I had this real shit Monday, ya see. Like, epically, memorably shitty.
There’s this woman who lives in town (stick with me, it’s not like that for once) that I’ve known since we were both 14–let’s call her Nutty. She lived four doors down and across the park when I was in high school, and we rode the same bus, and we had the same friends mostly, and we spent a lot of time together for a handful of years that were pretty enjoyable. Then, she moved to Philadelphia for college and pretty much turned into a tragic coke whore. In turn, this made her rude, unpredictable, unreliable and entirely self-absorbed; nothing I wanted to put up with on the regs. As such, Nutty and I have drifted, but she’s stayed real tight with one of my oldest, closest friends, so I can’t escape her entirely.
Nutty is a complex character, and I could never truly and accurately describe her in all her horror and beauty. She is the bubbly teenager with braces and feet still too big that blew doors down in the high school chorus. She is the 22-year old classical painter that will only work in Thai restaurants and sleep with men that stink. She is the 24-year old with so much technical talent as a painter that the realism is almost eerie, but she doesn’t laugh as much because she’s fallen into an abusive relationship with a mediocre schmuck. She is the 26-year old jewelry designer for Liz Claiborne that does too much coke and wakes up in Trump Tower with an older man, spray tanned to within an inch of his life. She is the greedy 29-year old nicknamed Party Monster; her smiles have become forced.
She is the 31-year old that got unreasonably drunk for a Sunday night, got jilted by another Real Winner–a real choice pick, this one–and sent a mass text declaring that it was probably a good night to die, goodbye. She has a bunch of pills, those are convenient, I guess. Her psychiatrist keeps giving them to her, and they keep not working because she won’t be honest with her therapists about her severe alcoholism, as she knows they’ll insist she stop drinking. Lethal combo, brain meds and alcohol. She sent her suicidal text and then she turned her phone.
She didn’t die, maybe didn’t try whole-heartedly, and maybe she passed out in bed before she could go any further than the mere thought, and action of texting it. I got to her apartment at around 11 a.m., called by our mutual friend T-Rex who had actually received the text–she knows by now I don’t have time for her triflin’ late night bullshit, and we don’t talk on the phone, anyway. So there I am this morning, banging on Nutty’s door while T-Rex pretty much has a full-blown panic attack next to me, and every second that she didn’t answer the door, my stomach got colder and colder and colder as fear and adrenaline flooded my system, until finally I couldn’t stand that creeping feeling and I had to dial 911. It rang twice before she mumbled, “Who is it?”
The funny thing is: In that instant of relief that she was alive, I wanted to kill her for scaring me. I spent all of 27 seconds inside of her apartment before I removed myself; I was yelling, and it wasn’t going to help the situation. There’s so much history I can’t possibly relay, 17 years of some good times and a lot of the Same Old Bullshit, a lot of it offensive and hurtful and disrespectful and thoughtless, and why was I even there? How did I get picked for that job? And why, if we haven’t been real friends for a decade, did I damn near vomit through my tears when I drove myself back to work with shaky hands?
I don’t know how to respond to her cry for help when I decided years ago that I simply didn’t have room for her brand of drama in my life. I don’t want to go to her funeral, but I don’t want to hold her hand in therapy, either. I don’t want to have to get up in the mix, but I can’t just let her die, either, when she’s trying to tell somebody, anybody that’s she desperately unhappy and can’t remember why she should bother to ever wake up again. I called her mom–I still have the number memorized–and she glossed it over, brushed it off. It’s not the first time she’s threatened suicide before, come to find out.
It only takes once, you know. No edit undo function there.
So her family is non-responsive, and now there are talks of an intervention swirling around, and how I’d be just the perfect person to play that tough love angle because I hardly even like her as a person, but we have all this history and she trusts me, and therefore I can be honest and react authentically, with no real friendship to lose. At least, that’s what my friends say to me. But they weren’t there, knocking on the door.
I don’t wanna. So much time, so much energy, so much effort…and all I have for her in my heart is the sunshine in the park from high school, and a gritty distaste for the woman she has become. So what do I do? Do I help if I can because she is another human in need, or do I preserve myself and save my energy for fulfilling and enriching connections that are positive in my life? She hasn’t listened to a damn thing I’ve said since we were 19-years old; why on Earth should I imagine she’ll listen now?
She could have been dead, and I might’ve stood there and waited for the battering ram to open the door to her blue lips and cold flesh. I hate for her that she might have been blue. I hate for her that she was dead for those two minutes in my mind, and that I never doubted for one second of those two minutes that she was selfish enough and stupid enough and sick enough to take the lazy, irresponsible way out. She’s not long for the world, through accident or with purpose, and I hate that at her funeral, I’ll be cursing her name.