Glockless in New York

The depression comes in waves. It rushes in and overwhelms you. The wave recedes, builds up and comes crashing back. And down you go. There is only so much of this you can stand.

The only defense you have against the wave are a couple of Xanax you have left so you take them knowing it’s only enough to stop tonight’s wave. What about tomorrow night?

The next day you go to your doctor and ask him for more Xanax but he says you have had your month’s allotment as permitted by the controlled substance law.

It’s so ironic, no not ironic, just stupid. It’s easier to buy a gun in America to kill yourself than to get more Xanax from your doctor which might actually stop you from buying a gun to kill yourself. 

Do you see the irony, doctor, I mean the stupidity? All he can say is, that’s the law and there’s nothing I can do about it and you’re tempted to say fuck the law I’ll just buy a gun, but you keep your own counsel because if you say something like that to a doctor maybe he can have you committed to a psych ward which would be a worse hell than the wave that keeps rushing in and overwhelming you.

On the way home you stop by the local gun shop, which ironically — more goddamn irony — is just down the street from the doctor’s office, and you put a 9-mm Glock on your credit card but before you can take possession of the pistol you have to fill out the paperwork which will take several days to be approved in anti-gun New York and you go home Glockless and sure enough the wave comes crashing back that night and this time it’s really bad—

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Isolation in a Madhouse of Grief

Every night, his bungalow is a madhouse of grief.

It’s a good thing the old man has no neighbors. Otherwise they would be calling the police. They might wait until they hear a gunshot. Of course an overdose of pills makes no sound. So the police would not be called and his body would lie there for days. The indignity of death at its worst.

In this age of Covid he is well aware of the surreal tragedy overloading our minds like body bags. The nightly news has become the death hour. He reveres the heroism of the doctors and the nurses and the grocery clerks. His heart breaks at the sight of two-mile-long food lines. He knows he should get out of his own mind and his own drunken grief and join the front lines.

But he is confined and his isolation breeds morbid introspection. He is trapped in his own house and he is trapped in his own mind. He holds his self-involvement in contempt. But a person needs a companion when the world is going all to hell. You face it together. You give each other strength. You hold onto each other in the fading light.

It has been sixteen months since his wife died. You would think he would be getting over it by now. A former friend of his (former because he doesn’t call anymore), a man like him in his seventies who lost his wife two years ago, messaged him recently that he had fallen in love again. He said he had found the love of his life. The old man in the bungalow could hardly believe it. The love of his life was his wife. She was the life of his life. And when she died, he died.

He still eats and drinks (copiously) and feeds the cat and watches television and answers occasional phone calls from a couple of friends and members of his distant extended family and he talks to them about possibly moving away and starting a new life somewhere else, and they say amongst themselves, He’s fine, he’s dealing with it better now, he’ll be okay.

But when he hangs up the phone, the ghosts come out of the crawlspace, not just his wife’s but his son’s and his two brothers and he has another gin and takes two or more Xanax not counting them anymore and goes to bed and relives the nightmares and gets up in the morning and boils water for tea and feeds the cat and so on and so forth, but this is not living, this is waiting for death, not that he expects to be with his wife again in make-believe Heaven, but at least they will be together in oblivion and the madhouse of grief will be silent.

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Living in memory

You try and kid yourself, you join a bereavement group, you volunteer at the local library, you distract yourself by putting extraneous posts on your blog, you try to get back out into the real world, but the reality is you don’t have a life, you don’t have the energy, the will, so you sit in the former “living room” and you dwell in the memory of your wife, whose photos are on the mantel, and you watch old movies, often with the sound turned down so you have the silence to live in her memory, her memory is a sanctorum and you are inside it and she is still alive, and you’re smoking again and of course you drink a lot, gin in the summer and rum in the winter and Jack Daniel’s whatever the season and you oh so smoothly slip into a tolerable haze, imbued at bedtime by Xanax which helps you sleep and you sleep until noon and your first thought on waking is, five hours to cocktail hour and the beginning of the haze, the sanctum, the illusion she is still alive.


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