This story, my story, had been kicking around in my head for a few weeks now, since I said I would try to write it down.
The one thing that sticks out the most in my mind, is how I envisioned my body shutting down, my mind shutting down. I distinctly remember a row of switches, and each switch slowly turning to the “off” position. The old school light switches, with a heavy feel to them when they switched positions. As they shut down in my mind, I could could feel myself slowing down.
We were at a friend’s — my girlfriend at the time. In retrospect she wasn’t — she was horrible to me. Absolutely horrible. Cheated on me more than once, for the sake of doing so, leaving me stranded at Square One one time waiting for her while she went to see her “ex”, who clearly wasn’t. But, we were at her best friends house, and I was with my best friend, because the three of them all went to school together. In that regard, I was an outsider. Some foreign guy from Toronto–the big city–infiltrating the suburbs. I also remember I was in school. First year or second year university in fine arts? And I remember being angry. I couldn’t think in metaphor. I was, am, too serious to think in layers, in puzzles, in abstraction. But I was also working on a project, and I had settled on symbolism of tools and mechanics, which is probably why light switches were a prominent theme in my head.
I remember telling my best friend that we really should go, and he should take me to the hospital. And him asking me what the hell I did, and why I would do it.
As I lay in the hospital, they made me drink charcoal. Up until then I didn’t know that that was a thing — charcoal was for cooking meat on the barbecue, not for making me throw up, but throw up I did. A black coal smoothie. And I remember the other person in my room. Well, not quite; I remember his visitor. For reasons unknown to me they were speaking about hemorrhoids. I’m not sure who had them: the patient or the visitor. But they were talking about them. I’m dying, literally – who the hell talks about hemorrhoids four feet away?
And then I fell asleep.
The next day my friend picked me up. We went back to his place. He has a big family: mom, dad, two sisters, plus him. Typical big friendly family, something from a TV show. Like the Cosby’s, but not black. I remember his mom hugging me. I also remembered that when she did that I was suddenly aware of how bad I smelt, from sweat, as I hadn’t been home yet.
I don’t recall ever talking about this, except in passing – one other time, years later.
It’s strange. Literally decades later, I remember all these little things. I remember downing the full bottle of pills, and standing there talking to people–talking about what, I don’t remember–but standing there talking while the light switches went off in my head. And then I suddenly realized I should say something, and I did, and off to the hospital I went.
I don’t really remember why I did it. I don’t know if it was anger, a cry for help, jealousy, or a cry for attention. Apparently I complained a lot about my design prof and my inability to complete the assignment.
But I do remember people caring for me when it happened (however, not really my girlfriend at the time; she seemed mad I did it, but I don’t really remember any emotion or real caring there, more anger).