About the Author
TweetHeart - A Twitter Novel By Douglas Sovern
CHAPTER TEN: October
My name is Zoe and I am an addict.
OMG I actually said those words. At a meeting. In front of people.
And used my real name.
My heart was pounding so hard I thought blood was about to explode out of my ears and splatter the entire watching, waiting room.
I tore my nails to nothingness.
I couldn’t look anyone in the eye.
I barely got my mouth open to utter the syllables.
Then I heard “Hi Zoe” from the group & I realized I must have actually spoken.
I looked up and every1 was smiling at me.
That’s all I have to say, for now, I said, and sat down, with a nervous laugh and a spastic collapse back into my chair.
Thank you for sharing Zoe, the facilitator said, and the nice old bald man next to me squeezed my arm with a knowing smile.
Man oh man that may have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Maybe I can do this. Maybe I can do this.
Maybe I can do this.
Dante asked me if I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I still don’t think he understands me, even after all these years.
Light at the end of the tunnel?
All I ever see is a train barreling toward me about to run me over.
I’ve been lying flat on the tracks for a long time just to keep from getting crushed.
I am slowly learning 2 stand up, 2 let it whiz past.
I’m a long way from knowing that I can climb on board and get somewhere.
I’m not even close to emerging into the light.
One step at a time, one day at a time, that’s what they say in the meetings. It’s overwhelming to look too far ahead.
I do know that I haven’t done any crack or meth or smack for a little while now.
Still smoking pot & drinking, but does that really count?
Back 2 the shrink this afternoon.
Also gotta get this abscess checked out again.
It hurts a little less.
I guess everything does right now.
They drained this thing in my arm again & it’s a little less terrifying now.
It had a face like an alien; at least now it looks human.
This Dr. Belberg is REALLY pushing the drugs on me.
When did psychiatry become all about pharmaceuticals instead of actual therapy?
Whatever happened to talking someone down off the ledge? Now they probably just catapult bottles of anti-depressants at them.
He keeps yammering on about chemical imbalance, it’s just biology, blah blah blah.
He must be in cahoots with my family.
What is a cahoot anyway?
Sounds like a furry little animal.
I would like a pet cahoot for Milo to play with.
My brindled island of canine calm.
Stands by his mama no matter what.
I guess he & Dante have that in common.
I don’t know how much more of this shrink I can take.
I am going to brave another AA meeting tonight though.
Hope that nice man is there.
Why does every1 want me to live anyway?
Why is everyone so hell bent on saving my sorry soul?
I ain’t Steve Jobs.
I’m no genius.
Look what happened to him.
At least he had an impact.
No one would miss me.
I’m tweeting on an iPhone.
Thank u Steve for this amazing wonder machine from the future.
What will any1 remember me by?
I asked Belberg, is every life really worth saving?
Just because it exists?
You’d think he’d been asked that before but it stumped him.
He hemmed & hawed about my family & those who care about me & my potential to give to the world.
Yeah right dude, my family.
Far as my dad is concerned, I’m dead already. I don’t even need 5 fingers to count up “those who care.”
No, I ask again, is everyone really worth saving?
Maybe some of us just aren’t worth the trouble.
Just let us go.
A cold blue brilliantly sunny morning – & I just did something I haven’t done in ages! Exercise! Milo & I actually went 4 a run in the woods
OK more of a slow jog but dude it felt hella good to move my body & breathe in the crisp fall air & savor the earth around me.
Dante is proud of me, says it’s another step in my healing process, or some shit like that.
Also I now officially have a sponsor at AA: Don, the nice man I told u about.
Sweet guy, so calming, been thru a lot.
When Don smiles it actually warms your skin.
I actually feel my whole body relax.
This is what I need, a positive father figure.
People still look at me like a freak when I walk in there & I’m not entirely comfortable but I did go back & did get up & say my name again.
Don says I can call him anytime.
He says maybe next time I can share. It does help to hear other people have been where I’ve been.
So maybe I’m not as alone in this world as I thought, huh? I’ve at least got my new AA friends & you tweeps & Milo & Dante, right?
