Friday, June 13, 2014

I WAITED TOO LONG: fiction by ed cooper

We had just finished the last of the renovations to the little white house on the farm we had bought on a creek in eastern Kentucky to get away from the crowds in south Florida.  It had been a long process that seemed to take forever, but now things were getting back to a normal routine.  I loved living back in the state of my birth and I did not leave the farm for days at a time.  We were considered outsiders on the creek and would be no matter how long we lived there because we were not born there.

“You know there are lots of liberal advocates who talk about no forced treatment, but when I’m manic they would run for the hills,” I said to my wife with a grin on my face.  We were sitting at our small eating table drinking coffee as we did each morning.  I had just come back in from having a cigarette.  I don’t smoke in the house or in our vehicles.  I am not sure why the subject was on my mind, but as was common she went along with whatever subject I brought up.

“You’re probably right.  I can’t.”

“You sure can’t.  None of my family has been able to and when we tried to set up a network of friends to help they ended up trying to get me involuntarily committed.  So much for peer support!”

“You are too much for one person,” she said looking me straight in the eyes I guess to see how I was going to react.

We did not give her the satisfaction of any kind of response from any of us.  We all just looked back at her with the least amount of expression we could produce.  It is hard when you have to share a body to get everybody to agree not to respond when you feel attacked.  She was simply stating a fact Ed said, but some of us were not so sure.  We all did not love her like Ed did.

“You are not going to say anything?”

“What is there to say? You have expressed what you think.  Do you want me to simply agree?”

“Are you saying I am wrong?”

“No.  I am saying you hurt our feelings.”

“Are we back to that?  Ed, I thought you had stopped using plural pronouns when referring to yourself.”  The look on her face told the whole story.

“I can’t because it would be a lie.  I guess the truth is that only Jesus has enough energy and love to hang with a bipolar DID.” *

“Don’t put me down.  I have stayed by your side.”

“How about we stop here before we hurt each other with this conversation?”

“Fine.  You never want to finish any conversation unless you're high and then you don’t stop talking,” she said as she walked off into another part of the house.

I felt worse than before the conversation had begun and I am sure she did too.  I did not feel like trying to fix the situation so the day went by with it just hanging in the air like the humidity before a storm.  I am not sure I could have fixed it, but the fact I didn’t want to said more than the problem did.  I went instead to the creek on the property.  They had just started stocking trout in it again after years of not doing so because of the strip mining that had been done upstream.  Needless to say, I did not have any luck fishing.  To catch trout you have to have your mind in the game.

Why did I not want to fix it?  I ask myself this question several times during the day.  Finally, I decided to go look for her and try to straighten things out.  I found her in our bedroom.  She was lying on the bed on top of the covers in her clothes.  Her eyes were open staring at the ceiling.  She was not breathing.  I had waited too long.

Only Jesus can hang when I am high, but only the one I lost could hold me close at night when the nightmares woke me.  Why did I wait too long?

*DID is the acronym for Dissociative Identity Disorder formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder.

© Ed Cooper, June 12, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee     
    All rights reserved 

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