“My alarm goes off at the same time every morning. Every morning. 5:45 am. Because.. 5:30 is way too f***ing early. 6 would be like.. adding to the chorus of horribly composed jingles forcing pathetic morons into another sh*t day. Caught in a big f***ing hamster wheel, trapped inside this baby bitch doghouse we New Yorkers call an ‘apartment’. I hate the sound of it. I probably should change it but it’s become part of my routine and I’d be lost without it. Every day would begin as the last, exactly the same with the crushing weight of my existence choking me out at 5:45 am on the dot. Occasionally, I beat it. More often than not, I need resuscitation. Not, ‘beat it’ like.. nevermind.
I go to sleep and I wake up and I don’t know which version of myself has taken the wheel. At first. The hand off comes in the form of nightmares. Sometimes, softer fabrications. That’s if I can get to sleep. Actually.. It’s all the same. Sleep and wake. It kinda meshes together. It’s a process. It’s exhausting. I guess the silver lining is that despite the dramatics, it’s familiar.
When I met Desirae she flipped my world upside down. It was like a f***ing hurricane. Swept into this chaotic whirlwind of sh*t I never experienced before. I had never seen anything more beautiful. I mean that. This long dark hair. Chocolate eyes. Strawberry lips. That body. She had the perfect symmetry. Laser cut perfection. These f***ing freckles everywhere. I can draw her right now with my eyes closed and wouldn’t miss not one of those freckles. She lit up a room when she walked in. Everyone stopped and stared. I had no idea how a woman like that could choose me but she did. For a decently lengthed period of time I thought this could be it. I was cured of whatever it was that I’ve been aching for all these years. That emptiness, ya know? It was my purpose to take care of her. To love her. That longing would finally cease and she’d save me. Set me free. She was magic. Breathing life and energy into this otherwise dull.. pointless existence which previously made no f***ing sense, it really didn’t. Doesn’t, I should say. She stole the air from my lungs, ripped my heart out and ate it. My vitals were hers to do with what she pleased. After several failed attempts to fight my feelings for her, I gave in. Diving head first. I gave her the power to ruin me. I did that. I did. She knew my dark, knew the worst parts of me. She knew my past. Not all of it but the parts that mattered. The parts I could explain. She also knew the best of me. The me that I don’t give away too often. When we were together it was as if I were weightless. Nothing else meant a damn thing outside tangled limbs beneath bedsheets. Fingers laced with mine. My God.. her skin. She had this scent about her. I still taste her on my tongue. She knew my fears. She knew exactly where it hurt. She knew what to push. What to pull. We fought as hard as we f***ed because we loved each other enough to call the other out. We gave that much of a f*** about it, right? When the battle was over, we’d grow from it stronger. Together. Re-growing all bonded and twisted like roots in dirt watered to blossom colorful fields of raw true love. Bullsh*t like that is what I told myself. What we both fed ourselves to mask the toxicity that we refused to acknowledge.
I relapsed again. And again. One more time, just one more. Every time was the last time. Every time I woke up a better man. A changed man. I saw the f***ing light, baby, and it was glorious; that guy, I was that guy. Wrap me up in the big book because I surrender my control. This time, I meant it. Like the last time and the time before that. Of course, I kept my word until the next time I used because.. there was gonna be a next time. One day turned into two, two into four. Those f***ing benders are what killed her. Then again everything f***ed her up. I wondered how a person could truly love someone yet hate just about everything about them. But here I was stuck in this infatuation. Let me tell you… through all the bullsh*t in knowing what I know now.. I would do it all over again. F***ing sick, ain’t it?
I put my hands on her and it wasn’t the first time. Or the last time. Those ‘we fight because we love’ type of fights became more frequent. Physical. Violent and venomous. She’d hit me and say she blanked out or.. I mean, I’m a f***ing man.. I just ate it most of the time. Some nights I was too f***ing high to reason and.. It was.. It was really bad. I blanked out a few times. I swear I didn’t remember hitting her. I had completely lost myself in the drugs, the partying.. the numbing.. again and again while losing myself in her until I suddenly had no idea how to answer simple questions about who the f*** I was. Sh*t that we’re supposed to know because we’re the motherf***ers living inside ourselves, ya know? I forgot my birthday because I didn’t really exist. What does that even mean? What’s my favorite color? Food? I don’t f***ing know, it depends on who I am that day. Which idiot won the hand off. I had no f***ing clue what I was passionate about anymore. My likes or dislikes. Nothing excited me. Nothing. A constant humming underlying dull. What did it matter, really? All it did was make me angry. At myself, at her, my family and the one singular friend I had left. The drugs and the booze but I’d sooner kill myself before I put it down. The best option. Love eluded me for the longest time. I know, I know.. We’re all a bunch of damaged, emotionally unavailable piles of trash. I am not unique or special in that respect. F***, if there is no harder pill to swallow than letting love in and willingly allowing it to destroy you. Day in and day out I chose to let it destroy me. Love isn’t a hostage situation. It’s assisted suicide.