Maybe things are looking up. I really just want things 2 go back the way used 2 be. Really really don’t want 2 be so sad all the time.
Dante really doesn’t want me to see any of my street friends anymore.
He’s being hella protective. Seems very anxious and adamant.
I say it’s not up 2 him, I do what I want when I want, or haven’t u been paying attention?
But yes I very much want 2 get my life back, I’m trying so hard, I’m trying 2 do what everyone wants of me, so I have a shot at Dante again.
I’m going 2 the shrink, I’m going 2 AA, I’m staying off the street, I’m cleaning up my act – so why don’t I feel any better in my brain?
Dante says I have 2 be patient, it don’t come easy, it takes a long time 2 get sick & sometimes takes even longer 2 heal.
Meanwhile Belberg keeps preaching medication and telling me 2 reach out to my dad & begin the “reconciliation process.”
Like I’m fucking South Africa or something.
Maybe I’ll appoint an international commission.
Which my dad would refuse 2 show up for anyway.
Dead to him?
It’s more like he’s dead to me.
I don’t know why I went back out on the street last night.
It was wet & misty & dank & cold & I had no business being out there.
Something drew me to Telegraph. I feel like my future is about 2 change & I wanted to see every1 one last time, maybe say goodbye.
Deep down I guess I was looking for rayRay, to explain why I’m moving on, to hope he understands.
I found Bone & he broke the news to me: rayRay’s in Santa Rita, busted for drug possession – busted by Temple.
Yeah u remember Temple right? Every1 said I was paranoid.
Every1 said I was crazy. I told u he was a fucking narc.
He cut a deal & became an informant & has been spying & feeding the cops information about every1 on the street.
If I’d still been out there I might’ve gotten busted too.
I guess maybe some1 IS watching out 4 me, at least every now & again.
So I will have 2 go to Santa Rita if I want 2 see rayRay again.
And I better stay off Telegraph if I don’t want 2 run into Temple.
I’m glad I never did put license plates on my car so they can’t track me.
This is not easy.
Dad always tells me (or told me, since I never talk to him) that nothing important in life ever is.
People don’t understand. Their brains work the right way.
If they don’t want 2 get high or have a drink or whatever, they just don’t do it.
I don’t have that luxury.
I don’t have that control.
It’s a constant struggle.
It’s so much easier to indulge myself than 2 deny myself.
I don’t know how any1 wins this fight.
I’m not sure that I can.
It took me this long just 2 accept that the battle was worth fighting!
I guess u have 2 get 2 the point where u look at your life & say enuf is enuf, if I really want something different I have 2 make it happen.
What people don’t understand is that no1 can force u 2 that point.
U have 2 get there yourself.
Otherwise it just won’t work.
The problem is that without my “medicine” I just can’t deal w/the pain & hardship of life.
So Belberg wants 2 replace it with HIS medicine.
That’s a stigma I’m just not willing 2 bear yet.
It’s my brain, not his. I will not let them change me.
I will not let them take away ME.
I’m taking a very big risk.
I’m at Santa Rita 2 visit rayRay!
I parked way far away so they wouldn’t see my car & take any info on it.
I had 2 wait 4ever 2 see him but damn is he hella glad I am here.
He said he figured he might not ever see me again.
Dante really tried 2 talk me out of coming. He wants me 2 disconnect from the street people entirely. I think he feels threatened by rayRay.
I told rayRay what I’ve been going thru.
He’s very supportive, thinks it’s good that I’m going to meetings & all that.
Sounds like he may be in here 4 a while.
He says Temple totally set him up & it doesn’t look good.
I knew that fucker was bad news.
The conditions suck here.
I am so glad I have managed 2 stay out of jail & now u know why I’m always so worried about it.
They have no water right now so rayRay has 2 shit in a bag. The toilet in his cell is full & can’t flush.
He has 2 sleep right next 2 that!
I guess the street is good practice for prison, except on the street you’re free to come & go & you sleep rough by choice.
I gotta get out of here before they see me & decide to lock me up too.
