He was everywhere. Taking to sleep downstairs didn't help. My son's calling became louder. His shadows followed me as I meandered around the house. Unbearable. I took to drink. I took to drink vodka and Seven Up. It's what us housewives do after our sons commit suicide and we shoot our husbands. I spent afternoons with my head on the kitchen table laughing to myself. The front lawn became a wild garden of untended weeds. There would be a knock on the door and it would be days before I found the well wisher's casserole dish on the stoop.
A doctor's visit amounted to a prescription for anxiety medication. The vodka was enough of a stupefier. I didn't need to feel more of a zombie so I put the rest of the prescription into my medicine cabinet and left them there after one day.
Every passing thought carried my son's voice crying from the depths of Hell. That's where I had left him and thrown my husband in for good measure. The house was my own private purgatory and I had enclosed myself into an icebox telling the magician not to come back.
My bitterness was all encompassing. Every morning was greeted with the aftertaste of chewed Aspirin and I drowned myself in it. Even cursing Walter carried a measure of noxious tedium. There was something more. Things had evolved. I had evolved. The world had changed into a place I'd never encountered, much yet understood, but one in which I found myself strangely satisfied.
I no longer cared. When Walter was so obvious, when Walter would have screwed anything that gave him a passing glance, I once cared. If he had that chance. He never did, He never could. When Simon came home with a C and said the teacher favoured girls, I had once cared. Even recounting this is a labour. That was then. This is now.
There was a song playing on the music channel one afternnoon while I vacuumed. It was a bouncy teenage song about love gone bad. There was one set of lyrics, which I can't recall, but it did something. I threw it all out.
Up to Simon's room. He was gone. It was all gone. All of his trophies. His underwear. I shredded his journals and his math tests. Graduation suit. Every last bit of my son went from an orange garbage bag to the can outside. Numbness was my motivation as I dusted his room leaving four bare walls and a chemical deodorizer.
The next day I had my hair cut. I had it cut short and coloured. All of my jewellry , and anything of sentimental value was pawned. I didn't need money. Walter had a considerable savings. This was a cleansing. I was my own personal God and that made forgiveness real easy.
A week later Doris came over. And then there was Mavis. And then the neighbours moved in. That was how. And this is then.