As I got off the bus from work, I saw a bushy, curly, blond head and was momentarily excited. As I turned the last corner, a detachment fell over me. There she was at her worst. Dirty her, dirty clothes, long stringy hair, and yellow skin again. All the symptoms of a not together Lessa. Yet, I had the feeling that it was Lessa’s determination that got them here to the West Coast. Under that unappetizing exterior lives a heart of steel. Jock, the object of Lessa’s affections, looked glowing, healthy, and sparkled in comparison to Lessa’s bottom line. It was her 19th birthday.
A few more changes must be made with the medications. If I go to work without the medications, I feel as if I have the flu. If I take only a little, I still am up and down all night. I know what happens to me if I do not get enough sleep…the hallucinations begin. I cannot go mad this way again.
I am allergic to aspirin. If I take one, will it help the pain in my soul? If I take two all the pains in my body will lessen, but will the allergy reactions be worth it? I am crying. I have not felt well at work since I started back to work. I am tired of feeling well until I go to work. Massive stomach pains, nausea, muscle aches, dizziness, and headaches from the moment I walk in the library doors. Enough. I walked into work and quit. I just can’t take being ill any more.
I tackled Miles on the subject of the show and his gallery director problems. Could he get the drawings back to me if we were not going to have a show?
“Don’t despair. Don’t quit drawing. We will work something out.” He said. We will talk more on Monday.
For the first time in a week, I phoned Jo. Dear soft, muzzy, furry voiced Jo.
“How is the pain?” I asked gently.
“Still there,” she whispered.
The methadone doesn’t touch it. It makes her sleepy. She didn’t want me to go, but she kept falling asleep as we talked.
“Did Lessa really call me?” She asked plaintively. “I thought it was a nightmare.”
Oh how I miss the library. The whole structure of my life feels as if it had collapsed.
I am regressing again. Other people would call it going out and having fun. I call it abandoning everything I had worked for, and aimed for, and falling down into a sewer. Drinking freely, and taking my allergy medications to sober up so I can drink more, is going back to all my old behaviors. I lost Monday totally.
I am frightened a bit by everything now.
Tomorrow, I am going down to Chula Vista to keep Jo company while her husband goes to the dentist. She is off methadone and on Brompton’s mixture...that, coupled with an electric pain confuser, seems to be helping a little. The thought of being there with Jo frightens me as much as my newly lost days.
She was awake when I got there. I had not expected that. Her husband was fluttering around her constantly, over-caring for her. He asked me to fix breakfast for her, but he fussed around so much that he ended fixing most of it himself. Obviously loath to leave, he departed in stages announcing each one.
“Now I have my coat on,” he said carefully.
“Now I am opening the door; now I am opening the screen.”
“Well, at least I am not married to some man who wants sex all the time,” Jo said from some far off place. And she smiled that once.
She is not fully here in the now. Her son, Jay, told me that she is confused most of the time, but I did not find her confused…just sideways. Though she seemed partially in the past, she does seem to be aware of her surroundings and of the people and things near her.
The sun poured through the windows as we sat at the breakfast table and talked. She poked at her egg, and ate her prunes as I showed her pictures from a box I held in my lap. She thought she had…“been showing Jay his youth.” Instead, this was a box filled with pictures of Leo, her young lover of the last few years. There were a few of Jo, a few of Jay, and a few of Bird, but most of the pictures are of her friends Sylvia and Leo. Today she was very bitter toward Sylvia and that is so very sad. I have watched her cleaning up and discarding things from her life. Now I watch her discard people. Eventually only those who are closest to her everyday will be in her thoughts. I wish I could take the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross course on death and dying as our friend Layla is doing. I wish I could understand the process so that I could understand this time in Jo’s life.
She did take her pain pills with her small mouthful of tea, but she did not take the Brompton’s mixture though she was in obvious pain. She knew if she did this, it would put her fast asleep. I think that she deliberately didn’t take it so that she might be with me for these few moments. We talked of Leo, and of Leo’s new wife.
“I wrote her a letter last night,” she said passing me pages from a yellow pad.
Scribblings written in the hand of a four-year-old filled two pages. Incoherent words and paragraphs scribbled sideways were scratched out repeatedly. For just a moment, I lost control and tears came to my eyes.
Thereafter, we sat there with the sun streaming down on us and talked. When her mind would begin to wander, I would show her another picture and that would bring her back. One arm was palsied, at times her mouth would twist oddly in pain; still we kept up a slow continual flow of words. It was good for us.
She looked up once and said, “You are beautiful. You are.”
I wish I knew why she said that. Tears.
More job hunting while trying to get ready for a yard sale. I have now applied for jobs as a cemetery caretaker, a sales person at a flower kiosk, and as an aide to a handicapped person. I interviewed with the handicapped person, a lovely, vital, young, woman law student.