I will not go thru this hell.
May not see rayRay 4 a long long time.
OH MAN OH MAN I FUCKED UP.
Tried to go to meeting last night, I really did. Sat outside & just couldn’t go in.
Shrink finally talked me into getting the prescription yesterday.
I sat outside drugstore clutching paper but did not go in & get it filled.
I don’t know why I fell off the wagon.
It’s so hard not to do.
I did drugs I’m not supposed to do anymore.
Every1 is going to be so mad at me.
I didn’t go home last night.
Been out all night in the car with Milo.
Even he looks disappointed.
I can’t believe I’ve reached this point.
How did I let this happen.
I feel so defeated.
I’m such a loser.
I’ve really blown it.
Really worried that they followed me from Santa Rita.
I’ve been taking evasive action I hope I lost them.
I need to start my life all over again.
This isn’t how it was supposed to be.
I need to go back in time.
I need to go back in time.
I really need to go back in time…
It’s just a little yellow pill.
Why do I think it makes all the difference in the world having this inside my body
Somehow it feels like an end not a beginning.
Like I’m marked for life with a bright yellow A on my forehead but it stands for Abilify
I couldn’t do it myself.
I couldn’t get my shit together.
I blew it. They have won.
They have taken my body, my brain, my soul.
How do I go back in time? How do I start over?
Maybe I can get it right the second time around.
I think maybe I know how.
I’m sorry Milo, I’m sorry Dante, I’m sorry every1, you know I just want what’s best in life for u and I love u all…
Yes I did it. I really did it.
I feel so ashamed but I was so unhappy…still am…and I could see no other way out.
I killed myself.
Ended my life with all its anguish and anxiety.
But did it w/the best intentions I swear!
No I am not tweeting from Heaven. Far as I know they don’t have the technology, tho w/Steve Jobs up there now I’m sure he’s installing DieFi
Ha! Hey just cuz I wanted 2 lose my life doesn’t mean I’ve lost my wicked sense of humor too.
I am tweeting on @BeccaGold’s cell phone.
Not supposed to have a phone in here but we’re being sneaky.
Like sisters are sposed 2 do.
I didn’t really die.
I’m still here.
I don’t mean that in the metaphorical sense, I mean I got saved. Not by Jesus but by 3 angels of mercy.
I got it all set up.
I made a rope from an extension cord.
I said goodbye to Milo.
I took a handful of their fucking yellow pills.
I guess if u really want 2 do it u don’t send out a suicide note by tweet, huh?
Becca & Layla & oh-my-fucking-God MARLA rode 2 the rescue.
I didn’t think people were still reading my tweets or that any1 cared.
They all had the same reaction & came running.
Layla, then Becca.
They pounded on the door.
Dante wasn’t home.
Milo going hella crazy barking.
I ignored it all.
Layla smashed in the door.
I told u she was ex-Army & one badass muthafucka.
She cut me down, threw me over her shoulder just as MARLA the stepmother gets there.
Then we’re all crying & crying & asking me why & don’t I know they love me & no I don’t & they brought me here to Alta Bates.
Shit here comes the nurse I’ll have 2 stop and tweet more later.
Assuming there is one…
I am sitting here just crying & crying with tears in a river down my face.
I am so touched by how many people actually really do care.
I turned off my phone before my attempt on Monday.
I just turned it back on for the first time and it started dinging & pinging like crazy.
Tweets & texts & phone calls – from Becca, Layla, Marla, some folks on the street, some from people I don’t even know!!
And they all came after Monday’s tweets, before I tried to do the deed.
Maybe I am part of this world after all.
My sitter wants 2 know why I’m bawling so hard, is everything ok?
Well no, it’s not! But I explained about the tweets & calls & all.
Yeah I’ve got a sitter.
I’m on 5150 hold in the psych ward.
24-hour observation. Some1 here at all times.
We’ll see how long my so-called family comes around.
Becca’s sposed to be back in a little while.
Not really sure who’s been here when.
I am a bundle of mixed-up feelings.
