Conversations Held on the Exit Ramp of I-35
CONTENT WARNINGS: suicide, mothers
I tried to kill myself yesterday, and today
I am in the car with my mother. We are
driving down the highway in a charged silence,
the weight of words unspoken fighting to leak from our lips,
holding our tongues down.
The exit ramp is clogged with cars stuck in my throat and I
can’t speak, but the radio won’t play and the traffic won’t move and
my mother has never handled the quiet well.
I hear her start to cry, as
our car comes to a dead stop,
the weight of words unspoken falling down her face in streams of salt water,
my own tears eager to follow in her footsteps
like I always have.
Silence suddenly seems kinder.
I feel my mother's love like an open wound.
We are both raw with the scratch of a box cutter against my wrists.
My scars ache.
Our car inches forward as we wipe away snot with paper napkins tucked into the console,
and the radio clicks on to a song from the 80s,
and my throat fights to swallow, but it
Silence would be kinder, but instead we say we love each other
because we do and
we do not talk about my aching scars or
the scrape of metal against flesh.
Instead, we sing along to an 80s song I can’t remember while the car
creeps closer to the ground.
And we go home.