Madness Does As Madness Was 01

In some way, I think of the Twitterverse as being a notebook I write in. I spill out all my thoughts across the page and I imagine the kinds of responses some of my confessions would receive. I open up my heart and I feel as though I’m interconnected to all those beams of light out there.

I whisper and I shout across the silent stillness and someone out there lifts their head and receives. It makes me feel entwined and it’s the kind of sensation I never want to give up. Because in the end who doesn’t crave unity?

I bounce my ideas off of Twitter and it’s like dual conversations happen all the time and I’m the only one that hears both parts. It makes something in me smile.

The sound of the TV playing in the background, just the good bits popping out to my brain, it’s like music and magic. The chair creaks with my rocking and I’m in a strangely wistful mood.

I live in the moment and sometimes I feel as though the physical world intrudes on this strange richness living in my own head. Lyrical thoughts sink and flow and I’m just typing and staring and I feel as though someone is here with me, and maybe that other person is just me? I don’t know.

In my head the world is a beautiful place I never want to leave. But when I’m present in my own skin… I feel strangely disconnected. Sometimes I can’t feel my face.

I cling to no one and I feel odd when someone else clings to me and I tell myself that I would be happy living alone for the rest of my life. Except… I don’t dread the loneliness so much as I dread the having to figure things out on my own. There’s something wrong with me.

I hate being told what to do, building resentments constantly bubbling through my blood, but at the same time I need to be told what to do. Because the world in my head is so full that sometimes I forget to live in the physical world. It makes me afraid sometimes.

Because sometimes I find myself in different places and it’s as though I’m just waking up but I’ve been doing things the whole time. I used to work in a casino and it would frighten me when I would be standing at the counter then my head would get heavy and my eyes would close… and I’d find myself running twenties through the money counter and I would turn to see that I had been helping a customer. I was in charge of a lot of money, like a million dollars kind of money. And there I was having… I don’t know, blackouts? It was the most horrific thing that has ever happened to me.

So my Other Brother calls me up and I’m maybe a bit scattered because my mom had died four months before and I was desperate and he tells me to quit my job. He’ll hire me and I’ll make enough money to pay my bills and “everything’s going to be all right Elisa.” Only nothing is ever “all right” when it comes to my Other Brother.

Everything he touches is poison and ash. He is the bane of existence and I’d hate him so much if I wasn’t so damned tired. And that’s why I resent him; he took my ability to care about things away from me. Or maybe I’ve always been broken, I don’t know.

I have a hard shell around me and even when I think I’ve let someone all the way in past my guard, I find that some wall has grown up between us and all the love and happiness has drained out of me. I grow tired of people somehow, and usually I don’t even notice what’s happened until someone else says something. My emotions are sparse and most of the time I think that I don’t feel things as deeply as other people do, or maybe I’ve learned to read faces wrong.

But I’ve always had a strong bond to my family. I’m selfish with my time, but when I have money I’m always the one that tries to arrange things for holidays, even if I don’t personally want to be there. I hate clingy people, and I think that’s why I was able to deal with my mom so well. When she was on point, she was on point. She cooked and cleaned and told me what to do, and I went out and got a job and paid all the rent. At the same time, she was never all up in my face, unlike the rest of my family.

She was the one that let me stay with her in Vegas and took care of me after all the terrible things happened and I was alone. And thinking about it now, the things that happened were terrible. I can taste the tears on the backs of my eyes when I think of my Baby Doll. Because that’s what it all comes down to, why I’m falling apart. They took my Baby Doll away, my sweet baby boy that I’ve loved and cared for from the first moment I met him; sweet baby doll face at four months old, tiny and helpless.

And for the first and only time in my life, I fell in love with something other than stories and words.

That was the first time my Other Brother diverted my life. Calling me up to beg me to care for his two babies while crossing the country and living in hotel rooms. It’s a hard and wearing life so I left the road with my mom and the kids and we got an apartment in Utah with my mom’s boyfriend, a trucker named Dave. We lived there for three months before the children’s mother wanted them back and drove cross country to snatch them away.

My Other Brother called me again and told me his boss needed a nanny. I would have my own room and would make great pay. My mom urged me to take the job.

It was horrible. The children were monsters and the house was out in the middle of Desert Nowhere in a podunk little town. I was barely there a day before the parents left for over a month. And they didn’t give me any money for food or anything. There was stuff in the freezer and I could ask the boss’ mom for things we needed, but they never followed through. I would ask for things and be told, “I have to call to clear that so it could be two or three days” and it never happened.

That was the first time I realized just how helpless I am. Because even though I can fight for someone else, I can’t seem to do it for myself. I cringe away instead of standing tall and people walk all over me. I’m always down on the ground because I trip over my own feet and the only time I was close to happy was when I lived near my mom and I had a job and a schedule and Baby Doll lived with me and I always knew what I was supposed to do.

And she died. Everything falls apart, the center cannot hold. And I never noticed while she was there just how much I needed her and I know I wasn’t the best daughter, but she wasn’t the best mother either. She terrified me as a child, but she mellowed with age and became someone I could work with, especially when I got more independent and could handle my own basic needs. I think it took the pressure off her, that we could be around each other as two adults.

