We’re fighting again. It’s getting loud. I don’t like loud. I don’t like yelling.
“I’m going for a walk to cool off.” I tell him, and I leave the house, careful to not slam the door, because doors slamming is scary. I’ve been really happy lately. Really, really happy. I’ve been on top of my game like I nearly ever am. So this fighting sucks, but my fuse seems to be shorter than normal. I think as I’m walking around, not too far from the house.
This is really stupid. Why are we fighting over this? Again and again, we’re going over this dumb shit. I’m so tired of it. I bet he is too. It’s just too much to deal with. Whatever though. A few more minutes walking around, and I’ll be fine. We can smooth this out. We always do.
I continue walking, down the street, around the corner, down another street. I’m not making a circle. I’m by the 7-11 1/4 mile from our house. I stop and think for a little while more.
You know, I bet he doesn’t even want me around. I bet he’s sick of the fighting. I mean, I’m the one that usually starts it, and that must be frustrating.
I get up and start walking again, away from the house.
It’s beautiful outside today.
I’m lost in the sky. I continue walking away from the house.
I wonder what it’s like in another state. Everything here is taken care of. He’s better at watching the kids than I am. Besides, I yell at them too much. Well, it’s okay. I’ll fix it.
I’m a mile away from the house now.
I need to get downtown. It’ll be easier to get to the next city, I can spend the night there.
My mind is silent for a moment. I continue walking. 2 miles away. I come up to the grocery store. I figure I need some water, and maybe a quick break. I go get the water and sit outside for a little bit. A guy comes up to me and starts talking.
“Hey. How are you doing?” He asks.
“Surviving.” I reply.
“You homeless too?”
“No. I used to be, but not right now. I’m just heading out of town.”
“You leavin’ anything behind?”
“A pretty girl like you don’t got anybody at home?”
“Okay. Okay. Well, good luck.” He gets up and walks off.
I’m glad. I don’t like people asking me questions like that. I’m doing my thing, just let me do it.
I know they don’t need me around. He was talking about leaving anyway, I can do him a favor. I’ll get a map when I get to the next city. I’ll close my eyes and point, wherever my finger lands, I’ll go. It should be a fun adventure. I can get a fresh start. I mean, nobody here wants me around here anyway.
I walk on in silence. 5 miles away from the house. My legs are starting to get tired. I decide to hitch a ride. It didn’t take too long. A big black truck comes to a stop. It’s so tall that even at 6’1″ I had to use a step to get in.
“Where you headed?” He asks after turning down the blaring rock music. I would have rather he kept it up, and not talked to me. I oblige an answer though.
“I’m just going downtown.” I said, hoping that was the end of the conversation.
“Are you leaving anything behind?” For fucks sake dude, why does it matter to you? I sighed internally.
“No.” I said flatly. What is it with that question?
“You sure?” I have to admit, he sounds truly concerned.
“Yeah man.” Sounding perky as I can muster. “I’m just tired of this city. I want to check out other places. I travel around all over the place, and I’ve had my feet in one spot for way too long.” That seemed to satiate his curiosity.
We drove the rest of the way in silence. We get to the park where most of us street rats always hang out. I ask him to let me out there.
“Okay.” He says as I open the door. “Hey.” He says, I turn around. “Be careful, okay ma’am?”
“Yeah. Thanks.” I say as I turn and leave.
It’s been years since I’ve been here. I recognize some people, but they haven’t seen me since I transitioned. Nobody recognizes me. That’s fine. I’m about talked out. I head toward the highway.
I get just about to the highway, but I’m way hungry. Somehow, I end up chatting with this older guy. I told him I was thinking of going to the store, that I was hungry. I used up my money on the water though, and I’d need to spange for cash. He gives me half his sandwich, I’m not allowed to refuse. Grateful, I eat the half sandwich in roughly 2 bites spanning half a second.
“Hey, you want anything else? You seem pretty hungry.” He says laughing.
“I’m good. Thanks.”
