A Terrifying Sale at Net-a-Porter!

Net-a-Porter sent me a sale update, saying they just added 300 new items. Many of these items are insanely ugly. Did they suddenly just decide, “Hey, let’s get rid of this shit too, it’s now or never”?

This Balenciaga cape is reduced to $5, 492 and here’s their story:

Demna Gvasalia explores the link between couture and fetishism for Balenciaga’s Spring ’17 collection. Cut from ultra glossy patent-leather, this enveloping cape is bonded with smooth Spandex and finished with a hood. Layer it over jeans and a sweatshirt or create the exact runway look with the label’s blouse and pants.

I think not. Can you believe it comes in sizes, like the fit matters? Behold the rear view.

If you can wait until Halloween, you can replicate this at Walmart for around $2.99.

What about these Prada boots to go with it? Also among the new sale items.

Oh my god, the fucking horror, WHY?! Let them explain:

Prada’s velvet boots are part of the Fall ’16 runway collection, which is inspired by the vagabond woman. They have a glossy red leather wedge heel that’s embellished with a gold anchor, comets and a flower – we love the contrast with the hiking-style laces. Wear yours as the designer intended with these argyle socks.

NO. Never. Not even at $870.

What’s wrong with these designers? Have they been fired yet? Take my advice and go straight to Net-a-Porter, it’s beyond your worst fashion nightmare, a very special treat for the serious connoisseur of aesthetic gaffes.

Posted in Fashion | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Let’s Never Forget Denim

lets not forget denimEven if you’re sick of this, it’s good to cleanse the palate every so often, right? You can’t spend every minute of every hour going Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump. Well, you can, especially on Twitter, but it’s just not healthy.

So, here we have a pair of jeans with a double waist to trick the eye and bother everyone who sees you. Besides the clever waist joke, there is also the two-tone action and the awful cuffs. The rear view is almost better:

Who doesn’t long for this silhouette? $675

This next item is fun:

It’s like a couple of dead birds wrapped around your knees or something. I find it disturbing. $645

Ys Project is a brand that’s having a real moment with denim. Crazy looking and impractical, it’s also pricey. $570

Do we have to even talk about this one? They’re obviously trolling us. Let’s not react. We’ll show them who’s in charge.

Now, here’s a skirt that sold out immediately, and you can see why.

let's not forget denimAr $2,250, it is irresistible. You can see that a lot of work went into it. People will marvel at your taste and sense of fun! Plus, it’s such a classic; it’s so timeless, you will always look just right. At the grocery store, at a cocktail party, laying in an alley by a dumpster, in a mental hospital, where CAN’T you wear this??

Okay, that’s it for now, back to your normally scheduled worries.

Posted in Fashion | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Even Help Is No Help

even help is no help

I wasn’t looking forward to Mother’s Day since no children were going to honor me and my own mother is long gone. My plan was to just suck it up and go out for an omelette. I forgot to factor in my newsletters.

I get so many newsletters even though I’m always cancelling them. The one’s I really should cancel are the suicide alliance newsletter and the one for parents of adult children who hate them. They mean well and at times they have been mildly comforting. They aren’t as bad as the one from Compassionate Friends, which has a lot of butterflies.

So they each sent out a special thing about mother’s day, offering platitudes that make everything so much worse.

The suicide one offered poems from mothers, sharing their Journeys, along the lines of

I remember my shock and how numb I felt
and how I cried
and sobbed
and how I couldn’t get out of bed and
wanted to die
and how I sat in his room
and sobbed some more….

This isn’t verbatim, the poems were actually more upsetting and alarming. Not a Journey I wish to take since my own Journey is quite enough even though I’m not on one.

The Adult Kids Who Hate You newsletter had some advice on how to answer  questions from nosy friends about what you’re doing on Mother’s Day. Stuff like, “My daughter is very independent so she’s off doing her thing.”

Haha, jesus christ, how about a nice “Fuck you, mind your own business”?

Tips on how to handle shame and guilt must be good for somebody and there must be market for them. Me, I’m not ashamed or guilty. My kids can go read about shame and guilt since they’re the ones who left the world or Can’t Stand Mommy.

