Eleven Years Past

It was yesterday eleven years ago I first almost died. And that was just the start. What was is it, seventeen days later? Yes, because it marked our one month anniversary as  a couple. Instead of spending it together he spent it getting his wrists sewn shut and I spent it with my mother, who sat with me in the car and told me she wished he had succeeded at taking his own life, before going inside with me to meet the social worker assigned to our family by Child Protection Services.

But let’s back up. I liked him the first time I saw him. I couldn’t tell you why. He wasn’t particularly handsome, in fact he was rather goofy and twice the size of the rest of our freshman peers. We were fourteen when we met and he had this electric charisma. I wanted him to think I was the most amazing person in the universe. And he did. We began to exchange emails and write notes during school (I miss writing notes). My parents can be loosely described as cultists and I was kept on a very tight leash. I wasn’t  allowed to talk to boys on the phone, much less have a boyfriend, so we rocked out the little Romeo and Juliette bullshit.

And then he got put into foster care, October tenth. We still emailed, and he would use his foster sister to get me on the phone when we could manage. It was torture, but in those early days we formed a profound connection – orphans of indifference, children desperate to feel loved and understood, yet constantly getting crushed under the heels of those expected to care for us. We validated one another, gave each other hope and a reason to live, through a time in life that’s hard enough even with the proper support. I was his Pumpkin. He was my Sunshine.

He was supposed to come home on Valentine’s Day. I brought a bag of candy hearts to school.  We had joked about his affinity for awful candy and how he thought it would be great to be showered in candy hearts as he walked into the room. I planned to facilitate that dream. I was giddy when I arrived at school, refusing to share my candy with my friends, eyes glued to the doors. I jumped every time they opened. But he was never the one who strolled into my waiting place. The first bell rang. Our group began to dissipate. My best friend stayed with me until the late bell rang. I dragged myself to class, crushed. I gave the candy hearts away.

The next month seemed to take forever, his case getting pushed, then rescheduled at the last minute, his mother needed to sign this paper or attend that class. She divorced his stepfather and they let my golden love come home.

It was one of those electric grey days, where the clouds hang heavy and everything seems extra green in the odd light. I walked out of school with my eyes on the ground, feeling hollow and hopeless. I nearly tripped over a bike tossed on the sidewalk and looked up in irritation to see who had left it there. And there he was, smiling at me softly though I could see the torrent of  joy pushing at his lips and sunburst eyes. I flew to him and he wrapped me up in an eternal embrace. No words were great enough for the feeling of our hopes actualizing.

He asked me to be his girlfriend “for real,” a couple days later and I gladly accepted. We stole every moment we could find, writing long notes and emails when we were apart. Nothing made us happy but one another. We started listening to each other’s favorite bands, finding deeper meaning in every lyric, quoting them and writing  them on one another’s arms. We shared books and poems and a thousand little inside jokes. He was all I cared about.

What I couldn’t understand at the time was that he didn’t care about me. He cared about the validation I offered him, sure, but more than anything he cared about his drugs, a passion he shared wuth me. I had turned fifteen that winter, while waiting for him to come home. He barely made it to fifteen.

April tenth, two thousand six, he said he wanted to get high with me. He talked about getting high all the time, how great it felt, how it was his only true release, how it made all the daily bullshit irrelevant and made life worth living. I wanted to be a part of that more than anything. Kids, there’s a lesson to take away from all this- when your drug addled teenage boyfriend is determing proper dosages of his mom’s high potentcy anti psychotics for ninety pound girls, based off how many he likes to take, don’t trust the math. Also, when you don’t feel anything thirty minutes after the first pill, don’t finish off the handful.

Those lessons left the school with me in an ambulance that day and sank in over the next week as I sat in the adolescent psychiatric unit of a nearby hospital. This was also how my parents found out I had a boyfriend.

While this wasn’t the end of me, it also was not the end of many things that should have died that day. And it was just the beginning of my pill addiction and my family’s relationship with child protective services. Only twice have I seen my father come unglued outside the safety of his house. The first time was in that hospital, during our family meeting with a psychiatrist in front of whom my father accused me of trying to end his marriage with this “little fake suicide routine.” I was back in his house three days later, under tighter lock and key than ever, not even allowed to close my door when I undressed. My friends felt bad for me and kept me medicated, especially after April twenty seventh.

