Monday, April 24, 2017

Neighbors [365 Writing Project]

I watched from the kitchen window as Lily played in the backyard.  My brother had given us one of those Fisher Price play sets and Lily loved playing on it every day.  He no longer needed it and felt we could use it for Lily and Stefan.  Thinking about it, I don’t know why he would have such kids play set.  Jon isn’t married nor does he have any kids.  Not that it makes a difference where he got it from – it’s just one of those things that make you wonder.  Jon does have a history of different women in and out of his life, maybe it came from of them. Again, it doesn’t matter.  All that mattered was Lily and Stefan enjoyed it.  Stefan was down for his afternoon nap and would be there for at least another forty-five minutes of so.  Lily stopped taking naps as soon as she graduated to her big girl bed nine months ago.  Stefan being confined to a crib doesn’t have the luxury of getting out of bed whenever he wants to, unlike Lily who saw her new bed as an opportunity to do what she wants.

Our dog Radar liked to play in the set as well.  Lily has tried numerous times to get him to come down the slide with her, but has been unsuccessful as of yet.  When Radar isn’t playing with the kids or scarfing down his food, that dog loves to bark at the neighbors through the chain-link fence..   Abe Rodriguez and his family live next door.  They’re established in the neighborhood and older than us as well.  Abe and Julia or Julie, I can never remember which one it is so I just call her Mrs. Rodriguez, have a grandson about Lily’s age.  When he visits his grandparents, he plays outside on the swing in their backyard.  Radar barks and barks at that kid.  It’s not like the four year old is slinging rocks at the mutt, Radar is just a puppy who barks at everyone not in our family. 

This is one of those times.

I’m standing in the kitchen watching Lily through the window play “school playground” as Radar is up against the chain-link fence barking at the kid and Julia or Julie.  I whisper a curse about how dumb the dog is, open the door and scold the dog.

“Radar!  Get inside and shut up!!”

Not that I care he’s barking at the neighbors, I just don’t want him waking up Stefan yet.  I still got about 45 minutes before I have to change a diaper and I really don’t want to be doing it right now because my dumb dog is being loud.

Radar complies and runs inside. He scurries off to our bedroom where Nat is more than likely resting before she has to go into work this evening.

I wave an apologetic wave to Julie or Julie and ask Lily if she needs anything.  She reminds me she’s not allowed to have anything to drink on the “school playground” and goes back to her fun.  I take this to mean she’s eventually going to be thirsty, so I come back inside, grab one of her Shopkins cups and fill it with water from the fridge.  When I look back outside, Lily is walking towards the chain-link fence.  Julia or Julie’s grandson is there calling her to him.  I look around their backyard to see her on the phone, but paying attention to her grandson.  I look back at the kid to see what’s going on.


That little punk just Lily a flower through the chain-link fence!

Lily takes the flower and goes back to her play set.



I’m going to Home Depot next weekend to put up a wooden fence.

This is a writing prompt from my 365 Writing Project Series.  This prompt was about neighbors.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I Woke Up After Killing Myself

I woke up after killing myself last night.  That’s not hyperbole, I literally killed myself last night.  All the crap  and pain I’ve caused those I love culminated in a moment I’ve been fantasizing about for years.  Since I was a teenager and felt I didn’t belong, I always knew my life was worth less than those around me. I’ve always been too weak to go through with the deed because I did not want others to believe I went to Hell. So I plotted a way for my suicide to look like an accident. Yes my soul would be in Hell for my unpardonable sin, but my family will just think I was an idiot and had an unfortunate accident.

When I woke up this morning I was confused.  I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom.  Flipping on the light switch and seeing myself in the mirror frightened me.  I had no cut. I had no bruising. I had no swelling.  No injuries to my face where I slammed it on the corner of granite counter-top.  I lifted my shirt where I knew the scissors pierced my chest – no scar. 

I seriously thought I dreamed the whole thing. 

I went to my wife’s side of the bed, nudged her and asked what happened when she got home last night from her mother’s house.  Frustratingly she huffed she is going tonight and last night she didn’t go anywhere.  She rolled over covering her head with her side of the blanket in the process. 

I chose the night she went to her mother’s for a reason. I didn’t want anyone here when it happened.  I didn’t want to be saved in case someone walked in on me.  I wanted to be sure I would not be helped in any way whatsoever. 

But this did not make sense. I went through with it last night. I should be dead.

I went online and confirmed it was the same day as when I killed myself.  I saw the same posts on Facebook and Twitter I saw - what I can only describe as yesterday.  Yet everything was exactly the same as it was then. 

Nothing has changed.

I’m still the messed up idiot who can’t get anything right.  I’m still the loser who has caused pain and regret in those I love most.  Nothing I can do can make others see me as anything other than a failure. 

