What Follows My Noose

23 Oct



When I pulled up to the motel I encountered the front desk clerk and used a false name to present myself. I had a large bag with me but not much clothing. All the designs I planned I planned very carefully. The large bag held my tools. These tools would be the tools I would use to kill myself.


But let me begin in 2008. While living in North Carolina, I was disenchanted with my living situation. There was no work, I was struggling financially, the jobs I could land I could lose. I was told I was rude, too aggressive, impolite, always in a hurry. They never said I didn’t have a brain, never said I wasn’t a quick study – the southerners didn’t like me personally. I had few friends – I felt an emotional hole I could not fill. It showed in my house – it was minimal. I had little interest in improving it. It was just a house. A roof over my head. I would speak with old friends from New York – Long Island. A friend there pleaded with me to return. She used to call me “sister” and that “you need to come back to your family,” that I was, “a New Yorker at heart.” All the women I loved seemed to live in other states. There was no gay scene in Raleigh.  The gay bars catered to men; I had to face to it: I needed to move, I could no longer stand listening to the silence.

I have to tell you something, but please (and this is a warning) don’t make it a habit of repeating my stories to just anyone. I’ll tell you. I was lonely and needed friendship and I needed to be needed. The dog was a rescue, she cost me only $100.00. Within the first six months of having her she got into some rat bait and nearly died of toxic poisoning. The bill for that took me two years to pay off. I still have my dog. I love her (I wanted to kill her before I went to the motel, but I’ll explain that later).

Following my decision to move and head north, I rented out my North Carolina home very quickly. I moved with my dog during a brutal February snowstorm.  After six weeks of living in Nyack, New York, near to the girl I thought I loved, and who I thought could be a potential mate, I’d come to realize that we had nothing in common after all. Before this admission, however, I made one attempt to kill her with a pillow to her face, crushing off and disassembling her breathing . She was quite fat and couldn’t move so well. With this knowledge, with my strong back and hands, I could hold pressure to her face, and I calculated – I scoff at its brilliance, but I determined she’d be out in 7 to 10 minutes though I would be sweating profusely and would need to hydrate during the process, I would have courageously seen this act through but I decided against it because her two children were there. They had alternating visits. I probably should have killed her during a weekend when the children were with their other mother.  I have to remember that long distance relationships rarely work out and that hindsight is a bitch.

I drove south about 100 miles and then drove off highway to long winding country roads for another thirty miles until I reached Stockton, New Jersey. I took a room on a horse farm. The woman I was living with, she and I got along okay, we didn’t have to say too much, and she was nice enough; it was her dogs that were crazy and I was somewhat fearful of them but I didn’t let it show and often threw them a ball to break up their own monotony. They weren’t very smart and would, sadly, fall for things very easily. I would point the penlight at an array of objects, the laser going in circles or up or down or across the floor and walls, sometimes they would crash into the TV, while my dog and I sat watching their foolishness.

Anyway, about this woman. She had just begun dating and now had a boyfriend she’d met on Craig’s List. When she told me he was a former member of the Pagans, I didn’t say too much but only looked to her one night while she was cleaning up the dinner dishes and offered this, “Do you know anything about the Pagans?” She feigned ignorance (but that was often the case), but the Pagans were a motley crue – felons, convicts, bad dudes; she said she didn’t know.  As a couple these two were not “spring chickens” as they say, so I was quite surprised by what followed next.

When he and I got into it one day it was because the two Dobermans wore collars for her invisible fence, but my dog wasn’t wearing one – I didn’t want her on a invincible fence collar because that would take time for her to learn and I didn’t want her to go through the exercise because she was a smart dog and wouldn’t run off the property like the two other dogs. Anyway the Pagan motorcycle guy yells at me and says I was not being responsible for my dog and that   my dog had the advantage with having more room to roam. I was leaning up against my car responding to this by saying that I wasn’t about to put an invisible fence collar on my dog, and before I could got out the next sentence I was thrown into my car door, I struggled to get one leg in, and I did, but Pagan guy was forcing the door closed on my left leg and my dog was not in the car with me. So in my anger I pushed back the door and with this he lost his footing and halted his advance on me.

That same night I packed my things – it was Mother’s Day and the next day I was starting a contract for New Jersey Motor Vehicle. I went to the Red Roof Inn.


Three Months Later

By September I had a change in luck. I’d seen this ad for a house share in Ewing, New Jersey. A safe enough town flanking the Delaware river, Ewing would offer me all the things I cared for in a small town without having to drive far or, heaven forbid, to a dreadful mall. This made my life much easier.  Easy to get food, pharmacy items, and so forth, all of this was available within three miles:  a pizzeria, a coffee shop, several small Italian restaurants, a Chinese take-out, a nail salon, a barber, an ice cream store, three dry cleaners (I don’t use a dry cleaner much but it’s nice that they’re there), a Mexican restaurant, two churches (one Catholic, the other Presbyterian), a large park to walk the dog, a towpath that runs along the river, a good gym to work out, a post office and a hardware store (this last one being very important).  It seemed that everything I needed was here in Ewing.


One Year Later

I’ve tried to reach my friend in Long Island, the one who called me ‘sister’ it doesn’t look too good. I guess now that I’m only living within two hours from her, she’s not calling me. I drove to the cemetery where my brothers and parents are buried and said a prayer. I brought my dog and introduced her to my dead family. I got some nasty looks from other visitors but I didn’t pay it much attention. I wish I could see my nieces and nephews but too many years have gone by between us and the chances of building a relationship now are next to zero.I have not had a good time meeting friends here – I find the gay women are exceedingly clannish, they don’t allow for new faces, they are often phony, catty, and honestly, if I take away one friend, I’ll consider myself a lucky woman.


