Tirade From A Fractured Soul
The guy at the suicide hot line said to me, in a somber and broken voice, “Holy shit, Man! If what you’re telling me is true and you’ve done this that and the other, as you’ve said…
I’ve got nothing… You could check yourself in on a ‘voluntary hold’ but that’s a short term solution, and what you’ve told me is that you’ve tried that avenue, through the local hospital… etc, and it seems to me to be a long term health issue you’re dealing with, on top of the Melancholia as you’ve described. And other than checking back into one of those clinics, all I can do is talk with you and listen.”
I told him, addressing him personally (his name was Brandon) “Brandon, I have no intention of harming myself… or others, but that I, in fact, have been the severely injured party, just not in the eyes of the law; or the doctors; or the lawyers; or the judges; or the politicians; or my community, society… et al.”
I admitted that I might sound, over the top and a bit hysterical, though my voice was as smooth as ice and deeply expressive, as it always is in person. I then admitted my deepest animosity and angst about life.
I was nothing if not honest. I might not have been nice or diplomatic, but I told the truth at every instance. I never once denied I use cannabis, in fact, I volunteered that information Brandon. I told these doctors, that I I’ve been using for the pain since my treatment was ended, is cannabis, and they said I lied about my use.
“Brandon,” I said, using all I had in me to keep my voice steady and not break down completely, but with all my efforts and with my voice finally cracking I continued, “Brandon, I stood up to an Ada County Judge, in a Court of Law, and stated as a matter of fact, that ‘I use marijuana/cannabis/pot. It has saved my life from depression when all other avenues had failed.’ I told that judge he could send me to jail as long as he wanted, as many times as he wanted, but the moment I am free, I’m going to use cannabis, marijuana, pot, and I didn’t give a damn about any laws written by corrupt men for their own self interest. I’d rather have a joint in my lips than a shotgun. And you don’t have the right to make that choice for me, not for all of your ‘Laws’.”
“You could have heard a pin drop in that courtroom.” I continued after a moments pause. “Judge, this isn’t right and you know it.” I finally said. “If you’re any judge of anything, you’d know this isn’t right.”
The line was quiet and I could tell Brandon was thinking about this, so I broke the silence with a stupid statement, sounding more boastful than impressive. “It’s all a matter of public record, you could look it up if you want. I’m not going to lie. I’ve never been good at it and the truth is easier to remember.”
At that he finally laughed a bit, and I felt a little better to hear him laugh. It changed the mood.
“I don’t think people like honesty.” I said to break the fallowing silence. “I know that every person I’ve been honest with, has left me. I’ve had people do and say despicable things because I couldn’t curb or soften my honest appraisal of the situation… or of them. It’s funny,” I said, laughing to myself, “My mother called it ‘Projectile Honesty’. She once told me that it wasn’t that I saw the world differently than it actually was, I just didn’t have the ‘buffers’ that other people seemed to have. I took things too deeply, too personally, always caught up in the detail of seeing the big picture.”
That was when I lost my hold of that ‘Crack in the Damn!’ and the rain forecasted, started the eventual and foreseeable flood. Brandon just waited kindly, for that rain to pass. Silence is golden, but only with someone who is listening for it and knows how to appreciate that moment when it takes place. I silently cried, he silently waited.
“I can’t go on hurting like this.” My voice had lost all of its timber and I was just above a whisper, “I can’t do this anymore mate. I’ve got a million reasons to try, but I’m spent. All I want now is to make it to the Oregon coast, where my Mother’s ashes are laid, and after that… I don’t give a fuck. I know I’d break a lot of hearts but those that love me and know me, would completely understand. They’d forgive me. Even if I wouldn’t.”
Brandon picked up on that and asked, “Why do you feel like you couldn’t forgive yourself for ending your life?” And I had to chuckle at his attentiveness, for his catching a reasonable argument/question I would appreciate. One that impacted the heart of our conversation. “I had made a promise once, to someone whom I outlived, that I wouldn’t take my own life without her, permission.” I explained to Brandon, as I once again felt that honesty, no matter how bitter the taste, was a better flavor for our conversation than some sweetened up story of loss. “She died of a drug overdose a little over a decade ago. I had crossed my heart and hope to eat turds promised my friend I wouldn’t ever end myself until I talked to her. She died the night after I had come to her new house, a house I helped her design. I was going to live with her for a little while, because I was between apartments, as my flatmate lost his house to foreclosure. My last words to her was ‘I Love you too!’ and after that night, I never saw her, ever again.”
