental health professionals had strongly advised him against taking ecstasy. It would most likely cause a manic break, he’d been told, and on top of that it could have a negative interaction with his medications and cause an uncontrollable fever that would kill him. He looked at the pills with hesitancy.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve been told I might die if I take it.”

“You’ll be fine,” Benedict said. “Hell, you’ve shot it before. After that what harm do you think just taking it will do. Trust me.”

Benedict knew about Reginald shooting it before because Benedict had supplied it and shot it with Reginald. Last time Benedict had crushed up twenty E pills in some cocaine and they had spent the rest of the night shooting it up. Reginald had crashed really hard that night and had ended up sobbing uncontrollably in the backseat of the van he’d been driving, only to come back and shoot up more. Finally he had called Isis and told her what had happened. She had immediately broken up with him. It was curious now that his girlfriend Elizabeth was offering to do it with him. Hell, she’d actually had a more extensive drug history than Reginald himself actually had. In a way this turned Reginald on. Drugs had always been a taboo topic, but he couldn’t stay away from them. At least once or twice a year he would lapse back into using hard drugs and marijuana was a pretty constant thing. He wanted to do the ecstasy, and consequences be damned. If he died, so be it.

“How much are they?” Reginald asked.

“I’ll give them to you for ten a pill,” Benedict said, but then quickly added, “but you’ll want at least two.”

“How many are you taking, baby?” Reginald asked Elizabeth.

Elizabeth held up two fingers.

Reginald could feel a sinking feeling in his stomach. He felt this way every time he did hard drugs. He loved the way they made him feel, but the initial commitment was horrible. It was a very surreal feeling. He knew that he could die, but it didn’t seem to matter to him. He could hear every mental health professional he’d ever seen telling him not to, but he ignored it. He wanted this. He knew, as was the case with every time before, that he would feel better once he’d done it. He said to Benedict, “Fuck it, give me two.”

“Righto, buckaroo,” Benedict said. “I’ll get them to you in two shakes of a camel’s dick.”

Benedict turned around and searched through the duffel bag that was next to his air mattress. It was a considerable size tent, and the three of them very comfortably fit into it. After fumbling around for a moment or two he turned back to face them.

“Just pop two of these bad boys in and you’ll be rolling your panties for Christmas ornaments,” he said, with a wild mischievous grin on his face.

Reginald didn’t know why he would listen to Benedict. Here Benedict sat wearing three day old cargo pants, a shirt that said “Lick This!” with pictures of Girl Scouts on them, and a bandana wrapped around his head. He had gauges in his ears that were close to an inch, and looked like he hadn’t shaved in a week, bathed in about as long, and most likely hadn’t cut his hair for a year or more. From what Elizabeth had told him, Benedict had been diagnosed as a sociopath by two separate doctors, molested Elizabeth at an early age, and then laughed in her face when no one believed her. He also had a nasty habit of peeing in other people’s drinks. During one of his last relationships he had moved in with his now ex-girlfriend, and had taken to peeing in the fish tank, the food containers and about everything else in the house, as well as having anal sex with his ex-girlfriend’s fourteen year old sister and his ex-girlfriend in the same day. Elizabeth also had suspicions that he had slept with the mother, though she could not confirm this. Not only this, but Benedict was also the main ecstasy provider for the county that he lived in, and had in one year spent 80,000 dollars on drugs for personal consumption. Benedict had told Reginald himself that one of the drug dealers that he worked with would only take phone calls at a certain appointed time, and when he had walked into the dealer’s house on one occasion he had seen the walls covered with assault rifles and a couple kilos of heroin just sitting on the table. Benedict had spent some time running drugs for this man.

All these reasons aside Reginald decided to take Benedict’s advice over his mental health professionals’, and when Benedict gave him the pills and a cup of water (an open cup of water), Reginald swallowed the pills with the feeling that this might be his last night on Earth.

Better to go out with a bang, he thought.

They went outside the tent after taking the pills and waited for them to kick in. They got to talking about The Chappelle’s Show and how they all lamented the fact that it was no longer on the air.

“It was one of the best shows on television,” Elizabeth remarked.

They all agreed.

“Did you see the episode with Rick James?” Reginald asked.

“That was bullshit,” Benedict said. “I fucked a guy’s couch once, that nigga didn’t do shit.”