 The Decision

I went to the hardware store and bought one 8 foot rope with a 1” thickness, four pieces of 3’ feet rope and two eye hooks. From home I packed two scarves, a radio, a writing tablet, my memorabilia box that held my cards and letters, a box of my writing (some handwritten, some on tape) and an extra set of car keys and a drywall drill. While at home I printed out a list of my passwords and taped this to the monitor. I left manila folders on the coffee table. These folders contained instructions for my lawyer – these instructions take care of my North Carolina property. I left out my dog’s medical history and instructions for her care, and then I doubled-back. I looked to her as she whale-eyed me from the Berber rug she often laid upon. I commissioned her for a walk and she came readily, tail wagging, we walked the woods behind the townhouse, often isolated, we’d use this as a shortcut to the park. I spoke with her for a very long time before taking out the scarf. My plan was to place the scarf down into her mouth and suffocate her. I would then bring her lifeless body with me to the motel.

My plan was to kill myself in an out of the way area; I didn’t want to be close to where I was currently living.  My good manners were always one of my finest attributes. I thought my roommate would appreciate this seeing how he suffers a tremendous case of obsessive compulsiveness and paranoia. There would be some blood, maybe some feces, and then of course the dead dog. No, he would clearly have a stroke of some kind. It was decided: I would kill myself in a remote part of New Jersey in a motel on the side of the road.

I got busy right away. I turned up the radio, wrote a note saying goodbye (I blamed no one, I just missed my family and wanted to see them again). I separated the shorter four pieces of rope and placed two each to my left and right jean pocket. I emptied the contents of my memorabilia, cards from previous birthdays, letters from friends, concert stubs, and spread them across the bed. The writing I had created from ages 13 through 62, the writing that never reached a publisher, never won a contest, was never read by friends or family, was burning in the motel bathtub. After I did this I knew the fire alarms would soon go off. I had drilled two holes and pushed the eyehooks into a ceiling beam. I moved the desk chair underneath the eyehooks, placed one scarf in my mouth pushing it down as far as I could and then I stood on a stool, and taking the noose I tested its strength by pulling the drop dead cord around my wrist first and it held. I took the rope from both pockets tying my feet first. I balanced myself back to the stool where my head met the noose and I pulled the drop cord to shorten the slack. In my last move I tied my hands and kicked out the desk chair.


The Crossing

It went very fast from that point. I felt a terrible pain in my neck, my entire being was imploding, My eyes went lifeless but not before I saw the smoke coming from the bathroom and heard the fire alarm. Then I died. I began walking naked through a long windowless tunnel but before I left I saw myself, my shell, hanging in the motel. I guess I was successful in killing myself. I was surprised as there wasn’t much success in my mortal life.  I heard from mysterious voices after that. I was pulled for a minute into a very dark place and then out of the darkness I saw a silhouette of a man. He told me “Come this way.”

Once in the light I saw that the man was my oldest brother, and standing next to him were my other two brothers. Behind them were my mother and my father – they were quite young, not the ages they had died. And then I saw myself: I was only twenty-nine. I couldn’t figure this because you see, I was 62 when I died. I saw friends – I saw one friend who had died in 1996 when he was 39. He held me and said I looked beautiful. He said, “You will like it here as we transform.”

I went off to some part of another secret spirit, I rose up in the growth spurt of spring, and then came as a windstorm in November. I folded into a new infant’s eyelash. I was around in different ways for different reasons.

Two years later I was called to the tunnel, a crossover was beginning and I was to meet someone who was very significant in my life. To welcome them in their crossover I transformed myself again. When I got to the tunnel I saw my dog but she was not alone. I called, “Come, girl, come, don’t be afraid,”  and she ran to me. I fell to the ground to welcome her. We played for some time and I said to her, “I could never hurt you.” To the stranger standing over me I said, “Who are you?”

“Jo, I am Dr. Kay, don’t you recognize me?”  I hadn’t and so he continued, “When word got out about your suicide and that you left the dog, your roommate brought her to me for adoption, and since she was a patient of mine and such a good girl, I took her in. We lived together for two years.”

I was still confused. “Dr. Kay, my dog would only be 8 years old. Clearly she  would have lived longer than that.”

“Yes,” Dr. Kay said, “Do you have any idea how much she missed you? Nothing made her happy after you left. She wasn’t eating, wasn’t playing, she was lifeless.”

“So, she died of an illness? What? Please tell me.”

“Jo,” he sad sadly, “the animal hospital endured structural damage through fire, the whole place went up in smoke, I was in my office with Gem going over some paperwork at the time when the accident happened. An experiment in the laboratory set off one of the flammable gases causing a massive explosion that rocked the entire building.”

“Dr. Kay, I’m so sorry-”

“Yes, it was very sad. Oh, well, isn’t that the strangest. They’re calling me! I have to go!”

“I don’t understand, “ I told him.

“The surgery. It’s over. I made it.” Dr. Kay was gone.

Time was now so casual, there was no need to rush. So I walked with my dog to the edge of a cliff that was smooth and linear, where we never fell, where there was no ending, and we just went on.

© Terry Rachel, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: