In the dawning of the new millennium, she looked up at me and smiled, and I felt my world was complete—my little paranoid darling. Despite our huge lifestyle differences, such as her need to live a meticulous, successful life, and my desire to say what is on my mind, and help to serve justice, not to mention my need to sing and be on stage. I am the revolutionary, the artist. She is the conventional businesswoman—the unhappy woman in her early thirties in a career that she doesn't enjoy, wasting her life for accepted values and the money to be able to do what she pleases in terms of material wealth. But who needs material wealth anyway? As long as I have my art and my friends, I'm golden. These days, it seems that in order to make any respectable amount of money, you must become a drone in corporate America, the scariest place that I have ever visited. The beauty of real art for the sake of art has been long forgotten, corporate, mass-produced art for the masses, created in order to sell more crap, is turning every moral mind in America (and the world) into a mindless drone, liking only what it is told to like.
She reached out her hand touched my naked shoulder, sending an electric spark through my body, and I realized how lost I had become in my thoughts a bitterness stemming solely from being looked at by the woman who is supposed to be the love of my life. How did I get here? How the hell? What am I doing with my life? What's missing? I'm just devoted to my cause. No, I'm just stubborn and manipulative. She still loves me, though…at least I think she does. The whole situation has become so complicated…I wish we could just start over. I think I love her. Maybe I just love being in love—no, not love, lust. But maybe I do love her. I love the fights, though she thinks that I am just selfish, which is true, but I don't know if she's willing to deal with it.
"Hey baby, are you okay?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah."
"I don't believe you. What's up?"
"I was just thinking."
"Not much…just how much of a fuck up I am, what I terrible person I have become…my empty life…"
"Oh…baby…isn't it a little early to be getting into the deep stuff?"
"It's been bothering me all night…I haven't slept. This day is huge for the world, meanwhile it has been eleven years and I am still the same person, in the same place, with the same problems. I haven't gotten anywhere…our relationship…" my thought trailed off into nothingness as began to sob. She drew my closer, and for the first time since I was four years old, I allowed myself to be held and comforted. I felt so hollow and empty…sore on the inside. After a while, the tears stopped coming, but my sobbing continued, and the phone rang—it was Mark, I could tell. We—the usual six—were supposed to have met up at his place as we had every year, going back as far as I could remember, practically. I knew that he still loved me, and I was so sorry that I had broken his heart, and so glad that he was still my friend, he was so nice. I would never say that to his face though. The answering machine picked up, and I could tell that he was concerned…I couldn't pull myself together to speak…but I picked up the phone anyway.
"What's wrong?" He was always such a cut to the chase kind of guy, and so perceptive…I thought that was cute, and loved it. I struggled to say something…anything. My voice sounded very soft and pathetic when I finally responded.
"I…my life…everything's a mess." I was a vague statement, but it was hard to make my mouth move.
"Is Joanne with you?"
"Um…" it was I good question…I hadn't noticed whether or not she had gone out, but she was no longer in the bed with me.
"Maureen?" I heard the Mark calling me, faintly…I must have dropped the phone. I realized she must have left, but I stumbled around the apartment trying to find her anyway. I must have been really drunk the previous night from the feel of it. I panicked when I didn't find her or a note within the apartment. I fell to the floor sobbing in the bathroom…curled up on the floor, alone. I grabbed onto the edge of the sink to pull myself up, and slipped, knocking Joanne's antidepressants onto the floor…and found myself unsurprised that she had been taking them. I put the bottle in my pocket, wanting to ask her about them. I dragged myself into the kitchen, finding that all that was there was an unopened bottle of vodka.