The day she walked out on me, my sweet Desirae, I remember getting blasted immediately. Well before 5:45 am. I did a bunch of coke and benzos. Some other sh*t.. I honestly, don’t recall and whiskey. I mean, I’m Irish. There’s always whiskey. We lived together, shared a place in the Bronx and she had stayed at a ‘friends’ house to cool off after the typical fight we had the night before. She was f***ing him, I know she was. At this point, I just didn’t have a f*** to give. So.. we did the live in thing for a year that felt more like five hundred in the warzone that was our relationship. She came home at whatever time crying and throwing herself on the floor like she was dead set on winning an Oscar. Accusing me of sh*t. She knew I was high and I just didn’t care anymore. We argued until words held no weight. They hadn’t generally for a while so it didn’t take very long. She smacked me and I took it. I deserved it. Angry at my lack of response, she hit me again. Then she legit, no lie, caught me with an uppercut. Didn’t see that one coming.. I grabbed her and slammed her against the wall. I had a f***ing death grip on her and I’ll never forget the fear in her eyes. It hit different that day. It broke my heart. Completely. I felt that sh*t through the numb. The substance induced mania. I shook her then let her go and walked off but she kept hitting me. Punching me. Throwing sh*t at me. Screaming sh*t. I don’t remember the few minutes or seconds in between me walking away and my hands around her throat. I remember the shattered glass from the picture frame I made her. Yeah. She put a photo of us on the beach in Cabo. The smiles on our faces were real that day. I always did like that picture. Anyway, so.. I realize that I’m squeezing her neck, restricting oxygen. She’s digging nails into my wrists, arms, my face as she struggled to breathe. Drawing blood. She’s fighting for her life against the man she trusted to protect her. I can’t begin to describe to you what that felt like. She thought I was.. killing her. I guess.. I was..
Those strawberry lips turned blue at that point. She started convulsing. Limbs went limp. I was holding her up by her delicate little neck with such a grip.. I have no idea how it didn’t snap. I tried so hard to let go, I really.. I don’t know how long or.. I mean I know what was happening but.. Everything was wired wrong. Misfiring. I.. my body finally decided to listen to my brain and my heart and then I just dropped her. She ended up hitting her head against the corner of the table when she fell. I’ll never forget the sound. It wasn’t intentional. I wouldn’t do that.. f***.. I.. you would think the head housed every drop of blood in the human body the way it bleeds..”
Dr. Wozek looked up from her notepad attempting to keep her composure as she swallowed hard. Bleached blonde hair done up neatly to blend the head of grays. “Was she breathing?”
A long drawn out silence fills the air. Loudly piercing the Irishman’s eardrums. Rough edged features twist in distress, staring off into space as if reliving the scenes of his past like a movie. Audience waiting with bated breath.
An uneasy laugh with a shrug, “I took a few bumps” he shakes his head, lips pursed tightly, brow furrowed as if confessing his own actions to himself for the very first time. Hands running up and down his thighs. “My reactions were delayed. Sporadic. Umm.. I can tell you.. she isn’t dead. At present. Last I heard, she was doing well. And I’m really happy to hear it. Plus, I wouldn’t be sitting here, I’m sure. If I would have.. taken her life that day..” he sits up, hands over his face before sinking back into the couch cushion. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this.”
Dr. Wozek removes her wire frame glasses, setting her pad and pen down on the small table to the right of her chair. “This is a safe place, Fergal. No one can hurt you here. I am not going to judge you by your past, I am here to help you sort it out, process it and let it go. You can trust me. I want to help you find better ways to cope with all of this trauma so you can finally find peace within yourself. You deserve that. I’m glad you’re here. You are extremely brave.”
He lets out another laugh, pulling at his bearded chin, nervously fixing the black knit beanie covering up short dark hair. “I trust you understand my apprehension. Given all your degrees and years of practice.” a pause, replaying her generic ‘I’m not here to hurt you’ speech against the same rehearsed lines from Desirae’s pleas stuck on loop in his mind. “I’ve heard that before. I believed it before. But ya know.. I didn’t pay her to pretend to give a f***.” blue eyes pierce right through the older woman’s dark green hues, stone faced. After a few awkward seconds, features soften into a crooked grin. “I..it’s gonna take some time.”
“Well.. that’ll be all for today” a nervous smile as she glances at the clock and stands to her feet, smoothing palms down the front of her preppy blue sweater. She walks toward the door to open it. A twinge of fear in turning her back to the younger male who minutes earlier confessed to attempted murder, no matter which way it was sliced. A fear he can sense, releasing a sigh as he stood to follow. Time’s up. Every moment was fleeting. Especially the ‘safe’ ones. Hands secured in the pockets of his black bomber jacket to offer the woman comfort in the fact that he wasn’t planning on hurting her. All he wanted was to understand himself enough to be able to explain in the hopes that someone else would understand him too.
“See you next week” a smile and a nod as he casually exited.