dette er den siste teksten jeg skrev på universitetet, og den teksten jeg fikk best karakter på i løpet av tre år. så jeg tenkte jeg skulle publisere den her. dette er del I.
I don't know where to begin.
'Tell me why you're here.'
My mouth is withered and dry. My shirt is sticking to my back like a sticky hand. It's as if I go into myself, shrinking back from Dr Solomon, from her office. Yet her face remains impossibly clear.
Tell me why you're here.
Five days ago I tried to kill myself.
She shuffles her notes when I enter the room. That's the first thing I notice. The second thing I notice is the yellow globe sitting on a table in the back corner. Behind her desk, stands a wide book case, dark wood of some sort. It stands there, almost like an attempt at proof. Look at all the books I've read; I can definitely cure you.
It's not very comforting.
I don't have an office.
There's no room. No room for shuffling, corners of an alphabetised book collection.
'I called my mother for the first time in eight months.'
I'm ready to tell Dr Solomon about what we talked about. Last night's dinner. Her soap. The vegetable garden. Charlie. But she doesn't ask about that.
'Did you feel like you re-connected with her?'
'I don't think I ever was connected to her or if I was I don't remember.
'Why hadn't you talked in eight months?'
I want to say,
'Because of the house.'
Instead I say,
'I didn't realise it had been that long.'
'How long did it feel like since you'd spoken?'
'Maybe... two months? I don't know.'
'Eight months felt like two to you?'
'I don't know. I guess.'
'What kept you so occupied that eight months only felt like two?'
I want to say,
Instead I say,
'General upkeep. You know how it is.'
Dr Solomon looks at me like she doesn't know.
'What about your wife?'
'My wife?' I laugh. 'Mary Ann. Well, we never, I mean, I never signed...'
'You make me fucking sick, Larry! You piece of shit. Look at yourself. When was the last time you looked in a goddamn mirror, huh? You look like a fucking cave man. You make me SICK!' She screamed the last word, like it came vomiting out of her mouth.
'We don't live together anymore.'
'How does that make you feel?'
'You mean, was she the reason I tried to kill myself? She wasn't. If she could see me right now, she'd be laughing her ass of. She gets off watching me fail. I'm definitely a loser in her mind.'
'When was the last time you saw her?'
'She comes to check up on me every now and then. To make sure I'm sufficiently depressed.'
There's a long silence. Dr Solomon only looks at me and I can't tell if she's wating for me to say something or if she's thinking about what to say next. Hell, she might even be thinking about what groceries she needs to get at the store.
'I can't do this anymore, Larry.'
I hear glass breaking. My hearbeat is drumming in my head. Acid is burning in the back of my throat.
'Just fucking say something.'
I don't say anything. Mary Ann's words reach me, but they peel of like a sunburn and instead of her words, newspaper addresses are filling my head, endless letters of appeal, of someone being able to tell me what happened to her. I want to tell Mary Ann I love her, but I don't know if that's true anymore. When was the last time I truly loved her?
Bowling night, November 18th. She'd just scored a strike and I picked her up, spun her around, kissed her neck. She was laughing.
That was the last time we truly had sex, sex that had any kind of significance, sex that wasn't merely two bodies blundering about in the dark. We did it in the car parked in the garage. She sat on top of me in the back seat, and I came hard and fast. She whispered she loved me, her arms around my neck, nibbling my ear.
God, I loved her then.
'What do you do for a living?'
'What did you do?'
'I worked as an accountant for a big law firm down-town. Just, loads of paperwork, file organizing, pay check distributing. The kind of work that would be a a living hell for someone else.'
'Could you go pick up the birthday cake? The party starts at five. And take Susannah with you. I need a nap.'
I'm reading the newspaper. Some big black NFL-player is looking up at me. I didn't know his name until I read the article, despite his fame and glory. The Chicago Bears are headed for the playoffs, and this guy is going to get them there. I won't be watching the game, I'll be standing in the kitchen, looking out the window, watching a neat row of polished cars arrive at Gary's house across the street, trucks and mini-vans. They always watch the game at his house.
'Daddy, what's the surprise?' Susannah asks, having appeared, seemingly, out of nowhere.
'Surprise? What surprise?' In that moment, I really had forgotten about the custom-made birthdday cake, a four-story rainbow creation dotted with all her favourite cartoon characters. In that moment, I had no idea what she was talking about. As we put on our coats and boots, she asks me,
'What's the surprise?'
We get into the car, I back out of the driveway and we head into town. The sun is shining and there is fresh snow on the ground.
'You told me there would be a surprise!' She sounds hurt.
'Daddy!' She doesn't think she has my attention, but she does.
'If i told you, it wouldn't be a surprise, would it?'
She pretends to sulk, but the corner of her mouth twitches and I can't help but snort. She starts laughing and we laugh all the way to the bakery.
'Stay in the car, honey, I'll be back in a minute.'
But I'm not back in a minute, it's more like ten, the girl behind the counter started flirting with me, or at least I think she was fliritng, and even though I made love to Mary Ann only two days ago, I can't help but flirt back, because that's the kind of guy I am now apparantely, and when I get back to the car Susannah's not there.