Tomorrow we have to go back to the eye doctor. The place where big darling and I were when we got ‘the call’. “The call” that I ignored the first two times, because we were in with the doctor. On the third time, I figured I better answer it. When I did, it was my mother in law, screaming that I needed to come quick, because David was ‘hurt’. When I asked what happened, she said he somehow shot himself in the stomach. I stood up and screamed that we needed to go, something had happened to daddy, he was badly hurt. We rushed out of the room and to the front door. Our wait in the lobby had been a long one, we were one of the last appointments, and when we got to the front doors, THEY WERE LOCKED. Oh my God. I was frantic. I could feel my body shaking. I was trying to make sense of what the fuck could possibly be going on. Why did he have a gun? What the fuck was he doing? Dear God….did he shoot himself on purpose? I remember screaming hysterically at the front door for someone to let us the fuck out. And running to where I thought another door might be. It is a maze, this place, and I couldn’t find the right way. I saw a housekeeper, pushing a cart. Don’t even know if she spoke English. But she saw my terror. She spoke my language in that moment. We ran out the side door, to my car. I called my step daughter when I got in, because it was she who had called me the first two times. I knew she had been home, with the two little ones. She could only say the same thing, through a voice shaking so badly she was barely audible. He was shot in the stomach. Is he alive?! IS HE ALIVE?!! GODDAMNIT IS HE ALIVE?????!!!!!! “I don’t know” came the answer. I don’t know. Dear God. He cannot die. At the time, I was trusting that he was shot in the stomach. But that wasn’t true. He was shot in the chest. It only looked like he was shot in the stomach because of gravity. The most blood was there. In my sternest and calmest voice, I said “Listen to me. If he is shot in the stomach, he can survive this. He can be ok. Pray. And do not stop. Do not stop praying. Do you hear me? Everyone just needs to pray without stopping, right now.” I am driving 100 miles an hour now, and I have my right hand behind me, because I’m holding hands with the biggest darling. We are praying. Out loud. We are begging. I’m trying to figure out what to say to him. I tell him whatever happened is really bad, and that daddy might not even be alive. But I think he is. And I think it will be ok. I am driving so fast. With my left hand. He was so quiet. I couldn’t see him. It’s ok. Because it’s going to be ok. He’s going to need a liver transplant, or a spleen. This is going to suck royally. I’m picturing us in the hospital. Him saying he is so sorry. Me saying it’s ok, it’s all going to be ok now. I just know it. Because this is my family. This is my husband. This is my goddamn fucking children’s FATHER and he is NOT GOING TO DIE. He can’t. Only he did. And I knew it right away. I knew it the moment my car turned onto my street. Because the first thing I saw was an ambulance. It was still there. It hadn’t left. Maybe there had been two. And the one he was in had left. But when we jumped out of the car, it wasn’t good. My sister’s eyes, I saw them first. I knew. The first thing I said was, “The ambulance is still here, he’s dead.” Silence. There was yellow tape around my yard. I lifted it up and tried to run to the garage. The police. They stopped me. “You can’t go back there. Who are you?” from judgmental eyes and a terse voice. “I’m his wife. I live here. Is he dead?” Silence. “What the fuck happened?” I scream. Silence. Eyes piercing into mine, trying to read me. I know what the fuck he’s doing. He thinks I did it. But I know I didn’t and he must know too, because I wasn’t even fucking here. My sister takes the oldest darling to her house. I am left standing there. And my whole world is ripped out from under me. The feeling is a physical one. It feels like I’m not standing, or breathing. Everything is bright. I can’t breathe. I’m aware of the blood pulsing through my veins, because it hurts. I can feel my heart beating. I can hear it. How fast can it go before you die? My head is spinning. The ground is moving, closer. And then I hear myself screaming. And I’m falling down. Then I’m standing in the gutter in front of my home. And my husband is dead. My children do not have a father. I stand there a while. I don’t know how long. I feel so sick. I might throw up. I’m coughing. I’m hyperventilating. I scream the word “NO!” repeatedly. As loud as I can. To make it be undone. I know we won’t survive. It’s too much. It’s too bad. I know he did it. To himself. I know he killed himself. Because we’ve been fighting. I’ve been threatening. Threatening to leave. Threatening him that he’s not right. Threatening that things have to change or I will leave. I suddenly realize my kids need me. I run down the street, on knees so wobbly I don’t think I’ll make it. I grab them. Everyone is crying. There is nothing I can say. Nothing. He is dead. It’s over. Our lives are ruined. I can’t console them. I have to ask them. I have to ask them what they saw. I have to know. So I ask. And they tell me. They saw him walk into the garage. Then they heard a noise. Went into the garage. Saw him laying there. Covered in blood. He moaned. He shook. He died. With his eyes open. They saw him die. It’s not real. It can’t be real. My babies’ lives are ruined. I know this. There is no recovery from this. My middle darling is 4. The baby is 2. My step daughter is 16. The baby doesn’t cry. He is in shock. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t speak. He is limp. For hours. He is just still, like in a coma. The police question me until I curse them all out. They ask me to identify the body and I refuse. One by one, family members and friends arrive. There are a hundred people standing in the street, every neighbor is out, no one knows what to do. People start calling. I don’t know what to do. Don’t know what to say. After a while, they bring me his wedding ring. I put it to my lips. I smell it. I will never touch him again. There is talk, about what to do. Who will clean the blood. Where we will go. People start coming with food. I try not to vomit. My stomach is retching. I keep almost throwing up. It feels like I’ve run 10 miles. I just can’t catch my breath and I’m increasingly aware of the fact that we all need to hurry up and die too, immediately.
I don’t know if I can go back to this eye doctor tomorrow. I should have changed it to another location. I know this is ridiculous, because I go into the garage several times per week. I know I’m being irrational. Because several times I have used the very scrub brush that I think someone cleaned the garage floor with. I used it this weekend to scrub my patio floor. It’s stupid, because I should throw it away. And change the appointment. And run away. And move. And change my name. Where does it end, when there is no escape from reality?