Trigger warning: This post deals with issues of attempted suicide and may be triggering to some readers.
Thirty seconds. That’s it.
Thirty seconds earlier and I would’ve walked straight past that window and not seen a thing. Thirty seconds earlier and I would’ve made it to my bedroom, never noticing that my mum was outside, trying to hang herself in the darkness.
But it wasn’t thirty seconds earlier, and as soon as I saw her through that window, dragging a flimsy dining-room chair towards the front yard’s only tree, I knew what she was doing.
And I had so been looking forward to watching Letterman.
I should have known that the evening was going to end in a particularly dramatic suicide attempt. After starting on her first bottle of wine mid-afternoon, by the time she finished her fourth at 7 pm she had already reached what I like to call her ‘Dignified Royal’ stage (a stage which involves far too much faux indignation for someone who only makes it to the toilet half the time).
It usually consists of her sitting in the living room like a freshly crowned beauty queen, head held high and movements so fluid she practically floats off the ground. Her cheap wine might as well be Cristal, her pleather couch a throne.
And there she would sit, taking grand, calculated sips from her mug of booze as she held her cigarette between her fingers like a sexy Disney villain.
‘Rosanna,’ she would say, in an accent that fell somewhere between her North Shore childhood and the cockroach-infested Liverpool rental where she currently sat. ‘You, darling, have gained so much weight.’ (No response.)
Or, ‘How did I end up surrounded by so many fucking bogans?’ (No response.)