Reginald broke out into hysterical laughing for a moment, and it was hard to tell if it was the ecstasy coming on, or if he was just particularly tickled by the idea of Benedict fucking a guy’s couch. He laughed until tears came from his eyes, and just when it seemed that he had a hold on it he burst out laughing all over again. “I fucked a guy’s couch…” he said. “Jeez.”

Reginald wiped the tears from his eyes. He could feel the ecstasy coming on strong now. He was filled with euphoria. This was almost better than heroin, though he could be thinking that because he hadn’t done heroin in eight years and didn’t really remember it that well.  He got up, and they all decided to go see what music was playing.

On the trip down to the field, Benedict gave Reginald another E pill.

Reginald was filled with love. He loved Benedict, and he loved everyone that he passed, but he loved Elizabeth most of all. They held hands as they walked. Elizabeth had done herself up real pretty. She was wearing a green and yellow tie die shirt, and had green mascara on. Reginald thought she was the most beautiful woman in the entire world, and he was elated that she was here with him. More than anything he wanted to have sex with her, but he knew that would come. They now had a very active sexual relationship, and it was something they both thoroughly enjoyed.

The road down to the concert was unpaved, and there were many other fellow travelers along it. People were dressed in all sorts of unusual attire, and carried colorful lights and other marvelous things that caught Reginald’s attention. It was like he was a child all over again, and was wide eyed in the candy store, looking at an oversize lollipop. It was getting hard to walk, and Reginald was relieved when they finally got to the field. He could feel waves of unadulterated pleasure sweeping over him like a constant orgasm. So this is ecstasy, he thought, what the hell have I been doing with my life until now? He quickly made up his mind that this was his favorite drug of all time, and he’d tried pretty much every kind. Heroin was fun, but it made him doped out, and he had puked last time while at dinner with his grandma coming down from it. Coke was a blast, and it made him feel like god, but to be honest it was essentially simulated mania, and he felt pretty much the same when he was having an episode. The biggest difference was that mania was free, and lasted longer. Ecstasy just made him love more. That was the feeling he felt. He couldn’t understand why the government had made this illegal. He wasn’t dangerous while under the influence of this drug, but he might fuck everyone he sees. Man, woman, whatever, he didn’t care. Not only did everyone look better, but he was getting aroused just feeling Elizabeth running circles on his palm.

When they came to the field the music was blaring. Reginald could barely stand. They all lay down in the grass, and tried to relax as much as possible. Elizabeth started tracing her fingers up Reginald’s arm, and then back down again. He had never felt sensations like this before; it was like his entire body was the head of a gigantic penis. Every nerve was tingling, and his head lolled back and forth.

The stage was moving down below them, and there was a teeming mass of people that looked like a roiling pot of water on the stove, fluctuating, vicissitudinal, one collection of flesh, and sweat, and pleasure. Reginald wanted to get down there and dance, but was unable to move. The most effort that he was able to expend was to half sit up, resting on his elbows next to Elizabeth, and look from the stage to the woods, to the stars.

Benedict gave Elizabeth and Reginald their leave and went down to be closer to the stage. Reginald looked up at Elizabeth. She was so beautiful. More beautiful than anyone he had ever seen, and his relationship with her was so special. He loved her more than he had ever loved anyone before in his life. “I want to marry you,” he said. “Hell, if they had a priest here I’d marry you right now.”

She gazed over at him. “I want to marry you too.”

United in this moment of extreme bliss and euphoria the two lovers lay next to each other, letting the waves of pleasure roll over them. There could be no love greater than theirs. They had loved each other since they were children. Their idea of love was defined by the other person. They were the physical embodiment of love to each other. Romeo and Juliet didn’t have shit on them. Romeo and Juliet was teenage infatuation. What Reginald and Elizabeth had was a mature, steadfast love that had lasted for three-quarters of their life already, and showed no signs of stopping. Reginald was overcome by it.

“Let’s head back to the tent,” he said. “I want to be alone with you.”

Elizabeth agreed emphatically, and they slowly got up, though it was difficult. Reginald was stumbling the whole way back, and stopped to use one of the portable toilets. He was in there for some time, and when he came out Elizabeth said, “There were two toilets in there, and I don’t think you hit either one. I could hear you pissing on everything else though.”

