Like Thread Passing Through a Needle in OD OG

  • Feb. 16, 2024, 7:43 a.m.
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Lately, I have been thinking a lot about this quote I underlined in Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine…The best thing to do when you’re in this world, don’t you agree, is to get out of it. Crazy or not, scared or not.

It hits my guts and feels true.

Today, I got up, got ready like I was going to work and drove out to Camden. I went to school in that town, despite growing up about 15 minutes outside of it. The village has changed a lot, not yet at all. I realize that makes no sense—but I’m willing to bet most people revisiting their hometown after a long period always describe it that way. There are little ineffectual stabs at modernizing…but it’s all posturing that will never really take hold. Camden always has been & always will be a land of corn fields & Methodist church potlucks & greasy spoon diners & leaving your doors unlocked when you go to work. It’s beautiful & smothering & a place you feel fondness for, but also a town that you know that you could never live in if you’ve left it once.

I found a remote, isolated pavilion…the furthest most corner of the park, off the looped path. It is a little plot that faces a large open field, bordered on one side by the park & then, Route 13, the main road into town. There is a massive farm across from the road, with a grand old farmhouse with columns & a large porch, oddly stately looking surrounded by the more rundown barns & farm equipment. I watched the tractors haying & moving around, but it was far enough away to not hear their putting…they looked tiny in the distance, like toys that god was pushing around in a sandbox. My intent was to go there to die…to write my instructions & goodbyes & then to lay myself to rest somewhere I loved to be…Slipping into the afterlife, like thread passing through a needle.

I sat on a blanket numbly, smoked a few cigarettes, just watching the ants crawl & the relentless circling of the tortoiseshell-colored deer flies. Oddly, as I was sitting there, comatose in the gray feathered plumes of nicotine, my older sister just happened to walk by with my niece. I was so out of it, I didn’t even recognize them for a few minutes. My sister greeted me first, “You here by yourself? No kids?” I nodded. She didn’t continue the conversation. They just walked by to the end of the path & then turned around & walked silently back past me, like extras walking onto the wrong set…oblivious to the car crash scene filming in front of them. Then, they disappeared down the path again.

Fuck me. Of all the parks, of all the times…why is she fucking here!?…All I want to do is get to a place where I can end it peacefully & now I’m fucking agitated.

I spent the rest of the morning there, warring with myself. I tried to read a little, write a little, take some pictures of the surroundings & myself….so if I released myself from my tethers to this life, my friends and family would at least have some kind of photographic reassurance that it’d been a nice last day…I didn’t document the few times I actually gave into my gutty despair, curled up on my blanket and weeping.

Finally, I felt myself step out of my body & towards an unborn reality. I saw myself pack up my belongings, get in my car & I drove away from the park. My hands on the wheel, my foot on the gas; conspirators maneuvering my Subaru away from one home and pulled to another. I suddenly found myself 15 minutes out of town on a familiar back country road…

I was headed towards the family homestead where I grew up.

At first, I couldn’t drive by the old house. I would get close & then would have to turn around & go around the block the other way. And then I did the same in reverse. Still I could see that the fields surrounding the house are unkempt, wild with golden growth. No one is haying them anymore. No one is planting. The road the house is on shares the same name as our family who settled there, farmed there & lived all up & down the road. Besides my sister & a great uncle who still reside on the road, the road signs are mostly the only presence left there of my family. Most of the Dixons are dead now…and, when I think about the kid I was & what happened to me, in a way, I consider myself one amongst the many.

As I drive, I note that many properties have either Posted signs or signs warning people that the property is under surveillance. The properties that have these signs are surrounded by broken down cars & lawnmowers & children’s old Playskool toys & cement blocks & tarps covering god-knows-what…blue ghosts haunting a field of junk…I’m not sure why the owners think anyone would want to trespass their ruins.