Instead of the omelette, I cooked a chicken for my mother-in-law and brought it over to her. I make a damn good chicken, as many people already know, and she cleaned her plate. Her own daughter had  elected to celebrate mothers day by going to Las Vegas and not even calling.

Mothers and children of mothers, it’s a hard road being a human being even if you aren’t in Yemen eating dirt. The only thing to do is cancel your newsletters and carry on.


photo – Denis Dailleux, Mother and Son 2009

Posted in grief, love, Words | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Me, Me Me, and My Incredible DNA!

Do you watch those adds for 23 and Me and think, Gee, I should really do this because it would be fascinating to learn more about me?

Same here! I’m so interested in my DNA because I know I’m special. My ancestors are probably special too. My grandparents were all Jews from Eastern Europe but my DNA will probably show that I’m descended from Queen Nefertiti and The Romanov family. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Albert Einstein is my 11th cousin!

I’ve often wondered how I got to be me. It can’t just be some shit about my crazy parents and my early childhood trauma. The story of Me is so much more complicated and goes so far back! It’s not about my parents’ divorce or my mom’s psychiatric profile! The wonder of me started millions of years ago in the swampy brine of our prehistoric planet. That’s where the real answers are.

23 and Me can show me my traits, a whole list of them, because I have never really met myself and thus need to see my traits printed out. Here’s what I can learn from a swab of my saliva:

So fascinating! I’ve often wondered about my earwax type, or rather my genetic propensity toward a certain earwax type. Not to mention my photic sneeze reflex. I don’t think I have red hair, but I want to be sure. And I’d like to know where I stand on my toe length ratio. Because then, I don’t know, I’ll just feel more familiar with my feet.

I want to find out when the depression got into my genetic code. Hundreds of years ago or what? And why do I have so many fillings and crowns on my teeth? What if my sensitivity to smell is inherited?!?!? Then, when I walk into a house and smell a gas leak, I can shout “I smell gas and my ancestors did too!”

Also, what about my-nearsightedness? I know my parents were near-sighted but it must be a long and fascinating tale that didn’t begin with us. There’s just so much I’m curious about!

Being me has always been kind of meh. “Who the fuck are you” I have asked my self bitterly, with no clear answer. I’m not just a bunch of misfiring neurons, godammit. I am amazing! With a long long history of amazingness.

I have wasted so much time reading the classics, reading shit about philosophy, psychology, art, culture, politics, without learning anything about Me and how I came to have freckles when I was a kid.

What a dope I am. Don’t be like me, be You! 23 and Me is running a special for Mother’s Day. Find out why you’re so amazing RIGHT NOW, at 20% off.

 

 

Posted in Disorders, Words | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Awful Must-See TV

I am happy to report that since the last time I wrote about my TV habits, I’ve discovered three new shows to watch, all awful.

Most compellingly awful is Billions. It is excruciating. It stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti as adversaries obsessed with bringing each other down. The former is a hedge-fund billionaire and the latter is a District Attorney. The great thing is that they both speak in weird, unnaturally husky whispers, with long pauses between each phrase. The result is so comical that one has to assume it’s deliberate.

On the other hand, the writing is so stunningly terrible that maybe nobody notices how ridiculous the acting is. It’s like a room full of writers tried to think of the worst dialogue they could come up with, in a battle of wits or lack thereof. There are a lot of stupid literary references to make the viewer feel educated, and plenty of over-the-top sexual analogies that all break down to “taking it up the ass.”

Damian Lewis is as physically repellent as a used condom, with his red hair in a greasy pompadour and and his tight little mouth always curved in a nasty smirk. He wears skinny t-shirts and expresses his masculinity by liking Metallica. Really, I can’t say enough about this show. If you don’t watch it, you’re missing out on some great TV.

Another new favorite is Shades of Blue, a cop drama starring J Lo as a seasoned NYPD detective who is raising a teenage daughter. What could be better? J Lo’s commander and mentor is the corrupt Ray Liotta, more queeny than ever as Lt. Wozniak, who is struggling with the demon of bisexuality. Sold? Need more persuasion?

