I wanted to give the speech

March 24, 2012

I wanted to give the speech on the mount. The ‘I have a dream’ speech. I wanted to shake my fist in the air. Take my shoe off and pound the podium. Point my finger at the crowd and cry out ‘ich bin ein berliner’. I wanted to call the multitudes to the Council of Clermont. To count four score and seven years ago. I wanted to fight on the beaches. To tell the madding crowd, how lucky I was. To elevate language to magic. To part the Red Sea… But alas, my language is too frail. My words too humble. I told my children I loved them and sent them off into the world.


The Cause of My Suicide


Dr. Shelby: “Why did you try and kill yourself?”

Mary Evans: “The pizza man was late. I was waiting for pizza to arrive in the front lobby. My wrists fed two puddles of blood on the floor. Funny, they looked like two small pizzas. Some girls in the lobby started screaming. The delivery boy asked if it was my period.”

Dr. Shelby: “Try and relax, Mary.”

Mary Evans: “I’m sorry, doc. When I get nervous I can’t stop my tongue.”

Dr. Shelby: “We’re not in a race here. It’ll all come out eventually.”

Mary Evans: “Eventually?”

Dr. Shelby: “Your pizza was late so you decided to kill yourself? Is that correct?”

Mary Evans: “Yes. I can’t stand poor service.”

Dr. Shelby: “And that’s why you’re here today?”

Mary Evans: “The Dean ordered me to meet with Dr. Shelby, the campus shrink. That’s you. It was that or be expelled and I didn’t want my father to find out. And so here I am.”

Dr. Shelby: “And what your father thinks matters to you?”

Mary Evans: “My parents paid for my tuition here. That and my student loan, which I’ll probably never be able to pay off.

Dr. Shelby: “You’re embarrassed?”

Mary Evans: “Yes.”

Dr. Shelby: “Don’t be embarrassed, Mary. There is nothing you can tell me that I haven’t heard countless times before.”

Mary Evans: “Then why don’t we put ditto marks in my file and leave it at that? I won’t do it again.”

Dr. Shelby: “I’m afraid this matter is too serious to be swept under the carpet.”

Mary Evans: “Rug.”

Dr. Shelby: “Excuse me?”

Mary Evans: “The expression is swept under the rug.”

Dr. Shelby: “It is? You sure of that?

Mary Evans: “Pretty sure. I wouldn’t want to bet my life on it. I’m being glib.”

Dr. Shelby: “Yes.”

Mary Evans: “This is all uncharted waters for me. There is nothing you can say to me that I’ve heard before.”

Dr. Shelby: “You never talk to your parents?”

Mary Evans: “I don’t have to talk to my mother. There’s nothing I could say that she didn’t already know. My mother is psychic. And my father, he’d rather take me fishing.”

Dr. Shelby: “We must try and discover what brought about your recent behavior, Mary. I’ll be your guide.”

Mary Evans: “I wish I knew what you wanted to hear.”

Dr. Shelby: “Why did you slice your wrists?”

Mary Evans: “I cut myself shaving. Hairy wrists. A genetic trait in the women of our family.”

Dr. Shelby: “Is that what you want me to tell the Dean?”

Mary Evans:  “Playing hardball, eh doc?”

Dr. Shelby: “Yep.”

Mary Evans: “I’m sorry. Seems like all I’m doing recently is apologizing.”

Dr. Shelby: “No apologies needed between us, Mary.”

Mary Evans: “It didn’t feel as if I was cutting my wrists. Didn’t hurt. It was as if I were cutting up someone else’s flesh. Like I was performing an autopsy. Not that I have any idea what performing an autopsy is like. It was like cutting up the chicken for Sunday dinner. We eat a lot of chicken at our house.”

Dr. Shelby: “Why?”

Mary Evans: “I want to be loved. Isn’t that the right answer? Isn’t that what it says in the textbook?”

Dr. Shelby: “Do you like college life?”

Mary Evans: “No.”

Dr. Shelby: “Why did you come to university?”

Mary Evans: “My mother died!”

Dr. Shelby: “Where were you born?”

Mary Evans: “Born and raised in Parkdale, the cultural heart of Toronto.”

Dr. Shelby: “What is it about Parkdale that stands out in your mind?”

Mary Evans: “The noise and the heat.”

Dr. Shelby: “Go on.”

Mary Evans: “Summer was hell in Parkdale. No one could afford air-conditioners. The whole neighborhood would go down to the lake, an entourage of air mattresses, sleeping bags, alarm clocks, and pillows. I could never sleep with all the noise: clocks ticking, police horses snorting, their hoofs clicking on the sidewalk, people ranting in their sleep, all that snoring, the small waves of the lake giggling up the stony beach, coughing, a car puttering along the Lakeshore Boulevard, the King Streetcar screeching as it turned northward onto Roncesvalles, the moon rolling slowly across the lake like a bowling ball toward the downtown skyscrapers. I guess you didn’t want to hear all that.”

Dr Shelby: “Do you write poetry, Mary?”

Mary Evans: “Diary stuff. Nothing I’d like anyone to read.”

Doctor Shelby: “You seem to have a flair for…”

Mary Evans: “…the theatrical?”

Doctor Shelby: “I was going to say the poetic. I’d like to read some of your poetry, Mary. Perhaps you could bring some in at our next meeting.”

Mary Evans: “Next meeting? I thought that this was a one shot thing.”

Dr. Shelby: “Why don’t we see what we can get accomplished today. Is there much violence in Parkdale?”

Mary Evans:  “We have our moments.”

Dr. Shelby: “Could you give me an example?”

