Friday, December 28

Yet I Am So Yellow (& Wine Isn’t Enough)

I COULDN’T KILL myself at Christmas because my mum’s dad died at Christmas when she was just nine, and my mum loves Christmas, and I don’t want to ruin Christmas for her. It would throw her off the edge. I know I would ruin Christmas for her because she’s as sentimental as me and she would go to church on Christmas day and after the mass she would light a candle for me, first of all, and then she would forget about lighting one for her dad and her father-in-law. I don’t want to make her forget about lighting a candle for her dad and her father-in-law.
I hate Christmas. I hate how I feel at Christmas and, right now, more than anything: I want to kill myself.
I want the snow to fall so that when I die in it I will lie down and feel myself dying and I will look at the snow as it appears to stretch so far into the distance, and, as my own blood begins to saturate the white, I want to die. I don’t want my mum to see my dead body. I want one of my brothers to flush me down the toilet before my mum gets home, but neither of my brothers ever flushes the toilet; so my mum will see me, and I don’t want to ruin Christmas for her.
The only other time I want to kill myself, as much as I want to right now, is my birthday. Those days when the summer is lying down on the latitude and the nights are picking up. Do I kill myself before the twenty-fifth or afterwards? I’ll sort it out at the time.
All I feel, whenever I have enough blood in me to feel something, is the desire to kill myself.
I woke up on Christmas morning and knew that it was bad, that after a week of being so ill I could hardly move, I was now in the absolute pit of misery, an abyss without edge or sympathy. I became sad because I knew that that day, of all days, I should be happy, but, no matter what, I couldn’t be. Once the presents were opened and I was preparing a salad, I told my mum – ‘I’m in a really, really bad mood today. I knew it as soon as I woke up.’ I sprinkled some pepper over the salad. In the evening, I changed from beer to whiskey and I didn’t stop until the bottle was empty. In the morning I was scolded for something foolish involving my brother. The corner of a wall looked very good for charging into, headfirst. I showered and then went for a walk. There are sea defences that I could dive on to; the fall between them and the prom is enough for me to angle myself and cause a fatal spine injury, because when I was on holiday as a child I learned how to dive. It would be an hour or so before someone found me.
My death appears to me everywhere. It is even in the lamp hanging down in our hallway. I wonder if it’d take my body weight. I consider everything, because everything but this is so appealing.
In the kitchen my mum carves up a ham that she made. It is pink like marshmallow and it is cold on my tongue and tastes very good.
I went out walking and as I was returning along the sea-front she was walking toward me. On the walk I had contemplated swimming out to sea, pondering how far it would be before I ran out of energy and sank like a happy little stone. She asked me if I wanted to walk with her. ‘How far are you walking?’ I asked. ‘I’ll walk until I get tired then turn around … how long have you been walking?’ ‘Forty-five minutes.’ ‘O, go home then.’ I turned and walked home. I wanted to walk with her and tell her how miserable I was and how much I thought about killing myself, because I knew that she would make me feel better and I would see that the sea was a wobbling distillation of perfect.
‘Do you ever feel like committing suicide?’ she asked me in September. ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I said, and because I had lied to her I felt guilty and wanted to kill myself painfully so that I could suffer the punishment of someone who lies to his own mother.
The first Christmas I felt this colour of misery was Christmas ’97. I remember the day clearly: the whole family went to Greenwich Observatory. Greenwich Park, in the pristine green of a midwinter’s day, climbed upwards before us; our car parked at the bottom. All wanderings around London, for me, were ruined. I could not cope. Everything I saw and everything I heard and everything I thought seemed to me an unusual burden and I did not understand it but I understand it now. In the evening, when I was in bed alone, I cried in the painful thrusts of breathing that become rare as you grow older. I did not know why I was so upset, so miserable.
On Christmas day my uncle asked me why I was so miserable all of the time, and my dad started to answer him, listing out everything exactly as I would have said it, without humour or pause for breath. I nearly threw up my whiskey on the carpet. Then I collected myself and, as if it were all very funny, said – ‘All right. No one asked you, Dr. Freud.’

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