Okay, so J Lo wears a ton of make up, except when she’s in the shower, miserably trying to cleanse her tortured soul while caressing her wet hair. Her acting is achingly bad, as always, but her charisma remains intact. The writing is rich in stupid cop cliches, and everybody always runs directly into danger, despite all logic or common sense.

Finally, there is Bosch. Detective Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch is an L.A. police detective who does things His Way. Played by a Titus Welliver, who was great in Deadwood, Bosch has a black sidekick and a teenage daughter who looks around 25. Bosch lives in an architectural masterpiece up in the hills, where he stares out at the sky a lot. He’s a morose sad-sack who gets the job done, while exasperating his lesbian chief. The most amazing thing about  Bosch is that he continually cocks his head to one side, even while walking out of the shot. The head-cocking is just nuts. Did the actor have a stroke or is this his idea of a quirk? That’s the mystery that keeps you coming back.

Now, who can recommend another show in this league??

Posted in Art, Disorders | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Facebook vs Humanity

When did it become a human right to broadcast yourself around the world in real time? If it’s not a right, then let’s admit that humanity is not capable of using this technology responsibly.

You may love the feeling of being a superstar when you go on Facebook Live to talk about your pet peeves or your make-up tips, but the value of that doesn’t come close to the harm generated by live-streamed suicide, torture and murder.

The murder in Cleveland on Sunday was blown up into a huge news story because it was posted on Facebook, whereas brutal, senseless murders take place across America every single day. The most notable thing about the event is that it remained on Facebook for several hours.

I don’ t want to see live murders on Facebook, and I don’t want you to see them either. I don’t want to see torture or rape on Facebook, and I don’t want you to see them either. It is not your right to see these activities. These events are traumatic. It is possible to be traumatized over and over, not just once. Trauma doesn’t work that way.

The fifteen minutes of fame that Andy Warhhol predicted did not refer to live-streaming your stupid life to your cyber-friends. No one could have predicted that it would come to this, that people would mediate every experience and thought through their cellphone. Life is OUT THERE, not in your phone or on Facebook.

But young people who have grown up with the internet are increasingly unable to conduct their lives offline. Everything that matters to them involves their wi-fi connection. And when they are overwhelmed and suicidal, they turn to Facebook Live.

Facebook acknowledges that live-streamed suicide is a problem, but they aren’t willing to give out numbers. There are at least 7 known cases since Facebook went live last year. Mark Zuckerberg pledged to find new ways to tackle this in a recent letter to Facebook users:

“There have been terribly tragic events — like suicides, some live streamed — that perhaps could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner.”

Suicide has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years. Suicide is devastating for the people who witness it, and could encourage others who are struggling to attempt it, too, says Dan Romer, research director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

But Facebook has its own suicide ‘researcher’, who insists that

“…cutting off the stream too early removes the chance of someone being able to reach out and provide help. In this way, Live becomes a lifeline. It opens up the opportunity for people to reach out for support and for people to give support at this time that’s critically important.”

God, what self-serving fuckers. They will never give an inch, because their stated mission is that everyone will do everything via their platform: chat, shop, argue, order pizza, make friends, kill yourself and maybe each other.

There are reasons why people want to carry out momentous acts in front of a public audience, and none of those reasons are healthy. The urge to watch these acts might be attributed to “human nature” but human nature is changing. Kids didn’t use to make videos of gang rapes for the amusement of their friends. Kids used to feel horrified by things that are horrifying. Desensitization is a real thing.

Facebook is criminal in its practices, as we all know. Selling data, promoting fake news,  discouraging face to face contact, and broadcasting rape, torture and violent death…it is the fucking devil.

The less you participate, the less power it will have to drag humanity down to zero.

Posted in Horrible Stuff, News, Rants | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Gucci Jumps The Shark

Gucci is betting that we’re all idiots, and good for them. Here’s net-a-porter gushing over this special contraption:

Sometimes you spot something on the runway that you just have to have, regardless of how impractical it may seem – cue Gucci’s black leather harness. Part of Alessandro Michele’s Spring ’17 collection, this Italian-made accessory is decorated with rows of gold studs at the fringed shoulders. Adjust the buckles to find your most comfortable fit.

