Jenny’s Guilt

Conversations

Ring, ring, ring!

Andy: Hello.

Jenny: Andy! This is Jenny.  Benjy’s in jail!

Andy: I know, I just heard this morning.  We’ve been looking for him.  I called you on 9/28 to tell you he’d gone missing.  You didn’t answer but you texted me that you were in a meeting.  I texted back to call me about your brother and you wrote back Will do!

Andy continues:  The police refused a missing person’s report after he failed to come home on 9/21.  They said they know him and he would be back.  I have also been dealing with a family member who was in a car wreck.

Jenny:  I am so sorry to hear that.  I don’t remember your call but I never delete any texts.  (Jenny scrolls through her messages). I see it now. Oh my god!

Andy: This is bogus.  He’s in the system and anything happens to him, they know to call you or me.  The people who are supposed to come here every Friday and give him his injection missed several dates.  When he took off, we assumed he went to the hospital.  But then no call from the Saints and he never came home.  I guess I should have called you back.

Jenny: That is all on me.  Okay, so you last saw him 9/21.  The doctor told me, he said he was homeless for about four days.  He was arrested on 9/25.  The timeline is starting to make sense.  My memory is getting worse.  I forgot to call you back.  No excuse.  Mr. Free the attorney is trying to get him released to you.  (choking up) Will you take him back?

Andy: Yes Jenny, his room is waiting for him.  I will call Mr. Free myself and see if he can get Benjy released to me.

Jenny: Thank you, you’re an angel.

She beat herself up with questions.

What could be done?

Specifically what could she do?

Nothing!

But she was less than an hour away.  She should have tried. Hell. She should have at least called Andy back.

Falling back on CBT.  Jenny said to herself:

I did not cause this.  What someone else does or does not do has nothing to do with me.  My good/bad fortune is independent of someone else’s good/bad fortune.  Life is not a zero-sum game.

The guilt would come later and the culpability would be damaging.  No tears fell until the drive home.  Then the dam broke free.  Softly keening.  Sitting at a red light.  Shaking.  Remembering her mother, gone for 20 years.  The light changed to green and on cue the tears were wiped away.

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How Could This Happen?

Conversations

Dr. AB Cee: He was incoherent until recently.  This is the best we can piece together.  Benjy said he was homeless for 4 or 5 days before he went to the hospital.  He was in full blown psychosis when he got there (in this doctor’s professional opinion) yet they refused to admit him.  Terrence told him to leave.  Benjy would not leave and the cops were called. He was arrested without further incident.  The charge was misdemeanor public trespass.

Jenny: But he was in the group home.  He was not homeless.  Are you sure this was not part of his disease? And why would they not admit him?  He is a frequent flyer at the Saints, Terrence knows him! He had a pattern of showing up 3-4 times a year.  They would always get him back on track every time he went off his meds.  What made this time different?

Dr. AB Cee: That’s all I know.  Why don’t you call Andy and see if he can fill in some blanks.

Could It Get Any Worse?

Conversations

Dr. AB Cee: Are you his guardian?

Jenny: NO! Absolutely not! And I will not be.  I cannot be responsible for him.  I am his representative payee but even that needs to change. What if I die first?  There’s a service –  Family Elder Care.  I need to get on that waiting list.  I’ve been saying that for years though.

Dr. AB Cee: I understand, I am only asking to assess his situation.  I do not want him signing anything unless he has the authority to do so and sounds like he does.

Jenny: I don’t know about that.  His comprehension level might be that of a six year old.  He won’t understand. Even if he signs.

Dr. AB Cee:  Call Mr. Free at 555-614-4157 for more details. On my end, I will recommend release to the group home.  Do you have the name and number for them?

Jenny (from rote memory & feeling numb):  The group home coordinator is Andy.  His number is 555-444-2323. When did this happen?  Last night?

Dr. AB Cee: No, he was arrested 9/25.

Jenny (shocked): What?!?  But that’s three weeks ago.  Why didn’t anybody call me!!

Phone Call Continues

Conversations

Dr. AB Ce: Mr. Free (his attorney) is trying to get him out and back to his group home.  I am trying to verify what he told me.  Do you know his diagnosis?

Jenny: Yes, childhood schizophrenia.  He heard voices, mainly Jackie Turner, a race car driver, played off as an imaginary friend.  Our mother covered up everything.  We only found out the official diagnosis after she died.

Jenny: (holding back tears) Benjy’s caseworker told my dad and me the extent of Benjy’s disabilities.  We sat in stunned disbelief.  I talked to my mom every day.  She never mentioned it.  Dad kept saying Are you SURE you didn’t know? 

In a whisper, she never said anything.

Jenny:  Shortly after that meeting, Benjy went into the system.  There was nothing in River Town.  Capital City is more progressive. You know the slogan … keep Capital City strange.

Dr. AB Ce: (laughing) We are very bongos.  Anything else?  Besides schizophrenia?  How are his faculties?  Has he ever sustained a brain injury?

Jenny:  Hmm Let’s see.  He can’t read or write.  He was hit by a bus.  Knocked him out of his shoes.  He had a concussion.  His hip was never the same.  He was always very clumsy.  He had special shoes and leg braces as a kid.

Jenny: (continuing) I think his birth mother was a drug addict or alcoholic.  My aunt said as much and Mom quit talking to her.  He didn’t walk until well past two.  Did I mention the corrective shoes? I am sorry I’m repeating myself.

Dr. AB Ce: Wait! He’s adopted? Hold on Jenny.