Reginald laughed. “Nothing on me is there?”

Elizabeth shook her head.

“I didn’t think so,” Reginald said.

They made their way up to the tent and, after getting some gum for their grinding teeth and drinking plenty of water they got inside.

“I have never wanted to have sex so badly,” Reginald said.

“I know what you mean,” Elizabeth replied.

They had a separate, smaller tent than the one Benedict had, and it only had room for a queen size air mattress. Reginald started to get undressed, but was having some difficulty doing so. Elizabeth helped him, and then got undressed herself. The sensation of the cool night air on their exposed skin was delightful, and they were already quite aroused. Reginald kissed Elizabeth, deeply and passionately, and the sensation was incredible. It was electric as she caressed his skin, and he could never remember a time that he had been more in love. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He always had. Ecstasy was only intensifying every feeling that he had ever felt for her, and he was overcome with emotion. They made love, discovering one another’s body in ways they never had before. He was elated just to be alive, and to be with her, here in the middle of nowhere, the music driving their passion as they embraced.

Say Anything, Say Everything

In Mimesis on December 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm

The bottom lock didn’t work, just the top deadbolt. Reginald pushed on the door and swung it open to let them both inside. The light over the kitchen sink was on, but the rest of the lights in the house had been shut off. He turned and looked at Elizabeth briefly before they stepped inside. His parents’ house was dim and he guided her over to where the couch was in the living room. They had been here before.  He said, “My parents must be sleeping. Wanna sit?”

They sat tentatively on either end of the couch, and his mind was racing, his heart pounding. Having Social Anxiety Disorder is not great when you’re trying to be smooth and suave with girls. He could feel his fingers shaking, as they always did because of the medication, but even more so now because of how nervous he was. So dreadfully nervous. What if she rejects him? He had known her for eighteen years. They had met in the first grade. There had always been a mutual connection between them, but even now he felt that grinding in his insides as he tried to talk to her. What if, after being friends with him for three-quarters of his life, she rejects his advance to move this beyond being close friends, and tells him she just wants to remain the way they are? Or worse, what if she thinks it is now too awkward and doesn’t want to see him ever again? Each phrase was like climbing Mount Everest. He struggled, he labored, and finally as he reached the top he manages to squeak out, “How about you sit next to me?”

She nodded, and moved closer to him on the couch. He was shaking. He was trying desperately hard not to let her notice, but he must have looked like he had palsy. Where was the fifties man of steel who would come in and say in a voice of velvet that he loved her and would do anything for her? Instead he just mentioned, “You want to see if there’s anything good on television?” He motioned towards the television and went to grab the remote, anything to distract himself from having to make small talk. The dreaded bane of his existence, small talk. There was a tension in the air and he could feel it, as palpable as moving through water. Something felt different.

She placed her hand on his to stay it from the remote. “I’d rather talk. I hope you don’t mind.”

He glanced into her eyes, but couldn’t hold it. Her gaze was penetrating. She was one of the strongest people he had ever known. All that life had given her she had borne like a saint. He idolized her. He could still remember that day back in sixth grade that she had told him that she would go out with him if he asked her to, but still there was too much doubt in his mind. He was a coward. She was so strong, and he was so weak. He could see that. Her strength made his weakness even more apparent in his eyes. His mind kept racing. He felt like he was sitting in the electric chair, his body buzzing with thousands of volts. He felt uncomfortable with her body this close to his even though it was what he wanted more than anything in the world. He suddenly felt the strong desire to get up. Talking’s fine. I’ll get the lights so we can see each other.”

She put her hand on his thigh as he went to get up. Surely she must feel his shaking. He wondered if she had meant to grab that close to his crotch. “Actually it’s kind of nice without all the lights on. Just sit.”

They paused, with him half standing, and her hand resting on his upper thing. The air was still, and the only sound was their breath. She said, finally, “Isn’t it great how silent the country gets?”

He sat back down and tried to relax. It frustrated him that he couldn’t read people. Even now with her sitting beside him he couldn’t tell if that was a look of boredom on her face, or if she was just content with being out here. He was glad that she was making the small talk though. He said, “Yeah, it really is nice. It lets you think.” He smiled at her. “You know, I’m so glad that we got back in touch.”

