I Fall from the Bridge

I dreamed that I was driving through barely recognizable scenery and as is frequently the case I come to a bridge, one that’s very high and I begin driving across it. The bridge becomes narrower and narrower until it looks as though it is dissolving into nothingness. I usually awaken then.

“You’re not accepting responsibility. That’s what a broken bridge means,” Dr. Stevens tells me.

I just stare. “I always take responsibility. I’m stupid with responsibility.”

He raises an eyebrow. That’s his “thing”. Some shrinks stare fully engrossed at their notepad or at you and wait. He raises an eyebrow. I don’t know how I’ve tolerated him for ten years, except that I have improved. I no longer scratch my arms until they’re bloody when I am in strange situations. That counts for something.

“I wish I had had kids,” I say.

“You blame Walt?”

Walt, my sweet, pudgy adoring husband who’s had to tolerate more than any man ever should.

I feel itchy, like suddenly fleas or lice or worms are crawling over the fine hairs on my arms, and I want so badly to scratch them away. There was once something purifying about smoothing my blood across my arms and legs. I felt cleansed of all of those times when I was very small and Clyde touched or kissed me between my legs, before he started hurting me and calling it love and telling me I could never mention it to Mum or Da.

“Miri, breathe deeply and find that happy scene.”

I look at Dr. Stevens and blow out through my lips. “There’s so much I wish I could forget. I take blame for all of the wrong things.”

Dr. Stevens nods. “What happened in your childhood was never your fault.”

I know this. I nod. The part of me that believes that I will live to 50 wishes I’d had kids. The other part, the part that’s more than three-quarters of me, my heart, my soul, my energy, my thoughts, knows that leaving them motherless would be the gravest sin.


end (2) 10/29/2016

S. Darlington

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