Fifty-two Sundays. I’ve counted Fifty-two days of vivid depression. The filling three-hundred and thirteen days intermixed of nightmarish terrors, shaking anger, tear drenched pillows and mind numbing regret.
It was that Sunday I was happy, not knowing it was that Sunday that he left.
On April 22nd, 2012 I awoke with vigor, excitedly getting dressed and ready to head out for what was bound to be a beautiful day. This was the last day of my local Library’s sale, and in an effort to get rid of as many books as possible, they set the price to $1 to anything we could hold. My mom and I waited outside the arena in a ridiculous line with people carrying wagons, boxes and bags of all sorts. The doors opened at 1:00 pm. I had a grand time sorting through books with everyone else, and finding an arm full of literary treasures. Before we knew it, everything was almost gone, and it was 2:45. The sale was to end at 3:00, so naturally we paid our dollar and left early to avoid traffic. When I got home I took photos of my haul, with pride and passion. The rest of the day went on normally, and after dinner my mom, little brothers and I sat in the living room to watch television. I remember everything. That day was the Fox anniversary special, and when it got to the In Living Color section of the show, my mom made the comment that Keenan Ivory Wayans looks so much like my dad, and I rolled my eyes because I’ve heard this so many times.
You see, I didn’t know.
That night I went to my room, and before I went to bed, I checked my email. It was strange to receive an e-mail from the MyHeritage website, which said I had a message. I next to never go on that website, but I had to see the message. It was from my grandfather, of whom I’ve never met nor talked to. The message said to call him as soon as possible, and then he gave me his phone number. I called the number twice, and twice it went to voicemail. My mom found it strange that I received this e-mail as well, and told me to try to call again in the morning, so I went to bed.
The next morning, around 10am, I called again. He told me “I’m sorry, you’re father’s passed.” and my mind went blank. My mom, who was watching me at the time was concerned and upon her unanswered “what”’s, she picked up the phone on another line and asked him what happened. He told her. Then she asked how. He told her. I broke down.
I repeated this over and over. My mom went hysterical, but I didn’t want her to comfort me. She did it too, so how could she ever comfort me on that matter. Suicide. The pain came back at full blast, and I felt that sinking, heart-tearing soul-losing agony that I’ve experienced before, only this time there was nobody in a hospital for me to visit. This time there was no healing. He was gone.
I’ll say this as a confession: I don’t remember much of the next few weeks. I had been given strong medication that put me in a daze. A daze that, of what I do remember, consisted of visions, migraines, swollen eyes, frustration and more than anything confusion. I remember a few days later, traveling to Maryland for his memorial. I remember meeting his side of the family, and my little sisters, for the first time in my life. I remember finding out the morning of his memorial that he had been cremated. I remember almost fainting. I remember breaking down at the memorial, before my dad’s wife’s mother pulled me aside in some weird attempt to comfort me. I remember her asking me why I didn’t go to the school that offered me the full-ride scholarship. I remember instantly hating her. I remember my dad’s wife laughing, texting, rudely leaving and her crocodile tears. I remember hating her. I then remember going to my dad’s townhouse, where he died, for the reception; I remember the house was void of all photos.
I remember that next sunday was filled with uncontrollable crying as I recalled that the moment of his death coincided with the moment of my joy. I thought that if I could dream and go back over it, I could go back in time. To do what, I didn’t know. Every sunday became this ritual as I dredged it up in my mind: that sunday while I was elated with a book in my hand, my father was depressed with a… well. It’s still hard.
It’s even harder since my nightmares have gotten worse. They consist of not only watching him do it, but watching other’s who I’ve never seen or met before kill themselves in other ways. I remember this one particular nightmare where I watched, unable to do anything, a man with a forlorn miserable expression on his far, climb into an incinerator and close the furnace door. His screams filled my mind and I awoke crying, scared and surrounded by darkness. I still have these different nightmares; they developed into insomnia. Something else that’s changed my outlook is watching movies and television shows. It’s hard if I’ve never seen the particular show or movie before because I never know what to expect. I’m more and more weary when I see a gun introduced in a scene because I’ve come to learn that the wielder will more than likely, wield it upon himself eventually.
I thought The Artist would be safe. I was wrong.
I remember particularly. When the actor became depressed, I saw it coming. When he pulled out the gun, I saw it coming. When he put it in his mouth, my body just about went into shock. Though nothing happened on screen, my mind was already there. I stopped breathing, started sweating uncontrollably, and I couldn’t move a muscle as tears involuntarily fell. That was once instance, and it hasn’t gotten better. I watched Looper several weeks later, and then there was it’s ending. I watched the last episode of Monk, and it happened again. I’ve learned to distrust the theater and television, but I never once thought it would affect my reading. It did. There have been several books that I’ve come across within the past year that have either dealt with suicide, guns, or the same comparable violence, and each one has made me physically ill. I know it’s not the author’s fault, which is why it’s never affected my review or outlook of the book. I just know to never read it again. Oh how I’ve prayed for some accident, some knock, just.. something, that would make me forget everything, to give me amnesia.
Is that all it’s been? I’m still counting Sundays, and I feel regrettably and joylessly, I always will.