Stop the Ride - A Stream of Consciousness
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Ever wish you could just ask the carny to let you off.
The same ride that thrilled my sister, that same spinney whirligig that lit her face made me pale and clammy. I would pant and pray for an end to it, afraid I would lose the carnival food I just inhaled. But I had to tough it out, she had a crush on the carny. I couldn’t embarrass her. I had pride, admitting defeat has never come easy to me. I come from tough stock, I’d tell myself.
Sometimes though, life is like trying to knock over lead milk bottles with ping pong balls. All to win an ugly pink, once plush, now dusty panther. The questions that any good reporter would ask, repeatedly pop into mind: where am I headed, what is the point, why do I even try, who even cares if I live or die. Who indeed. That’s the one that stops me. When you choose to prematurely exit, the children you leave behind spend the rest of their lives trying to convince themselves that they weren’t the reason.
My Mother finally succeeded at her self appointed departure by blowing her head apart with my Grandmother’s pistol. Turned out to be much more effective than bottles of pills. Something about the pills is romantic perhaps. You have time to fan your hair out across your pillow. Strike a cinematic pose. Time for them to rescue you, time to appreciate and validate you. Time for a stomach pump and therapy. When you use a gun you aren’t looking for a second chance, a conversation, an apology. You are looking for it to just to be over.
There was a new kid at my brother’s house the last couple of family gatherings. He was doing his laundry. Seems my sister-in-law has sorta taken him in. His home life isn’t great. Perhaps a mile short of great. So I give him cake as if he’s my new nephew. We are a mishmash of step and re-marrieds anyway. What’s another 18 year-old who knows how to do his own laundry. Its hard being 18 sometimes. He’s polite and has a great smile, one worthy of an extra big piece of cake.
He blew out his brains today. His parents and siblings regardless of their problems, I know this much, are sitting around as is my nephew and his Mom, wondering what they could have done. What they could have said. Telling themselves that it can’t be, it just can’t be their fault. It can’t, cause no one can live with that. The depth of pain caused by the ones who jump off the merry-go-round is more than they ever dreamed. The wave of pain is wider than they ever could dream. It is sadly, a very selfish demise.
That is why, when life drains the blood from my face, and that sickening urge to end the ride comes over me, I put my face in the wind an swallow hard. Because I know. I know the true tragedy is left to the living. I could never do THAT to another human being.