Double Yellow Line, Single Red Line

The road winds and winds around the sycamore trees under the blanket of the perpetual afternoon fog. It’s empty—the road, that is—and I don’t quite know how I got here, though I am, like always. I’m lying on the double yellow line, staring up into what would be the heavens if the fog here didn’t cloud everything in North Eastern anonymity. I focus on the asphalt digging its way into my back—its tiny grooves and indentations and places where pebbles break off and get stuck in your shoe. I sprawl my arms out like I’m making a snow angel and wave my fingers around, turning my head and letting my eyes follow to where they point. I’m looking at a tree, and I stare at its bark, picturing running my hands over it and then ripping it off. But it won’t help. It didn’t help the first day, or the second, or the third. After that, I learned to just lie here.

We followed my mom to this spot, on this road. Followed her as she ran away from her demons, from her mind, from us.

An hour before I had to scream and run to the spot I now lie, we were standing in our kitchen in front of a lunch Mom couldn’t stomach and dishes we had long lost motivation to do. She was the one screaming then, shaking. She had been getting an attack like this almost once a day—no amount of meds or therapy seemed to combat genetics.    

The fog rolls on above me, melting into clouds then out, then back in again.

I lie here. For how long, I don’t know. I think I feel the crazy creeping in.

This is just something I do now. It’s as much of my morning routine as brushing my teeth or running fingers through unwashed hair. Dad is busy trying to rebuild our shitty lives. I don’t care enough to want to do anything but come to this road, again and again.

I chased her car here three months ago. She lost it, but I think I did too. It’s been three months and I have no way of knowing where she is. I have no way of knowing whether she’s collapsed in some hotel room somewhere or lying in a hospital bed with a single red line on a screen. That day through the wheezing and yelling she used her last bits of strength to work her way up to leaving, I guess. And she took Dad and I’s last bits of strength with her.

The fog condenses after a while, turning from mist to moist, from wet to sopping. I don’t move, mostly because I think I may just have forgotten how to. Now my skin is not the only thing sticking to the ground—my clothes are plastering me here like I’m one of those billboards in movies, painted on with a comically huge roller by some guy who’s definitely not wearing a harness. I probably look I just got run over, so if a car does manage to make its way down this empty road, they won’t think twice about running me over again.

I look at the tree once more and think of when she used to tuck me in at night. I was a constantly nervous child, and her hands would steady me as I fumbled my way into bed. I slept with the light on, and she knew that, and she didn’t challenge that. She knew exactly what to do to comfort me, but also to push me to do new things, to try to test my anxieties. (Like the time she pushed me to make my own dentist appointment and I almost cried.)

I haven’t been this cold since that day. I shiver as I picture the rain seeping into my pores, flooding my insides. I turn back towards the sky and close my eyes. Rain flows down the bridge of my nose and over the tips of my eyelashes.

I feel the crazy creeping in deeper.