Someone called my mother at four thirty a couple mornings ago. They called a total of four times and each time she listened to someone on the other end not quite mumbling, but straining to get their lips to part. Like someone bound by duct tape or experiencing a rather unpleasant bit of sleep paralysis. The number was restricted and not a bit of evidence was received that would allow my mother to figure out who this mystery caller was. She had my father listen, he heard the person struggling also.
She, my mother, was sitting at the kitchen table that morning when I began getting ready for work. She had her coffee, it was setting on a coaster getting cold. My father sat across from her, his eyes scanning the morning paper and its fliers. Her eyes were wide and staring into her cell phone, waiting, hoping for answers. The mental snapshot stayed with me all day. The blank expression that was washed over her tired face, the only thing giving her away were those eyes. The amount of free floating thought dots that have webbed out and connected themselves to this mental image of my wide eyed mother has been overwhelming.
Lately I guess I’ve been super emotional and it perhaps has left the door open for my mind to reek havoc and cause a bit of inner chaos. Or maybe its the opposite way around and that’s the reason I’ve been so emotional. Either way-
Dot number one.
Years ago now , when I was in middle school, my memere had a bedroom in the house I still call home. It was her home also then. Her bedroom was stationed on the first floor near the bathroom. While she would lay in bed and read her Stephen King books, I would use her television. My memere was deaf, thus it was easy for the both of us to do our preferred activities around each other without distraction. She didn’t care what was going on in my cartoon and we could still spend time with one another. Eventually we would both fall asleep there. As I got older I would wait until my memere was asleep to slip down to the floor to stretch out and stare blankly into the dark ceiling. Thinking and waiting.
And if I waited long enough IT would happen. I remember it starting as a low, calm rumble, nothing panicky. Honestly it reminded me of rolling waves in the distance or the first bit of thunder you hear from the next town over. Just a weird sort of hum as if someone had just flipped a switch somewhere. Then a bit more anxious, startled plea that reminded me of one of the noises that my golden retriever used to emit during his puppy nightmares right before his feet would start moving. The grand finale would be blood curdling screams that sounded as if something unseen was attempting to take her life. I would lay there, paralyzed on her bedroom floor, and imagine her dreams slithering from beneath her bed to take me away with them as well.
Like the lucky Beauty who gets to draw the curtains at the end of a glorious theatrical presentation or perhaps the not so glorious cleaning crew, my mother would present herself with a flick of the light switch. With smooth, fluid motions she would close my memere’s book before waking her gently. Once my memere was ready to sleep again, my mother would usher me to my own bedroom where I would remain wide awake the rest of the night. Staring into the ceiling, wide eyed, waiting for answers.
Dot number two.
Probably a year ago now I experienced the most intense bout of sleep paralysis I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with. Don’t get me wrong, since this specific incident I’ve done some reading and its actually terribly interesting. The mind is pretty creepy cool, if you’ll excuse my lack of decent words for you.
Aj and I were in his bedroom. We had jus finished smoking some of that herb~ and I was laying by the window. It was winter time and we had the window open just enough. A crack. The slight breeze felt nice on my forehead and on the television a car chase had begun. Aj was watching something geared toward him because he knew I would fall asleep. I did fairly quickly.
I can’t remember the whole dream. Even after I woke up I couldn’t remember much more than I do now. What I am able to remember was that I was driving in my old Nissan, Altima, just driving and feeling terribly anxious. No one was with me, it didn’t feel as if anyone was anyway. Without warning something was suddenly holding the top half of my body out of the window. On the highway. I could feel the wind on my face, the speed of the vehicle causing it to be extra strong. I remember trying to scream but the pressure, the force, the wind was stealing my voice. It was a whisper only I could hear.
I remember trying to yell for Aj. I did realize eventually that I was dreaming and stuck, unable to wake myself. I’ve been dealing with this off and on for years. When I was younger I would be afraid to fall asleep, worried that I may actually one day get stuck in one of these alternate dream worlds. Usually they weren’t nice places. When I was unable to wake myself and unable to cry out loud enough for Aj to hear, I tried to tell him telepathically. I know how silly that sounds but a part of me knew he really was near by and maybe, just maybe, energy and thoughts and feelings- I was hoping something would work. My dream-heart was pounding in my dream-chest. I remember a truck getting terribly close to my face in the dream. I felt stuck in a shell.
