I sit silent
And I check the date
A little more silence as I feel its nearness
A longer pause
More silence as the radio downstairs in the kitchen talks away
Entertaining an empty room,
A full dishwasher,
A counter top dusted with crumbs.
I sit my feet up on my desk
Tree shadows dancing in morning light
I brush against another question too old to be asked again
So worn out and full of holes
I sit silent
And I ask when
Tomorrow will I wake wondering?
Or will a week go by before it hits me again?
I bite my lip
And I stand back to watch the world from here
today is so far away...
Taming Venus, mlb
...But I did come home. I came home loaded with bags. Through the front door dodging an exiting cat and my slowly entering daughter, who inevitably stopped in the doorway to talk some more about something else at just the wrong moment.
In the kitchen of our old cinder block farmhouse the answering machine waited, flashing the number 2. The first was my parents. I thought nothing of it. I should have known, though. If I had listened, really listened I would have realized how odd it was. But I never truly listen to anything.
The second was Colby, for all intents and purposes my husband, my partner for 4 years, and the father of my youngest child, in my chosen stubborn deafness, I didn’t hear him either. If I had, I would have heard the urgency in his voice.
I called Colby. I must have missed dialed while carting in the second load because no one answered. Reluctantly I called my parents not because I thought something was wrong just because they are my parents and I am who I am; 2 arms lengths away from everyone at all times. It was my dad who told me she was dead.
I had called her Monday because although she hadn’t remembered asking me to call, she had and I did. Colby, my Dad, and someone in her apartment building saw her on Tuesday. And that was it until Friday.
The tiny seeds of madness are planted here. Tended in the space and time and silence between those hours, those days, it is the garden where monsters lay in wait.
At 11 PM an officer called to speak to me. I made him tell me all the details. Someone had told him about my background in biology and medicine yet because I have her high sweet voice, a voice which misleads who we truly are, he required some assurance that I really wanted to know everything. Why were people using the term decomposed? Where and how was she found? What was she wearing? How bad was the body? What was the probable cause of death?
In trade for my answers, he asked me about her friends and what I might have seen Wednesday night. He asked about Anthony. Repeated the statement Wendi had told my dad that if she was ever found dead ‘Anthony did it’.
I was embarrassed when I had to admit to the officer that I hadn’t been sure that Anthony was real. The way Wendi had described him I had wondered if he was a figment of her imagination. How were we to know her truth from her fiction when even she couldn’t tell?
I told him that two weeks earlier my parents had failed to get her admitted to a treatment program because despite her blood alcohol level of .44 she was not a danger to herself or to anyone else. I told him it is hard to imagine that anyone could kill oneself with natural light brewed by Utah’s weak standards but if it is possible she did it. I took his cell number in case I needed it. I would be identifying the body for my family. Of course, it would be me.
By 2 AM I woke Colby wanting to know the time and all the details of the phone call he had gotten from my parents telling him. He didn’t really know.
At 3 AM I wanted to know what her bathroom looked like.
At 4 AM I wanted to know what had she died of?
At 5 AM I wanted to see her bloated dead body.
At 6 AM I wanted to know what she was doing or thinking or feeling.
At 7 AM I wondered if she would come to find me. Or had she already tried- and me not knowing she was dead, did that break her dead heart? Her whole family going on as if nothing had happened while she lay stinking in the heat face down in a bathroom.
I wanted. I needed to know what the dead knew.
But someone left behind knew something. It was the night the police officer had questioned me about. We had gone to dinner with Colby’s parents ending with cheesecake and wine at their new home, which happened to be Colby’s old house, the house on Hollywood in the lower part of the posh Sugar House district. We had sold it to them a few months prior trading in our suburban city life for a small 1-acre farm west of the city.
For a brief time, the Hollywood house was vacant and we had let Wendi stay there. In usual character, she had befriended the scum of the earth in the Meth house next door, the very people we sought to flee. Want to call it ironic? Don’t. It is the law of attraction and magnetism and repulsion.
I have a photo of that night. Sitting on the grand mahogany staircase Colby handcrafted, Colby, me, the kids, his brother, sister, mother and father. It is such a good photo it hangs on my parent’s fridge. They don’t know what I had just seen. What I had just said. What I was wondering at the very moment the photo was snapped.
Walking up the front steps that night it was impossible to miss the crowd on the porch next door. I knew Jen the resident meth-head by sight. I thought I could id. Dave, Wendi’s meth-user-ex-boyfriend, and two other women I didn’t know. They were huddled quietly together chain smoking. Jen called out Colby’s name so softly he couldn’t hear her over our footsteps. I did but I ignored her with the same self-righteous indignation I ignored my sister’s reality. She said it again even quieter.
I pulled at Colby’s arm. “Something is going down over there- they look like they just backed over their own dog.”
Their own dog- that was the point all phone calls to Wendi’s cell phone had stopped.