12:07pm. I will start at 12:10. A nice round number. Exactly ten bottles. That’s five litres. Five litres in two hours. 12:09pm. Unscrew the lid of bottle number one. 12:10. Start to drink. The first bottle is easy. It just glides down the gullet. Simple. Finished. Okay. Bottle two. Just as easy. That’s a litre. 12:13. A litre in 3 minutes. This is going to be quick. Painless. Quick and painless. Bottle three. A little harder. Still no discomfort. 12:18. Better sip the next one. Feeling a bit full. Bottle four. Casually. Enjoy it. 12:25. Finished. Need the toilet. Can’t. Hold it in. Deep breath. Wait a few minutes. I wonder what she is doing. No. Put CD in. Press Play. Lay back. Listen. 12:40. Bottle five. Bottle six. Goes down a treat. Stomachs bloated. Need to sit up. Gurgle. I can hear the liquid swaying inside. 12:59. Bottle seven. Can’t swallow anymore. Stomach too full. Liquid coming back up. Rush to sink. A little bit escapes my bowel and exits my mouth. Wretch. Fall to floor. Writhing. No. Gotta swallow. Downs the rest of Seven and swigs at eight. 13:14. Just under an hour. Two and a half bottles left. Two bottles. Forty five minutes to finish a litre. I can do it. It said four litres is enough. I want to be sure. Five will surely do it. Stomach gurgles. Bladder full. Keep fighting. Ironic. Carry the fight to give up. Bottle nine. Easy. Does this mean its working? Room spinning. Feeling dizzy. Take bottle ten downstairs with me. Stairwell has become an impossible challenge. Falling at almost every step. Make it down. One sip of bottle ten. 13:30. I’m fast. Walk in living room. Spinning. Mum. Dad. Black. Sweet release…
Beep.Beep.Beep.NO.Beep.Fuck.Beep.Eyes Unhinge. Feel like they have been locked for years. “He’s waking up, Michael he’s awake.” I know that voice. Its mum, what is she doing here? What am I doing here? Do I even know where here is? If the monotone beeping of hospital machinery did not make it apparent then the clinical smell and the sense of impending shame certainly did, but, why? It said four litres in two hours was fatal. I did just under five in an hour and a half, and I survive. Why? “Oliver, My name is Dr Young, do you know where you are? This is St.Raphels hospital, you are on the ICU ward and as of this moment you will be assigned a key worker who will sit with you twenty-four hours a day. You have suffered a case of dilutional hyponatremia, or simply put Water intoxication. You’re aware of that though, aren’t you?” He knows? I thought it was undetectable. How does he know? “Severely low sodium levels in your blood stream led you to black out; while you were unconscious you were brought to me, had you not been you would be dead. Through a course of diuretics to increase urination I managed to flush the water out of your system in a matter of days. I will leave you with your mother for now, but only for a few minutes, then your suicide support worker will arrive to asses you.” Suicide. There was that word. That ugly word, I avoided using it, it sounds so bleak, I thought of my actions as a cleansing. It was water after all. Cleaning away the pain of a past that lingered too long in to the present, a pain that shattered through bone to ache the core of my very existence. I lift my head and look up. Mother is sitting in the corner, not saying a word, I look in to her eyes, as aqua as the poison that was coursing its way through my veins only…I look up at the clock. 4:24pm, April 23rd…Only two days and one hour fifty six minutes ago. Her stare goes through me, I see her torment, and she wonders how I could sit alone in my room, doing what I did as she sat downstairs watching evening television. Consumed in my lonesome bubble of angst and disarray.