Hahaha! “No matter how impractical.”

Who among us does not want to spend $2,500 to masquerade as a horse?

You know what, fuck it. It speaks for itself. Wear it like this

or you could wear it as you prance around a track.

Maybe Gucci’s creative director finally saw “Secretary”? Is it an S&M thing or a slavery fetish? Do you like the part about “finding your most comfortable fit?” Is it code for DON’T BUY THIS, ARE YOU CRAZY?

Here’s the best part – it’s ‘low in stock.’

 

 

 

Posted in Fashion | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Horrible Old White Guys

If you’re like me, and I know you are, you feel overwhelmed by the current plague of horrible old white guys who are doing their best to ruin our lives while brazenly or covertly enriching themselves.

Forgetting about Trump for one moment if that is possible, let’s take inventory.

Pence, Gorsuch, Bannon, Trey Gowdy, Jeffrey Lord, Roger Stone, Tom Price, Jeff Sessions and Mitch McConnell.

These are the once that are bothering me the most, but I know they’re just a fraction of the pestilence. They are the figureheads. When I see any of these fuckers on the news, I am filled with disgust. I think it’s fair to say they are all child molesters, even if they aren’t.

Pence is a real  weasel, isn’t he? His squeaky clean altar boy image is particularly offensive. As if he didn’t know about Mike Flynn and Russia. As if he sleeps with his wife. What a despicable cunt he is.

I am especially enraged at the moment by Mitch McConnell, and I know I’m affected by his physical repulsiveness. Hey, I’m human, alright? He looks like a turtle but it’s so much more. You just know instinctively that he’d murder a bus full of school children if it meant he could stay in power a little longer. He is pure evil. He’s the reason we need to limit senate terms.

I don’t want to give short shrift to the others, but I want to move on to my central issue here, which is, how to rate the horrible old white guys who are blighting our lives. We need a system. It’s not really adequate to rate them by how sickening they are. Being physically repellent is a quality they all share but what about the level of corruption? The monumental hypocrisy? The smugness? The propensity for metaphorical or literal child molesting?

Let’s put on our thinking caps, shall we?

I’ve listed 9 horrible old bastards and I need one more who is worthy to make the top ten. Then I need to rate them in order of horribleness.

Thoughts?

 

Posted in Horrible Stuff, News, Rants | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Was Blind But Now I See

After decades of glasses and contact lenses, I got the news that I had cataracts.

Naturally I was horrified, imagining life as a blind old lady, stumbling around and crying out in a weak little bird squawk.

Instead, I learned that I could have the cataracts removed and replaced by tiny lenses that would improve my vision to nearly 20-20! Jesus Christ! Why don’t people go around praying for cataracts?!? Without contact lenses, my vision was 20-700, meaning I couldn’t see my own feet, let alone anything else.

I’m not brave about surgery, not at all. The word is fraught with dread and unpleasant flashbacks to past injuries. But the idea of seeing clearly was like discovering I could fly. I was eager to do it. Until the actual week of the first surgery. Then I freaked out.

Want to hear about the surgery? Probably not, right? So skip this part. You go to the surgery place and they put you in a room until your boredom creates a kind of stupor. Then, they stick a needle in your arm for an IV. They put your hair in a cap and ask a bunch of questions. The nurses are all perky and happy to talk about nail polish and tattoos. So then you relax. Then they wheel you into the operating room and start the opiates.

You tell the anesthesiologist that you’re not stoned enough. He says, “Well, this is as stoned as you’re gonna get,” in a bossy tone. But he holds your hand.

Then, they transfer you to another table and fit a thing over your eye that keeps it open.

You know what, I’ll stop there, in case you’re thinking of having eye surgery. I don’t want you to worry about how disturbing it is.

But when it’s all over, it’s fantastic! They tell you how great it went and you go home with a bunch of eye drops, and in a few weeks, you go back to do the other eye.

Seeing is so incredible, I can’t really describe it. When I leave the house, it’s like I’m taking my eyes out to see the world. The detail! The colors! I had no idea how bright my own face is. It’s magical.

