Celeste awoke in a pool of sweat and desperation. She just couldn’t get normal. She scrambled through her purse maybe she had a bump or something. She could feel her skin crawl and her stomach wretch. She needed something, anything. She looked through Paige’s medicine cabinet for an end to her suffering. Her heart was heavy with shame and guilt. Celeste’s hands shook, more than she had ever experienced before. Sweat poured from every pore on her body like a faucet on full blast.
“I can’t do this anymore! I’m nothing more than a worthless abomination.” She fell to the floor and began to wretch. Her entire body racked with pain and twisting into a physical representation of her emotional turmoil. “This is intolerable, I can’t . . .” her thoughts interrupted by the volatile force of her stomach muscles twisting inside her body, pushing up through her chest, adding the esophagus to the chain of torture she was enduring. Each spasm more forceful than the last evoking nothing until culminating in a burst of laughter and tears.
Her red satin negligée was growing increasingly tight and uncomfortable. It was full of sweat, tears, stomach acid and urine. Celeste was becoming increasingly aware of her odor. She grasped the bowl of the toilet and pulled herself to stand at the sink. She ripped at her nightie and pulled it off of her sweat soaked, trembling body. She regarded her reflection as it morphed into her mother.
“You’re nothing but a no good piece of shit! Look at you! You’re nothing! Big ungodly, unadulterated abomination. Look at you! I swear I should’ve aborted you! God didn’t have a thing to do with creating you! Dumb fucking god damned slut!” Her mother screamed at her from the mirror. “I know what you are! You couldn’t hide it from me or God! Soon everyone will know you are a fucking queer ass slut! Everyone! Everyone! Everyone . . .”
Her mother’s voice ringing in her ears as she stumbled from the bathroom to the living room. She had to have something in her purse that could bring this to an end. Even a small X pill might bring her some relief. Anything, something, whatever she could find. There had to be something that could get her out of this hellish moment in time for her. Her desperation made every second feel like an infinite dark hole and it made it terribly difficult to search through the disaster that was her purse. Tired of searching without relief, she flung the bag to the floor and with a clang the solution presented itself in the form of a shiny metal 22 caliber handgun.
Celeste finally saw her liberation shining brightly on the floor. She took in a deep breath, and picked up the gun. Her tremors ceased and lucidity resided with her for the first time in her life. She walked over to the counter in the kitchen, took the legal pad and pen next to Paige’s answering machine and began to write.
Uncy and Aunty,
I’m sure that this all matters so little now but I need to live. I can’t be a slave to your idea of me. I gotta remove myself from this small, meek, redneck bullshit. Your place was a refuge for me. No doubt but that refuge became a prison. You know how you wonder about people who have been in your life when they aren’t there anymore. I know that you were the only ones that would wonder for me. Now, I don’t have that. The only time the rest think of me is when they think I’m off of my meds. I’m not syrupy sweet like Penny & Anne. They were your children. I’m a flame adopted by a family of logs. I know you did your all for me despite the fact I’m not what you believe I am. I hate teaching. The kids are ungrateful, smelly, fucking avatars of their parents. I can’t do that shit. I hate church because I’m a broken abomination according to your “good book.” I hate the zombie pills. They zap the flavor from my life. I want to live God damn it! Your expectations of me don’t exist. It is killing me to disappoint you, but you’re gone now. I’m gone, too.
See you in the funny papers.
She watched as her tears mutated her words into explosions of bright bluish green fireworks on the yellow paper. She placed the pen on top of her final words and delicately kissed the barrel of the small handgun Todd had given her for protection. With one deep breath she squeezed the trigger, adding small pieces of herself to the mosaic of colorful fireworks on the pad.