A smell catches my nose and tempts my head to tilt away from mums locked gaze. It’s Marc Jacobs. I would know that smell anywhere; it’s the scent of her, locked in the predators vault at the back of my mind, it was the odour of my prey, the one that managed to escape, but perhaps she is back, hearing the news of my ill fate perhaps she wants to see me, I close my eyes. I want to be blessed by her voice before I lock eyes on those luscious red lips or that full head of blonde hair. “Oliver?” I crack, that isn’t her voice. “Oliver, my name is Lucy, I am your key worker I have been assigned to your case and upon my assessment we will be spending a lot of time together, I am here to help you on your road to recovery.” Recovery, what recovery? I tried to take my life, this is unabashed misery you can’t recover from this. Sure physical scars heal but the knives we put in the hands of our lovers and family, are the knives that puncture our potential, our creativity and our self esteem, you can’t heal self esteem, you can’t just piss out pain. I keep my eyes locked shut. “Miss McHale…I am going to have to ask you to leave us, I will contact you when it is appropriate for you to return.” My eyes stay tightly sealed, like a shivering child too afraid to face up to the petty crimes laid before them by an angry parent. I hear her footsteps as she leaves. Briskly. It takes her four paces to the reach the door. I feel the other woman sit down in the seat where my mother was; I open my eyes and look up at the clock. 4:32. I try to close them again tight but off they roll to take a look at her, this Lucy. She’s small, 5’4”, petite, brown hair, emerald eyes, a sickening smile stretched across her full lips. Her full lips painted the same promiscuous primrose she swore by. Not quite the whorish red of Hollywood stereotype but a more sophisticated slut, a self-absorbed shade that sang the screams of a thousand empty promises in to my ear.
Eventually she parts those precious lips, “Oliver, if you want to sit here in silence I can do that, I am here for you when you need me, I am here to watch over you.” Here. Need. These are the words mothers tattoo in to the hearts of their daughters before they are even old enough to walk, the two things men want, real men, not boys, men who appreciate women, men like poor “old before his time” Oliver McHale. I lay back and stare in to space. What am I thinking? Nothing in particular. 4:58. Lucy still hasn’t moved, I look over to her, really look at her, nicely dressed, professional but stylish, a long black skirt, matching black blazer. She looks like she is attending a funeral; she mustn’t have got the memo. I survived. I’m alive. No W.H Auden for me. No lilies arriving. No grieving relatives pretending they bothered to know me. I open my mouth and prepare my throat to speak, I have no idea what I am going to say but I will say something.
“Wh..why are you here?” I turn my head, ashamed of the question I have asked, ashamed that I have been assigned a nanny. A shrink. Is that what I am? Mental. “I am here Oliver, to find out why you are here?” She is assessing me, she thinks I am a head case; she probably has it all at home, perfect husband, a few little children squabbling in the garden. She looks like the type of woman who has never seen pain. “Why are you here?” she continues. She knows why I am here, I am not responding to such cynical questions. “You know why I am here, I tried to kill myself” The honesty just slipped out of me, almost Freudian in nature, a problem I have always struggled with, too much conveyance of emotion. Honesty. “How?” How? Her cheeks rosy up, she was embarrassed to ask me.
“You know how”
“I want you to tell me”
“I drank a vast amount of water in hopes of diluting the vital nutrients insi…” 5:07pm. “inside my body”
“why?” her cheeks rosy more, her lips now curved at the sides, not quite a frown but it mirrors the severity of the situation I am facing, maybe she does understand. No how could she? She has that trusting face of a million people, the one that you could confide in late and night and know that all your fears and inconsistencies would travel from your trachea, dance through her ears and in to her head and remain in the mental case file that is now stamped with Oliver McHale.
“That is all I can talk about my condition right now.” She nods, I expect her to stand up and leave, like you see on TV, these people collect and collate their “official” documents of pain and hate from the Crazies, then they walk out, report to their boss and go home. Not her, she stayed firmly sat in the same spot, still staring, still scanning me, I feel her glare, and it’s like an X-ray trying to peel back layer upon layer of my skin looking for the deep rooted piece of Hayley that tortures my innards. Searching, rummaging but never judging. 7:03. she is still there, I have been facing the clock for an hour and twenty four minutes, now hypnotised by its rhythm, slowly helping me ease in to a state of unconsciousness, temporary unconsciousness. Sleep.