Finally, I decided to just do it…drive by the house. I could hear a version of myself say, Feel how much this fucking hurts, bitch. It’s the mental equivalent of holding my hand in the blue flame of a pilot light.

The barn. The milkhouse. The house. The house is starting to show signs of wear. My dad & brother-in-law fixed it up for my sister’s family to live in…but it’s weatherworn & the paint is flaky & peeling…a face angrily staring at the sky with cracked lips begging for water. My sister has a little table by the road, selling the fruit & vegetables she grows…she leaves the money box on the table for people to buy her rhubarb, her tomatoes, her peppers & beans. Honor system. My mom always tried to have garage sales when I was a kid. She would spend all day setting up & then sadly pack it up at the end of the weekend, having sold nothing—because no one ever drove up the road besides other Dixons, who hated us. I remember one time a young soft-hearted neighbor kid from up the road bought a single dish from her, simply because he felt bad she never sold anything. She’s always been fucked up about expressing feelings, but I could tell it made her happy. Sometimes those little things are so redemptive. And, even though I hate my sister, I can’t help but wonder if she has better luck than my mother selling anything. And I find myself thinking I hope so.

The cedar tree I loved to climb is still growing, shading the side yard…It reminded me: I was a kid here once. I was young and good. I climbed trees and ran in the fields and felt sad when my mom didn’t sell anything at her garage sales every year. I was good. I was good. I was good.

The next thing I know, I’m at the cemetery. I’m kneeling on my uncle’s grave…The sun is beating on my back, sweat is dripping down my neck & I’m confused. I try to orient myself. At first I think I’m praying, but then I realize my hands are dirty from digging. Oh god. Oh god. I have been digging up his grave with my bare hands. I frantically try to put the dirt & grass back. Jesus. I have no clue what I was trying to do—maybe resurrect him to torture him? Scatter his bones to the animals?

But I know.

Whenever I’m suicidal, whenever something inside me completely breaks and I’m an on island, far away from any kind of reality, I am drawn to his grave…I am drawn to the idea of slitting my wrists, making a huge mess all over his grave and dying there like some bloody grand finale. You want to sleep with me? Sleep with this, you rotten motherfucker….My guess is I was digging my own grave on top of his. I feel something sound within me like a tuning fork hitting a perfect A440. Yeah, that’s definitely what I was trying to do in my dissociative state. The dark realization frightens me enough that I start to come out of it. I text darling Boo…and miraculously have cell reception—unlike last time I was here, out of my mind with grief. She tells me not to give that dead piece of garbage the satisfaction of dying on his grave and to call her if I need to. I am rubber-limbed with exhaustion, heat & gratitude. At her outraged-for-my-benefit response, I see clearly in the moment that I cannot leave my children. Because this….this is what happens to children who have no one to protect them. They grow into adults who don’t-can’t-won’t protect themselves.

I go to my car. I find my notebook & write, “I know what you did. God knows what you did.” In the moment, it somehow sums up what I need to say. I fold it up tightly, put it in the soft place I dug up & tried to push back. Then I stomp the dirt down with my angry feet. I have lost a couple hours dissociating, so I have to drive back home so I can get back at the same time I would normally get home from my job…I’m done anyway. When I come in the house, I pretend I was at work all day. Bridget asks me about my day, I lie that it was good and tell her that I’m just a little tired. She hugs me, burying her face in my stomach.

As I hold onto her, I think: Bridget, you are young and you are good and I love you and don’t want to leave you. And, no matter how hard it is, I hope you always choose to stay in this world.

“Scared or not. Crazy or not.”

Written in July of 2018


Mr. Mofo February 17, 2024

At first I thought you were talking about Camden New Jersey and then you talked about people leaving their doors unlocked and I thought, " Oh yeah....no....all kinds of no."

BettiePageSweatsCheapVodka Mr. Mofo ⋅ February 17, 2024

....... But what if I was? Would you be surprised and delighted by this tidbit of knowledge?

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