Matt, I lay on the couch all night willing my mind to be quiet. To stop replaying the scenes over and over again. Its always the same. You using, me finding and fixing. I just didn’t get how you could keep slipping back into the grip of the demons. I remembered the week of detox. Sitting on this very couch trying to calm your tremors, blankets off and on as your body rebelled against not getting what it now required to live. The vomiting until there was nothing left, screaming and ripping the skin off your arms as you fought the imaginary bugs crawling over your body. My wound, now healed but leaving a scar as a reminder of your anger. I could not imagine wanting to go through that again. I did not want to watch you go through it again but had the sinking feeling I would. I felt so defeated. I didn’t even have the energy to move. My eyes still swollen from my night of crying greeted me in the mirror. You look just great I thought. The toll of your addiction showing on my face. My body stiff from staying curled up, like I was trying to return to that fetal position where nothing could hurt me. God Matt, how this hurt me. Knowing that all this time you were just letting me believe you were clean. I was so blinded by my own need for us to be normal that I felt this betrayal like a hard slap in the face.
The dogs raise their heads, listening. I pray it is not you. I am in no mood for you. I make coffee, God, how I needed that. I grab the leashes and head to the sea. I disguise myself in your hoodie. I’m in shut down mode and want no conversation with anyone except God.
Ok God, It’s me again. Yeah, you know Matt’s mom. I just gonna put it out there. What the hell is going on. Why do you keep letting this happen to us. Why can’t you just answer my prayers and fix Matt. You teach us that you can do anything so why not this. Just put your hand on Matt and heal him from this horror that has become our life. You who created the sea I love, please help now. I’m so beat, so broken. I need help. I’m so lost in my thoughts I don’t see the dogs as they take off after a figure I know too well. Even from the distance I can identify your walk. I tell God, ok you need to hold my tongue cause I’m ready to shoot some ugly out of my mouth.
The dogs reach me first as if to say take it easy on him Mom, he’s sorry. Yeah, he’s always sorry. He’s only sorry cause he got caught. Ok Matt, I suggest that if you can’t tell the truth you keep your mouth shut. I’m this close to punching you square in the face, and you know what I might like it and not be able to stop! You look at me with that dam grin, you know the grin that always melts my heart. You start to laugh. Mom, I’d bet you’d do it too. I start to laugh as the image of 125lbs of me beating up on 230lbs of you forms in my brain. Somehow we both end up hysterical at the very thought. I guess the laughter was a release for me as I felt the anger I carried to the beach wash away with the tide. Matt, you always got to me. You my beautiful man with such a horrible, insidious disease.
We sit. Ok Matt, it’s truth or dare time. I will only accept the truth. I really don’t care how ugly or hurtful I need you to tell me the truth. I can’t stand a liar and after everything we have been through together you owe me the truth. Geez Matt, I’ve seen you naked vomiting your guts out, you’ve puked on and punched at me so really how bad can telling the truth be. You look away as if concocting a story. I grab your arm to bring you back. Matt, the truth.
I sit and will both my face and my tongue to not reveal or say what I’m thinking as you finally pour out your guts. I watch the waves hit the shore and take little bits of sand back to the sea. I feel like this is my life. Your addiction keeps pounding at my heart and soul breaking little pieces off and washing me away. Oh God, I asked for the truth now I’m sitting here listening and trying to make a plan to fix it again. I will never learn.
So once again, I have my fix it plan. I drag you to Charlie’s. We talk. He will not take you back but will let you collect unemployment until you can find work. Thank you God, He tells me how many chances he gave and how many times despite his warnings you showed up unable to function. I thank him for caring enough. He hugs us both as we leave and wishes us both luck. Ok Matt. Now you will not take advantage, you will find work. Right Matt, sure Mom. Oh God, why did I just get a very sick feeling in my gut. Stop, stop I tell myself. It will be ok. He will get work and find a meeting for help and support. Right Matt. Right Mom. You will pay your bills. Right Matt. Right Mom. You will stay straight. Right Matt. Right Mom.
We walk back to the house. We sit and open the neglected pile of bills. I set up a payment schedule. I balance your checkbook Holy Shit, I take your debit card and cut it up. Now you are getting ticked. I shoot you my look and you calm down. Ok Matt. Here’s the deal. I help with the mortgage. Thank God, the lender still thinks you’re sick. Yes, I know but I have to play that card until the mortgage is caught up. Yes, I feel guilty but what else can I do. I write everything down. I’m thinking really, you are a grown man and I’m treating you like a teenager and you are letting me. I try to keep the enabler thought out of my mind. Helping or guiding fits what I’m doing better. Yup, not enabling. Guiding you in bill paying and helping you get on your feet so I can stay on mine. Ok Matt. Everything is set up. You understand how important it is. I can’t lose this place. I love this place. You understand, right Matt. Right Mom.
Driving home I couldn’t shake the feeling of doom. I kept remembering how you looked. Your beautiful lying eyes. Right mom, slipping out of your mouth like honey from a pot. Honey in all it’s sweetness, just what I needed to hear. Right Matt. Right Mom……