She looked up at him and smiled back, and even he could tell from her eyes that it was genuine. They had spent some years apart, it was true, but whenever they got back together it felt as if they had never been apart. It was if they had always been there all along. She said, “Well I’m sure glad you called me. These years have been rough, but it’s been a bit easier knowing I have friends like you out there. I love hearing from you.”

He couldn’t help but smile. He knew she meant it, and the connection that he had with her was one of the things he cherished most in this world, and it certainly brought him the greatest happiness. She was right, though, about how the years had fared for them. Just this past February she had tried to kill herself because the nerve pain she was experiencing was so bad that it felt like a hot iron was being pressed on her arm. The pain was constant, and after many trips to the doctor and no real help being given, she had decided to kill herself. He himself sympathized with her, though he could not compare to her suffering. His pain was only emotional, though in its own way extreme. They both had Bipolar disorder, though she was type II and he was type I. The difference between the two is that in type II you are more prone to be depressed, and in type I you are more prone to mania. This similar experience of life had given them much in common, and much to talk about. He understood why she would want to kill herself because he knew the disappointment he had felt when he had survived a snowboarding accident. He knew that living with pain, real or emotional, year after year, with the prognosis that you will have to for the rest of your life, can be very depressing. His reasoning for wanting to die was far less severe than hers. She was in constant pain, and sometimes the suffering was too much for her. For him it was more like he was bored with life or that he was tired after a long day. Recently he had become depressed because he had lost his faith in god. What was the point to living if there literally was no point to life? How could he keep on going when all science had told him was that life was just a spontaneous growth on a rock that happened to be the right distance from a star, and that we had grown like only so much mold? However it was their close encounter with death that proved, in fact, the catalyst needed for him to make up his mind to ask for more than friendship. He had come to realize that the most important thing in his life was her. His life revolved around her. She could give him a reason to live, and he prayed that he could give her a shoulder to lean on. His love for her had grown from a childhood crush to a more mature and deeper love as the years went on, and he knew now that he had to know if she felt the same way about him. Emboldened by her intimacy he said her name, “Elizabeth?” He put his hand on her thigh, but low, towards the knee. He tried his best to look her in the eyes, but he found himself squirming like a guilty convict. “I’ve been meaning to tell you something.”

She looked inquisitive now, and it only heightened his anxiety. He couldn’t think of how to approach the subject. His thoughts were all jumbled, like a puzzle still in the box. He knew what the picture was, but he just couldn’t seem to put it together. Finally, he said, “It’s really hard for me to say what I’m trying to say. I know we’ve always been open and honest with each other, but in one particular way I haven’t. I just can never tell a girl I love her!” He paused. That last part had just seemed to slip out. It was starting to come out in the open. Finally he blurted out, “I just wish I could hold you, now, as more than a close friend. In all the years we’ve been friends I’ve only ever given you a polite hug. I give my mother the same hug, and nobody is telling me I’m too friendly with my mother.” He wanted to kiss her, she looked so pretty in the dim light coming from the kitchen giving a soft glow to her skin and glinting off her eyes, her lips looking so soft, glistening, but cowardice checked him and he glanced away.

She turned his head back towards hers and looked him in the eyes, leaving her fingers trailing on his chin. “So hold me.” He wrapped his arms around her and she leaned into him, nuzzling up against his chest. He rested his head on top of hers and tried not to breathe too heavily, for fear of seeming weird. Her hair smelled faintly of lavender, with a hint of chamomile, and the scent relaxed him. He could feel the warmth of their bodies together, and he recognized this as the happiest he had ever been in his life.

He whispered softly, “I want to do everything I can for you. I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but I want to help you. I’m graduating college soon, and hopefully I’ll get a good job if the economy holds out a bit. I know it looks like shit right now but I want to support you, to provide for you, and to be able to give you the things you need like doctors and good healthcare. Just ask me for anything you want, and you know I’ll do my best to do it for you.”

Without thinking for a moment she hugged him tighter and said, “All I want is you.”

He held her and for once things seemed to be coming together for him. Could it be that after all this time, after almost two decades  of waiting, that she returned his feelings? It seemed too good to be true. He caressed her cheek, his fingers trembling slightly, and spoke, “I love you. I always have, and I always will.”

He leaned in and kissed her softly, first on her forehead, then her cheek, and finally her mouth, and he could feel the tension melt between their lips.