“Do you think it’s wrong to break a promise to someone who’s not here anymore?” I then asked. I really wanted to know. I was desperate for an answer that I could use, no matter the consequences. A voice, far away in the back of my thoughts, screamed out, ‘Please! Please! Please! Please just let me let go!”
Silence, again. This time we both just waited, on the moment perhaps. It seemed like there just wasn’t anything more to be said and the memory of Debra’s last, “I Love You!” hung in the air, like a gossamer thread of a smokey thought, lingering on after the fire that seared it into your mind has faded.
I think Brandon was crying. I was, unabashedly.
“I don’t know what to use to go on. I’m all spent and out of ideas.” I said finally. “Keeping a promise to a dead woman just seems insane to me now; after all I’ve been through. It all seems insane. Every fucking bit, and I know why. No one wants the truth, the lie works better. If I had lied about that one promise, I’d be free.”
“Free of what? Brandon asked, “Your word to a friend?”
“No,” I stated, “Free of the lie. I didn’t really mean it when I told her that promise. It was only after she died, that my promise had any true meaning for me, I felt obligated.
Now I just feel pain. body and soul.”
Again we sat in silence, Brandon and I, and I think in some measure we both had a million things to say, but nothing could be said, so I attempted to take the conversation in a different direction, if but for any reason, to clear the air and let the dust of our thoughts settle.
“I believe there is a connection between all life. Not in the metaphysical sense, but in a very real sense, just as the air that I breathe was once across the ocean, has been carried to my lungs by the wind, only after having been the breath of the thousand other lifeforms before me.” I asked then, after this contemplative silence, what he thought of my question, “Is a promise once made, forever irresolute? What are our words, if they carry no meaning or truth or substance? Should I just swallow the lie, one which was once the truth to begin with?”
“What does it mean to you?” He asked my silence, “But you’re right, the truth isn’t just perceptual, it has to have meaning outside of just the context or everything would lack meaning. And that’s what you’re looking for now, isn’t it? Some meaning…”
Now it was my turn to laugh. “I don’t care what any of it means anymore, as long as it’s true. That I can handle. It’s true I am in pain and it’s true I live in a fucked up society. I knew how to manage living in a fucked up society, even so far as to try and change some of the conditions, where and when I could. But I’m just white trash in a Northwestern Confederate State to anyone who can do anything about my situation. I knew those in power didn’t and don’t care about us, I’d just never been slapped in the face with a piece of paper that stated it as a “Fact of Law.” I then finished my tirade with a solemn oath, another promise if you would, “I’ll never trust this stinking rotten system again. It’s all based on lies, top to bottom. You can’t trust a thing about it and not one word from those who support it or work for it. The whole system is corrupt. It swims in it own shite and loves it.”
I knew by this time I was just venting, and Brandon was willing to let me. I toned back my angst but still I pressed him, “Does a promise to a dead woman count? Is it still binding? I felt like I meant it, though part of me didn’t. I did for sure, after… but, now…I just want to go home.” was the last thought I could muster. “I want to go home but I don’t know where home is, Brandon. I’m dying to go home, even if home is the great void. Perhaps that one would last, as I’ve lost every other home I’ve had.”
“It counts if you believe it does.” was the expected rebuff given eventually. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, I don’t believe anything anymore, not even the truth. As I see it now, it’s all subjective anyway. So I lied and told him I was doing better. I thanked Brandon for his kindness and incite and for his time. Twice he asked if I was going to be okay, so I lied some more, and said, “Yes” if only to help speed on the finish to our conversation, having gained little from the time spent, and as I was no better of then as I am now I just wanted to be done with it. The only difference being, that I talked about it, with someone.
Brandon gave me some numbers to write down that I pledged to call but didn’t bother to record, feigning interest so as to give him a feeling of success or accomplishment. Both
deceptions were manipulative lies to placate and avoid any untoward reactions from Brandon, such as a call to the “Authorities” to deal with a despondent and hopeless individual. I gave whatever assurances he seemed to respond to, and though we left the conversation as a metaphorical semicolon, one which to be taken up again at a latter time, a thought as well as everything else, impossible and untrue. because by that point, I doubted very much that I would ever want to talk to Brandon again. I then bid a good night, if not a farewell, and took my leave of the conversation.
Brandon said he hopes that things will turn about for me, as I know do so many of you, just to let you know. I then hung up, feeling no better for my time spent, or resolved about my question posed.
So let me ask you: “Does a promise made, stay kept, no matter what circumstance that may arise, no matter whom they were made for, no matter the time to be spent?”
All I’ve ever wanted, is an honest answer, for an honest reason. If you want to live in the lie, so be it, but please don’t drag one out of me; it leaves me soured and feeling soulless and as detestable as those of whom I’ve forsaken.