God's Scissors in OD OG

  • Feb. 12, 2024, 10:50 a.m.
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  • Public

I am going to die.

Even though I’m only about 6 years old and my life has barely started, I am certain of it. His hand of burred skin already covering my mouth and nose, he leans hard on my windpipe with his other forearm. The edges of my world darken, curl in on themselves. Like the end scene in a silent movie. A Polaroid held over a flame. I don’t even have the air left to say one word. If I did, I wouldn’t waste it on asking for them to stop—I already know they won’t. In what I think is the end, I only want to call for my mom.

Oddly I’ve had the experience many times over in my life of thinking I have finally met the end of whatever golden thread of life tethers me to this world, so close to coming snipped loose by the sharp scissors of God. Many times in my youth I was a candle flame to snuff out between the licked fingers of my uncle…being choked into outerspace of unconsciousness frequently as he assaulted me or shared me with his rotten pigfuck of a friend…Once nearly coming to rest with my sisters, smeared across the windshield of that maniac’s car like bugs… in the formation of Orion’s belt, the three of us making a constellation of death. Another time, he nearly sniped me off the face of the earth with his gun, as I waited for the schoolbus… Later in life I put my hands over his invisible ones and let his hands guide the slitting of my wrists. He then lovingly spoon-fed me 50 sleeping pills, before patting my head and disappearing again, leaving me to lie in a widening red pool, gasping like a de-tanked goldfish.

Each time this phenomenon of realizing I am probably going to die has happened, I have been amazed by how easily a person can come to accept it, the end. Furthermore, the point slightly past that acceptance has looked incredibly similar. I have always pictured the people in my life that I loved more than my own. My older sister giving me Christmas presents she bought from the book fair at school. My baby sister, standing in her crib, squeezing her chubby hands into fists and releasing them—her sign for me to come pick her up out of her crib. My grandfather telling my parents he wasn’t going to paint over the wall I drew on with black pen as a toddler because it was art. My grandmother calling me Miss. Roxanney and hugging me so tightly with spindly arms that I felt like I might be absorbed into the walls of her bony chest.

Somehow these thoughts pushed me back to the other realm of fighting to stay. I would feel a renewal of some internal will-even as my chest felt like a crumpled ball of paper. My fingers would fan, seeking out wisps of air to feed to my lungs. I would try to kick, even when the other man helped to hold me down, the three of us knowing his turn was next, after my uncle was done. I would drum the bed with the heels of my feet, occasionally landing a blow on my two abusers and earning a few breaths of the coolest, sweetest air ever culled from the atmosphere. Stay, stay, stay…

Later in life, there were more faces to miss. My baby brother riding his toy tractor he had named Tiny. The faces of friends from high school singing musical theater in Cailin’s car. All my college friends. Boys I loved. And somehow these thoughts pushed me back from the initial acceptance. I remember my friend, Beth, found me in the upstairs hall, lying in my own blood, gape-mawed, & unable to pull myself any further along. As she dialed 911, I just kept telling her I wanted to hold my niece one last time before going. As I clung to the memory of holding my niece, I clung to my own life. I was lucky I had an arsenal of people I loved. They saved me, held me here.

Lately, the news reminds me of these things. And then, of course, I think a lot about Alex…about how he died. As he laid there, ribs and neck broken, did he see a face beyond his attacker? Who was there with him as his life ebbed away from him? So many of the people in his life were drug dealers and a circle that used each other for drugs. Surely, not any of them showed up at the end to comfort him as he was pulled over the line to stand with the dead. Maybe his friend, JM? Our junkie schizophrenic friend, Daryl? His dead, castrating Fraulein mother? Some version of God he secretly believed in, but couldn’t admit to?

I already know that it probably wasn’t me. He wrote me a message a couple years ago, apologizing to me. In this message, he wrote that he was proud of me for moving on, for starting a family & that he wanted me to be happy. He told me I was the most starlit person he’d ever loved and overall had considered our love fruitful. He wrote that he hoped I didn’t hate him, that I’d forgiven him for not being the person I needed him to be when we were together—that he had just not understood how deep my issues ran from my childhood. I dismissed the note as him completing a step in a recovery program. Maybe he was, but maybe he still meant it. I have mined through his fb a few times since finding he died. Around the same time he sent me that message, he posted a couple pictures of me on his fb…with no caption, no context. I’ll never know.

Now all I can think about is he probably died thinking I hated him.

I should’ve written back.

I should’ve told him that I didn’t hate him at all, that I never had.

I just didn’t know he was going to die…not so soon…and not like this. God.

If I had known, I would have responded to the message by saying that when it comes to the point where you accept you are going to die—take a step back from the line, grab onto something meaningful that will hold you here and refuse to take another step. The world can’t be done with you yet, if you refuse to let it be. I don’t really know if that advice would have saved him, but it’s too late anyway. His hands and eyes are closed to everything around him…In that way, not much has changed, even if everything else has.

Written June 2020, in the aftermath of both my husband and George Floyd being killed

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