As she climbed the last of the steps cut deep into the stone face, she felt her weariness slip away. Unseen hands pulled her up on to the soft slip of grass between the granite. She smelt the blood oranges instantly, perfuming the air of her childhood. She wandered the olive groves, imagining the silky feeling of the oil against her skin.  Not far away, a garden of sweet-spicy plumeria bloomed. The world run from as a teen, now she now sought a way back 40 years later.

She felt the island hover, still, not buffeted by time, anger or winds. Let go the tether ropes she thought, slipping deeper into the zephyrs. She’d counted carefully. Twenty-four pills only brought her the image of going home; of the potential of regaining the peace and innocence ripped from her in darkened corners and hot summer fields as a child. Fifty pills may buy a ticket, then, and so on. Til the pieces of her pain would float away, her barge to a perfect place. The brightness of the Mediterranean sun, it’s warmth on the  excruciatingly painful parts of her body; it’s brightness burning away all the painful memories from child to adult. While the orange blossom snow and the pan-cracked dirt roads lead from scramble farm to darkened outbuildings, bent wheeled bicycles and the birds sang, and . . .

Her Utopian Ark thudded, skudded back to a flurry of noise and light and sound. Voices ordering her to say with them in rocking ambulance not on the Ark, not in the olive grove. Mediterranean sun was cold light, birds wail of siren, and the pain, always the pain. To fly forever on the Utopian Ark, among the olives and the oranges, how many pills did it take.

 

Someone close to me attempted suicide this week. She must have started packing for her journey on the Ark before she called me, and continued until her sister called Emergency Services several hours later. She is still an inpatient in a less than desirable mental health facility with limited visiting hours. I sent her a note via her husband, and may be allowed to visit next weekend.

When someone attempts or completes suicide, we look at ourselves differently. Especially if you’ve been to the edge yourself. You wonder how you missed it. How you could be so caught up in your own woes that you didn’t hear the different tone. The calmness or the desperation. I was her only crisis counselor, when in often crisis myself, thinking of my own Utopian Ark. I never councilled she should buy a ticket; I must remember that was her decision.

(A 2nd, more personal entry into JD’s microfiction challenge # 22 [dis]utopian ark)

 

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