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Authors: Paula Bomer

Inside Madeleine (21 page)

BOOK: Inside Madeleine
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I can’t handle it anymore.

I’m upset. Deal with it. You can’t handle anything. That’s the whole problem. You just run away when things get rough.

It’s not that simple.

It’s not that complicated either, Mark. Either you’re in it or you’re not. Either you make it work or you don’t.

I tried, Maddy. I tried as much as I can and I can’t give you what you need.

I cooked dinner all the time. I bought your favorite beer.

Stop it.

Why after all this time are you leaving me? Why? I’ll be better. You’re killing me.

Listen I’m sorry. Nothing’s wrong with you. We don’t belong together.

Goddamn you. You think I can’t take the truth.

You want the truth?


You’re too weak. And you’re killing yourself.

I’m weak? Because I love you and want to make this work, I’m weak?

Not because of that.

Why then? Why am I weak?

I don’t know. You just are. Jesus, I can’t talk about this anymore.

Look at me. Look at me. You call me weak and you can’t even look at me when you say it. Fucking pussy.

I’m moving out tomorrow. I’ll pay half the rent until you find a cheaper place.

Fuck you. I don’t need your help.

I’m sorry Maddy.

Don’t apologize to me. I don’t want your pity.

I love you.

Fuck you. Get out of my house. Get out now. Get out of here.


She ran and ran until there was nowhere to go. Through the fridge, through her childhood, through her adolescence, lickety-split, running through the cookbooks, up and down the alley behind their house, round and round the block with her mother, swinging the jump rope over her head again and again, her feet moving, skipping. One two three. One two three. Put
it here Mark, put it here, make me come again and again, I’ll show you, look at me, my fist in me, my arm in me, fuck me again and again and then what? Good God she’s tired and scared and where to next? Stuck in this hospital, in an anorexic ward, some asshole lady shrink wanting to talk about self esteem and image and draw a picture of yourself how you imagine yourself, what does she think, that I’m some stupid kid and playing with crayons will make me feel better. Maddy draws a picture of a starlet-type girl, voluptuous, but not fat, with sunglasses and lipstick. Is this how you see yourself, the shrink asks, looking at Maddy with eyes so widely open it looks like it hurts, looking at her so sincerely, leaning forward in her chair, what do you think about this picture, Madeleine. I think I want big tits again, you moron cunt, Maddy thinks, all the while smiling and saying, I don’t know, that’s how I used to look I guess.

Big floppy breasts, big fleshy thighs he grabbed onto, round rolling stomach he kissed and bit and now what does she have to give him or anyone? Running to work, her uniform so clean and straight, not one stain, how can that be, after work, leaning over the sink at midnight in the bathroom, scrubbing out the spots of ketchup and gravy with a laundry brush and detergent, her back hurting, but do it now, she thinks rather than put it off until later. Slipping into bed with him so quietly, he doesn’t wake, getting up an hour before him in the morning and showering, wash hair then body, then face, then shave legs and then off to work the breakfast shift for Jane. Get there half an hour early and drink three cups of coffee and smoke three cigarettes while
organizing the waitress station, clean ketchup bottles, no gook around the edges, fill salt and pepper shakers, wipe down all the menus, clean the coffee machines with a wire scrub brush, and then what? Then what? Work lunch and dinner shifts if possible, which it almost always is because so many lazy shits who don’t care if their bills are late, who don’t care if their phone gets shut off for a few days.

Men she waits on looking at her like she’s not much of anything, not the way they used to look at her and it’s not because she’s waitressing, she knows, no, it’s because she looks like shit. No more of that. I want my tits back, you stupid moron cunt shrink, she thinks. I’ll get them back, they haven’t gone away forever. The shrink says, Maddy, are you listening to me? You look very far off. Maddy? Where are you? What are you thinking about? Do you like it when your mother visits you here, or does it upset you?

