Szabadság Híd: the Liberty Bridge. Designed by János (John) Feketeházy (Blackhouse) and originally named after Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Jozsef, it was opened on October 4th 1896, which everyone must know as my grandmother’s birthday.
This was to be the scene of my final crime.
By 2015 I had lost all of my local friends, save two – and exhausted my support system. Technically homeless, I was in the psychiatric ward of a hospital indefinitely and had injured my right hand irreparably during an ill-fated suicide attempt. I was still mind-blowingly anxious, in spite of being grossly over-medicated, and was unable to support myself with a job and afraid the voice that told me I was going to be insane forever was most assuredly correct. Because it was my voice, and you get what you believe you’re going to get.
I was working my way up to working at the time – had three students meeting me weekly in cafés just outside the hospital. I just needed a contract in order to renew my residence visa, but I had months to get that – at the time – I wasn’t too fussed. But all of the patients in the rehab ward who had been there when I came in – that close-knit group of rag-tag friends (by convenience and mutual intimate disclosure) – had all been released, replaced by pre-partum depression alcoholic baby-mamas and histrionic, alcoholic housewives. I went through the motions of a support group and meals. No one spoke English, so I spoke to no one, having just proven to the hospital that I could, indeed, speak Hungarian. And rather expressively, I was told. Even my psychiatrist was avoiding me, and she had seen me daily up to sometime a few weeks before. I learned later why she was avoiding me, but it was too late.
There was my computer. I had that, so I could scream into the void that is Facebook, watch pirated television and … what else did I do all day? I spent much of the time inert, bidding the feelings and memories to please leave me in peace. And when I was lucky, I slept.
There was a Saturday. Cloudy, threatening rain, and a thunderstorm brewing on my mind’s horizon. This isn’t worth it. I will never get better. It was a familiar waltz, but that day it droned on like a funeral dirge. My life is not worth IT – not worth suffering through, half-cocked, because there wasn’t a future I could see. There was no recovery. My life was gone, and what hadn’t packed itself up and tripped over to the other side of Budapest, I had destroyed myself with all the vigor of a delusional paranoiac. It was all gone.
That’s it, I had decided. I was going to the bridge. It’s not very high, but I figured if I took enough pills and drank enough Jim Beam, everything would be all right.
I fell asleep waiting for the rain to stop.
The next day was Sunday and – fueled by anger for the previous day’s botched attempt – nothing feeling any better or different or saner or more fair, I got up and got dressed, left the hospital grounds, got on a tram and headed for town. I had freeom of movement still, then.
Nothing much came of it. I couldn’t get drunk enough to throw myself in, and I think the pills I had nicked from the nurse’s station just calmed me down enough so I didn’t care. I mean, a lot went on, but all in my head while I watched a gorgeous full moon climb up and up and up in the sky.
Thoroughly disgusted with my Self and its cowardice, I kept drinking. And drinking. I woke up many hours later, lying on cardboard amongst homeless people in the subway underpass. They looked at me with pity and concern. I’m guessing one of them had put me there so I could safely sleep “it” off. I smiled and said “Good bye” and have no idea how I got back to the hospital.
That was the first of two tries at putting me out of everyone’s misery. (In the hospital) The other one’s in a screenplay I’m writing, and ends in me getting shut up in the hospital’s secure ward because that’s what the doctors had decided I needed.
Because that was going to solve the problem.