I remember when they left me in the empty house. It had been a full house not long before so its emptiness and unlike all the empties I now how as a real estate agent. It wasn't asking to be filled, it was a showcase for absence. My parents had driven me back from their house where I had quickly become difficult and awkward to have around. I had bottles and bottles of amber tubes of medications from the hospital. I had medications that only existed to prevent the side effects of other medications. I had only just been diagnosed as bipolar and in that process I had lost everything and spent a week in the bin to boot.
They returned me then to the empty house with the air mattress in the living room and the dumpster in the driveway. The only things left were the books that my husband didn't want. They were piled up in the back porch. Essentially it was me, my dogs, the air mattress and the books.
My husband had taken the kids and moved to a new place.
I was crazy so I didn't deserve children or furniture.
So my parents left me with the air mattress and the two dogs. One of the dogs was dying and coughed all the time. She had a heart condition because she was a puppy farm dog I had rescued. The other dog was Tiki, my son's dog but the place where my husband had moved to didn't let you have dogs. So he didn't have to explain to the kids that he didn't like dogs. He wasn't really much for anything living that didn't contain his DNA.
Before they left me there my mother gave me the want ads. In those days these things were still paper. She told me I needed to find an apartment. The house was supposed to be sold in a few weeks so I didn't a place. She told me that I would have to give up the dogs and then she went away.
I looked at my empty house. The empty fireplace and the bare mantel. The rooms that I would never have to enter again. My daughter's room with the bunk bed we had built for her. My son's room with a single marble wedged between floor boards like a blind eyeball. There had been people with blow torches melting down the lawn furniture. My husband had his new AA friends coming to take away things. He had tossed my journals in the dumpster. Or his hirelings had. I didn't know that though then when I was sitting on the air mattress in the house that had no children in it. I had no job anymore because the bin had conflicted with the first week of classes and the people in the bin predicted that I was not going to be capable of working for a good long time. And I had seven prescriptions telling me that they were quite right.
I couldn't imagine as I looked at what my life had become, saw it striped down to me in a room alone but for dogs and want ads. And I tried to look at the list of things I could move into knowing that I didn't have enough money for anything. In fact I had no money. And I had no idea how I was supposed to be renting an apartment with no money and no one had mentioned anything about helping me. Not my parents. Not my sisters. Not my husband. Not my friends. So I thought about the impossibility of it all. And the blankness of the walls and the broad expanse of the floors and the hiss of the slightly deflating at every second mattress and I thought that I could not make phone calls or read ads or imagine how to live in this life. I decided to go to sleep in the middle of the day. And to do that I took one Ambien. One.
Just moments later one of my sisters called. The one who lived in the next town over. She called me and asked how I was. And I told her I wasn't so good and she said that I sounded sleepy and I said well yes I am sleepy because I just took an ambien because I want to sleep because it seems like the best option at this particular point in time.