God knows what shit they’ve put in my veins, I’m sure that has something 2 do with it.
It’s been a parade of furrowed brows & pained looks & people not sure what 2 say.
Just tell me u love me & that I matter, ok?
Blow me away. Text from my dad: “I love you. You matter.”
I didn’t even know he knew how 2 text.
Marla is here sitting w/me.
She swears it’s really him.
5 simple words.
It’s not as easy as that of course but it’s a good place 2 start.
He doesn’t get off the hook that easy but damn is he reading my tweets now too? Are u out there Dad?
How bout coming in here then??
Yeah the fucker still hasn’t been to see his daughter who almost died.
Three fucking days ago.
Marla says “this is very hard for him.”
Cuz it’s been so fucking easy 4 me, lemme tell ya.
Good thing they have me restrained and monitored, that’s all I can say.
Marla tells me she was following my tweets, on & off, just happened 2 be reading on Monday, got panicked, came running.
She says Dad didn’t know & she didn’t tell him till very late that night when she was sure I was gonna make it.
She says he is “in anguish.”
She swears he really does love me, they all do, they’re gonna see me thru this.
Hmm. He could start by seeing me at all.
Waves & spasms of shame keep coming.
I feel like such a loser today, just lying here, telling the world I couldn’t handle it.
The drugs they’re giving me are supposed 2 help but I don’t feel any different, just so so tired & sucked empty like my whole soul is hollow
My dad sent an orchid.
It’s really quite lovely.
Yellow & purple.
Never seen a yellow one like this before.
It’s intricate & delicate. Requires special care. Not 2 much water & just enuf light. But it does need SOME sun – you can’t just ignore it.
His daughter almost died and is in the hospital and my dad sent flowers.
That may be the only tiny ray of sunlight I’m gonna get from him.
Listening to the blue jays cackle. The mourning doves coo.
The squirrels chatter & scamper & squabble over fallen nuts.
Yeah they set me free, cut me loose, turned me back out into the world 2 sink or swim.
Up early to take Milo 4 a long walk in the redwoods.
Thinking about how I almost never saw this again: never smelled this clean forest air or said hi 2 the quail as they scatter at Milo’s bark.
Still undecided whether it’s worth it.
Is it really good 2 be alive? I’m not so sure.
If you’re not really living, what’s the point?
I don’t know how many stages of emotion there are supposed to be after trying to end your life but I’ve gone through maybe 50 so far.
Right now I’m feeling kinda depressed that they saved me. Everyone already seems to be going back to their life & forgetting about me.
They gave me some meds, preached & lectured & sympathized.
Belberg’s freaked out, Dante is attentive...but in the end it’s my life 2 live.
Don’t worry tweeps I’m not gonna do it again.
Not today anyway.
Save your phone calls & panicked tweets. I’ll keep you posted.
I don’t know how people do it. How do they hear about death/tragedy/earthquakes, the horror show of life, and then go back 2 their own shit?
I feel the pain over & over again.
I mentalize, I soul-lize, I heart-lize.
It destroys me.
Everybody’s focused on themselves.
People only have so much time & energy 4 other people’s problems.
Becca’s back at work. Marla’s back in the burbs. Layla’s back at the clinic. Belberg is still beating himself up but only cuz I hurt his ego
I think I’ve broken thru w/Dante tho.
He’s always had this semi-detached, yeah yeah I’m tired of this shit attitude toward me.
He’s taken time off work.
He’s laser focused on keeping me alive.
Could be love.
Could be guilt.
But he’s meeting me, at last.
Meeting me in a place he’s never been before.
I think it’s hard 4 him but it’s also real & deep & soul-connected.
We stayed up all night talking & crying & just being.
I’m watching him sleep right now, all curled up w/Milo, two sweet spoons.
Long sleepless night of anxiety.
So many sirens.
Police helicopters shining bright lights down.
Were they searching for me?
I kinda freaked out, woke Dante up twice. Even in his new sensitive state he wasn’t pleased.
I don’t know why I can’t learn not 2 do that.