“So, you stayin’ in this shit hole?” Dammit, people digging into my shit again. I guess it’s different with a fellow street rat.
“Yeah, I’m gonna get out of here. I’m heading north tonight and spending the night up there. Then I’m going… I don’t know where. I figure I’ll point at a map and head wherever it leads.”
“You know, I’m gonna be getting up there as well, you want a hitchin’ partner?”
“Uh… I guess.” I said shrugging my shoulders. “I don’t really care either way.”
“Well, if you don’t mind, I’d like to come along. Hitchin’s dangerous for women you know.”
“Oh I know. I’ve done it before, I’ve always got my trusty weapons.” I tell him.
“What you got?” He says.
“For me to know.” I tell him flatly. He understands the reserve.
“I was gonna sit down and smoke before I go, you want some?”
“Green?” I ask.
“Yeah. It’s straight, I promise.”
We sit down and smoke a bowl together. It was good, I got pretty high. We started walking toward the highway, just chatting about random bullshit, especially how much this city sucks.
“You leaving anything behind?” He asks.
Goddammit with that question! I think to myself.
“Nah. I’m just tired of the city man. I want to check out another place, or places. Whatever works.”
We get just about to the highway, and I start getting real confused. I’m hitting the peak of my high. My mania is leaving me for a while.
What am I doing? I think. I’m starting to panic now. Why am I downtown? What’s going on?
I manage to keep my cool on the outside.
“Hey man. I gotta find a phone real quick, okay? I may or may not be back. Don’t wait around for me though alright? You know you ain’t gettin’ nothin’ hitchin’ at night.”
“Take care friend.” He says.
“Later. Stay well.” I return.
What the fuck? Why am I here. I’m crying everywhere but externally. I’m not holding it in as well now. I’m starting to shake. I’m afraid. Afraid and very confused. I start walking toward the strip. Luckily, I don’t have super ratty clothes on today. People don’t trip about me asking them for a phone.
“Hey, my phone died, can I use yours?” I have to ask 5 or 6 people, but I finally get one. I call my husband.
“Hello?” He answers, obviously confused by the unknown number.
I take a deep breath. Ashamed, I tell him quietly that I’m downtown.
“How did you get there?” He asks. Confused, maybe upset? I can’t tell.
“I… walked.” I half lied.
“What are you doing?” He asks, obviously upset. I can’t tell if he’s sad, or mad, or in-between, or something completely different.
“I don’t want to talk about it here. Too many people, okay? Just come get me. Please.” I’m certain he will say no.
“Alright, I’ll be there in 20 minutes. Where will you be?”
“Okay.” He says, and goes quite. I don’t say anything either. Finally he pipes up, “I love you.”
“I… I love you too.” He hangs up, I give the lady her phone back, thanking her then leaving.
I wait, and get picked up. He wants to talk about. I don’t right now. I get him to let up. We ride in silence. Suddenly I’m home again.
This is the day that I found out something was very, very wrong It would be another year and a half before I ended up in the psych ward and getting an official diagnosis and medication. My now husband explained to me that disappearing on people like that isn’t normal. I thought it was, I’ve done that for a long time. It just kind of happens.
Bipolar is hell to handle if you are a partner, parent, child or friend. I know that. I’ve caused a lot of strife over the last 12 years. I’m so sorry for it, and I hate saying that I have no personal control over it, but that’s the reality. Without my meds, I’m really good at burning bridges and the entire forest surrounding them.
It’s also really hard for those of us who suffer and live with it. I’m often scared, confused, easily agitated, and a myriad of other unpleasant feelings. Sometimes I hallucinate. Sometimes I completely leave the realm of rational and reality. I try to keep control of myself, and I’m so ashamed that there are times when I literally can not control myself. I love everyone that I hurt, and I hurt everyone that I love. It’s a dark, and very real part of my life. If you are a part of it, be prepared to get hurt, I am so, so sorry.
The meds have helped quite a bit, but they mitigate it, they don’t make it go away. I will be living with this forever.