It started with the worms. But not really. I’d been drinking relentlessly (religiously) leading up to my Big Psychiatric Appointment and my reflection looked like a scream in a movie theater. I’d switched from Steel Reserve to a cheap boxed wine called White Burble. I hadn’t eaten anything more than a few pistachio nuts in five days. I surrendered to morbid fantasies of lynching myself (even going so far as to hang a necktie noose from my closet clothesrack), or suffocating myself with Glad Wrap or buying a cheap box of helium from iParty and poisoning my lungs with funny Mickey Mouse gas.
I prayed for the cancer to return. No surgery, no chemotherapy this time. I would nurse the little black cells like a protective mother with a fragile child.
My first meeting with the psychiatrist and I was already an emergency.
It was warm when I set out toward Evergreen Mental Health Services. The sky was bright, cloudless and intense. A sky so blue I wanted to shoot holes in it. Assault the environment. My head was filled with a loud, thirsty crowd, screaming, screaming like angry villagers in a Frankenstein movie...
I began my weary, Don Birnam trudge feeling every agonized stride like a new wound. Every footstep carried the threat of imminent death. My liver hurt. Two miles stretched ahead of me like Death Valley. After five minutes of walking I knew I was doomed. I considered turning back and cancelling the appointment but then what? Drink more wine and get sicker? I’d reached the end of another rope. I needed help, stat. My desperation both clung to me and tumbled from me like a parasitic twin with a disease.
Outside the puzzling young woman’s apartment, by the steps there, I noticed a dried-out half-a-mouse (the hindquarters) a spent condom and a bent spoon. More pieces to the puzzle.
A sudden sandstorm whirled, blinding and granular, into my mind and I had to stop and close my eyes a few seconds for fear of fainting. My mouth had gone dry. My tongue tasted (probably) like the dead half-mouse at my feet.
I can’t do this.
(All you have to do is get there).
I kept walking, forcing my weakened, burdensome organs forward. Sweat started. I wished for a handkerchief so I could mop my brow like Louis Armstrong after a taxing solo. Instead, I brushed the sweat from my forehead into my (already oily) hair, pasting it back. I wished for a pair of sunglasses. The sun was so assaultive I could feel cataracts developing over my eyes like lenses of milk. All of my internal personae are weak and desperate. There’s nothing to hang onto. Clark Kent turns into another Clark Kent. Nothing under the business suit but flabby flesh weakened by kidneystones of Kryptonite.
And then I had a seizure and fell into the street, right in the path of a huge, lumbering truck...Just kidding.