"Great. Just great. What is this? A sign? What do you want from me?" I screamed towards to ceiling, "This is pathetic. I need a drink." I pulled myself up to sit on the counter, then I opened the bottle. For each aspect of my life that I hated, I drank. Only half of the bottle remained, and I started feeling really sick, and for good reason—alcohol had been the only thing I had consumed in the past 48 hours or so, and in great amounts… My God…I must be an alcoholic. How conventional…what a commercially fabricated disease! What have I become? What's wrong with me? My life and decisions—everything I have ever done has been a mistake…I've sabotaged every relationship that I have ever had. Nobody would care if I died…not like when Angel died. I was starting to fade now, and I hadn't even realized at the time that I had wanted to kill myself. Oh Angel, you were the heart of this group, this family. Why did you have to die? The past ten years have been Hell without you Angel…and now I'll go to Hell. Here's to never seeing you again, Angel. Here's to never feeling love again, Angel. For each pain, for each unanswered question I went on like this, following each by popping two of the pills and swallowing it with the vodka. This is fate…my life will just be a tragically trashy novel. I can't believe that my life could be so…mainstream. It's disgusting. I was supposed to be a revolutionary, brave. I was supposed to make a change. When did I just start accepting life as it came? Who am I? How did I get here? I need help…I had swallowed thirty pills and finished the vodka in about five minutes. I was really angry with myself now…I didn't want to die, but I didn't want to continue my life either. I couldn't believe this was happening. I pinched myself…hoping that I was dreaming, that these past ten years had all been a dream. It hurt…of course…this whole fucking nightmare was true. I liked the pain. In this altered state it seemed adequate punishment for my failures. I started scratching at the monstrosity that I had become, scratching until I bled…but no, that wasn't enough…I grabbed a knife from beside me, and started slicing, carving away at my left arm, slashing…the last thing I felt was the knife digging into my skin as I fell from the counter…blood was everywhere…
I smelled cleaning agents and a disgustingly sterile environment. Fuck…I'm still alive. I felt someone holding my hand, and opened my eyes to see who it was…it was Mark. With him I saw Roger, Mimi and Collins. I tried to open my mouth, but it hurt too much, so instead I cried. Mark held me, and it was weird, because I actually felt loved. Nothing romantic or sexual, but I knew I could feel that he genuinely cared about me, and it was then that I truly realized that Joanne was merely putting up with me. I realized the hell I had put him through all those years ago, but I felt no bitterness from him in this moment, and that only made me cry harder.
"You scared us. We love you. Don't try to talk—they had a tube down your throat to pump out your stomach…it wasn't pretty. Doctor said it'd be sore. We almost lost you—it was difficult to save you because of the loss of blood in addition to the alcohol poisoning and the pills…it was really close."
"Why…did…you…save me?" I struggled to say. I was really curious, though, as to why they would go through the trouble.
"I love you, remember? Despite the hopelessness of it all, I can't help that fact. We all love you, you are a part of this little family we have created. You would have done the same for any one of us." Mark was such a sweetheart. Then Mimi added,
"Yeah, I mean…you looked for me…and found me, even saved me." She hadn't spoken of that night since it happened. She was embarrassed, not only by her weakness, but by the fact that a series of major mistakes had caused everything that had happened, although she frequently talked about seeing Angel in that near-death experience.
I looked down at my arm, and saw that it was covered in gauze. I wanted to see my wounds…I couldn't believe what I had done, but then I remembered what had brought it on, the abandonment…the hopelessness…where was Joanne anyway? I could tell that it was the one questions that everyone wanted to ask, but was too afraid to verbalize…it had brought on an uncomfortable silence…I broke down. It was technically Joanne's apartment, so she couldn't have gone anywhere else to stay that we knew of…other than her parents.
"Maureen—we tried to find her, but her parents weren't home and she isn't at work…" Roger replied, in response to the question in my eyes. I was worried about her, but I didn't want to say so. I knew I had hurt her with the things that I had shared with her about my dissatisfaction with our relationship, especially after she had tried so hard for such a long time to make things work, to accept me…we both had tried so hard, and it had even seemed like things were working out okay, but we were both unhappy, and could sense it, just too afraid to say so.
"Oh my God Mark...this is a disaster...it's all my fault...I hope she's okay...I was so stupid...I was so mean...I can't deal with this."
"Maureen...what did you do? What did you say?"
"I was telling her about what I was thinking...because she kept prying...I was still drunk, and I hadn't gotten any sleep...I told her how unhappy I was with my life, and our relationship...and the problems...I thought she understood...and she was holding me...and then she must have said something when she left, but I don't remember, because the next thing I knew, you were calling me, and she was gone...I hope I didn't say something stupid...or do something stupid..."
"I still don't understand why you keep trying with her...every other second you're at each other's throats, and she is always mad at you for the things that you say and do. I think that she's trying to make you into someone that she can love, or make herself love who you are, but she can't. Not for a lack of trying."
"Mark, I don't think that is helpful," Collins offered, "I think Maureen needs a little reassurance."
"No, Collins, it's okay. It's the truth. And I was hoping that I could change her, too, that I could make her accept me. Either that or I would play the victim." I need help, but I am too proud to give in to the psychobabble revolution.