When I wake up, I can see the clock! I can see all the ships in the harbor across the street, instead of just a big harbory blob.

I plan to take my eyes to LACMA. I also plan to wear a ton of eye make-up.

I should point out that this procedure isn’t cheap. It’s so costly, in fact, that I’ve decided I have to keep living for at lest two years, to offset the expense, sort of. Otherwise, my family will go, “After spending all that money?!?”

So if you were worrying about me, relax. Until 2019, anyway.

Posted in Horrible Stuff | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Autopsy, Seven Years In

autopsy

The second time Max killed himself it was too surreal to take in. He was lying in his bed with one knee up and his headphones in his right hand, next to his IPod. When he wouldn’t wake up, I yelled his name sharply in a parental tone, the one I used when he was little. I was so sure I could bring him back. I breathed into his mouth and continued to call his name. By the time the coroner guys arrived, I was getting panicky. I didn’t want them to take him away. I cried and argued with a hulking red-faced man who followed me when I got a scissors to cut a piece of Max’s hair. I looked up at the red face and demanded, “Do you believe in god?” I was planning to issue a mother’s curse, foretelling an eternity in hell. But he threw me by answering “No.”When they wheeled the gurney into the living room, Max was in a blue body bag, unzipped just enough to show his face. He looked peaceful, but white fizz was coming out of his mouth. I kissed his lips and told him that I’d see him on the other side. I once heard him say this to a friend, one of the times he was off to rehab.

The first time Max killed himself was so shocking and traumatic that none of us could get over it, especially Max. I told him later that when he jumped, he took everybody with him. His family and friends, all his loved ones. I thought this would increase his efforts to recover, because he owed it to us. What a stupid and heartless thing to say to a man whose failed suicide attempt had left him with so many physical disabilities. I would like to take it back, along with so much else.

That first time began at six in the morning, with his text message: “Going to jump onto PCH. So sorry.” It took just a moment for me to understand that “jump” didn’t mean jump into his car and drive. I was flooded with horror and adrenaline. I woke up my husband and called Max’s cellphone.

I can’t remember what happened in the next two hours. I think we made some frantic phone calls to Max’s friends. We didn’t think of calling local hospitals. When I got the call from UCLA, the woman on the phone said that they had my son and that he was hurt but alive. She urged me to sit down. She told me that at first, Max wouldn’t give them permission to call his parents but finally he had relented. She was great. You need great people when your son kills himself. You need people who are experienced with trauma.

We found the ER, where Max’s dad was waiting, jingling his keys. He turned to me and said, “It’s just like September 11 only this time it’s real.” On September 11, Max was working at the World Finance Center, next to the twin towers. A morning with a better outcome: Max was fine. Max’s dad, Nick, had grown more repressed and robot-like over the years. His tone was almost jaunty. I fucking hated him. It would only get worse as we moved through this tragedy, mirroring our bad marriage and again trapping Max in the middle.

After a few hours, we were directed to the Intensive Care Trauma Unit, where Max was in an induced coma, with tubes and machines everywhere. I felt only relief. UCLA seemed like a heavenly safety net designed to save my son and nurse him back to health. I didn’t know about the internal bleeding or the broken sacrum or anything else. Max was alive. He was meant to be here. How could he have doubted that?

By nighttime, everyone had gone home except for me and Duncan, Max’s cousin. They were like brothers. A nurse offered us juice and we fell in love with him. His name was Tim. We grew to become seasoned connoisseurs of nursing staff. The good ones, like Nurse Tim, earned our sincerest adoration.

That first night was endless. The blood transfusions and flashing monitors and complex web of tubes seemed reassuring to me. I inhaled the acrid odor of stomach acid that flowed through a tube into a large bag. It was fragrant with life, with Max, like the sour milk he spat up as a baby or his filthy socks as a teenager.

The next day, Max was being prepared for surgery. His attending nurse refused to speak to me and handled Max like a tire she had to rotate. She stood staring at the drip bags as if trying to decipher ancient wall drawings. I complained to the nurse in charge, who scolded me for complaining. I wrote a desperate letter to the head of the hospital, begging for a different nurse and explaining that Max was my firstborn child who meant everything to me. I must have sounded crazy but the nurse disappeared and we never saw her again. It was the first of many times I would beg, threaten or manipulate people whose decisions, to my mind, could either save or kill my child.

