The Phone Call

I didn’t know how to feel when I hung up the phone. I felt as though I had done the right thing, but the right thing felt confusing to me; surreal, I guess… I sat in silence on the edge of my bed with a beer rested between my feet. I remember wanting to drink from it but my body refused to move. The only thing capable of movement at that time was the uncontrolled freefall of thought from brain to floor. After enough time, the crescendo of introspective agony sparked the motivation required to pick the bottle up and press it against my lips. I felt the tears coming. I gulped heavily from the neck of the glass, swallowing sharply so as to ward off the storm in my eyes. It worked, I didn’t cry.

I did however need another beer, so, I went to the fridge.

I sat in my small shanty dwelling drinking bottle after bottle in hopes that the thoughts would soon drown themselves in a sea of silence – a futile endeavour when performed by a sad man – the thoughts just get louder…

I replayed the words that I had spoken when on the phone and wondered if they were good enough. Then I got angry that I had to speak them in the first place. And the angrier I became, the more they returned, the sad scribbles of lettering etched to all the suicide notes that I had read… including my mother’s… especially, my mother’s.

From my couch, I could see that it was snowing outside. The house across the street was adorned by sweeping strands of flickering lights. On any other day at any other moment, I may have found beauty in it, but not that day, not that moment. It simply reminded me, erroneously or otherwise, that the world didn’t care. It wasn’t even fucking aware. The anger evolved into fire and began to melt my insides with rage. I pressed the bottle to my lips once more only to be given another reason of vexation – empty!

I flung my body from the couch and walked with weighted footfalls back towards the kitchen to retrieve another bottle of a brooding man’s medicine only to be gifted yet another umbrage – I was out – no more beer. Whiskey was gone too.

I felt my hand tighten around the bottle, my fingers, wrist and then elbow began to dance with a vibration of agitation. I stood upright, turned my body back towards the cramped quarters of my living room, took aim at an arbitrary spot on the wall and threw the bottle that had betrayed me as hard as I possibly could. A brilliant, glittering explosion of glass propelled from wall to ceiling to floor but not before cascading ubiquitously around my second-hand furniture then coming to rest along the crooked planks of my apartment. Glass was everywhere, but I didn’t care. I tossed my boots on, grabbed my jacket and slammed the door angrily behind me.

I was now outside and at the mercy of the cold winter’s air. It was cold, biblically so. The wind whipped at my skin without remorse nor leniency. No matter though, it didn’t hold a candlestick to the pain that I was already in. Bring it on, Winter, you cold, cruel bastard; you got nothin’…

I found the nearest bar, pushed my way passed the door, found the nearest and emptiest section of the bar and ordered more elixir of loathing, a double, please…

I couldn’t stop playing it in my head. And when I tried, I was unable to stop myself from seeing and remembering the dead and their written words.

Read a suicide note penned by a fourteen-year-old once, that was fucking tragic. I Read a letter pieced together by a young woman whose final confession was that her father had raped her and that she could no longer stand the sight of him nor herself – found her dead on a bed. Girl in the bathtub? She slit her wrists, her note even had her blood on it, made some of the words illegible… That’s what I was seeing and re-experiencing when trying to forget the reality of that phone call that I had just had…

What phone call? The phone call where I was on one end of a handheld device, and an RCMP officer was on the other. Who was he? He was the Mounty that found my mum. He was the Mounty that took care of her. By take care of her, I mean he was the one who found and read her note, he was the one who called our family. He was the one who helped remove my mother from where she lay…

Why was I talking to him? A few days after my mother’s suicide, I began having horrid nightmares of all the suicides that I had been too. All the notes that I had read. All the bereft family that I had spoken to… and I felt bad for him… so, I called the RCMP local to my mother’s area and after a few call forwards later, I was given his number. Once I was given it, I held onto it for a few more days. I held onto it until one night when I was well sauced and comfortably numb; I phoned to thank him. That was my intention anyway… Can’t say much for the implementation – not because I don’t want to, but I don’t really recall what all I said. I know that in the message I informed him that I hated suicide notes, and that I had stopped reading them near the end of my career. It was a long and fractured message I’m sure.

Anyway, fast forward a couple of hazy days, and he called me back. I was well and truly hungover when speaking him, hence the beer between my feet – medicine – something to calm the angry dragon in my head.

I thanked him. I thanked him for looking after my mum. I said thank you for making sure she got to where she needed to be. I told him that I empathize with him. That I hated suicides. That I was sorry that he had to see that stuff. He told me that the reason he called me back was because he had never received a message like the one I had left him. He told me that he was sorry for my loss and that if I was ever in town, look him up, he’d like to shake my hand. I’m not sure if you can hear head-nod’s over the phone, but that’s all I was able to muster. The phone call ended with me saying thank you once more before tossing my phone atop of the unkempt covers beside me.

So, I felt like I had done the right thing; that I had thanked him and acknowledged him for what he had to see that day. But it was surreal because I was thanking a man for looking after my now dead mother… I hope now you can see why Christmas lights, beautiful or otherwise, seemed less than Christmas-y to me.

This year, this Christmas, surrounded by lights and still absent a mother, I no longer have the fallacy of medicinal bottles at the helm – the pain, well that I still have plenty of – and it sucks. It hurts. Physically, horribly and emotionally, it hurts.

I miss my mum and I am forever indebted to a man that I have never met. A man who is simply known as a phone call… THE phone call…

This prose is purple, bleak and drab, I know that. Sorry. I don’t mean for it to be – that’s just the color of my thoughts right now.

Santa, if you’re listening, I think I know what I want for Christmas… the impossible…

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