Come on… you knew this was coming…
There was such incongruence with the ideas that I couldn’t get them to fit together in my head. I was pretty sure from my Catholic upbringing that suicide was an unforgiveable sin, but I had also learned that God would never give you more than you could bear. There was no doubt, this was my limit and the idea of continuing to live in this state of fear and high anxiety, I felt was more than I could bear. I searched the room for anything that might help. Bob’s gun was in the other room so that was out of the question. The drop from my two story window might do the trick, but most likely I’d just crack my head open or break a leg, not good enough. I settled on the sheet and the rod in the closet. I examined the set up and tried to figure out how one goes about such a thing. I got the general idea but had to sit on the floor for a few minutes to work out the specifics.
1979 Gresham, Oregon didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in my future. We lived in a duplex on the edge of town where Bob let his cats shit wherever they wanted because he was too fucking lazy to let them outside. He was a chain smoker who demanded that we serve him his untouchable Coke from the refrigerator in a tall glass bottle every hour or so. Bob was middle-aged, half white, half Native American, with a greasy black comb over and a large beer belly. He wore thick black aviator frames that I have forever since associated with child molesters, the Unabomber and cops. He would lay on the couch for hours like a sloth watching TV, drinking Coke and reading Mad, Freak Brothers or a True Detective magazine which always showed some poor woman tied up on the front page. Mom once said she thought Bob was a good influence because he was a reader.
I knew that like all phases, this would pass and I would move through, but the thought wasn’t helpful as the shit was too deep and I was drowning. Mom was fully aware of the situation and due to her fragile state of living “Once Day at a Time” chose to ignore it. I secured the sheet around the rod. Shit, who would find me? The beam wasn’t very high and I realized I would have to sit on the ground to make this work. Is this even possible? Jesus, I hoped it would be Bob, it would kill mom to see this. I was so angry at her for her inability to create a safe environment for us but I didn’t hate her, I loved my mother. I wrapped the other end of the sheet around my neck and tightened it. And then the thought came to me, it would be Jason, he would find me. I wanted to vomit. Without a moment of hesitation, I untied the sheet and lay on the floor sobbing. I could not leave him in this shit hole, in the care of our inept mother or her abusive boyfriend. Jerry had left home about two months earlier and I knew I would literally be leaving him alone. I silenced my sobs with a pillow as I laid on the ground for a long time and tried to sort through my decision to live. I had no strength, no strength. Dear God, please give me strength and courage.
With the stealth of a cat burglar I opened my bedroom door. In order to get down the stairs I had to get by Mom and Bob’s room. I held my breath as I rounded the corner and saw their bedroom door. Through the cracked opening I could see Bob’s feet on the bed. I listened for his breath, perhaps for the reassuring sound of snoring. Nothing. Silence. After about five minutes of standing motionless I got on my hands and knees and surreptitiously crawled past the doorway. I made it! Quietly, I stood to descend the stairs when suddenly the axe fell, “Kelli? Come here.” I decided then and there, if anyone was going to die, it would be Bob.