Every night at 7 o’clock, visitors in the ICU had to leave during the change of shifts. The hallways at night were dimly lit and mostly deserted. Duncan and I would sit together in one of the tiny waiting rooms. If he left me alone, or if I tried to sleep, my mind would fill with dread. What if Max died? The thought was literally unbearable. He had to live. My world depended on him. Why would god take him from me? I don’t believe in god but I believe in his vindictive streak. Maybe he was mad because I once lost Max at the beach, when he was only three years old. God wasn’t going to let me get away with this unpardonable sin, even though Max himself had officially forgiven me.

One night Duncan left me alone to make a phone call. I could see his reflection in a waiting room down the hall. The silence was broken by the horrible sound of a woman sobbing. The sobbing rang of uncontrollable grief and I wanted it to stop. When Duncan returned, I asked him if he’d heard that woman sobbing. He paused for a moment and said, “That was me.”

I don’t know how to tell Max’s story without lingering on his time in the hospitals. The hospitals became a progressive nightmare. The ineptitude and carelessness were terrifying. At one point, we took turns sitting with him so that he was never alone with a nurse or a doctor who might kill him. I had absolute faith in my ability to save him, and even boasted about my various triumphs, like getting him moved to a bed near a window. I was the one person who could comfort him. But I had no understanding of what he was going through. I thought it was the story of a heroic mother. I remember stroking his hair and whispering, “Don’t worry, honey. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.” He answered, “It already has,” and he cried for the first time.

At UCLA, Max became delusional. I walked into his room and thought I’d made a mistake. A sweaty old man lay trembling in the bed with his mouth open, not my handsome 34 year old son. I actually said to my husband, “Oops, wrong room.” But it was Max, jerking spasmodically and staring up at the ceiling with wild eyes. He jabbered nonsensically and didn’t know who he was. At one point, he began singing “I’ve been working on the railroad” in a comically strong voice. Maybe he was back in first grade. He waved his hands in the air and clawed at something invisible. Eventually they tied his arms to the bed after he pulled out an IV.

They tried sedating him but his body continued to jerk and spasm. I sat with him in the dark, watching the monitors. I could see that his heartbeat was climbing. A doctor from the psychiatry team stopped by and ordered two mgs of lorazepam every hour. A neurosurgeon came in and expressed concern. He asked me what drugs Max had been given and I sputtered, “Don’t you know? I’m just the mother.” I told him the latest theory, that Max was in withdrawal from klonapin, the drug that had landed him in rehab. “I don’t like the way he’s breathing,” he said darkly, and left.

By morning, Max was deeply sedated. The shift changed and a nurse named Sarah Spendlove was alarmed to find he had no gag reflex when she inserted the tube to clear his lungs. She looked at the clock and hesitated. She announced that she was going to make a decision she wasn’t allowed to make, overriding the doctor’s order. She stopped the lorazepam and slowly Max began to rise toward consciousness.

I remember all the times I thought about sending flowers to Sarah Spendlove to thank her for saving my son’s life. Now it’s too late. I don’t know how to thank her and then tell her that he’s gone, that he took that life because he found it unbearable.

 

The only other time I saw Max cry as an adult was the day he revealed that he was a heroin addict. He was 20, home from college for the summer. It was a confession made under duress. A friend had given him 24 hours to tell me, and then she would spill the beans. She was the only friend willing to rat him out. The code of silence in his circle was as strict as the Mafia’s.

Heroin addiction was alien to my world. It was still something that William Burroughs did, coughing and spitting in the junk-sick dawn. I had no idea that half the student body at Sarah Lawrence was strung out on heroin. I was shocked to the core but I felt no anger, only concern. “It’s been so horrible,” he choked out in despair. All I could do was hold him and chant, “It will be okay. I’ll help you.” Over and over. For the next fourteen years, I tried to help. I insisted on helping. Keeping Max alive was my engine, humming in the background of other struggles. I didn’t believe in the concept of Tough Love and I scorned every parent or professional who espoused it. The one and only night I practiced it, Max drove himself to a cliff and jumped.

