Fuck my life man, here she goes again. Dolores let out a sharp sigh of annoyance as she earmarked the page in the thick AP Economics book she had been reading. She shut the book harder than necessary and rolled over closer to the edge of her bed. She sat there for a minute with her head hanging forward looking down at her toned caramel legs dangling off the bed. I swear I can't do this anymore. Why does she have to start with this every time I have something important to study for? She's always goin on and on and on and on and oooon about how well she wants me to do and she's definitely just TOO damn happy to brag to anybody who will listen to her ass, when I get an A and shit. You'd think she'd learn how to hold this bullshit inside at least a little by now. Just a little! She pushed her untamed, thick, mid-back length, perfectly spiraled curls out of her face and slid off the bed.
The sound of her mother's sobbing became louder as Dolores made her way towards the living room. The smell of dry, cheap chardonnay and fresh cigarette smoke swirled around the room. The combination of the two smells formed a repulsive odor that over the years Dolores had come to associate with the onset of her mother's "episodes".
"What's wrong Mama? Why are you crying?," asked Dolores, trying to muster up as much concern and sincerity as her razor thin patience would allow her voice to carry at the moment. "Oh Mija, I didn't mean for you to hear me like this," her mother said, her breath reeking of the cheap chardonnay. Yeeeahfuckinright, Dolores thought. "I'm so sorry," her mother choked out through alcohol soaked sobs, "I'm just wondering why I should even be alive anymore. I have nothing to live for." Dolores could feel herself clenching her jaws and the all too familiar tears threatening to build up and overflow from her tear ducts. She hated when her mother got this bad. She noticed the emptied bottle of wine on the floor by her mother's foot. She must not be on her meds, Dolores concluded. I wonder for how long. "Mama, don't talk like that, okay? Please? I know you're feeling sad right now, but you know you're gonna be okay." Her mother began to cry harder causing her to slump forward slightly on the couch. Dolores stood in front of where her mother was sitting, looking down on her, wishing silently in her mind that either she or her mother would teleport to another place and time. She looked around the room as if looking for a way out. Her eyes stopped at the wall behind the couch. It was decorated with professional portrait photos of Dolores at various ages and a few of Dolores and her mother. She noticed how happy and full of life her mother looked in the photographs, particularly one Dolores vaguely remembered taking. They were at the beach, her mother was sitting in a beach chair gazing down with a smile of content at the three year old version of Dolores curled up on her lap. Little Dolores was completely wrapped in a brightly colored beach towel save for the few unruly curls that escaped confinement, and suckling her thumb as she looked up at the camera. The sun was reflecting off the naturally bronzed skin of both mother and daughter, creating a soft glow around them in the picture. The moment in time had been captured so perfectly it could have easily been mistaken for an advertisement in a magazine. Daddy must have taken this. My life was so good before he took off, she thought. The mother let out a sharp gasp as she sobbed causing Dolores to avert her eyes back to the distraught, fragile, little woman in front of her. She studied the top of her mother's head as she continued to cry. Dolores had the same thick, dark brown almost black, untamed, curly hair as her mother. While staring at the intertwining locks of hair, she was suddenly caught in another memory of being a little girl nestled in her mama's arms and methodically twirling her mama's curls around her tiny little fingers. She would stretch the curl to its full length, let it spring back to its natural state, stretch it out again, and then wrap the strands around her finger to reform the curl. Playing in her mother's curls had always made Dolores smile.
"No. No I'm not," her mother’s voice pitifully interjected into her thoughts, "this time I'm gonna really do it. I'm going to kill myself. I can't stop them from saying it. So they must be right. I have to do it. Then everything will be better for everyone. Do you want me to tell you how I'm going to do it?" Her mother reached for her daughter’s hand and pulled her to sit down beside her on the couch. Dolores sat down and let out a sharp sigh, making no to effort to hide her disgust. "No Mom I don't want to know because you're not going to do anything. You know this and I know this, so I don't see what's the point of even sayin you're gonna do it. If you were gonna do it you wouldn't even say anything. You'd just do it." “That’s what you think Mija. I never wanted to be a burden to you. It shouldn’t be like this. You’re 17. You have so much to live for. Everything about you is beautiful. I can’t control the thoughts anymore. They just keep coming, no matter how hard I try to drown them out. I’m draining your life and I just can’t keep living knowing I’m killing your spirit.” Dolores disdainfully stared at her mother, studying her as if she were trying to figure out who this crying nutcase was disguised as her mother. In all of the near 18 years of life, she had never seen her mother this off base or delusional. “MOM, STOP TALKING LIKE THAT!” Dolores startled herself with how loud she had raised her voice. “I can’t deal with you talking like this all the time. This getting drunk and crying routine is what’s a burden to me, Mom. You don’t take your medications and then have these big over the top and toooootally unnecessary crying fits when the voices and thoughts get to be too much. Why in the hell can’t you just try to avoid all of this and just take your damn meds?!” Her mother stared blankly at her daughter with tear glazed bloodshot red eyes. The weight of the tears that had been welling up since