Relative Secrets

Friday, December 23, 2005

The post-Katrina coast is making me think a lot about the housefire I had a couple of years ago. Before it happened, I was in denial about the relationship I was in, but wouldn't think of moving, because I'd have to move all my STUFF again. It was also a secret to most everyone that I was feeling very suicidal. I don't tend to tell people when I'm really feeling like I want to die. When I get that way, I'm very serious about it. It's not a plea for help. It's for real. The arthritis was having a field day with my body, I was useless to everyone, I was far away from my family and friends, the guy I was living with seemed to be sabotauging me, I couldn't work, and I was just about OVER it all. I was thinking about ways to do it. I could find a quack and get a bunch of opiates, mix that with my xanax and a bunch of liquor, and bye bye. The only thing really keeping me from it, I think, was thinking about how we all felt when Doug killed himself. That if he'd just held on, he'd've been able to see how temporary his problems were. I didn't feel like my problems were temporary at all, but I do remember how it felt -- the loss, helplessness, anger, etc. I didn't want to put Xi and my mom through that sort of shit. I do sort of think they'd halfway understand, maybe, and thought about writing letters to explain it. Anyhow, it was something I kept to myself. A secret from my relatives.

When I saw the smoke, my mind wouldn't work fast enough. I just thought I had to get water to put it out, so I dumped the trash on the floor and started filling up the trashcan with water. The smoke was boiling into the kitchen at that time, and I knew I had no time to put it out. I tried to go into the middle room, and maybe grab my purse or some stuff, but the smoke was too thick. I saw my cat, grabbed her, looked around for Chris' cat, couldn't see her, and got the fuck out. My cat scratched the fuck out of me and went back IN the house. There was no way I could get back in, as thick as the smoke was, and it was choking me pretty badly, and I ran like hell, yelling, "Fire!"

I sat in front of the house and watched it burn and explode, thinking about all the things in there, worrying about the kitties, really just dazed and sick. But there was something new about me. Something similar to what happens when I go to the woods for long periods of time. I could sort of see myself, sitting there, covered in soot, with a new outlook, at a starting-over point, with another chance to live, and I just cried. Not about the kitties or the stuff, but about how sad I'd been, and about how lucky I was to be alive. And about how stupid I'd been to keep all that shit inside and not get away from a harmful environment.

I still get upset about some of the stuff that burned, especially Xi's paintings and my books. The kitties went into the basement, and they were okay. It's still a secret, the fact that I so seriously considered suicide, but I think I washed that part of me off with the smoke the next time I showered.


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