28 May 2017

A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Six: Accidents Happen

Trigger warning: suicide.  


Johnny left to pick up Bailey and Mars at 3:30. I knew he’d probably stop by the band room while he was there, just to check on things. Gracie’s bus pulled up in front of the house fifteen minutes later. She ran up the hill with her backpack slipping off her arms, a crumpled piece of artwork in her hand, and a smile on that adorable face. I hugged her a little too hard, breathing in the faint smell of dirt and cookies. She leaned back and put her hand on my forehead.

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21 May 2017

A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Five: A Secret Ingredient

Trigger warning: suicide

   When we got home, Johnny told me he was taking the rest of the day off. He didn’t stay away from the band room unless it was an emergency and his idea of an emergency was loss of limb. Potential loss of wife must have counted too. “Beth, I want you to sit here while I get a spot made for you on the couch.” He pointed to a chair. As soon as I sat down, our barking dogs, Felix and Luca, mauled me with puppy kisses, whines, and nuzzles.

   Johnny went to gather blankets and pillows from our bed which was tucked behind the bookcases in the great room. Last week’s cough wracked through me accompanied by a sharp pain in my chest. “It’s alright,” Johnny called out to me. “We’ll get you medicated and settled. I’ll call the doctor after I check in with Tasha’s mom about the girls. Oh, you have to take your morning meds too.”

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7 May 2017

A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Four: Christie Crazy

   Trigger warning: suicide

   The next morning, the sun rose over All Saints’ Day. This was no longer a dimly lit room for convalescents. Although, I’d never been incarcerated, the place felt like a prison cell. I was locked up, abandoned by dead grandmothers and trapped with a grumpy husband. I’d suffered the indignity of relieving myself in a bedpan. Twice.

  I only knew the sun was shining right then, because it was the end of the night shift. Nurse Evelyn came in to tell me fare thee well. She didn’t say it exactly like that. What she said was, “I’m leaving now, Miss Beth. Don’t cuss anybody out today!” I almost told her to go fuck herself, but I didn’t know if she’d get the joke. I wasn’t willing to risk it. She had absolute authority over the bedpan.

  Johnny and I were starting to feel our close quarters around seven o’clock. I started coughing every few minutes, a deep cough I’d had off and on for weeks now. The pain in my chest was still intense and sharp. That’s when the happiest man who ever lived walked through the door.

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30 April 2017

A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Three: Gloria and Birdie

Trigger warning: suicide


I touched the bracelets crowding around my grandmother’s wrists, turquoise popped out here and there on the gaudy baubles I coveted as a child, a child who had the sweet little name of Beffamus. We didn’t spend much time together as I grew older. This was the grandmother of my youth. My daddy looked like her and so did I.

  “Hey there, Grandmom Amison.”

  She reached for my hand and stopped when she saw the IV there. “You’re not doing too good, are you kiddo? I heard you cursed some people out downstairs.” She wasn’t frowning over cursing. Grandmom was all for expressing yourself.

  From the other side of the room, near the door, I heard Birdie say, “That kid’s doing just fine, Gloria.” Oh, no way. My mom’s mom and my dad’s mom were in the same room. Growing up, my family avoided situations where the two of them had to mingle at all costs. Shit was about to go down.

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23 April 2017

A Sugar Coated Suicide, Part Two: Baseball Season

Trigger warning: suicide

  The next thing I knew, I rolled down an extremely quiet hallway, a different hallway.  My jam was the steady beat of soft footsteps behind me and the delightful whir of turning wheels. I bobbed my head a little to this delicious ditty. The test was over, only I couldn’t remember a thing about it right then. Caring seemed a little too hard to hold while I was carrying this tune. The song ended abruptly.

  A fuzzy, sideways room was in front of me.  I must have jacked someone’s wheelchair. I was sitting in one, all slumped over like a drunk on a two day bender. Well, that explained the sideways part of this situation. Somebody asked me, kinda uppity like, to stand. A nurse was talking to me and her tone meant business. “You have to wake up, Mrs. McAfee.”

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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.

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