In time, probably only seconds, Aj woke me. A hand on either one of my shoulders, staring into my face, waiting, searching for answers.
Dot number three.
I used to like to pierce my face and stretch my ears by myself. One evening I had decided that I was going to reopen the second hole in my lip. The back had started to close up and I was/am a terribly indecisive person. The shoving, squirming, and white hot heat that rushed to my face had all been worth it, it was a success. My lip was with second hole again.
I cleaned the bathroom of my mess, returned the rubbing alcohol to its cupboard and discarded the Dixie cup that once held my jewelry. I was over confident. I had been turning myself into a human pin cushion for years. My friends and I did this during sleepovers. This was what we did for fun.
After cleaning up after myself I made my way to the living room to say goodnight to my parents. They were unsurprised by my reacquired metal, they were generally unsurprised by me by this point. Metal wasn’t going to change that. I said goodnight to my mother and then to my father. I kissed him goodnight and when I pulled away his septum ring hooked my lip ring. All freshly pierced and sensitive as fuck. The white heat I mentioned earlier, returned to smack me in the face as hard as it could.
The cartilage in a humans septum is much thicker, stronger than that of the fleshy, sad area around our mouths. In the game of tug-o-war between faces, the scoreboard reads Metalhead Mark:1 Me:0.
I rushed to the bathroom once I had managed to get free, a hand over my mouth and the other just below my chin to be safe. I could taste the harsh, strong taste of iron and tried to strategically place my tongue somewhere it would perhaps not be bothered by the flavor of pennies. I didn’t want the taste of sick to come into my little recipe of gross that I currently had going on. When I reached the tiny room again, I flicked on the light. I was surprised just how much blood was coming from my face just because of a pulled piece of jewelry.
Before I knew it I was watching the bathroom mirror become the ceiling become the wall behind me become black. My father must have been just steps behind me because when I came back to the first thing I saw was him, wide eyed, saying my name, then waiting for an answer.
I passed out, I guess. My mother said I made the same sounds my memere used to when she was alive.
Dot number four.
I was friends with someone via the internet that had found me based on our common interests. Myspace made it easy for creepy people to find you. Facebook makes it easy for people to stalk you. I kept him around because he was nice and lived far enough away to not be a real bother if he got too weird. He had a cocaine problem, he lived in long island, he probably still does, to all of the above. I can’t really imagine him not doing drugs and I can’t imagine him leaving home for very long. His parents were well off and took very good care of him and his younger sister. I don’t know why any of that matters. It doesn’t I guess. I shouldn’t waste extra time on details for this one.
I’ve written about this boy more times than I can count on my fingers and I suppose it’s dumb, but I cared. He wasn’t a cokehead when I met him and I guess when it comes down to it, it doesn’t truly matter. I don’t think I would have cared much if he had been. If he had never made his problem, my problem, then things might still be gravy today.
But probably not because he had feelings and I didn’t own too many of those. Definitely not to share with him by this point.
“I love you.”
“You don’t. You’re fucked up. Its two in the morning.”
“OK, I am, but I love you.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore.”
“Then get help.”
“I can’t do this for you.”
“My nose is fucked.”
“Its two in the morning. You’re fucked.”
And more stupid fucking feelings.
And more stupid fucking drugs.
And more phone calls early in the morning.
And less sleep for me.
One exceptionally bad night to be me he had requested that I stay on the phone with him through the early hours of the morning. I did it, of course. I am awesome at caring way too much and not knowing how to say no. During this time I’m not sure exactly what happened, But the noises i heard on the other end of the phone were terrifying. Like he was on fire, burning from the inside out. He wasn’t screaming, just straining to, and nothing seemed to be in response to whatever I was saying. I stayed on the line, paralyzed, rooted to my spot. My phone dropped the call and when I called back there was, as I suspected there to be, no response.
I heard from him again years later. I have no idea if he ever went and got himself some help. He only started talking to me again to make a different problem, my problem. So I did what I could to keep myself from going crazy and pretended not to care.
I spent more than half of my work shift that day thinking about the phone calls my mother received. It could have been anyone. My parents are still clueless and have tried to just not think about it, my head doesn’t let me do that though. I’ve been falling asleep, staring blankly at ceilings wondering who? Wondering why?