My wife is at her mother’s house again. I am alone in the house again.  I’m sitting on the side of the tub exactly where I was last night. The water is on the floor for me to slip on again.  The scissors are again grasped in my right hand and the granite countertop is waiting for my face to slam into its corner again.

Maybe God gave me a second chance.

Maybe He just messed up on me again.

Maybe I’ll find out in the morning.

Friday, January 20, 2017

An Infected Wound

“I WISH I WERE DEAD!!”  I yelled at my wife in the middle of an argument one morning.  The thing about depression is you don’t want to admit it to anyone.  It makes you feel weak and unable to handle things.  I had her and six kids I needed to provide for. To declare to my wife I am majorly depressed and I fantasize about getting shot at the gas station was never going to happen.  She knew I suffered from depression, but she honestly didn’t know it was this full blown. 

It wasn’t a card I wanted to play.  I’ve been holding that card for years – decades even.  I began to feel like a failure ever since I dropped out of college twenty years prior.  I felt hopeless back then.  I studied the best I could and thought I was applying myself. Yet the test scores didn’t reflect any effort whatsoever. Whatever I was doing wasn’t good enough.

After school, I started to date often and I’d come across a girl I really liked. Yet when I wanted to get serious, they didn’t.  Sure I was good enough for a booty call, but for someone that seriously had something to offer – whatever I was doing STILL wasn’t good enough. No matter what I did or who I was with, this thought would always echo in my head. 

The years that followed, I would often look at myself in the mirror and feel disgusted.  Curse words and degrading phrases would be shouted at my reflection.  Phrases like “You are worthless!!”, “You’re an asshole!!” and “I hope you die today!!” would slice into my image cutting deeper than the day before.  I’d form my fingers into the shape of a gun, point it at the man in the mirror and pull the trigger.  

I’d put a smile on my face, get ready for work, tell my wife bye and secretly hope an 18-wheeler would slam into me on the way to the office.

It never happened.

I tried medication one time and either it didn’t work or I didn’t give it time to work.

Probably the latter.

I also tried talking to a counselor, but we never got to the root of the problem.  It was always, “You ARE good enough.. blah blah blah!!”.  Never finding the infected wound which was causing all the pain inside me.

Because that is what the hurt is – an infected wound.  You can put a bandage over it like I tried for years.  But if you never treat the wound – it will get infected and start to affect other parts of your life.  Then right when someone touches you in that area you have no choice but to lash out. That’s what happened in the middle of that argument.

Upon the confession, my wife stopped.  The anger and frustration was replaced with care and concern. She knew it wasn’t an attempt by me to gain sympathy.  She could see the hurt in my eyes and written all over my face. What she had suspected for years was finally being admitted truthfully. 

She told me I wasn’t going into work.  I objected obviously and exclaimed I have too much I’m responsible for and to miss any time would be anti-productive.  She pleaded with me reinforcing how work wasn’t more important than her husband.  

I eventually relented. 

She took the kids to school and we talked.  We decided the best place for me would be to seek an inpatient behavioral health facility. I didn’t know how long I would be gone so I packed a going away bag.  Before I left, I also made a video confessional for my children to let them know I would be gone for a while, but that I’m okay.

I wanted them to know that Daddy is sick.  It may not be the kind of sick they’re used to dealing with, but sick none the less. I didn’t go into a lot of detail because they’re not ready for that just yet.  One day they will be, but they weren’t then.

Depression sucks.  It sucks for the individual going through it, and it sucks for those closest to the individual.  Its been almost two years since that argument happened.  The depression is still there and it is tough to combat alone.  Which is why I’m taking advantage of medication and counseling.  It was a tough choice - one I probably should have made years ago. Who knows how different I would be today if I had. 

This is from a writing prompt - "Write about a fork in the road in your life, and how you made the decision to go the direction you did."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Home. Soil. Rain. [Free Association]

The kids were racing each other from the northeast corner of the backyard when it started to rain.  My eight year old, Celi, started to freak out and sprinted the thirty yards or so to take shelter where we were on the back patio.  The other four embraced the afternoon shower.  Leaving little footprints in the soil, they laughed, played, and danced.  My wife and I hadn’t seen that kind of freedom from them in a very long time. Too many years being stuck in the three bedroom house while our family grew and grew.  I looked down at Celi, who was grasping my hand and secretly yearning to go out there and play with her siblings. 

“Go ahead, baby girl.”

Celi sprinted out there to join her siblings in the rain festivities.  My wife and I made eye contact and seeing the happiness in her beautiful brown eyes, I turned to the real estate agent and said, “We’ll take it!”

Taken from 365 Days of Writing Prompts.- Free association  - Write down the first words that comes to mind when we say . . . home. . . soil. . . rain. Use those words in the title of your post.