Waiting to Exhale


She felt her life was one big mistake. Year after year of poor choices, bad luck, lack of better judgment, and regret. She had never truly been “happy” and probably wouldn’t know how to identify it even if she was.

She left her husband (Mike) three days before Christmas. The whole month of December she had been planning a family gathering at their house, a joyous Christmas celebration of laughter and love. But instead… She left in the middle of the night, with one suitcase, her credit cards and jewelry, and her bottle of Zoloft. She caught a 4am train to Montreal and popped 4 pills so she would forget what had just happened and drift off into complacency.

When she arrived in Montreal, she got off the train and looked around in her blurry chemical haze. She headed for a hotel close to the train station and checked in. The attendant at the front desk looked at her precariously and cautiously as she scrambled in her purse to find her credit cards, her brain short circuiting like a fried Dell motherboard.

Her room was generic; two double beds, a chair and a desk, and a selection of coffee and tea with powdered coffee whitener. She threw her suitcase on one bed and fell down onto the other, jaw clenching and eye twitching (it was one of the many side effects of Zoloft).

She fell asleep for what felt like an hour, but was really more like 3 and awoke to a loud ringing in her ears. She was sweating profusely and had a mouth like a cotton ball. She thought about her tragic life, regressing back to childhood thoughts of being poor and having a single alcoholic mother who fucked men and gambled for money. No man had ever asked her mother to marry him, and she consequently spent her entire life as single bitter woman. Her mother had given birth to three kids, all to different fathers, and non of whom were involved in her life. The men she fucked were losers, alcoholic abusive assholes and criminals mostly.

She didn’t have much of a relationship with her brother and sister. Her sister lived in Arkansas with her husband and his child, and worked for Target, which ironically fuelled her gambling addiction. Her sister had no interest in family matters and preferred to pretend that the family didn’t exist. Her brother, went all crazy looking for salvation and joined a religious cult. She couldn’t have a conversation with him without him trying to convert her, so they stopped talking.

Her mother had died just months earlier in a publicly funded nursing home. She didn’t get many visitors, didn’t have many friends, and preferred to be left alone in misery. She wanted to die, to get away from the suffering of life. This pain and agony projected in everything she did, one of the many reasons her kids didn’t go to see her much.

The hotel room was getting dark, indicating that another day was ending. She stared at two forms of salvation on the nightstand; her bottle of Zoloft and the Holy Bible. The phone was one of those old beige phones with the retro receivers, she stared at it for a long time before picking it up.

He answered “Is that you honey? Where are you?” she could hear the despair and desperation in his voice, not knowing what happened, where she was, or why she left.

“Are you okay?”

She breathed in deeply and said “Yes.”

“Where are you ?” he asked again

“It doesn’t matter” she said

“What do you mean? What happened? I think you owe me at least that. I’ve been worrying sick about you for the last 14 hours.”

“I won’t be home for Christmas. I’m sorry.”

He bawled into the phone “What do you mean? I don’t understand. Can you please explain to me what happened?”

“You’ve been a wonderful husband. Thank you for that. Thank you for not judging me and for trying to make me feel normal again.”

“What are you saying? I love you. Just come home. We’ll work on it, whatever it is. I promise. I’ll come pick you up, where are you?”

“I can’t. It’s not that simple. I have to go now. I love you.”

She hung up the phone and stared at the Bible wondering if there really was a heaven and if there was, if she would be allowed in.

That night, she quietly engineered her lethal dose of Zoloft, enough that it would comatose her and bring her heart to a slow and deliberate stop. She had researched it on the internet weeks prior.

She methodically emptied the capsules of 23 pills into a pot of coffee and mixed it with some sweetener and coffee whitener. She chugged the deadly brew straight from the coffee pot and laid down on the floral printed bed and clutched the Holy Bible.

A single tear fell from her eye as she waited for death.


9 thoughts on “Waiting to Exhale

  1. so many hands i have reached out to….so many i watched let go of my hand…forgive me but now i choose to save the guy who keeps sticking out his hand. if she wants to go let her go. she has my love, but my hand is resting…unused.

  2. Thanks Justordinary!

    Gish: I hear ya on that one brother! I do. Thanks for stopping in. Always a pleasure.

    Lisa: Yes it is sad to watch people live in such anguish. Some never know happiness, which is a terrible shame.

    Steve: That my friend, is irony at it’s best!

  3. I like it. What happens next? I’m doubtful about the attendant at the front desk looking at her “precariously” and you seemed to be also, as you added “cautiously” which would have been fine on its own. She felt real though.

  4. She should of flushed the Zoloft, got drunk while playing a poker machine,then fucked some abusive criminal.

  5. West: Yeah the attendant part was just meant to illustrate the state of mind she was in at the time (ie – heavily medicated). I could have perhaps written that portion a little more effectively though.

    Drifters: Yeah that would have been more my style, 🙂 I like to mix it up and get experimental every now and then.

    Ivy: I’m glad you asked actually, of course it’s okay to ask. It is all about depression and how some people are limited by their own mind. I have seen this in others at times in myself, when depression just holds a grip so tight that there is no escape. I have had friends who hoped for death, and others who acted on that hope. I have known friends who felt like their history was a detriment to their future. As depressing as it sounds, sometimes hope isn’t enough. And that’s what this piece is about.

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