16 April 2017

A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part One: The Test

a sugar coated suicide part one

Trigger warning: Suicide

   “Am I dead?” I asked the man beside me. Smiling, he checked the ID bracelet wrapped a little too tightly around my wrist. His hand was smooth and dark brown. He turned my wrist this way and that to read my name, Mary Beth McAfee-Hallman. I cringed. Hundreds of miles separated me from my biological family, but surely he knew. The McAfees were lunatics. The name was a confirmation of my particular brand of Crazies.

  This man had a brilliant smile made up of perfectly white teeth. His smile made me feel safe. I smiled back.  What was happening here wasn’t a “Holy shit! Am I dead?!” kinda moment.  I simply wanted to know if I’d finally done it. I asked him if I was dead in the same way I’d ask a stranger the time.  The time was important information, but casually asked. Unless, of course, you were in a hurry. I didn’t feel the least bit hurried anymore. What I felt was this delicious, confusing mix of light and dark, a heaviness without the struggle. Maybe the only thing stopping me from floating away was this man’s hand on my arm. The thought of my fat body floating, hot air balloon style, into the night almost made me giggle. Almost.

  The man’s smile became a chuckle, a deep well of soul energy I could feel coming from his hand. When the energy hit my toes, they tingled. “No, ma’am. You’re not dead. You’re right here with me!” He patted my arm gently once it was tucked beside me on the gurney.

  Where was here? Suspicious, but not questioning whatever authority this man may have in The Wherever I was, I whispered in my sweetest voice, “Are you sure I’m not dead? On accounta I just saw Grandmom Amison.”

  “Did your grandmother bring you to the hospital? I bet you’ll see her as soon as we’re through with this test.”

  I didn’t want to tell him Grandmom Amison had been dead going on six years now. Also, shit a’mighty, I was still at the hospital. I said, “No sir, my husband drove me here, but I think… I think…”

  “You don’t have to do anymore thinking right now. You just relax.”

  As the smiling man walked away, I tried to concentrate. Now was not the time for relaxing. Not yet. I couldn’t get my head around taking  a test. Wasn’t the past 41 years the test? I’d seen the report card. I’d failed already. No makeup work was gonna save me now. Whatever we were about to do sounded more like a pop quiz. That’s bullshit in life, let alone death. If I failed it, was I gonna have to go back? I didn’t want a do over. Whatever rules were in play here better not include do overs.

  Perhaps this was why Grandmom Amison was here, to help me cheat my way through to death. She was a good cheater. I knew firsthand from all those games of Monopoly we played when I was a kid. She never wore a bra. Grandmom’s huge, unleashed breasts rested on the card table. Money and hotels disappeared underneath them when she thought I wasn’t looking. The table would shake as she plopped a breast over her ill-gotten gains. The tremor signaled another bank heist. Despite her hidden stash, every now and again, she was in danger of losing. I’d drop money on the floor around her and make a show of how she was knocking her money off the table with her knockers. Sometimes, I did that even when she was winning, because it always made her laugh.

  The scent of her overpowering, musky sweet Avon perfume came swirling down the hallway to wrap me in the warmth of one of her hugs. I squinted to try to see her better. Grandmom Amison was there, just at the corner, waving her hand back and forth in short little bursts. She used to wave at me like that as we drove up the dirt road that led to her house and summers filled with her delicious cooking and succulent laughter. Summers at her house meant being outside in the country. They meant being safe.

  Grandmom Amison was the embodiment of too much. She jingled and jangled as she walked heavy footed through the farmhouse where she lived. Costume jewelry languished decadently on her ample frame for no one’s pleasure but her own. She hoarded copies of The National Enquirer, letting me read all the absurd stories she wholeheartedly believed. Her great big glasses made her eyes ginormous to match her short, fantastically fat body. She laughed too loud and too long at jokes only she had the balls to find funny. For me, Grandmom Amison was never too much. She was just enough.

  Perpetually wearing the house dresses favored by small town fat folks, my Grandmom Amison grew still as she stood in the hospital hallway, her folded arms resting on the abundance of her belly. She blinked at me from behind those huge glasses like an owl, silent in her observations, but ready to take flight. Maybe my summer with Grandmom Amison would last forever. I saw a little slip of a girl press herself against Grandmom’s side. At first, I thought it was my youngest daughter, Gracie. She was partially hidden in the folds of Grandmom’s house dress. Thick glasses and unkempt hair overpowered her tiny face. Hesitantly, she raised her hand and waved at me. Her shy smile came slowly, never reaching her eyes. I reached back forty years to remember this child. She was me. Part of me died when I was a child. Therapists called trauma and abuse “soul murder.” Well, the vessel was ready to join that soul in death. Her presence sealed the deal. I was dead.