Jenny doesn’t hear Benjy, but she knows he is there. She hears Aww, that’s okay, don’t worry.  You’re doing fine. 

Dr. AB Ce: He just told me he’s sorry he forgot he was adopted.

I’m Glad It Happened

Conversations

Me: Do you remember what Monday is?

Pony: The day before our anniversary, the 30th?

Me: And?

Pony: And what?

Me:  11 years ago?

Pony: Oh that? yes I remember.  How could I forget?

Wise: That was another one of the first few stories he told me.

Pony: I am glad it happened.

Me: Really? you are?

Billy Bob: Jill that’s history.  We’ve all put it behind us.  No one else memorializes that day but you.

Pony: Yes I am really glad it happened.  That’s a great story to tell.

Me: What makes it great? It was awful.

Pony:  It is just so far-fetched.  A story that starts with two guys pick up two hookers in Austin and go on a joy ride.  Chaos ensues!  What’s not to love? (chuckles).

Me: I am not memorializing it.  I can’t help I remember it.  As hard as it is to believe, it’s real.

Pony: And because it happened, we are where we are today.  Anything different and everything would be different.

And with that the conversation shifted gears.

 

 

Monday Morning

Conversations

Setting: October 16, 2017, 8:40 a.m. Central Standard Time, 29th floor of Tel-Com office building, River Town TX, and Capitol City Jail infirmary, Capitol City TX

Telephone is ringing: Ring, ring, ring

Jenny: Hello, Accounts Payable, Jenny speaking

Dr. AB Ce: Hi Jenny, I am Dr. AB Ce from the Capitol City jail.  Do you know Benjamin Basket?

Jenny (hesitates): Yes

Dr. AB Ce:  He is here with me now.  I have been asked by his attorney to complete an evaluation of his competency.  It sounds like you’re at work.  Is now a good time?

Jenny: I am at work but I have a private place I can go to.  I will make time.

Picks up pen and pad and walks from desk to alcove. Out of body experience.  Talking to a complete stranger, claiming to be a doctor … from the jail.  Wishing this was not real.  Oh but it is … real.  

Dr. AB Ce: Don’t worry, he won’t go to prison.  He was arrested for simple public trespass.  It’s minor. He refused to leave the hospital so the police were called.

Thought bubble: Oh sweet mother of Jesus.  What in the hell did he do this time? Did he hurt someone?  Is Benjy hurt himself? Jenny didn’t get hysterical.  She practiced the anti-anxiety techniques she learned in CBT.  She sat in the awful space and just existed.  Somehow she knew Benjy was a victim.  Not always but in this case.  Then she answered rote questions about their childhood. 

New Category Alert

Conversations

 

Conversations is the name

Conversations are all the stories whirling around my brain

Conversations may be fact or fictional

Conversations are my perspective which is my reality …

Your reality is different than mine

And that’s okay

I learned a short story is 1000 words or more.  Under that count the story is sometimes referred to as flash fiction or short-short story.  Not a stutter, short-short story is a thing y’all.  Reach 30,000 words and the short story becomes a novella.  And all this time, I thought I wrote novellas.  Nope.  Instead I am the flash fiction queen.  Flash a-ah.  Savior of the Universe. Flash a-ah.  You save every one of us!

I need some saving most days and I save myself through writing out the venom or releasing the hounds.  Pop! this song comes to mind.

Anyway, if you’re still here after enjoying the mellow sounds of Elton, I will attempt to explain this category simply called conversations.   Here I will write my short-short stories.

My short-short stories are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places,events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Part Six of My Mini Novella

Storytime

Link to Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5

That light is brightly shining

Anyhow part numero cuarto. Despite all that has happened, we are faithful. Just when you think you can’t take anymore, you don’t have to, something changes. It’s inevitable. We learned that the good outweighs the bad and even in the bad there is always-always-always a silver lining. ALWAYS! We are living an extraordinary life … not by universal standards mind you but by our own sometimes delirious minds. We are truly blessed beyond measure!

Can you dig it?

As always, more to come.

Part Five of My Mini Novella

Storytime

Link to Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4

Ah ha! We meet again.

Anyhow part numero tres. TEN YEARS … almost. July 2, 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of D’s death. Time flies when you’re having fun and even when you aren’t. Feels like yesterday. Hard to believe.

In the time since he’s been gone, here are some of our most memorable moments: the October 30, 2006 random act of violence aka car chase gone bad aka God won’t give you more than you can handle, work injury, more cancer and more dying, the fall, unintended consequences of the fall, other unmentionables and most recently death again. <insert into this 2017 edition Lulu’s cyst>

As always, more to come

RIP Sister-Auntie BAW. May the perpetual light shine upon her

Part Four of My Mini Novella

Storytime

Link to Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3

WAKE UP It’s Tomorrow

Anyhow part numero dos. When Pony Boy answered his phone it was surreal. I could swear I was talking to Billy’s brother. Exact … same … voice. The briefest thought, who is this man??? I must have dialed the wrong number … this is certainly not my baby. It took me a second to realize my mind was playing tricks on me. Pony may look a lot like me and act a lot like me but his mannerisms, sense of humor, interests and ideology are classic Uncle D. And that sassy, sarcastic wit makes me proud since underneath it all is such wonderful goodness. I’ll never forget the first time I heard my own smart a$$ remarks made back to me. Of course I laughed while Billy says “way to go Jill, now you’re just encouraging him” But you gotta laugh … am I right?!?!

As always, more to come.

Keep on smiling; until we meet again