My boyfriend didn’t show up to school again. I asked around. No one could tell me where he was. Until I asked the boy who had been closest to him since they were ten years old. The boy who, in an interesting twist of fate, would marry me eight years later. My now husband told teenage me that my teenage boyfriend had tried to kill himself the night before with a bottle of prescription pills and a steak knife. He locked himself in his room and mixed his blood with shaving cream, then wrote his lamentations with it on the walls. He ended up getting tased for his trouble. Five days later he turned fifteen.

We continued our fiasco as he moved twice, both of us running into child protection and police issues,  running away together, on and off drugs, in and out of trouble, into a new school district when my parents tried to get me away from him, ironically at the same time his mother moved them to the next town,  after my summer in military school, into our junior year of high school when I found out once and for all, none of it had meant to him what it meant to me. I found out at dinner with my friends before the homecoming dance, my reluctant virgin status had him taking advantage of my parents’ policy of locking me away every night. How would I ever find out? But I did and I had never been more shattered. All the time, energy and tumult we invested in our teenage saga and he was plowing sluts after I went to bed in my parents’ house, waiting to see him again tomorrow.

Like everyone who lived past their teenage years, in time I learned, everyone is an idiot in high school and nothing you do then is as important as your child brain imagines. I went to college a year early and managed to wreck my life just fine without help from my first love or his drugs. I think he just got out of prison recently. He always wanted to join Kurt Cobain in the 27 Club. That’s three hundred eighty six days away for him. I wonder if he’ll succeed?

Spring makes the animals go wild. And life goes on, children. Hold on tight and try not to make too many permanent decisions.


… Like a motherless child

The only thing worse

than the death of someone you love

is the complete and utter failure of that person

to fulfill their role in your life

while there’s breath in their lungs.

They’re walking about,

talking to others,

sharing glances and smiles with people

who are not you.

My mother won teacher of the year,

I was told,

and I wonder why it is the children of others

she came through for.

I guess it’s easier to speak up on behalf

of children whose demons are not of your making,

and whom you are paid to tolerate.

I wonder if she thought of me at all,

the child who desperately needs someone to talk to

and is left to call an 800 number and say,

through tears,

“This is the kind of day you call your mother, but mine is dead. ”

It’s easier than explaining that she just doen’t care,

the person who was supposed to love me forever,

like me for always,

as long as she’s living…

I guess dead inside counts too.

Daily Dose – Unravel


She remembers the poem

“Ode to My Socks, ” by Pablo Neruda

like you remember seeing an old friend

a few years ago;

The whimsy, like going back in time

to a better you,

right in the middle of those beloved memories.

” I would be

The perfect pair of handmade socks, ”

She thinks,

imagining the colors,

woven together like the simplest magic.

Simple is often the best sort of thing,

especially now,

when things are anything but.

The old friends will never visit,

she made sure of that,

by trying to encourage them to live better.

They weren’t that sort of friends which,

I suppose,

means they weren’t ever friends at all.

And now

The  twilight and goat skin,

Two immense blackbirds,

became entangled,

snagged on what she supposed was love, but,

being the drooping blossom

of a seed sprouted in rock,

she has the tendency to mistake stone

for fertile soil.

It is an easier mistake to make

than someone who was loved as a child

Can imagine.

And it has come to pass

that the one golden thread

is caught,

but time moves ever onward

with no regard for requests to pause

so that one might stop her soul from unraveling

as the result

of another mistake.

Perhaps she’ll have to settle

for being a metaphorical pile

of lovely yarn;

So many things it has been

or could yet become,

instead,  lying on the floor

taking comfort in its own shapeless vibrance.


after so many times,

you take what you can get.


Daily Dose – Outlier

via Daily Prompt: Outlier

Small, icy orb

Demoted from planet status

In favor of the sweaty, bloated

Gassy spheres

basking in the glow

Of sure destruction.

The ice,

Way out here,


Tries to reassure me

That my outlier status

Is more beautiful than the well accepted melt down

Near a merciless sun.

My soul bears its own illumination.