  I kinda thought when I finally died, I’d join the Oneness or whatever. No bright lights or angel choirs. The afterlife would be a reunion with all these cool people like Grandmom Amison, Gandhi and John Belushi, people gone way before me who were aching to welcome me home. I’d meet Nora Ephron who’d tell me I’m a real writer. She wouldn’t say it like she felt sorry for my lost potential. She wasn’t chastising me for killing myself. Nora Ephron would say it more like an affirmation and, for once, I’d believe it.

  If somebody started talking pearly gates, I’d need Grandmom Amison and Jesus too. Jesus was still a friend of mine. We quit dating after high school, but our relationship wasn’t awkward anymore. Yeah, Jesus would be my Ace in the hole. If this test got Biblical, I might not be screwed with an assist from the J-Man and Grandmom Amison. No one was gonna throw open any gates for the likes of me. I wasn’t a bad person. I didn’t kick puppies or anything. I was bad at the living part of being a person which is why I just made my heart explode with four years’ worth of binge eating.

  When I was a kid, we used to break into the church playground. The Methodists held their holy monkey bars hostage behind a chain link fence so all the heathen children couldn’t get in there to play during non-churchy hours. I needed a boost back in the day and that was a regular old fence.  Now, I had 300 pounds’ worth of weight to hoist over what would have to be something akin to The Wall that protected the Seven Kingdoms from the White Walkers. I’d be alright. Jon Snow knew nothing. Jesus, Grandmom, and I would figure this shit out right quick.

  I could always float on over to the other side. Floating was what I was feeling right then. Whatever was waiting for me, even if it was John Belushi ready to push me on a swing, was starting to sound like Destination Doucheville. I mean, what kinda place makes you take a test before you can even get there? The afterlife sounded as if it wasn’t gonna be a release like I thought it would be, a place where I’d finally fit. I had not planned well.

  The smiling man patted my hand as we started to move toward a bright light. “Let’s just take this little test. Don’t you want to see your husband?”

  I couldn’t tell him I didn’t need to see Johnny Hallman. I needed to see Grandmom Amison, Jesus and maybe John Belushi too. I wanted to be dead! I was sure I shouldn’t admit that even now. Seeking death isn’t kosher, that’s why I’d been so sneaky about it in the first place. All I could remember of Johnny was a worried smile that transformed his handsome face into a mask of fear. His smile sparked a guilt deep inside of me. I’d met Guilt through my oldest buddy, Self-Loathing. One on one, they were hard to handle. Together they controlled everything. We did most of our hanging out on the sly. Johnny never realized we’d been double dating with them for over 20 years now.

  I couldn’t hold onto to Johnny or guilt as I floated into a blinding light. The smiling man apologized when the gurney bounced off the sides of a doorway. Still, I felt no fear, only confusion. I was headed into the light backwards. Good things seldom happen when you can’t see what’s coming.

 

Next week

Part Two: Baseball Season

Part Two: Baseball Season

Part Three: Gloria and Birdie

Part Four: Christie Crazy 

Part Five: A Secret Ingredient

Part Six: Accidents Happen


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Copyright 2017 by Beth Hallman. All rights reserved.

Posted April 16, 2017 by Beth in category "Stories and Such

55 COMMENTS :

  1. By Deb Miller on

    Beth, this is awesome! You are a brilliant writer! Your words hit hard and make me want more! Sending love, hugs, light and happiness to you, yours and all the people out there that you touch! ❤️

    Reply
  2. By Suzie Maddox on

    It is wonderful Beth, really grabbed me….can’t wait for the rest
    xoxoxo

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Ha ha ha! Thanks, friend. Next Sunday, part two will be live. Peace, B.

      Reply
  3. By Jan Stribling on

    Captivating! I don’t want to wait a week for more!

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Thank you, friend. Thank you for reading my words! Peace, B.

      Reply
  4. By Janine MacLean on

    Truly amazing writing Beth. Horribly cruel!! The waiting will kill me.

    Reply
  5. By Megan Wallace on

    That was awesome! When do we get the next installment? Just WoW!

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Next Sunday, friend, April 23. Thank you for reading!
      Peace, B.

      Reply
  6. By Angela Hodge on

    Love, love, love…can’t wait till next week—

    Reply
  7. By Marla on

    You’ve got me grabbed and waiting for more. Nicely done! : )

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Wow! Thank you, friend. I love reading that.

