Sweet Like Honey

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44

I'm dizzy. I'm a failure. I didn't eat. God, Benjamin is going to be disappointed.

Henry looks at me. "Mother—"

He's started calling me mother. It's because he hates me.

I sigh. "Yes Henry."

"Can you play with me?"

"Not right now." And I can't. I'm very dizzy. My head is pounding.

"Right." He stomps away.

I think I want to cry again. I'm a bad mother. I always have been and I always will be. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Henry, let's play," I say, standing. Holy shit. "Let's play,"

He smiles. "Yes! I'll get my planes!"

I should've eaten. Why I am so worthless? Why am I such an eyesore?!

I play with Henry. I try not to throw up but it's hard. The world is spinning. And my vision is blurry, my head is killing me.

But he'll hate me if I don't. When he's tired, he looks at me.

"You feel okay, Mother?"

I wish he would call me mom again.

"Yes," I smile.

See I'm laughing. And you're smiling. I'm doing alright, right?

"Can we play some more?"

I'm so very tired.

"Sure!" I grin. So we play. And play. And I try not to think about how bad I feel. I pause to take some pain meds. I take 5.

Then I go back and play. This pain isn't gone, and my stomach is worse, but if I say I have to go—

God. I'm very tired.

"Mother?"

I need to play with him. I can't be a bad parent. I can't hurt him like I was hurt. I need to smile. I need to be a good mom. I—

"Mom? Mom please get up?"

I wish I didn't feel this way. Hasn't it been long enough now? I feel like I've felt this way for a very long time.

Why isn't it getting better? Shouldn't I be better? I did the therapy. I did the rehab. I take the pills. Shouldn't I be better?

You are nothing more than an eyesore..

I swear...I'll never eat again.

I need to get up. My body feels like lead. I can hear the muffled sounds of Henry crying.

It's sort of a comfort. This prophecy of mine. I'm confident it will come true. I will be alone. I will be an eyesore. I will a bad mother. I will be hungry. I will beg for love only to be discarded.

My self-fulfilling prophecy.

How can you expect more of me? I come from chaos, brought up in tragedy.

What else can I be? But hungry, and an eyesore?

• • •

I open my eyes. I know that smell. Lysol and death. Hospital.

Benjamin sighs, smiling softly. "You dummy. You have to read the label."

I quirk a brow.

"Those were sleeping pills," he taps my forehead.

Ah. That's why I didn't feel any difference.

"Mom? Mom I'm sorry. I love you. Please don't die."

Oh. Henry. I smile. "I won't die. I just took the wrong pills is all. That's why you always read the label, and only take things with your name on them," I inform him.

Henry hugs me. "I'm so sorry mom."

Benjamin sighs again. "They had to pump your stomach. They'll keep you overnight for observation, and then we'll go home."

"You two go on home. I'll be fine on my own here," I rasp.

Benjamin takes my hand. "We'll stay. Won't we Henry?"

Henry nods frantically. "I want to make sure you're okay Momma."

Oh. He loves me again. Thank god. I really hated myself for that. I feel a little bit better already.

Henry falls asleep in Benjamin's lap.

"I'm sorry," I whisper.

Benjamin just sighs. "You didn't hurt me as much as you hurt yourself, Jess."

"Sorry." I say again.

I wish I were better. I want to be. I'm trying. I'm just not there yet.

"Don't apologize to me. Apologize to yourself, Jess. This is your life and your body. You should cherish it."

Cherish it?

"No, seriously. Apologize to yourself,"

I snort. "That would be weird—"

He narrows his eyes.

I chuckle. "I'm sorry," I mutter.

"To who? Say your name," he instructs me like I'm a five year old.

"I'm sorry Jessica."

"For?"

I pause. "For not eating. And taking the wrong pills. And ignoring you."

He pats my head. "Good. Now, you just have to forgive yourself."

He's so stupid. But why do I actually feel better?

"I forgive myself," I whisper.

He kisses my head. "Good. Now you grow."

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