When you have everything in life, the days fly by and time passes in such a swift array of daily routines, happy laughter, and content kisses, you never really stop to take everything in until it disappears. What we take for granted can destroy us. Regret becomes a living thing, digging into your skin, seeping into your veins, until it invades your lungs, cutting off your air supply. It has the power to bring you to your knees and make you beg for death. I beg for release from my existence every second of the day.
“Mommy, do I have to go? I want to stay with you.”
Even though I know what I’m hearing is nothing more than a memory, my daughter’s voice is just as clear as the day she spoke those words to me.
“Honey, mommy has to work. You’re going to go with daddy to the park for a few hours.”
I hold my hand out, refusing to see the blood dripping on the floor as I mimic the scene that seems to come alive before me.
“Come sit on my lap. I’ll tell you a quick story before you leave.”
Weight snuggles into the top of my thighs and presses against my lower stomach. What I’m feeling isn’t my daughter, but the bottle of pills I swallowed, digesting, getting ready to take me back to her.
“Is it the one with the little girl from the forest? I like the fairies. Will you tell me that one again?”
A smile comes to my face as I reach up to stroke her soft, black hair, tucking the dark curl that’s always escaping her ponytail back behind her ear.
“You can hear whatever story you want.” I lean back in the chair, barely realizing that my body is actually falling into the bathroom wall. I don’t want to be here anymore. My mind clings to my daughter and my husband as he walks into the room, a big smile on his face.
“You pick up where I leave off and we’ll see where the princess makes it this time.” Even though I scoot her closer against my chest, I can’t feel it. My eyes burn and tears began to flow, but I focus on what means the world to me. The two people that took me from being a nobody in my eyes, to the best mother and wife I could possibly be.
“Once upon a time there was a princess named…” I wait, seeing what she’ll come up with today.
I smile and look at my husband, who leans against the wall, his eyes showing all the love I seem feel in the moment.
“I like the name Penny. Excellent choice, Caylee. There’s a princess named Penny. She lives deep in the woods with a family of….”
“Fairies,” she rushes in.
“Didn’t I hear this story just last night?” My husband laughs, crossing his arms over his chest.
“It’s a good story,” Caylee says, pouting out her bottom lip and crinkling her forehead as if she’s upset that he doesn’t understand, or at least share the same enthusiasm.
I spin the chair around, trying to ignore that fact that it’s actually me beginning to spin. The floor is shifting underneath me and I’ve been here before. Only weeks ago. I didn’t die then. Of course, I hadn’t cut my wrists either.
My mind begins to fade out and darkness is starting to take them away from me. Panic forces my eyes open wider and I know it’s nothing more than a reaction from my poisoned, dying body. Survival instincts are starting to kick in, but I want nothing to do with them. I want Caylee and Ronnie back.
Knocking pounds on the door and my head rolls to the side, desperate to make it all go away.
“Diane, the ambulance is on its way. Diane!”
More pounding. Pounding. Colors ripple around me and I see my old door in the distance. I’m sitting at my desk and turn, surprised anyone would be coming by. We never really have visitors. Perhaps the neighbor boy is looking for Caylee to come out to play.
I stand, my legs feeling heavy with a weird sense of dread. I’m not even there and yet, with each step, I begin to feel more nervous. Something isn’t right. My intuition is screaming not to go any closer. But I do.
Slowly, I reach out, turning the knob and opening the barrier that’s meant to keep me safe. It doesn’t. Two officers, both with their heads slightly lowered stare at me, sadness etched in the aging features. Before they say anything, I know. The emptiness is growing by the second, plaguing my insides like a million termites eating away at me.
“Ma’am. Are you Mrs. Saxton? Diane Saxton?”
I know I should say yes. To ask why they’re here, but I don’t. My hand is already up and I’m stepping back. I have no family. Ronnie and Caylee are all I know. All I ever want to know. “Are they alive?” Three words; they’re all I can manage to get out, even though my aching heart gives me the answer.
“I’m sorry. There was an accident.” He pauses, glancing at his partner and then back at me. “They didn’t make it.”
The pitch black is starting to take over in both places. The tears…just as heavy in my dual selves. I can feel myself falling. Falling...
“Diane! God dammit. You fucking promised me. You promised!”
Blood is pooling in my lap and I welcome it. The more there, the closer I’ll be away from the safe house I’m staying in. Away from the nightmare I’ve been handed. My lifelong dream of a real family has been stripped of me, just like every home I’ve ever been a part of. I thought I had control with them actually belonging to me, but just like all the foster homes I’d grown up in, I was once again ending up alone. Hollow. Dead inside. Yes…I want to be dead.
My eyes close, a comforting feeling blanketing over me for the first time in almost eight months. In the darkness rests my salvation and I’m so close to finding it. So close…