The white room is lovely. Really. It is. White. Overwhite. If something could be so. White enough to make your retinas spasm from the brightness. Four, bright, white walls. Not ecru or ivory, or antique. White. Beyond virginal white. A white so bright that it must have its own life. At night, I can feel the white, breathing. Staring at me. Through my closed eyelids, I feel its something-nothing. How could something so blank have so much life? And yet, it does.
I live in this room. Shuffling from wall to wall in my pink, fuzzy slippers. My white gown is paper thin, and at times, like now, I have to wear my white long johns with their pink flowers in bloom. Six months. Six months I’ve been here. In this living, breathing room. As if the walls aren’t white enough, three bars of fluorescent lights cling to the ceiling, glaring its heated light at me, and then boomeranging off the walls to hit me at all angles.
In this white room, my brown skin looks ashy. Dry. Lifeless. It probably is. Seven hours a day, I leave the white room. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Three hours. Reading and Recreation. Two hours. Counseling. One hour. Group Counseling. One hour. All this to reconnect the scattered pieces of my life. I never told them that one huge piece, right in the center, had been missing for a long time.
At 30, I had a son. Beautiful boy. Horrible postpartum. Hated him. My husband. Myself. Spent too much time crying about being a mother. My hate turned to regret three weeks later. Beautiful baby boy died. SIDS. Regret chewed on my insides. Husband tried to comfort me, but the more he did, the worse I felt and the more I hated him.
I tried to write my pain away. I am. Was a writer. Did well for myself. Enough accolades to refill my heart and soul with love, but my heart was locked up (unlike the problems I let fester around me). This isn’t going to sell, the hubby told me in whispers, which turned to full voice, which then turned to stern voice (with slight shoulder shaking), which ended with yelling (and one slap to my face). No one cares about this. This is your life. Who cares?
He sold insurance. As artistic as these white walls I stare at 17 hours a day. He didn’t know that writing wasn’t about making money. It was about releasing a problem that settles between your muscles and takes root. It’s about finding that problem and writing it out until your muscles loosen and the tension in your mind goes away. I didn’t plan to sell my thoughts. My heart on paper. But, I knew that I could never write another good word until these bad words were out.
Days, weeks, months passed. I pushed it back. When my breasts leaked milk, I pushed it back. When they ached for suckling, I pushed it back. When I passed my baby’s nursery, since locked off, I pushed it back. When I thought about how my mother lost her mind trying to push back her feelings, I pushed it back. I lost weight. I was too full from pushing back emotions, from making sure I wrote to make money, from keeping my hubby from yelling at me.
I vomited. The pushing back of emotions lodged in my throat, choking me. Needing to be released. The pushing back had to be released. And I did. Release it.
Stepped into a tub full of water. Rested my head back. Closed my eyes tight. Cool tears mixed with sweat. Soft rip of skin as the razor slashed my wrists open. Blood mingled with tepid water. My life draining from my wrists. Alert. Scared. Calm. Dreamy. Lost. Before darkness enveloped me, I remembered the upturn of my lips. The bloody water rising to my chin. My lips. My nostrils, as I slipped under.
The white room helps me regain myself. They say. I say, “White room = Hubby.” Sterile and technical. Unfeeling. “Pink, fuzzy slippers + pink flowers in bloom on long johns = Baby.” Soft. Secure. With me.
My demons slipped out with the blood, they tell me. I’m clean.
Psychotherapy. Group Counseling. Role Playing. I’m getting full.
No outlet but these four white, damning walls. They are healing me.
White-walled hubby. Pink, fuzzy baby. Purge.
I feel like I’m dying.