she entered the room had become too heavy for Dolores to contain anymore. Her face was flushed and her ears were hot. She could feel each teardrop as it took it’s turn exiting her lower lid, sliding down the curve of the apple of her cheeks, and eventually off the edge of her face altogether. She wanted her mother to fall off the edge altogether. She wanted to fall off the edge altogether. She wanted one of them to fall off the edge altogether. It was getting to be far too much for her to handle her mother’s psychotic outbursts, in addition to trying to maintain a normal high school senior’s responsibility. She had finals coming up in eight weeks and graduation quickly approaching. She didn’t want to have to worry about anything more than which dress she was going to wear to the ceremony, or what university life would be like. Instead for the past four years she had been dutifully watching over her mother: making sure she took her meds, she went to her doctor appointments, and making sure she didn’t wander off when she’d enter into her delusions. She had become the parent in this relationship. This is so goddamn unfair, she allowed her mind to hiss at her. She looked at her mother in disgust, but felt her face twisting up and stopped. Dolores knew in her heart and her mind that it was not her mother’s fault that she was a schizophrenic. “Who in their right mind would want to deal with this and have to be away from a girl as beautiful as you?”, she recalled her mother asking when she first tried to explain her illness to Dolores seven years prior. “I wish I wasn’t sick Sweetheart. I wish I could be a better mommy to you. I’m going to go away for a little while so I can try to get better.” Dolores remembered how she had cried the day her father took her to visit her mother, who at the time (unbeknownst to Dolores) had been checked into a psychiatric ward after a failed suicide attempt, when she found out her mother wasn’t going to be coming home as she had promised.
The pain she felt then was the same pain she felt now. It was an icy cold pain, that both warms and freezes at the same time causing the senses to resort to feeling numbness to avoid feeling the intensity of the pain. It hurt to be in so much pain she was numb. No wonder she named me Dolores. Either she knew life wasn’t gonna give me nothing but pain or she knew she was just going to be pain in my ass she thought, laughing to herself at the irony in the Spanish meaning of her name, “pain”, her life and her and her mother’s relationship. There had definitely been more pain than anything else, especially after her father had left for good five years earlier. He said in a brief letter he would later send, he couldn’t deal with his wife’s illness anymore and he didn’t want to separate his daughter from her mother. For the first two years, Dolores felt he should have taken her. She had long since stop thinking about it.
Despite her acknowledgment and understanding of her mother’s lack of fault in having this illness and her own unwillingness to abandon her mother like the rest of the family had, at the moment she was tired of dealing with it. Dolores raised her hands to wipe her face. She sniffled a little and then after a moment said in a quiet, almost defeated tone, “Whatever Mom. Do whatever you want. I’m over all this. I can’t do it. I’m tired.” She got up off the couch. “I think you should go to sleep and sober up. The alcohol isn’t helping you.” And with that she turned to walk back to her room. “Dolores, I’m sorry. I really am. I wish I could fix all of this. I wish your mother wasn’t crazy. I love you, Sweetie.” Her mother’s words followed her down the hallway but were met by an already shut door.
It was 6:26 AM. She had been awoken out of her sleep because she was coughing. As she walked toward the kitchen to get a bottle of water, she saw the light from the TV in the living room flickering. Mom must be up. She better have taken her medications. I hope for both our sake she’s feeling better because I’m gonna end up going crazy too. She half smiled at the thought of her and her mother sharing a room in a psych ward. As she approached the living room she said, “Morning Mom did you--” Dolores didn’t finish the sentence. On the couch her mother was sprawled out, her mouth caked in almost dry mix of blood and vomit. She had cut both of her wrists. Dolores began crying hysterically as she began to process what she was looking at. She touched her mother cooling body in disbelief. And frantically cried, “No Mommy please Mommy Mommy Mommy please no you didn’t Mommy NOO MOMMY MOMMMMY!! You didn’t. OH God MOMMY NO, WHY MOMMY GET UP! WAKE UP!” Her mother’s lifeless body was heavy against her. She backed away from the couch, in shock unsure of what to do. Her mommy was gone. She had really done it. Dolores instantly felt regret for thinking the night before of herself and the thoughts of wishing her mother would either go away or get better. The intense wave of regret caused Dolores to fall to her knees, dry heave and vomit. She could think of nothing but I’m the reason she’s dead. I gave up on her. She thinks I gave up on her like everyone else because I told her whatever. I killed my mommy. Dolores sobbed uncontrollably. As if in a daze she moved to the couch and her mother and sat down. “Mommy I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I swear Mommy, I didn’t. I was just being stupid. I’m sorry I was so worried about that dumb ass dress I wanted. I’m sorry Mommy”, she hoarsely whispered through her tears. Dolores saw the chef’s knife her mother had used to slit her wrists laying at her mother’s side. She picked up the knife which was stained with both her mother’s wet and dry blood. “You were right to name me Dolores Mommy. I know nothing but pain. I am pain. I wonder what the world would be like if there was no pain. Sin dolores.” And with that, Dolores pressed the blade against her neck as hard as she could and moved the blade quickly, yet deliberately, across her throat making a gentle gurgling sound as the life drained out of her.