Daily Dose: Denial

via Daily Prompt: Denial

My husband closes the full screen window,  starts looking for something else to watch.

“I don’t think anything like that ever would have happened,” I say in reflection. “I mean, he was violent sometimes, yeah, but he was more just pathetic .”

My husband laughs  dryly, without humor. “We just watched, what,  four things, about how pathetic men kill their families. I know you don’t want to admit it, and you’ve distanced yourself from it, but you Were just the same as those women.”

Mission… Possible?

I decided pen pals are a great way for kids to practice penmanship, spelling and conversation skills, as well as learning about other people and maybe other cultures. I started trying to locate another child for my daughter to write to. What I discovered were tons of adults looking for correspondence and so far, no kids,  aside from teachers who search out entire classes to write to their group of students. So I’m wondering if anyone knows or has a child they think would like to exchange letters.

My daughter would be in first grade if we were in the public school system (she’s turning seven in May) , but does fourth grade school work. She’s not a Disney Princess kid. She prefers warrior princesses schooled in defeating the undead, perhaps occasionally riding a Unicorn into battle . She loves scary stories and whimsical poetry, making art and creating potions in the woods. She is magickal. She tells me that, at night when I’m asleep, she casts a spell to make it appear she’s lying in her bed (just in case I get up to check) and then sneaks out to Witch World, which she calls “Wootch World.” That’s why she never wants to get up in the morning. She loves flowers and bugs and finally held her first wild caught snake a couple weeks ago.

I don’t know where to find other six year olds like her, at least in the sense of extreme intelligence with tiny child imagination and maturity (though she would be offended by that last part. She Is mature for her age, nonetheless, six years old with much of what that entails .)

We do home school, but many home school families are religious, which is not for us, this being the reason we have not reached out through home school groups. Any ideas? Info? Please? Feel free to share and/or comment !

Daily Dose – Meaningless

I could write a poem. I could be brief and say, “most things” or write a witty haiku to concisely make the same point, but there’s a List of Meaningless Things running through my head and I’m feeling it. Shine on, list. Do your thing!

  • Social Media
  • The news
  • College, insofar as academics are concerned. If your parents will pay thousands of dollars for you to figure out which booze you should never drink and what you like sexually, by all means, it’s a once in a lifetime chance to fuck off and discover yourself, for most people.
  • Public school in general. Don’t kid yourself, it’s just fancy free(-ish) daycare.
  • Voting. I always say it’s like a coloring book – sure, you picked which pretty colors to put on the page and it made you feel special, but that didn’t change the lay out of the thick black lines, did it? (Just ask Florida.)
  • Other’s opinions. Feedback, input, context and perspective are great, if you don’t depend on others to define you.
  • Stuff.
  • Worry.
  • Beauty. Our culture is so obsessed with such fleeting qualities. I remember the old country song about the girl with, what was it first, a glass eye or fake arm? She starts taking off all her fake parts-peg leg, prosthetic arm, glass eye, wig-and by the time she’s done there’s more of her in the chair in the corner than standing before the singer. I can’t help thinking how many girls must enact this routine every night, despite two healthy legs, functioning arms and perfectly good eyes. You can paint, color, insert and strap on a whole fake human!
  • Appearances in general.
  • “Socialization. ” Homeschool families know all about the questions you get asked on this topic. You know that thing I say about all the world’s problems and bad parenting? My kids can wait til they’ve developed their own sense of self, morals and convictions before being subjected to the hoarde.
  • Financial success. Unless stuff really does make you happy, I suppose. It’s success of the soul that truly matters.
  • Relationships with people who only care about themselves, without truly loving themselves.
  • Chatter without substance.
  • Talk without action.
  • Radical political opinions on your social media account.
  • Pop music.
  • Life, on any greater cosmic scale outside this moment.  And isn’t that the beauty of it? My life only matters to me, and those directly within my bubble. I am free to live out simple happiness, so long as my happiness doesn’t stomp out anyone else’s joy. My happiness already resides within me,  it’s my job not to lose track of it or walk away from it towards the heaps of talk and appearance and glimmering junk stacked along the roadside.

Do you agree with my list, or do you think there are points I should reconsider?