Matt, I really believe that was the worst summer of our lives. I was stuck at home with a useless right arm and you were at the beach free as a bird. Oh boy, I could see you doing the happy dance. Except for the fact that you lost your free housekeeping service you knew the Mom police was out of service. You were one lucky guy. Just when I had the best excuse in the world to keep an eye on you and continue to play that cool Mom fate stepped in and changed the course of our lives. I’m stuck at home and you are free to play with your demons. I was in a constant state of panic and you were relaxing loving the fact that you could do whatever floated your boat with no Mom on your back.
I tried to stay cool just calling everyday and going down my memorized check list. Making small talk and trying to catch you in the game of lies we had gotten to be such experts in. So Matt, what’s going on with Lisa. Are you still taking a break or are you still house hopping. Yeah Mom, still house hopping except I’m really liking the nights I’m alone at my house. We are trying to work things out but I just don’t know. Oh God, please help. Matt alone meant chaos. Even though Lisa wasn’t my idea of the perfect girl at least she could keep him out of trouble, or so I allowed myself to believe.
Two weeks turned to four. I was still casted and trying to learn how to live as a left handed girl. Holy crap I thought this is unbelievable. Trying to get contacts in was something worthy of a TV commercial. My cat, Simon liked to curl up in the sink and watch me get it together every morning. No problem until I became the one arm bandit and dropped my contact on his back in the sink. My screech had him flying out of the room with my contact still attached to his fur. Ok, so here I am the one armed, one eyed very pissed mother of an addict who is feeling like she is ready to call it a day, jump back in bed and say the hell with it all!
Finally I give up finding my sweet Simon and open another contact package with my teeth. I tell you if someone followed me around all day with a camera I would have been a U tube sensation. Getting dressed was another feat. I slept in my bra cause that was utterly impossible to get on one handed. My wardrobe had become sweat shorts and tank tops. Lovely I thought. My mass of curls, unwashed was caught up in a band. This so sucks I said out loud as I came down stairs to greet another day as a helpless human.
My first thing every morning was my call to you. I had to hear you to run down my mental checklist of your words. I knew if I heard Hey Mama we were in deep and I would have to find a way to get to you quickly. When you didn’t answer I would go to that dark place in my mind. Are you unconscious, in a ditch, sick, it was always something horrible. My addicts Mom brain had been so programmed to always think the worst when you didn’t answer that I couldn’t even consider the possibility that you were busy at work and couldn’t answer or that you could be in the shower. It was always the bad stuff that flooded my mind and set my heart racing when I could not get in touch with you. Oh Matt. We were both so sick because of your addiction.
By week six I was out of my mind. I had been to the surgeon expecting to have my cast removed and hop directly in my car and head to the beach. I sat in his exam room as he cut off the monster that wrecked my summer thinking great we are done here I need to get on with my life. As soon as the cast was off my wrist pain shot through my body like I’d been hit by an arrow. WTH was happening. Dr. S had me X rayed again. Sorry, we must recast. Your wrist was so badly broken you can’t be left without the support of a cast. Holy crap, once again my plan foiled by fate. Ok, crap I’m really not in the mood. What color he asked smiling, crap I say do you have one that looks like crap cause that is exactly how I’m feeling.
I call you that night and you sound just a little to happy. No worries Mom you say. Take care of yourself. I’m fine. Oh boy. red flags shooting up in my brain. Take care of myself. Really, put Matt on the phone. He never would even consider me taking care of myself before taking care of him. Ok that’s it. I’m coming down. I make a few phone calls. Everyone is either working or hanging out with their family. Why do you have to get down there so quickly is the million dollar question. How can I even start to explain the lie I have kept hidden for years. No worries I tell everyone. Crap I’m thinking. My last resort, my Mom. She knows nothing about Matt and his addiction and I planned to keep it that way. Maybe just maybe I could get her to drive me to Matts and suggest that she stop by to see my cousin who as luck would have it lived very close to Matt.
Thank you God I think as my Mom pulls up in my driveway. I can tell by her reaction that I look absolutely marvelous. When was the last time you washed your hair she asked. Hi Mom, nice to see you too. We drive and catch up. I told her I broke my wrist slipping off my deck after a bad rainstorm. She would have lectured me to death if I told her I was mountain biking with my boyfriend, hell she didn’t even know I had a boyfriend. I hid Ray from her like I hid Matt’s addiction from the world. We get to Matts place and I tell her just to drop me off. I’m so afraid of what I might find when I open the door. We hear the dogs barking. Matts Jeep is gone. Thank God I think, at least I won’t find him out of it on the couch.
Like all Grandmothers she’s curious to see how her grandson lives. Oh no she says. I didn’t drive all this way not to see Matts place. Oh God, Oh God, I can’t even imagine what is behind this door. I find the key in my pocket. I feel that familiar chest tightness, the lump forming in my throat. The door opens. The dogs happily greet us temporarily blocking the mess we are about to encounter. Oh God, the mess. I can’t even bring myself to look at my mother. The tears forming in my eyes as I run to the back door leading the dogs out to the fenced yard. Matt, my heart breaks. All the signs of your return to the demons are here. Your Grandmother looks at me with shock on her face. Takes off her coat and says let’s get to work. I pretend the tears running down my face are from the pain of my wrist. She does not question just gets to work washing your dishes and wiping your counters. Oh Matt, I can’t believe we are back to that dark place. I can hear your demons laughing. Hey Mom, you weren’t here to save him. HaHaHa. Your grandmother keeps busy in the kitchen. I go into your bedroom and close the door. I let out the sob that has been building in my heart. I try to lift your mattress one handed using my shoulder to keep it elevated while I searched your favorite hiding place. Nothing. Ok I tell myself. Calm down, breathe. I dust and vacuum your bedroom then start in the living room. All the time my eyes are searching for that familiar bottle, praying that I’m over reacting to your neglect of the house. Your Grandmother knows something is wrong but seeing my face keeps her thoughts to herself. I’m screaming in my mind, No, No, No, this can’t be happening again. I can’t keep doing this again.
As fate would have it or maybe it was divine intervention, your Grandmother comes to me. Here she says. I found these in the kitchen cabinet. She hands me a bottle. My heart skips a beat, I try to hide the horror as she puts the bottle in my hand. Maybe this will help your pain. Maybe you should take one. You look like you’re in horrible pain. Oh God Mom, I wish I could tell you the pain I’m in. It has nothing to do with my wrist. Your grandson is an addict. I carry this burden alone. You just handed me a pot of gold and you haven’t a clue how grateful I am that you found this monster.
I go into the bathroom pretending to get a drink to take this pill. I shut the door and cover my mouth to muffle the sobs coming from my soul. I hold the bottle in my hand looking at the label. I will be making a call to this pill pushing doctor. I empty the pills in the sink and fill it with water. I watch the pills start to dissolve as I beat them with your shaving can. I beat and beat until they are no more. I try to compose myself before facing your grandmother. She is not stupid but knows this isn’t the time to question. I leave the empty bottle in your bedroom. I know and you will know that I know as soon as you put your key in the door. I was going to leave you a note but the empty bottle is all I have to say…