More or Less
And you can take or leave it if you please. -Mike Altman
12/24/87- Today's the day. It's been too many years of these deathly days and I don't want any more. They always say they want more, but I don't think that's what I want. Sometimes I give too much and then I lose, so now I don't. Either way, I rationalize everything and try and come to terms with it all. But that never quite works. In a strange way, I've been looking forward to this day...
Jason hates this day. He wakes up and tries to stay in bed as long as he can. Shortly, his dad yells, "Jason! Get out of bed boy!" For today is a day to celebrate. It's his mom's Deathday which, like her Birthday, Jason's dad honors to, "keep her alive in our memories." Jason wishes he'd had an older brother these years of Deathdays. Someone to talk to; a Wally Cleaver, but Jason is, and always will be, an only child. He looks and sees that it is 11:00 am and rolls out of bed, maybe if he does what his dad says he can keep out of trouble. Leaving his room, he knocks down his B.B. gun. He walks down the short hall to the Big Room, at least that's what he calls it. It serves as a dining room/den with a little kitchenette in one corner and a TV in the opposite. The little plastic Christmas tree looks out of place, despite the fact that it is the day before Christmas. Jason looks at the back of the chair he knows his dad is slouched in. His dad is facing the TV, which isn't on. He sees an empty bottle of bourbon hanging from his dad's hand. His stomach flips and tightens, partly from the memory of snitching a glass of bourbon one night, but mostly from what he knows lies ahead. Maybe if he can sneak out of the house, he can avoid his dad's temper and escape getting beat.
...Essentially, I'm beat, I'm tired. I never can figure it out. Life is just too confusing, and cruel. It's like I've given up these years and numbly went through. I never am totally numb though, deep down it always hurts, bad. It's so deep down that I've tried to pretend it isn't there, but it is. Something I always try to make less a part of me. Maybe that's why they want more, but they don't know me...
Jason is finally getting to know somebody. His dad has been in a Rehab clinic for a few months, and Jason has been going to therapy, trying to get his life back together. He has had sessions with Emily Jones for over a year, and is beginning to feel a little better about himself. Emily has helped him a lot, she is so nice and patient, maybe he can trust her. He sits down and just talks with her every Wednesday in Emily's Office, as he likes to call it. She always asks him how he feels and what he thinks, and she really listens to him. She makes Jason feel safe, her voice is so soft and soothing that just listening to her relaxes him. It seems like this is the first time in so long that Jason feels a part of him is happy.
...There are so many parts to me. Some dead and gone, some I want back, others I want gone, and parts that I'm just finding out about. I can't figure me out, much less life for that matter...
"What's the matter honey? Shhh. Shhhh. Don't cry, Mommy's here. Hush,
you don't want to wake Daddy up. Ooh, look at you, my baby, you are so
precious. Shhhh. You wouldn't want Santa to hear you crying, would you?
He might be here any second, so shhhh. And you're wearing your Superman
Underoos, now would Superman cry? Of course not, now hush my little superman.
Shhh. Oh look, here's your teddy, here's Willie. There, it's alright.
Shh. Want Mommy to sing to you? OK?"
...I can't deal with life. I can't figure out what the point is. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. I spend so much money and time trying to "get in touch with my feelings," and all for nothing. Pretty much a waste. I don't get more out of life. I don't want more of life. I want less. I'm going to do something. I think less can be more, and I don't want anything. This way, I can have all I want.
Jason double-checks to see if he has all he needs. Satisfied, he exits the liquor store and gets off the main street to avoid the Christmas Eve crowds. He prefers to walk instead of drive. His detour leads him through several suburban neighborhoods filled with houses of decked halls and yards with tacky neon-lit decorations. Jason walks on into a worse section of town and toward his little house where he lives alone now, where he has lived all his life. He opens the door and walks into the Big Room. Putting down his bags, he goes to his bedroom, a teddy bear sits on the head board of his bed. He gets his secret journal out from under the floor board in his closet. He has been writing entries in his journal for as long as he can remember. And as far as he knows, no one but him knows the journal even exists. Leaving his room, he knocks down his old B.B. gun. He goes back into the Big Room, places his journal on the table, and gets a glass from the kitchenette. He pulls a chair up to the table, in the corner is a TV, which isn't on. Out of one bag he pulls a bottle of bourbon, out of the other, a large bottle of sleeping pills. A little pool of light is cast by a small reading lamp on the table. The light reflects on and refracts through the glass and the bottles, throwing eerie shadows around Jason and the Big Room. A little plastic Christmas tree looks out of place in the darkly lit room. Jason stares at his journal, contemplating what to do.