 

Max’s delusional episodes in the hospital were mystifying to the doctors and nurses. They all offered different theories. Some of them stuck with Klonapin withdrawal; one suggested an imbalance of potassium. Seeing someone you love staring into space and smiling insanely is profoundly upsetting. His agitation was heartbreaking. Duncan had the most success at calming him down. There were times when we laughed, during his imaginary phone conversation with Michael Moore or his mic check for a gig with his old band. Duncan was the only one who could get Max to put his arms down when he thrashed them helplessly in the air. Duncan was the Max-whisperer.

The delirium passed and Max was serene but confused. A voice from a speaker called for Doctor Something to report somewhere. Max turned to me and asked: “Am I him?” I began to write down his questions and comments, finding his confusion adorable. When he asked, out of the blue, “Does God have any greater insult?” I had no idea how to respond. It never occurred to me that he was serious and rational. “Oh, I’m sure he does,” I told him. Max nodded and said, “Yeah, probably, because he’s God, right?”

 

Max’s dad came to visit the ICU at exactly 6 pm every night. He is a man who lives by routines. For the first few days, I would confront him outside the security door, and elaborate on how this was all his fault. I made no attempt to contain my rage. I blamed him for screaming at Max on the morning of the night he jumped. I blamed him for every bad decision he had ever made, all leading directly to Max’s broken body on the other side of the door. I sobbed and shouted in his face that every one of his instincts had been wrong. I still believe this but it gives me no comfort. I hear from my family that Nick is a broken man, a ghost of his former self whose life feels pointless. “Then let him blow his brains out,” I always tell them.

I don’t know why I married Nick except as a way to opt out of my own life. He was a daddy figure who would take care of me. I wouldn’t have to make my own way in the world. I had no ambitions beyond the wish to avoid anything difficult. He was controlling and emotionally constricted. There was nothing about me that he appreciated. Later, I would have affairs just to hear someone say that he loved my hair or my hipbones. Meanwhile, I kept a journal and ranted there about my empty marriage. Then Max was born. He was my savior and my gift to the world. He was indescribably beautiful with huge solemn eyes. An old soul, everyone observed. He was so sensitive that he covered his face when a contestant lost everything in Final Jeopardy.

Growing up, Max was physically timid, an observer. He sat and watched as other kids performed risky maneuvers. He was exceedingly gentle with his stuffed toys. He loved books and he loved to sit by the fireplace and watch the dancing flames. When Mr. Rogers said “Goodbye, friends,” Max would cry out fervently “Goodbye, Mister Rogers!”

What am I supposed to do with his baseball card collection? Heavy binders filled with rookie cards, boxes and boxes of random cards and unopened sets. For several years, they were his life. He and his friends spend entire afternoons bartering for cards. I learned to love baseball because Max did. I came to love the avuncular voice of Vin Scully and wished he would run for President. Max joined a small baseball league and earned a reputation as a reliable pitcher with a masterful poker face. Maybe that’s how he learned to keep everything inside. When he discovered music, he began to ponder the dilemma of becoming either a baseball player or a rock star.

Last night I dreamed that Max was alive again, after being dead for two years. It was some kind of medical miracle. I was telling everybody how miraculous it was, emphasizing that he’d been buried all this time and now he was alive. He was in a hospital where his health was being monitored. I told him how great he looked: he looked so healthy, young and fresh-faced. He was pleased. But the next thing I knew, I was desperately trying to make my way to the hospital, fighting my way through detours in a heavy rain. When I finally got there, a nurse told me that Max had died. I was devastated. It was an upsetting dream and yet I got to see Max, and to tell him how happy I was to have him back.

Before the dream, I had been sobbing hysterically, reminded by someone on TV of Max’s taste in music. It hit me with unbearable force that he is gone and not coming back. My husband sat with me and handed me tissues. It hurts him to see my pain and it frustrates him, too. He thinks there should be a time limit to this grief, that I should be ready to resume some kind of purposeful life full of activities. He can’t understand that my light has gone out. I’m not coming back, either.

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