I walked into the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet. I picked two out of the six bottles. A large white bottle and a see through bottle with a white cap. I shut the medicine cabinet. The sink had toothpaste splattered on the chrome faucet. I looked up and met my eyes in the mirror. A splat of toothpaste obstructed the view of the yellow Chrysanthemum on the wallpaper behind me. I followed the stem of the Chrysanthemum under an oak cabinet that held the q-tips, floss and razors. I caught a reflection of the sun on the gold tone towel bar. I looked into the mirror and then down to the sink. Without looking into the mirror again I grabbed the two bottles and walked into my bedroom with memories of earlier that afternoon.
“Why did you call Dad for?”, I asked her with tears in my eyes. Mom stood there in my bedroom looking at me sitting on my bed with no expression on her face. “Why did you do that for?”, I asked. Planting my right arm into my bed to sit up straighter I looked at her. The bottom of her bell bottom jeans became ball gowns on my orange and brown plush carpet. I thought of Cinderella and her pumpkin. I looked over to the clock by my bedside before looking out my bedroom window. I looked back up at her, my vision distorted from the sun.
She stood in front of my bed with her arms folded. Her hair was down. Her nails were painted a pearl white sheen color. I looked at the reflection of her backside in the mirror. I wanted to throw my blue piggy bank at the mirror and smash it into a thousand pieces and then lay in the broken glass. I wanted to bleed into the mirror until I absolved away.
“Do you really think he cares about you, Melissa?”, she asked with a straight face. “Where is he?,” she asked again with a straight face. Maybe he’s working I thought. Maybe he’s going to come home soon, I hoped. Maybe he will call me, I said to myself. “He does care about me and he loves me.”, I said quietly looking down. I was eight years old. Her words were burning. Her words were a half truth. “Your precious father doesn’t love anyone besides himself Melissa Marie!”, she said as she placed her right foot forward towards me.
Her voice began to change. Her eyes were changing. I saw her left foot move towards the bed. The bell bottom part of her jeans made the carriage wheel to Holly Hobbys wagon on the bedskirt. She stepped closer to the bed. I put all my weight on my right arm again and lifted myself towards the corner top of my bed trying to get away from her. I should have jumped off my bed and stood in the corner of my room instead, I thought. I looked at the pillows on my bed. I felt the heat on the edge of the bed from where the sun was hitting.
I looked at her as her right knee made an indent in the mattress as she began to come towards me. I swung my right leg off of the bed and ran to the corner of my room where my bookcase was. She walked over to me.
Mom had different kinds of anger. The anger that scared me the most was her quite anger. Her being as a whole would change. Mom wouldn’t hit though, not during these times. She would get close to your face. Her eyes would become angled like almond slivers and her teeth would clench together. Her voice would change when she would speak. This low growl. Those were the moments. Her silent, scary moments.
When there was no physical pain to comfort afterwards, emotional instability would set in. I began to see myself as unlovable. I remember playing with my Cabbage Patch Kid doll and telling her that I wouldn’t be sad if she couldn’t love me. I told my doll that I understood. I told her that I would love her even if she felt she didn’t like me.
In my childhood, just as in my adulthood, my mother would use my Dad as a weapon. She knew how much I loved him. I spoke of him often as a child. I asked her what her happiest memory was one day when we were driving as a child of Dad. She said that Dad stopped to get her wild daisies one day on the side of the road. She was so happy. I watched her face to just absorb her happiness when she would speak of Dad and the daisies. It was not often that she had a kind word to say, but when she did, it was ice cream on a Summer’s day to me. I only remember one happy memory of my parents together. One Christmas when I was a small child. I remember the way the sun reflected off of my brothers new race car set that Dad was putting batteries into. My Dad was smiling and Mom was standing by the kitchen table smiling. I smiled so much and not just in my heart, it was all over my face. What happiness, what joy in that moment.
Mom and Dad always fought. Echos from drunken arguments, chairs being flung across the kitchen, my mother yelling and my Dad yelling back. I was in my bed, looking out the window at the trees, the moon and the stars. I would sing to the stars, trees, I would sing to the night about my dreams. For a moment I wasn’t there anymore in the midst of the two people that I loved so much. Love. What was it? Marriage? This is marriage? Family. This is family? I decided from a young age that I would never get married or have children. I didn’t want it.