When my mother visits. Maddy thinks, bringing her Tupperware sweating with lukewarm food, sitting in the common room, nervous and watching the clock because she always visits for one hour, no more no less, miserable and talking about things Maddy couldn’t care less about, her sister, her cousins, a new item of furniture in the house. Do I like it when she visits, Maddy says, I don’t know. I don’t feel one way or the other about her visits. I can tell you though, she says to the shrink,
doesn’t like it. But who would. This place is pretty depressing. You probably don’t like it. But they pay you to be here. The shrink says, I didn’t ask whether your mom or I liked visiting
with you, I asked if you liked it when your mom visits. There is an edge of impatience in the shrink’s voice and Maddy thinks, poor cow eyes, she hates her job. Understandably.

Do you want to let your husband come and visit the shrink asks, because Maddy, after passing out cold at work, her boss unable to arouse her, while being carried away by paramedics with an oxygen mask over her face, pulled the mask off herself as soon as she was conscious and said, do not let my husband visit me. Okay? You hear me, and the paramedic put the oxygen mask back on her and said okay, okay, just breathe, that’s it, just breathe. No, she says to Dr. Barrabo, I absolutely do not want him here. It might be a good idea, says the shrink.

I’m too tired, she thinks, I’m tired and I can’t stop moving and I don’t know where to go, but she doesn’t say that to the big-eyed, tilted-head bitch in front of her. She says, I just need to get away from here, start over somewhere else, I’m fine, Dr. Barrabo, I
to gain weight, I do. I believe you, Maddy, says the shrink, but there are still things we should talk about. And I don’t think running away is the answer. Fine Maddy thinks, just fine for you, you stay here in the stinking awful loser town, I’ve got better places to go, but she says, I don’t want to run away, I just want to have a fresh start, that’s all. The shrink looks so serious, so cow-eyed, Maddy shivers she wants to hit her so badly, change that awful expression on her long all-eyeball face. Dr. Barrrabo says, I think moving could be a good thing, but first you should stay here and resolve some issues, so you don’t take it all with you.

Take it all? Resolve some issues? Maddy thinks, how do you resolve your life, dissolve your life, don’t take it with you? Leave it behind? Wrap it up in a nice package, put a bow on it? Why not take it with me, it’s my life, I own it. But she says, I feel resolved about things. Really I do, all the while thinking, yes sir shrinky dink, thinking God is our forty five minutes up yet and then it is and Maddy’s alone again and she hears her neighbors cough and she gets up and walks around a bit, towing her IV alongside herself. Smiling at this nurse, hello to that nurse, goes into the common room and watches TV for four hours straight, takes her meal in there because she can, because she’s such a well behaved patient, they all love her. Time for weigh in, standing in line with the other girls, pussies, she thinks, pussies all of them, except maybe that one, the really really skinny one, the one with dark hair on her face, bald patches on her head, smells bad even though you have to shower here everyday, looks like death. Maddy smiles at her on the way back from another happy weigh-in, good job Maddy, one and a half pounds today, the girl stares back without blinking, her bottom jaw sticking out in an very unattractive way.

The girl’s name is Nancy, some crazed teenager, only sixteen, looks like she’s forty going on a hundred. Maddy hears the nurses talking about Nancy, voices low, pissed-off sounding, words used to describe her are hopeless and disgusting and sad. Maddy walks by her bed and smiles at her again and again, finally, out of control, foam on the edges of her mouth, Nancy says, what the fuck are you looking at? and Maddy just
laughs. Late at night Maddy walks up to her bed and she’s awake, Maddy knows it, even though she’s laying there stiff as a board not moving, Maddy walks straight up to the bed and looks at this girl, this girl with two deep sockets for eyes this girl who stinks of rot, and says, want to go smoke a cigarette? Nancy gets up without saying anything and they both go into the common room, the night nurse hasn’t found them yet, she’s still in her little lit-up box of a station at the end of the hall, the two girls go in there and Maddy produces two stale Marlboros and a pack of matches and they both sit down on a couch, right next to each other. Maddy strikes a match and lights Nancy’s first, the girl says nothing, Maddy says you’re welcome, the girl says nothing but smiles, or kind of smiles, her teeth as green as moss, her mouth open and that’s where the smell is coming from the strongest, Maddy thinks, from inside her, coming out her holes, her mouth, her ears for god’s sake. The two girls sit there and look at each other and look away, comfortable either way, sitting very close, and smoke.

BOOK: Inside Madeleine
9.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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