He finally convinced me it was the cops raiding #OccupyOakland & had nothing to do with me.
Ok I know: I’m pre-Occupied w/my own shit.
Then I was up all night worried about my friends on the street. I’m not really tuned in 2 this whole Occupy thing but I know some are there.
I bet rayRay has company in Santa Rita today.
So glad I’m off the streets & outta that scene.
Tear gas is not really my scent.
I haven’t been sleeping well.
I don’t know if these pills are working.
I have to go see Dr. Belberg again today.
It’s more like I’m his therapist now, helping him get over fucking up & nearly losing yet another patient.
For this I pay him?
He says he really wants to focus on my relationship w/Dad & how 2 patch it.
Better go to Costco 4 a tub of emotional spackle.
Hey Goddess: how can I remain the self-absorbed navelgazer I was born 2 be when u keep shaking the earth beneath my feet?
And to the #OccupyOakland tweeps begging me 2 join: I’ve got all I can handle just occupying my own tired shattered body right now.
Besides there is NO WAY u are gonna get me to face off with 500 teargassing cops.
I try to stay as far from cops as possible at all times!
The world around me keeps intruding on the world inside my head. I’m not sure which one is more troubled & turbulent.
These earthquakes are really unsettling.
I know they’re small but there are some things Milo takes for granted…
…and one of them is that he has solid ground on which to place his tiny brindled paws.
He REALLY hates earthquakes.
As for Occupy, I totally support & sympathize & want 2 smash the power but I am just out of the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.
U have no idea how hard that was to write.
I think Belberg would be so proud.
Oh yeah Belberg – a whole lotta shaking going on there too.
I don’t want 2 overtweet right now tho. Belberg thinks I’m “oversharing.” Ha! U think? Hey doc it saved my life – more than I can say for u!
Time to take the bull by the balls.
The mountain won’t come to you, you gotta climb the mountain.
Or however those go!
I’m tired of waiting 4 my dad 2 be who I need him 2 be.
Dante’s so wistful & angst-ridden but makes this one piercing penetrating point:
Zoe, he said, “you may not ever get the love you need from your dad.
Maybe he’s not capable of giving it. So u set yourself up to fall.
U wish people would just accept YOU for who u are, but then u burden THEM w/unrealistic expectations, that are impossible for them 2 meet.
I know it hurts, because yr dad & u are so alike in so many ways, but he isn’t the giving, loving, feeling soul u are. It just isn’t there.”
He says I need to accept my dad & move on & not let his judgment of me or the disappointment I feel from him dictate the course of my life.
We are all interconnected but still individuals, Dante says. U have the power 2 break free of his dark orbit & amaze the world w/your light.
It’s going 2 be hard & it’s going 2 be painful but I need 2 stop avoiding this & have it out w/Dad.
Otherwise I’ll keep falling off walls.
Can u get dehydrated from crying too much?
My soul feels parched, like I’ve drained my body of all its water and salt.
At some point I hope I’ll run out of tears.
I’ve spent 3 days now wailing & bawling & screaming at my dad.
I am clear-eyed enuf 4 the moment 2 bring my tweeps up 2 date. I bit the bullet & went to my dad’s. I alerted Marla I was coming.
He gave me a stiff, awkward welcome, a half-hug, no kiss.
He didn’t know what 2 say.
He told me he loved me.
Hollow empty bullshit.
I asked him if he wanted 2 know why I tried 2 off myself.
He said that’s not easy for 4 him 2 hear & he didn’t “want 2 do this.”
At which point I took a deep breath & pretty much let him have it.
I asked him why he didn’t love me anymore.
I told him that when he doesn’t want 2 see me it makes me feel like I have some awful disease. He said – get this – well, u DO have Hep C.
I told him I was sorry Mom died & that I wasn’t there for her or for him but why can’t he let me be who I am & love me 4 who I am?
Finally he said Zoe, u are my daughter.
Of course I love u.
But u are a selfish little girl who only cares about herself.
Gee, I can’t imagine where that inherited personality trait came from.
Happy Halloween everyone.
I’m going as a functional human being.