EXCERPT: BONNIE’S JOURNAL
I visited Susan at the home today.
That’s the nice word for it. Funny Farm, Nuthouse, Loony Bin. Those are all the terms Dad uses. He thinks it’s all a big joke, says it was just a little spring fever, a little bit of jealousy, that led Susan to do and say what she did. “The best cure for a man is another man, Bonnie,” he said. “Susie just thought she’d take yours.” Ha ha.
I don’t see one thing funny about that, Dad. Not one thing.
“She’ll get over it, honey. She’ll realize her mistakes. She’s just confused right now.”
Susan had one of those old-fashioned Composition Books, like they gave you in grade school, on the table next to her bed. I politely asked her what it was and reached for it, but she snatched it away and stuck it under her pillow. She said the doctors had told her to write down her feelings, that it was supposed to help her with her therapy. She said what was in there was none of my business.
Like I want to read her insane ramblings, anyway.
But maybe that’s not fair. I love Sue. She’s my sister, after all, and she helped me through my own rough patch some time back. But this rudeness – not to mention what she tried to do to Jay, what she said about him – it’s making it hard to keep on loving her.
My friends are divided – forgive her, she had a breakdown; or, ghost her, she’s nuts. Jay himself says that the decision is up to me, whether I want to keep her in my life. For his own part, he says, he’ll never turn his back on her again.
My friend Mona says maybe I should consider therapy myself. She’s says it’s not an easy thing to get over on your own, when your sister wigs out. When she claims all kinds of lies about your boyfriend. Mona says it couldn’t hurt to talk about it to a neutral, third party.
But the whole thing is just too sordid, too ridiculous. Susan had a breakdown – I had one myself, once. I don’t need to drag in a neutral third party to listen to my troubles.
But seeing Susan’s Composition Book gave me an idea. Maybe it would help to talk to myself about it. Hence this file. BONNIE’S JOURNAL, PARTS ONE THROUGH INFINITY! But I’m surely not gonna write mine out longhand, like poor Sue has to do. I can type mine, unlike her. I understand they don’t let them have phones or computers at the home.
Where should I start? I guess the best place to begin would be how I came to meet Susan, how she came to become my sister. I’ll tell it like I was telling it to a stranger. Maybe she did what she did because there are some kind of unresolved issues that I’ve never considered, and maybe I’ll see them. Maybe they’ll come out in the telling.
My mom and dad divorced when I was five, Dad got custody, and Mom moved away to pursue her career. Something in the banking biz.
Dad remarried when I was twenty. That’s when he met, fell in love with, and married Vanessa. Dad and I gave up our apartment and moved into her big house with her daughter and son. It looked as though I’d have a family at last.
My new brother and sister – that was Susan and Peter. I’ll get to Peter and what a son of a bitch he is in a minute, but first, I should talk about Sue. How much she’s always meant to me.
Susan and I hit it off immediately. I’d always wanted a sister, someone to confide in, someone whom I could trust with my silly thoughts and ideas. I’d always been a loner, and except for Mona, hadn’t had too many friends. Now I finally had a close one living right there across the hall from me.
We were so happy to have each other; the suddenness of it made us giddy, like little girls. We giggled and shared clothes and make-up and jewelry, like we were still in high school.
We talked about men. She was dating some guy named George at the time, but she said it wasn’t anything serious. She said George was the reason why she’d been hesitant to move out of her mom’s house. She thought that George would’ve wanted to move in with her, or at least he would’ve wanted to be there all the time. And while Sue claimed to like him, she said she certainly didn’t love him, and surely wouldn’t have wanted him around all the time.
She mentioned that she’d once talked about going in halfsies with her brother on a place. He still lived at home, too. But nothing had ever come of that idea.
As things would turn out, I wish that Peter had moved out, that I’d never even met him.