SMILE (Part 11) – or Covergirl


1950 Compact Ad

Cover Girl – 

Miranda wakes me up crying.

“I’m sorry, so sorry.” It’s two in the morning, a sick yellowish light glowing overhead.  She’s in her bed, the white cotton blanket lumped in her lap.  I see her shadowy hands, quivering and moving slowly, methodically over and over. “I’m sorry, I can’t help it.”

“What the fuck Miranda!  What’s going on?” I can hardly keep my eyes open, the heavy lids of sedation weighing them down. I convinced Dr. Lopez to quit the Klonopin and start a new mood stabilizer that makes me slightly dopey but doesn’t make me cry.  But at night, the mixture of sleeping pills and big blue mood stabilizers paralyzes me as if I was going under anesthesia.

I pull myself up, shake my head, trying to focus my eyes on the scene: Miranda’s hands, her tears, the balled up blanket, the compact in her hand smashed to pieces, slivers of broken glass slicing her skin, tiny pinpricks of blood rising to the surface. “Ahh, shit Miranda. Give it to me. Now!” Despite my mental patient status, the mother in me rises to the surface, a command given to a toddler about to eat a shiny red berry from a strange, winding vine.

Miranda doesn’t argue, just shoves the compact into my hands.  It’s smashed, bits of plastic and glass missing.  I force myself up to the nurse’s station.

“Here,” I say and hand them the compact.  “Miranda’s freaking out.  Can I go back to sleep now?”

“Who did this?” The night tech says.  He’s scrawny and bald with an angry-looking mustache.

“I said MIRANDA.  My roommate.”

“You give this to her?  Where’d she get it?” Two nurses are running down the hallway, the tech has me cornered.  There’s her blood all smeary and red against the compact’s shattered glass like a horror film.

“No! She just woke me up.  I don’t know where she got it.  Probably swiped it from her make-up bag when you guys weren’t looking.  Ugh.  I’m tired.” I slump in a chair next to the desk and rest my head on my knee.

“I’m suicidal not homicidal.” I laugh but he doesn’t think it’s funny.  After being her for eight days, my sense of humor has become more twisted, sick even.  My language has changed.  I have learned to speak the syntax of the sick: shame spiral and self-injurious behaviors and the negative inner critic we must ignore.  72 hour holds and levels one – two – and three and picking out different cartoon faces on a laminated poster to illustrate levels of depression and anxiety.  Although, I think the faces are stupid: twisted mouths and sad eyes giving way to big, preschool smiles.  I think they should let one of us design the posters.  I’d say a number one is “Hide All the Ropes and Firearms” and a number ten is “I Can Get Out of Bed Today. Maybe.”

The other day Murray, Jenny, and I laughed about stupid ways we tried to kill ourselves.  Murray talked about “Night of the Broken Noose,” when he tried to hang himself with some old rope in the garage but it splintered and split as soon as he kicked the step-ladder out from under him.  I told him about the bottle of my brother’s pills I stole and swallowed when I was thirteen.  All they did was make my stomach ache and my head hurt.  I never bothered to look at the label, just thought downing a bottle of smooth pills would permanently put me to sleep like in the movies.  I didn’t know they needed to be certain kinds of pills – not my brother’s acne meds.

I hear Miranda crying down the hall as two nurses escort her to the front room where she has to be watched.  I hear them putting in a call to Dr. Lopez, but they close the door when they see me sitting next to the desk.

“Let’s go.  Back to bed.  Don’t worry about her.  She’ll be fine.” Mustache man waves me back to my room like an animal.  “Come on…”

I’m gonna tell Murray in the morning that another stupid suicide attempt should be “Death by Covergirl Compact.”

Except in the morning, it’s not funny because Miranda’s gone.


3 Responses to “SMILE (Part 11) – or Covergirl”

  1. 1 Cathy Brockman


  2. ? Wow is right…..Darn Lennon this is really good, you are great with expression, and I can picture it all…I feel like I am there. And the emotions I feel while reading, it really is good…. ❤

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