My memories of those couple days are, in the main, blurry or non-existent. Only a few images glint their jagged edges out of the murk. When I write them, of course, the details come, but at this point, after the punch drunk feeling of the overdose, after a decade, I’m not sure what is real memory and what my brain has concocted to make a good story.
Curled up in the corner of the hall, the lines and whorls of the hardwood stretched out down the dark hall and the blurry shape of my ex looming out of the shadow as he yelled. What he was yelling is not part of the memory, his voice worn down over the years into a bloated muted trumpet blare.
Sitting on the edge of the bathtub, the door shut tight and locked, a towel jammed into the crack to keep the rattle of the pills in the room. Another three or four pills spilled into my palm, the small plastic cup of water I had to keep filling gripped in my right hand. Everything in that bathroom was white. The bulb was high wattage.
The moment I started throwing up. The thick feeling of half-digested pills scraping my esophagus the wrong way. I would continue to puke every half hour for 12 hours. At 12 hours I was dry heaving and knew it wouldn't stop. I took the streetcar down Bathurst St. to Toronto Western Hospital. I took a big white plastic bowl, held carefully in my lap in case I needed to actually throw up. People looked at me very strangely. I had never taken a cab before. I was not thinking clearly.
My ex sitting on the side of the bed, where I was lying with the lights out a few hours after the puking started. Asking me what I'd been doing in the bathroom. Telling me I needed to go to the hospital. Leaving the room when I said no.
A look in the mirror. The face of a beaten boxer looking back. My face randomly swollen: eyes nearly closed, cheeks misshapen, lips puffy.
Over a bedpan at the hospital, on a gurney in emerge, shaking and crying and asking the one kind doctor if it would ever stop. She rubbed my back and told me it would. I kept retching and finally threw something up. We both stopped still, the micro-movements every body makes momentarily arrested. "What is that?" I gesticulated with my head. "My stomach?" She nodded.
My mother sitting on the chair by the bed, my first night in the hospital. Scared but acting calm. Holding my hand hard.