Looking at Mom, her face was an index finger from my face. “Oh babygirl, what?! Are you afraid that your precious daddy won’t love you anymore?! You think he loves you, like he loved me, right?! RIGHT?!”, Mom looked at me and I said nothing. I was so afraid because I knew what was coming next. It’s what always would come next. The reason I jumped off my bed and into the corner of my bedroom. I couldn’t answer her, I was close to throwing up. I began to tremble and put my right hand on the wall to balance myself.
Putting my head down, I listened as she gathered a mouthful of spit. My eyes began to water. The deafening silence would be awoken by her spitting in my face.
She left the room. I stood in my spot. I don’t know for how long. I was afraid to aggravate mom. Afraid she would come back upstairs. Walking over to my mirror with the stickers of cupcakes and rainbows, I looked at myself in the mirror. I stared. I always just would stare. Two globs of spit stuck to my face. Moms spit was on my right cheek. Thick, white spit with so many little bubbles. I always remember the look of the little bubbles. The second glob was above my left eyebrow. I stood in front of the mirror and let the spit fall down my face. I felt nothing. I felt like a rock I said to myself. A rock can’t feel anything. I had to know that I was not alone in that moment and a rock brought me solace. Nothing was real in those moments. I was there but not there. I was living, going through the motions by the age of eight. By the age of six I was tired. I wanted out. Nothing mattered. I felt nothing. No happiness. To stay alive for my brothers was hard. I thought about them as I sat on my bed that afternoon as I walked back from the bathroom.
Lithium. Acetaminophen. I would find moms bottles of pills often in her bed. My brother who was a baby would often lay in moms bed as I fed him his bottle. Grabbing the bottles of pills out of the bed and putting them onto moms nightstand so my baby brother wouldn’t get hurt. I knew of suicide. Mom tried to take her life a few times. Her pain must have been bad I always thought as a child.
The bottle of Lithium wouldn’t open. They were smaller from what I saw then the Acetaminophen. I thought to myself when I couldn’t open the bottle of Lithium that it was probably better because I didn’t want to be like her anyways. I saw moms lips begin to curve and purse. I heard her breathe in deeply to get as much mucus as she could. I opened the Acetaminophen bottle and poured eight into my hand. I was eight and I reasoned that eight would help me to die. I began to swallow one at a time with a Dixie Cup that I had grabbed by the bathroom sink. I heard her nose begin to snort. Six down, two more to go. I heard the shooting sound of spit being rocketed from her lips from her body. All eight were gone. I felt the warm spit cling to my face. I looked at my baby doll and kissed her. I tucked her in and rocked her cradle. I walked over to my bed and laid down. I put my hands on top of my chest folded. I was sad, but not as sad as when Mom spit at me that day. No, I was happier because I was almost free.
“Melissa Marie Wooding!!”, I heard her voice. I remember awaking in pitch black. I was dead I reasoned. But I wasn’t because I saw the red numbers from my alarm clock and heard her voice. It had been exactly three hours since I had looked at the clock. I began crying at hearing Moms voice again. I swung my legs over the bed and proceeded to go downstairs.
“Why are your eyes all red?’, mom asked. “I fell asleep.”, I said.
- My Mother called my Dad that day to tell him I had not cleaned my bedroom due to me being outside and playing. When Mom would call Dad about me, she would look at me as she was calling him and smile at me. She was so sweet to him on the phone and then when she would hang up she said cold and callous things to me about him. It was confusing. She would often tell me that he didn’t love me and when she would call him and tell him, for me as a child, to know that my Dad may have not loved me because he thought I was bad, caused great anxiety in me as a child. My Dad was the only real thing I had as a young child. He was an alcoholic but he was not my mother and I was grateful for that. I never told my parents about my suicide attempt. To see them get upset would have been too high of a price. I did not get sick from the Acetaminophen. I did fall into a deep sleep and awoke physically fine.