My client died last week.
She drove me to the bridge and jumped off.
Everyone says emotional pain is akin to physical pain; like when someone cuts your limb off. You feel the pain of the severance and a few months later after the healing, you begin to feel phantom limb syndrome. It feels like the limb is there but it actually isn’t.
It’s just a feeling.
A gnawing feeling of what could have.
And I always told my clients the cliché, “don’t stress the could haves. If it should have, it would have.”
But life is like the evil clown that gets into your head and uses your worst fear against you.
And that fear is how I ended up in my own four walls.
All white walls with bright fluorescent bulbs.
These walls have become the perfect backdrop foreyes.
I see them. They stare into my soul and gnaw at me and one pair sets off another pair.
In my day dreams, green eyes give way to brown eyes and pale skin gives way to caramel skin, blonde hair gives way to auburn hair and silence gives way to screams, and that is how I ended up here.
Tied up and squeezed in a corner with my eyes shut and tears running down my face.
The medications hurt.
It’s not the needles. It’s the nightmares the sleep invokes.
I used to wonder my clients always wanted to kill themselves “life is so beautiful darling. You just need to open your eyes to it.” My eyes were open and yet I didn’t see. And when I closed them and tried to imagine a garden like I always told my daughter to do, I would see flowers: precisely, a bed of flowers and the wind like a gentle touch of a baby’s palm on your face would sway the flowers, right, left, right, left and right again. I will hear the sound of the cascading waterfall and I could almost enter Zenfrom there.
Almost, because all too soon I would hear the scream and my nightmare will start again.
I am 5 years old and my parents are fighting.
Something about flowers my mum got from someone who isn’t my dad.
She loves rose flowers and her favourite colour is red so she’s got an auburn wig and loves to dance ballet or waltz around the garden in her red chiffon sundress. She moves like a dream and I love to sit and watch as she breezes right past me.
In the fall, as she moves, she wakes dead leaves and they dance with her and the sun setting is such abeauty to behold. The rays bounce off her skin and leave an orange tinge on it and I just watch her grace in awe.
I want to be my mother. Beautiful. Graceful. Soft. Cuddly. Red.
As he drags her across from the house to the garden, I follow.
Each blow is like the lumber jack trying to cut down the oak tree in our backyard. My father hated that tree. He called it useless. Mum and I used to sit under it and have picnics, drink hot chocolate and play card games.
He pulls her auburn hair, shakes her violently before he punches her again. She drops like the oak tree, all too soon, landing heavily. She looks at me. Her nose is broken and bleeding. Her right eye is almost closed and already purple. She’s mouthing the words “run” but I am a 5 year old, paralyzed and terrified and in need of my mother.
He drags her by the hem of her dress now in shreds,like a lamb to the slaughter and she scrapes her fingers on the floor trying to grab hold of any cracks to stop him so she can get up, and this leaves blood stains and pieces of her flesh and fingernails on the floor and I sheepishly follow them with tears in my eyes calling out “help!” but no one will come.
Ten years later I realise I didn’t actually shout help. I was whispering.
The fight continues but she is up now.
They are on the bridge and she is fighting for her life now. Her eyes are wide open in shock and fear of the monster that flowers could evoke and what her love has finally become, and I remember a poem she lovesto recite:
“I’m afraid of a kiss
The kiss of a bee
I suffer like this
And wake endlessly
I’m afraid of a kiss”
I always wondered why she recited that poem.
I never wanted bees to kiss me.
I don’t know what it was that pushed me, but my little feet raced my body to the bridge.
But it was too late.
She was flying.
In my nightmares she’s landing on the roses in her red chiffon sundress and her auburn wig.
And she’s mouthing the poem as she falls ever so slowly
As she lands, the flower beds sinks into oblivion and oblivion is bright.
Oblivion is white and I live in its corner and I fight a bee and two pairs of eyes: my mother and my client.
Her eyes awoke within me years of flowers, sunsets, picnics and hot chocolate.
Years I had buried in white walls and fluorescent bulbs.
Last night I saw a new pair of eyes and they belonged to my daughter but she wasn’t falling.
She was dancing in the red chiffon sundress in the wake of the light of fall’s sunset.