I got to the hotel first.
R’s sense of drama had been on full display when he chose the scene for his suicide attempt: he’d taken a room in the same hotel we’d spent our wedding night in. I raced down the hall and found the door cracked open so that I didn’t have to knock to enter the room.
R was splayed half conscious on the bed, two bottles of pills and a bottle of vodka on the table next to the bed. I couldn’t tell how serious the situation was, I had no idea what he’d taken or how much.
“R…what were you thinking? This is not a solution, here. All you will do is hurt everyone who loves you.”
“Which doesn’t include you,” he said groggily, reaching over to check my left hand. It was empty; I hadn’t worn the ring in months, vowing not to put it back in my hand until we had reached a place where we both felt respected and solidly in the marriage for the right reasons.
I sat down next to him on the bed. “R, I do love you. I just don’t like some of the things you do. You’re right, things are not great between us now. But that’s not a reason to do this. It’s just not,” I said.
I remembered when I’d tried to kill myself as a teenager; it all came flooding back standing there in the dimly lit room. I’d cut my wrists once, but not enough for it to put me in any real danger. I’d taken pills once, all alone one night my senior year in high school. Both times, if I was being honest with myself, I was just begging for someone, anyone, to come find me and help take away my pain. To prove to me that I mattered enough to someone, anyone, enough to take time out of their day to console me, to help me, to say to me that I meant something to them.
I was sure that R was doing the same here. It was no mistake that he had called me, not his parents. He wanted me to be his savior, to prove to him that our marriage wasn’t over, that I still cared about him, that we could make a go of it. I wanted to be that person, I did. I wanted everything to be different. But I couldn’t help also feeling more anger than sympathy.
I’d never had anyone stop me, so I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t tell how bad the situation was; I glanced down at the empty pill bottles and realized they would have his doctor’s information on them. I found the name and number of his psychiatrist and dialed the numbers quickly into my cell phone.
“No, he should be fine,” the doctor said on the other end of the line after I explained the situation. “I don’t think that you’ll need to get an ambulance, but he still should be taken to the ER to be checked out. Has he vomited at all?”
I repeated the question to R, who answered by shaking his head slowly, his eyes now closed.
“I’ll meet you at the hospital,” the doctor told me next, instructing me as to which hospital, which entrance. I hung up the phone, dumbfounded, staring at it. I had to do this. I had to gain control and fix this.
As I started gathering up R’s things, the door opened and R’s father rushed in. Questions rang out in rapid fire speech as he strode across the room. One by one I answered them, backing away from the bed as he approached. I had called him after R’s quiet phone call to me, telling him where R had said he was and reporting exactly what he’d said. I knew I’d need his help.
He stood next to the bed and started talking to R, loudly, rousing him and bringing tears to both of their eyes. I watched them together, wondering how we got here. A year ago we were finalizing plans for our wedding. R’s parents were having us over for dinner and we were talking, drinking, appreciating each other’s company. We were a team. Now the worst of both of us was on display for his father as R hurled accusations at me in slurred speech while I shook my head quietly from across the room.
“Enough,” his father said. He looked over to me and said calmly, “You probably should go. There’s nothing more you can do here for him, with him like this. I’ll get him to the hospital and call you when we have a better sense of what is going on with him, ok?” He gave me a sympathetic smile that I could tell he was hiding from his son.
“OK,” I whispered, gathering up my things.
I walked over to the bed, where R had gone from listless to tearful to angry. “I’m going to go now, your Dad is here. I’m sorry, R…I am truly, truly sorry that you felt you had to resort to something like this.”
“No, you’re not,” he responded without meeting my eyes.
R’s father shook his head and nodded towards the door. “Just go,” he said softly.
I closed the door behind me, the symbolism not lost on me.