The Moment Home Readings Buy the Book About The Moments

The Door

I don’t know why that night was different than any other, why that night instead of falling asleep on my wet pillow I crept silently upstairs and into the bathroom.

It happened one night when I was seventeen. In a single moment, the lightbulb went on and the big iron doors to my soul clanged shut. In that single moment everything suddenly made sense.

I guess I had been depressed even as an infant, and certainly suicidal since the age of eight. Nothing terribly dramatic, or bloody, but my pillow was soaked with tears as night after night I failed at smothering myself quietly in my bed. I learned to sob without waking my two sisters, asleep in the bed beside me. I ached to matter to someone, to become visible to someone, to be cared about, to be cared for, to know I was alive and delighted in. To be loved.

I’m sure I thought that, finally, in death, someone would notice me. And miss me.

I don’t know why that night was different than any other, why that night instead of falling asleep on my wet pillow I crept silently upstairs and into the bathroom. I locked the bathroom door and looked at myself in the mirror. It seemed like a long time, looking, waiting for something. I opened the medicine cabinet and one by one emptied every bottle onto the bathroom counter, aspirins, antacids, cold medicine, anihistimines, old antibiotics, old pain meds, sleep aids, you name it. There was a tiny mountain of pills of every shape and color. Methodically, I began to swallow the mountain. One at a time, coolly watching myself in the mirror. I didn’t feel anything.

When the mountain was gone, I took a swallow of water, drinking from the palm of my hand, turned off the light and sat down on the edge of the bathtub. I didn’t know what else to do. It wasn’t too long before mom got up to use the bathroom, rattled the knob and banged on the closed door. After much banging and yelling, I know I eventually got up and unlocked the door. I guess I wanted to be alive, after all.

There was a sense of urgency, a phone call to the doctor it; suddenly seemed very crowded. There was a big glass of warm water with dry mustard that I was told to drink, I vomited, and then the argument about whether I would be taken to the hospital or not. The doctor confirmed that if someone sat up with me and woke me every hour I could stay at home. My dad would sit on the couch, and I fell asleep with my head on his lap. There was a strange comfort that I had been found, and that I had caused such a stir. I thought that maybe somebody loved me, after all.

I woke with a sense of panic and disorientation. Remembered, and then realized that my dad was snoring; and his hand was inside my nightgown, firmly wrapped around my breast. I could hardly breathe. The joke was on me. I had dared to think for a moment that I was loved.

That was the flash. The insight. We all think we ought to be loved; and we think we are capable of love. I realized, with the clarity of a crisp night’s sky, that there is no such thing. We think we love someone, we even tell each other that we do; but in the end, we are each only best interested in ourselves. Love is just a game, to get what we want. I slipped away from his hand and went back into my own bed as the doors banged shut in my soul. And I never cried again.

That was many, many years ago. And it has taken me many, many years to begin to understand love again. I began to learn of love when I met Jesus, and found that I was right. We are all incapable of the kind of love we are created for. But GOD loves me, with the Love I craved even all those years ago. And I can know love by this: that He loves me first, even through my closed doors.


No comments yet, why not leave one of your own?

Leave a Comment or Share Your Story

Please Sign In. Only community members can comment.

The Moment Book

Moments from the SMITH Community

Tomorrowland "Daisy, F3," my son Archer says as we pull into our parking spot. Disneyland’s about to open and we've arrived, just the two of us, our last hoorah before school starts. *** The alarm goes off and I pull the pillow tightly over my head. My husband, Hal, offers to wake the kids so I roll over, fall back asleep until Archer's voice wakes me, this time for good. "Hi, Mommy. It's …
Line Break
With Both Hands Whenever I think of my mother, my mind flips to this story. Not to the whole story, but right to the middle of it, the worst moments of it. For me, that's where the story always starts. My mother was beating the hell out of me. The first few blows seemed to come from every direction as I grabbed my nightgown and pulled it over my head, not …
Line Break
Reasons to be Thankful By Robert Israel They scraped me off the street, my bicycle in a heap nearby, and ever so gingerly placed me on the gurney. A crowd of curious onlookers watched intently, thankful they were not being loaded onto the ambulance. The nurses at the hospital were calming as nurses are wont to be, and administered an intravenous tube of morphine, and soon everything around me became fuzzy and numb, and the …
Line Break
Read More Community Moments →
SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.