I focus on the traffic lights. I can see easily which one is lit, my light perception was never damaged in the accident or the accidents after it or whatever I am allowed to call them nowadays, but paying attention is sometimes a problem. Sometimes I get confused. I ask why is everyone still moving?
People move a lot.
The worst is being the first car in line, when I’m supposed to be the first to go. I try to depend on the cars going the other way to slow down first, but even they don’t help much. Always one guy runs it and I get scared. And then there’s right-turn lanes. Fuck those up the ass.
That is everything I am. Right now. Scared to go first. Scared to be alone. To have no one to get me out. I am the only one in the car now.
In theory, I suppose I could call my brother or my dad or even my best friend and someone wouldn’t hesitate to talk me through the whole drive from DC to Cocoa Beach. Take an Adderall and suffer through for me. Took all this mess of a business for them to realize they owe me one just one little favor- to help me find a whole new life. All I ask nowadays.
My mother’s depression was always a very grey area for my family. Very grey. I was colorblind to it more than anything I had ever seen with my own eyes. I think Zayne being born was what set it all in a fast downward slope. Some sort of PTSD mothering thing. There’s a name for it somewhere. She lost herself. Drank. Picked up smoking. The pills. The men that weren’t Daddy.
Even dead and gone, I still don’t know what happened to her. I guess in a way, it kinda sits in me that I can die one day now and ask her why. That could make sense.
I think I really lost sympathy for her when Zayne turned three and I’d been illegally employed by a family friend since I was thirteen. She hadn’t hugged me since he was six months old. I’d been contemplating whether that bothered me or not.
She caused the accidents, but I never really told people that. I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted her to be sick so bad. For her to not be in control of it. I would’ve given anything. She would go crazy, on medicated rampages, and Zayne and I would have to leave the house for days and hide in her friend’s spare bedroom until she cooled off and accused us of running away. Not like she had called the cops. I’m still contemplating if I ever wanted her to.
But one of the accidents is the reason I went colorblind. And I went colorblind and now I’m afraid to drive. I’m afraid, period.
When I was six, I had been doing dishes and standing on a kitchen chair. It was the last year Daddy lived with us.
My mom came home spitting mad after gambling (AKA losing), her clothes thrown up on and ripped and rumpled, and I could smell her from where she stood. I knew from that second nothing would go well that day.
My dad stood, said hello as if nothing had ever taken place and she looked positively lovely. She told him to piss off.
I forget all of what happened in the next few minutes, but I do know my mother shattered one of the glasses in the sink so hard that shards flew into my corneas. It’s a miracle I didn’t bleed to death just from that, a doctor had told me. Damage to my retinas or whatever they were was irreparable. I was lucky I wasn’t blind.
I don’t ever call it lucky. I call that God made a mistake in letting the condom break. I’m contemplating forgiving Him.
I can’t afford to hate my mom for everything she’s done, particularly her being turned to a fine powder now and all. It’s a waste of time and space and energy. I don’t have enough energy in me to waste it hating her for living an effing talkie film, for just now returning to a normal weight, for the scoliosis and yeah, yeah, yeahs. It would depress me too much to count.
I think I can live with Daddy. If I want it to work then it can, right? Things are supposed to work like that. Anyway, Zayne’s fifteen now, it’s only three more years and then we can leave and never see Daddy again, either. We can still be better than them. We still have time, kiddo. Don’t give up yet.
“Please don’t give up on me, sweetie.” I whisper to the steering wheel. “You and I are it. It’s just part of the adventure.” That kid did not cry once when he came home. He did not shrug, did not whimper, he did not give a crap. It was like he didn’t have a mother to start with, and this was some rodent hanging from the shower curtain.
Jesus Christ, I love that boy. God, protect him. I’m doing a shitty job. He never loved his mom. Help me.
Tears run down my cheeks again, and I wipe them away nervously. They get even blurrier. Sometimes I wish to all hell I really were blind. Like now, so I wouldn’t have to make this drive all alone. But I had to go and be all brave, now didn’t I?
Finally I pull over right on the shoulder, not even far off Fredericksburg. I fold myself up into a ball in my seat and roll up the windows, turn off the car and go full blind a while. I’m still contemplating calling someone.