Posted in Almost Dorothy

Answering the Call


Sometimes when it’s really quiet in the house, I think ma is dead or locked out in the backyard. This morning when I wake up I find ma on the floor with a chocolate chip cookie in her panties. I swear, I’m not lying. Not even a little.

I check her pulse and she has a pulse, so I just left her there pulsing on the floor and I give her a pillow. I think ma had a rough night at the call center. A rough night saving lives for nothing cause she makes nothing because ma is a philanthropist. When she wakes up, she eats the chocolate chip cookie. Then she hands me this from the Switchboard:

“Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide. For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts. More people die by suicide in Florida than by homicide. Florida has the 2nd highest rate of suicide in the nation.”

It only takes ma two-days to learn how to save lives, to minimize attempts, to keep people pulsing when they just want to quit. I saved 3 lives last night, ma says. But most of the night the phones were dead.

Ma’s cell phone is dead because she forgot to charge the battery. It’s not a sign. It’s nothing to worry about. We all die, ma says. Some of us just need a cookie till it’s time.

I’m not concerned about ma. Her new job makes her serious. Makes her consider the world as it is and not as she would like it to be. For lunch, ma makes chicken pot pie without the chicken and extra pot. She pours herself a glass of sake. She likes sake. Likes the way it tastes like burning rotten water.

We gotta move out of Florida, ma says. I nod in disarrangement.

We will never leave Florida. Never leave her to fend for herself. Florida needs us just like we need Florida. Swamp-like in summer. Heaven in winter. And just blah in between. In the end, ma says. It’s better not to go. Between you and me, it’s better to stay. Better to sleep on the floor. Just in case someone calls.

LivingWorks logoIf you would like to join Switchboard Miami two-day “suicide first aid” workshop for communities created by LivingWorks,contact Demian Laudisio, Switchboard of Miami, Inc. dlaudisio@switchboardmiami.org 305-358-1640 x 156. When: Tuesday January 10, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. For more information, click save a life.

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I'm not real, but I'm a writer.

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