      Reply
  8. By Angela keener on

    Wonderful- wrote from your soul and it’s working for ya. writing is quite liberating, write for you, as you matter most. Looking forward to the next piece
    Peace

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Thank you, friend. That was the turning point for me- writing for myself. I appreciate you. Peace. B.

      Reply
  9. By Kim Ratcliffe on

    Your words jump out from the page to my soul. It soothes my soul to know many of my sisters also battle demons. People may think we are odd but they can’t see us through our eyes nor the pain we have endured. Thank you…sending love and light. ❤️

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      I appreciate you, friend. I’m glad you’re here.

      Reply
  10. By Kathy Slemp on

    Beth, lie said before, you are a powerful writer, that draws absolutely pictures in the mind. 💖💖💖

    Reply
  11. By Jill on

    It’s great. I love how descriptive you are. I could see your grandma at that monopoly game. Keep at it. You are good!!!

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Thank you so much, friend. Grandmom Amison was one hell of a woman.

      Reply
  12. By Sally Z A on

    That was beautiful and heartbreaking. My Grandmom Amison was Grandma Hupe.

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      I’m so happy you had Grandma Hupe. I’m glad you’re here, friend.

      Reply
  13. By Becky on

    I’m really sure I NEED to read more. Your writing ~ is like your Grandmom, not “too much” for me.

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Wow! Thank you, friend. Part two is coming next Sunday. You’ll get to know my Grandmom Amison lots better.

      Reply
  14. By Jo-Ann on

    As always your writing brings some of my own scary days back but I can’t wait for the next part. You always make me feel better about myself and some of my dark thoughts. Keep on writing girl you speak for many of us who can’t put the words together. Love you!

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      What an honor, friend. I’m thankful you are here. Those dark thoughts want to pull us down with them sometimes. We keep going. We Keep. Going. Peace, B.

      Reply
  15. By Christie mills on

    As I read your words your truths about Grandma amsion. Your realionahip with her her comes shining out like a beautiful rainbow. She had her own way of being there for us both. This is no different she wanted you to talk to her. My sweet loving sister you are a wonderful writer/ author did I mention how awesome you truly are. Can’t wait til the next part. Wow I’m so proud of you ok ok and yes grandma amsion I’m proud of you too.

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Big love to you, sister Thank you for supporting me in this and everything I do.

      Reply
  16. By Alison Brookins on

    All I can say is wow. I wanted to keep reading and reading. You have such a magnificent way with words. I am in awe of your talent.

    Reply
    1. By Beth (Post author) on

      Thank you, Alison! Thank you bunches and bunches. I’m so happy we had the opportunity to meet when we did.

      Reply
  17. By Margaret on

    Beth, can’t wait for more, sad as this beginning seems, I know the happy ending!

    Reply
  18. By Kelly Roberts on

    I love love love this! Your descriptions are so vivid and so realistic. I could picture Grandma Amison in all of her mumued glory just standing there with her arms crossed…can’t wait for the next installment.

    Reply
  19. By Gloria on

    Beth, your words remind me that LIFE is precious. God gave each of us a purpose, a reason, to be here. I believe we have a pre-determined number of people to reach…to show them the way to Him! Your beautifully brutal honesty about the abuse and struggles you face each day resonate with those of us often forgotten. Your struggles will be rewarded. I hope I am there when J-man places a jewel in your crown for every soul you lead to light and peace. I love you fiercely sista!!!

    Reply
  20. By Angel on

    Stunning heart, mind, gut, grabbing writing. It hits your right in the feels. It hits even harder if you have experienced it first hand. A simple thank you is all I can say.

    Reply
  21. By Mary on

    The way you write is so comfortable, and it just clicks – there’s no having to get through the first few pages; you’re hooked from the get-go. I may not always comment on your posts, but that’s what I’mm always thinking! Looking forward to reading more.

    Reply
  22. Pingback: A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Two: Baseball Season

  23. By Heather Mc on

    I love to read your writing, Beth. Thank you for sharing your gift with me.

    Reply
  24. By Amy on

    Hits me in the feels! Wonderfully written, i can picture the events that are happening.

    Reply
  25. By Kerri on

    WOW, I am glad I have been able to find the time finally to read this. Amazing!!!! I’m hooked.

    Reply
  26. Pingback: A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Three: Gloria and Birdie

  27. Pingback: A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Four: Christie Crazy

  28. Pingback: A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Five: A Secret Ingredient

  29. Pingback: A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Six: Accidents Happen

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