Friday, October 5, 2007


From the Archives

(June 2005) Jezusf*ckingHChrist what an unexpected lunch break! Started out irritated because I had to dash over to the credit onion to change some paperwork that they really should have had available online. Signed in and was reading an e-mail from a friend about a neighbor's teen who killed his parents with a single-load shotgun.

Single load. Multiple shots. That’s a lot of pent-up rage in a boy.

Got called to a carrel and was trying to shake the news off as I glanced at the woman in the next chair. She looked pretty distraught and I thought, huh, must have bounced some checks or had her credit stolen, poor thing.

The bank clerk and I were chit-chatting about the heat and how we both need a vacation and whatnot, making small talk, but then we couldn’t help but overhear the distaught woman at the next carral say, between newly sprouted hiccupping sobs, that her husband had kissed her goodbye at 7:30 this morning, told her he loved her, drove their daughter to school, then drove a few blocks and shot himself in the head, causing his car to swerve into oncoming traffic and kill two other people. And she just CAN'T understand why he didn’t TALK to her about whatever was going on because that was one of the reasons she married him in the first place—because they had ALWAYS been able to talk to each other about anything. Always. And he had a good job. Had just gotten a big promotion. And was so happy about it. And he was a happy guy in general. Really. And a good father. And her best friend. And now her daughter wants to know what she said that made her father kill himself.

Jezuskreeist I kept thinking This is not happening This is not happening This is not happening as I listened to the poor woman struggle to get her story out.

At this point I wasn’t even pretending to write on my form anymore and the bank clerk and I were instead just staring at each other, frozen. Then this huge tear rolled down her face. And then I couldn't help myself and one rolled down mine too and we just sat there, staring at each other and listening to the poor woman explain that she needed to figure out how to access her dead husband’s bank accounts because they had bills due that she needed to pay.

Finally, another clerk walked up and put her hand on the women's arm and escorted her to some place down the back hallway “where you’ll be more comfortable" and the bank clerk and I just sat there staring at each other until I finally signed my completely insignificant paperwork and got the heck out of there.

Didn’t even say anything about what happened either because all I wanted to do was keep my sh*t together till I got out to my car. The clerk did say “Take care” as I left though.

There was no way I could return to campus after that and all the little things that seemed so important this morning seemed so digustingly insignificant then anyway, so I drove out of town to find some country roads instead and just looked at grass and breathed for a few hours.



Anonymous said...

I will never be able to tell them now, for sure--now that I'm dead. I could not tell them then, either. What can you say when all your dreams come true, and you get everything you ever thought you wanted?

"But darling, why are you so depressed? You got promoted, we live in the home you designed yourself, we have an intelligent, beautiful daughter. You got everything you wanted! Didn't you?"

"I know. That is the problem. I got what I wanted." You see? Where does the conversation go from there? My wife, whom I also wanted would have frowned, shaken her beautiful curls and asked, "What do you mean?"

I don't know. When I was a young man, I wanted a normal life, like my parents, I suppose. I wanted a home, a family, a job, a wife I could make laugh, could make love to, could make happy...I didn't really think about it very much when I graduated second in my class, got my job in the law firm that had been my number one choice, and married the woman I fell in love with. I just started working hard, and didn't think about it.

I started filling the hole in the center of my life with goals and possessions. I am good at whatever I do--always have been. I achieved. I set a goal, and I achieved it, so I set a higher goal, and achieved that, too. Every time I achieved something, I would get more unhappy. I remember when I was at university dreading the low following exam week. I studied hard; I did my best; I earned great grades, and I was so depressed two days later I couldn't even get out of bed. It doesn't make sense.

I worked for 12 years trying to get the promotion at work. When I got it, I couldn't go on. The monster that lives in the black hole at the center of my life surfaced long enough to gulp down the elation I felt for the first two weeks after earning the promotion, leaving me more depressed and empty than I have ever been before. It was even worse than the morning I awoke next to the woman I had wooed for three years, and realized she had married me.

If some disaster had wiped out my home, my job, everything. I would have happily set out to conquer life once again. I would have worked hard, not thought about it too much, and been happy.

How am I doing? Am I explaining very well? I got what I wanted. I worked hard, and I got what I wanted, damn it! That is why I blew my brains out.

MEDEA poetica said...

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