“You look so good today!” Charlie exclaimed after entering my house. “You just washed your hair. Let me smell it. You really do fix up nice. You’re such a good looking man.”
Charlie brushed my wet hair with his hand and then gave me a strong hug in greeting. I relished the close contact with him and the hug. I’ve been so lonely today.
Maggie was just about going bonkers at Charlie’s arrival. She was doing her little happy dance in the floor at Charlie’s feet. Standing up on her hind legs.
“Yes! I love you too!” Charlie told her as he reached down and rubbed the nape of her neck vigorously.
“How has your day been?” Charlie asked me. “I worry about that anxiety you’ve been experiencing. You really struggle. Don’t you?”
“The anxiety has been nonexistent today,” I thankfully replied. “I’ve felt better today than I probably have in a week.”
“You can’t sit at home on the 4th all alone today,” Charlie told me then growing worried. He felt I was feeling up for some socialization since I was feeling so well mentally. “Ride down with us to the cookout. I cooked thirty hamburgers and you can have as many as you like. The 4th only comes once a year!”
Charlie smelled strongly of charcoal and char-grilled beef. I am sure I smelled strongly of cigarettes as well the way I have smoked today. We were the odorous duo this afternoon. I refrained from telling him that I could probably make it to the cookout if I had a few beers to drink on the way down there and while we were there to stop the anxiety. He would have most likely scolded me. He knows as well as dad of my various disorders and addictions.
"I better stay at home,” I replied feeling my social anxieties welling up at the thought of it all. It started to depress me as I felt left out as usual. “Big gatherings make me nervous. I don’t need an anxiety attack today. I really, really wish I could go. I’ve been lonely today and writing a lot on my blog as a sure sign of it.”
“We need to find you a social pill to take,” Charlie said. “It hurts my heart that you are all alone today. I want you to be able to enjoy being around us and having a good time.”
Charlie was in a big hurry. He had to take a shower, change clothes, and be at Liz and J.L’s within the hour and they live in Auburn. He brought me two hamburgers and a bunch of grilled wieners for Maggie. We took my medications and Charlie made me count my pills as always.
“Eleven,” I said after pointing at each one in my hand.
“Now, let me see you take them,” Charlie replied as he smiled. “Good. You know your father would never forgive me if I let you go without your medications. He thinks that is the only way you can stay well.”
The word well snarled in my brain and thoughts. “I haven’t felt well for years,” I thought sarcastically.
“Charlie? Does dad hate me?” I then asked as he stood by my piano looking through his mail he gets to my mailbox. “He treats me differently than he does my brother and sister. He is so glad when they call him on the phone and sounds surly and disappointed when I do. He also never comes to see me unless it is to give me my medications.”
Charlie looked surprised by my question.
“He loves you more than anything,” Charlie replied emphatically in dad’s defense. “He does more for you than he does for his other two kids. Keep that in mind.”
“I just feel like he is ashamed of me. They never invite me to go see my brother and sister on the holidays. I never get to travel with them and they hide it from me until the last minute before they leave.”
“He thinks you probably wouldn’t want to go anyway with your anxieties and your mental illnesses,” Charlie told me. “He doesn’t want to worry you and get you upset. Do you really think you could’ve flown to Washington?”
“No, probably not,” I replied morosely and disappointedly. I so wanted to go though. I love my brother and his wife and would love to see my nieces. I haven’t seen them in a year.
Charlie soon left and I almost wished I went with him which was extremely odd for me. I had written earlier how well I felt mentally today. Could I have made it through a very social 4th of July cookout? I will never know, but I’ve got to start overcoming my fears and going. Charlie would have loved to have me along. We talk a mile a minute when we are together. My mental illnesses make me miss out on so much in life and I am tired of it. I am ready to fight to get better – to be a tenacious little son of a bitch. I am going to drive my doctor crazy till we find other or better drugs to take to help me with my problems. My current regimen is just not working satisfactorily. Dad is going to scream bloody murder, though. He thinks I do fine on the medications I currently take. Of course, he only sees me thirty minutes every night so how would he know? He thinks I am just being paranoid about my medications when I say they aren’t working. He is so afraid that the quiet status quo we have developed over the years is going to get interrupted while I suffer in silence – afraid to speak up.