We had our problems still: She had a gambling addiction and I had a toddler and a nightshift. We both had things we were constantly working around and I hated it every time she screwed something up and I had to spit out cash like some machine to keep her out of jail or off the street. But when I moved out and had my own place and things, I could budget how much money I could spare her and she was closer to Baby Doll’s school so he slept at her apartment and she walked him to school. It was great for her when I was on swing shift, but she didn’t like me on graveyard; she wanted to “work” at night, grabbing up any under-the-table job she could find. I feel bad now, how much my presence there ruined her life a bit. She’d never liked raising kids and there I was leaning on her to watch Baby Doll. I’m such a dummy.

I lived with a roommate for a year and he loved Baby Doll and we played at house for awhile. I think I could have loved him if I’d felt an ounce of romance toward him, but we were just friends. Except he tried at intimacies that I didn’t recognize at the time–coming into my room and waking me up to talk, then climbing up onto my bed and snuggling with me. He’d pull me down on the couch and wrap his arms around me and we would lie together watching TV and it was good and he would listen to me babble all the time. It was nice for me, but looking back with a more experienced brain, I think it might have been a bit like hell for him.

The funny thing is, if he’d just been honest with me I maybe could have fallen in love with him. He loved buying things for Baby Doll and his father actually thought Baby Doll might be his son with me. Everyone thought he was my boyfriend and if he was keeping me around as his beard, I was happy to do it because he was kind of my beard to.

Because people are cruel when you’re alone. Like being single is some giant sin. And if he’d told me he loved me and wanted to be with me, I would have been happy to play along because I thought he was the companionship I needed, that someone to lean on.

Except his family was wealthy and he grew up spoiled in ways I can only envy, though I would hope I would handle things better than he did. He loved the drugs and alcohol, but he had discerning taste and only took prescription drugs and top shelf vodka. He’d been forced into rehab and straightened himself out, though he really didn’t want to. He would have happily kept on drugging it up if his father hadn’t cut him off and he was forced to get a job and stop using if he wanted to receive his stipend. They’d given him all the money — millions and millions — and he’d nearly killed himself, so his dad had to tighten the leash, and considering senior was a borderline alcoholic that had given his son beer as a teenager, it’s obvious he was dealing with a serious problem.

I could have loved him for all his faults. My disapproval of his drug use kept him to only his prescriptions and not the illegal stuff. Then when Baby Doll was dumped back off on me, he completely changed and he was like Baby Doll’s father. No more drugs and craziness and he’d always just liked watching movies and hanging out at home. He would go out once or twice a week to party with his friends, but I was his favorite person.

Until suddenly he wasn’t my favorite person anymore. I made less money than him and suddenly I had Baby Doll and my mom to support since Other Brother didn’t send any child support. We were supposed to split all the bills in half, but all of a sudden he wasn’t giving me the rent on time and even went off on vacation once and gave me an empty envelope that was supposed to have the rent money in it and I nearly lost my mind. Instead of being honest about what he’d done, he’d lied to me and put me off and I couldn’t pay the rent and I was losing my mind, and he just didn’t understand what he’d done to me.

He’d always had everything in his life and I don’t think there was ever a time when he was really hungry. Because if things ever got too bad, he could always call his daddy and have everything taken care of. Criminal charges just disappeared.

He lied to me and didn’t pay his share and simply could not understand why I would ever be upset. He’d never been poor in his life and I don’t think he quite understand the helpless place he put me. I hope he didn’t understand, because it hurts to know that he would try and put me in such a precarious position and lied about it just to mess with me.

I’d arranged a new apartment for my mom, a really nice place. The rent was practically a steal and it was bottom floor and beautiful with three bedrooms and a large covered patio where Baby Doll could play. Except somehow he got the idea I was going to leave him and live with my mom and that’s when he started acting ugly and I showed him exactly how ugly and mean I can be.

Passive. Passive. Passive. AGGRESSIVE.

I rarely stress in any given situation and I try to live in the moment, but if the moment is an unhappy one, it takes very little for me to jump to psychotic rage. It’s like all the minutes pile on at once and all those things that should be in the past are suddenly dumped on me and I can become a very mean person. That’s one of the main reasons why I need order in my life.

And my mother’s death took all the order out of the world. I had just decided to cut him out of my life and go live with my mom… and she was suddenly sick again, a more serious cancer this time, and she died.

The world spun off its axis and maybe if I’d been alone I would have been all right, but I had Baby Doll and he needed everything I was able to give. I needed a job and money, and he needed a babysitter which I couldn’t afford.

Four months after my mom’s death, I was desperate. The situation looked hopeless because I had no childcare for when I needed to work because I’d run out of money and I couldn’t afford anyone good. What I could afford was the kind of person I didn’t completely trust.

And that’s when my Other Brother called me up and made like he cared about his son and really wanted to help me. I was anchorless and alone, and my weird time lapses were making me scared at work that I was going to screw up with the money and go to jail. What could I do?

Even knowing it was a mistake, I reached out my hand and accepted my Other Brother’s offer of a job. And my life unraveled until I find myself here in this awkward situation, dependent on my father to live, and Other Brother has stolen my Baby Doll. He tricked me and broke me and I was already floundering, so there’s nothing I can do to make it any better.

I plug up the holes in my heart and pretend that everything is okay. And it maybe hurts a bit that I can’t even cry. Tears come for the ridiculous pains of life, but never for the blank childless spot where Baby Doll used to live and never will again. Because I said no more and I’ve cut my Other Brother out of my life and I refuse to dance to his tune.

This is the third time Baby Doll has been ripped out of my life and I can’t stand the pain of it anymore. So I will go on alone.

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