Shock. Blank. White cold. This is what I felt when I turned the corner. There he was, hanging from the door frame to what was once our closet, blue and purple, his face swollen. I couldn’t move, though I wanted to touch him, to see if he wasn’t just conjured by the meth still racing through me. I wanted to run, frightened by what hung before me and paranoid. Did he do this because of me? Is this some sort of sick joke? What will the cops do?
I couldn’t just ignore this and turn towards the front door, my closest escape. Should I dial 9-1-1? It felt like hours, but I think it was mere minutes, before I decided to use a nearby sheet off the floor – probably dirty – to cover his limp frame. That being done, I could think more clearly.
Questions circled through my mind, each presenting new questions to be answered. I had no answers. I knew I had to call the cops, but, Will they drug-test me? If I wait, will they know I waited? Will I then be questioned as an aide, or as a murderer trying to disguise this as a suicide? Why would he do this? Helplessness overwhelmed me, the weight of it forcing me to sit on the brown carpeted floor. Just before the divorce, we’d talked about hardwood. With trembling, pale hands, I fumbled in my large green bag, dazedly pulled out my phone.
I don’t remember the call. Almost instantly, I was surrounded by men in uniforms, hauled to my feet by the closest of them. The sudden activity forced my attention back to him. Red pinpoints impaired my vision, but I could see the outline of what I was trying to reach. I thrashed wildly towards his face, which they‘d now uncovered, managing to escape the hold on my right; just as I was striking out, I felt the grip tighten and multiply on my left.
As suddenly as my rage came, it went, though unspent and bound to return. I sagged against the nearest dark uniform, unaware that I was thoroughly soaking it with my sorrow, and was “escorted” from the dimly-lit apartment. I knew my former neighbors and friends were watching this last bit, quickly spreading rumors and ideas, speculations about what could’ve happened, their brows furrowed with worry, but their mouths and eyes hardly containing their excitement. I didn’t care. I only wanted a bit of sanctuary, a quiet, still place to cry. This was granted, but not in a form I would’ve chosen.
Afraid of me, or what I’d do, the cops put me into the back of one of their cars. The space was cramped, and I didn’t even have room enough for my feet in the tiny concave area in the plastic divider, so I curled into a ball, pulling an invisible wall, or bubble, around me. I ceased to feel anything. I could still register the happenings around me, yet I don’t remember thinking of anything, nor can I recall any more tears. I was numb.