In all honesty, I do not want to write.
Not that I dislike writing. My head is so full of thoughts, memories, questions, ephemera that it feels as if I may implode internally should I not expunge them through some sort of medium.
Not being a visual artist, the pen or the keyboard beckons.
No, it’s not the writing. It’s the method.
I despise this computer.
I despise this computer for myriad reasons closely related to a series of poor and unfortunate circumstances that befell or to to more accurate I was instrumental in orchestrating when I bought this computer.
I needed a computer that was not broken, because I had decided, two semesters after giving my first born up for adoption, four semesters after falling into a hideous, psychotic depression, and two months after breaking up with my former boyfriend and father of said adopted child – who was at the moment incarcerated for his fourth DUI and had taken to sending me near-daily rambling correspondence from jail marked with a red stamp “From an inmate at Chittenden Correctional Facility” that made my tenuous relationship with my new roommate even more rocky – and in the midst of a freezing, gray Northern Vermont winter, that I was going back to school. Not just going, mind you, but triumphantly finishing the neuroscience and pre-med coursework that I had involuntarily abandoned when I was forcibly hospitalized for the psychotic depression in the winter of 2009.
I was going to school, damn it. And I needed a computer.
I was having trouble getting up in the early January days before that semester had begun. Trouble getting up, ruminating thoughts, lack of interest in anything except hiding underneath the covers of my bed and staring at the ceiling in a sort of dazed, dissassociative funk. Tell-tale signs that my good friend, Bipolar Depression, was settling into my brain – taking up residence and on its way to voraciously consuming the entirety of the frontal lobes in the process.
But I couldn’t be depressed, I was going back to school, damn it. And I needed a computer.
I woke myself up one gray day, dragged myself out of bed at 1 pm, and went to Best Buy. I’m sure that I had failed to shower, that my glasses were a mess, that the clothes I had exhaustedly thrown onto my increasingly waifish body were wrinkled. But I was in a big box store, about to complete a purchase, that for sure, would guarantee that this attempt at college – my fourth – would be a success.
“I need a computer that can run Neuroscience simulations,” I eked out to the disinterested millenial young man, probably my age, who was vaguely sizing me up.
“You need a Mac.”
“I can’t afford a Mac.” And I couldn’t. I was working customer service at the airport for $11 an hour, and this was, fundamentally, an impulse purchase.
“Well, Asus is good. The battery life is bad, but the computer is sturdy. It’s powerful and then when you have more money, you can upgrade and buy a Mac.”
Turns out, I still have that fucking ASUS, and I still can’t afford a Mac. That was 8 years ago.
I, as you might imagine, lasted about 6 weeks at school studying neuroscience and pre-med before I started fantasizing about shooting myself in the head with my friend’s hunting rifle, and landed in Fletcher Allen Psychiatric Hospital for my 6th hospitalization.
This stupid computer lay in the corner of my bedroom when I returned. The neuroscience simulations all loaded in, papers half-written and now irrelevant, videos of physics demonstrations that I somewhat enjoyed and would stay on this computer until 2017, when I finally had the courage to let go of my past and promise, and delete them. The computer haunted me.
Jarett was released from jail in the spring, and I, awash in grief, and loneliness, and depression that was still not being properly treated, crawled in through the window of his tiny, neglected efficiency that reeked of cheap beer and cheaper cigarettes, and on my hands and knees, slunk right back into his delighted arms.
“We’re meant to be together,” he whispered. “You’ll always come back to me.”
I took my computer to his terrible apartment one day, and left for work. When I had returned after working a double, I found that he had taken my computer and installed all of his software and gaming platforms on it. Apparently, his computer had died, and he needed to play World of Warcraft on something, and my computer was just sitting there.
“I hijacked your laptop. This is my computer now.” He chuckled to himself as he completed his WOW dailies and sucked down a Red Bull.
“But where am I going to check my email and finish convincing school that I am sane enough to complete my studies.”
“Use the computer at work, or the library. I’ll give it back to you when I can convince my brother to buy me a Dell Alienware computer.”
I really hate this computer. Sometimes now, I will open up some unknown folder, and Jarett’s name will still be there. I think he intentionally peppered this laptop with symbols of him, so that when I eventually left for good, which I finally did, one caustic and terrifying night in 2013, I would still always be reminded of him. As if the PTSD he left in my brain is not reminder enough.
I want to get rid of this computer. I want to chuck it into a pile of broken electronics at the dump, and watch the screen shatter. I want to burn and destroy every memory I have of that part of my life, and the young woman I was, who I can barely justify but who still lurks in the darker parts of my mind, who let herself be manipulated and abused and mistreated for five years, and fell into a chasm of static noise and blurry lines and nearly drowned there.
At the same time, a part of me exists that understands that she is me, that she is a part of my past, and that I need to forgive her. I have to forgive her. I need to understand her desperation and impulses and hopelessness. I can’t ignore her. I am afraid to become her again. She is a part of me. This computer is a part of me.
Maybe I just need to reconcile the past. To remember. To let her go. To let this go, not in rage or annihilation, but in a quiet sealing closure on a life that once was, but is not anymore.
Maybe then I can move on.