Mary Evans: “One August a few years ago a man strangled his wife with her waist length hair. It had been her great joy. The hair, I mean. No one thought she was too pleased to be strangled. Squad cars surrounded the area, roof lights twirling around like tops splashing red and white globs of light against, homes, storefronts, and parked cars. Everyone was sitting on their porches, half dressed, speaking in hushed voices as the body was carried out. An ambulance siren closely followed by the ambulance pulled up to the murder scene. It was very theatrical.”

Doctor Shelby: “And the reason for the murder?”

Mary Evans: “Everyone had their own theory. People like to chat about these sorts of things especially people in Parkdale who spend 90% of their time out on their front porches. As I said, there weren’t any air-conditioners. In Parkdale, you can’t put up fences to keep out trouble like they do in Rosedale. Someone gets killed in Rosedale no one hears about it. No one wants to hear about it. Rich people don’t care about each other like the poor. That’s why they’re rich.”

Dr. Shelby: “Tell me about the theories.”

Mary Evans: “There are a lot of theories.”

Dr. Shelby: “That’s okay. We’re in no hurry.”

Mary Evans: “You’re interested. I could tell. Everyone finds Parkdale interesting. They just don’t want to live there. Well, they were always fighting. But, a lot of people fight. That don’t mean they’re going to kill each other. They were a quiet couple otherwise. People in Parkdale don’t trust people who are too quiet. They drank too much but then a lot of people drink. I think you can ignore all those theories. He, the killer, had a strange look about him. Have you ever noticed in photographs that murderers have an evil glint in their eyes? You have to wonder why no one notices that look before they commit their awful deeds. He wanted to sell her hair for gin. She hated gin. He was going bald and was jealous of her hair. She just got laid off from Mr. Christie, The Cookie Man. There was going to he a serious money shortage since he didn’t have a job. Everyone in Parkdale has money problems. He was putting on weight. She expected to be killed. It was the look in her eyes. There’s that look again. Maybe it was the heat. Parkdale residents blame the heat for everything. There you have them. Probably some I missed.”

Dr. Shelby: “What happened next?”

Mary Evans: “The husband was brought out of the house crying. One of the cops put his hand on the husband’s head and stuffed him into the back seat of a squad car and sped off. The guy just strangles his wife and the cops are afraid he’ll bang his head. He never did say why he killed his wife. Maybe he didn’t know. Men are dangerous was my mother’s explanation.”

Dr. Shelby: “And this environment of violence, do you think it has had any effect on your behavior?”

Mary Evans: “No! It wasn’t like someone was getting knocked off every weekend. It was fun. Domestic fights are a poor man’s theatre.”

Dr. Shelby: “Tell me about your early sexual experiences?”

Mary Evans: “I don’t know.”

Dr. Shelby: “Did you go out with boys?”

Mary Evans: “Mary, my girlfriend has the same name as me, and I used to go to dances at the CYO. We’d meet these two guys Terry and Brian. We’d sneak out behind the hall and neck. Sometimes I’d be with Terry, sometimes Brian. It wasn’t the boy that was important. It was the necking. We needed practice if we were going to get good at it. We never had real sex.”

Dr. Shelby: “And this was okay with the boys?”

Mary Evans: “Oh ya. Terry was Mary’s brother. And Brian was a little effeminate. Maybe he was gay but he sure could kiss.”

Dr. Shelby: “Did Mary go to college?”

Mary Evans: “Mary? God no! Mary got married to this guy named Gary. He used to knock her about before they screwed. She thought marriage might straighten him out. Spends her time now in a coma or watching the soaps on television.”

Dr. Shelby: “And what do you think of that?”

Mary Evans: “I can’t stand soaps.”

Dr. Shelby: “Anything else you want to tell me about growing up in Parkdale?”

Mary Evans: “I took ballet until I was sixteen and had an operation on my back. I lost grade eleven. Men don’t love hunchbacks. My two older sisters went to college. Ellen became a radiologist. Jan became a high school teacher. They married rich guys and quit their jobs. My brother David went to medical school and became a dentist. What a super guy! All the time growing up he was my best friend. Took me everywhere. He never had many girlfriends. I could never figure that out. Why couldn’t girls see how terrific he was? If men are dangerous, women are stupid.”

Dr. Shelby: “You don’t like women?”

Mary Evans: “Some women. Some I like. Most I’m kind of indifferent toward.”

Dr. Shelby: “Go on.”

Mary Evans: “My parents were given an award because their first three children went to university. In Parkdale, that was considered a miracle. I had to go to college. I would have preferred a job at Eaton’s.”

Dr. Shelby: “Tell me about your father.”

Mary Evans: “I used to sit on my daddy’s lap and read the Sunday funnies. That’s how I learned to read. Daddy hadn’t held a full time job for thirty years, but we were never on welfare. He always found odd jobs. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, nothing he couldn’t fix. Daddy was always singing. People in the neighborhood called him the happiest man in Parkdale. Sometimes he would take me fishing in Grenadier Pond. Told me about the monster that lived in its depths. Almost forty feet long with a head as big as a horse. Daddy said he hooked into him one Saturday night and really gave him a ride but was forced to cut the line the next morning when it was time to go to Mass.”

Dr. Shelby: “And your mother?”

Mary Evans: “She was a psychic.”

Dr. Shelby: “Yes, you mentioned that before. Can you give me an example?”

Mary Evans: “One evening while mother was sitting at the kitchen sink cleaning a turkey, my grandmother walked in. Mother was surprised because grandma lived with my aunt in Winnipeg and there had been no word of her visiting us. Grandma put her hand on mother’s shoulder and told her she loved her and not to worry. Then grandma walked out of the kitchen and disappeared. Within the hour there was a long distance call from Winnipeg. Grandma had just died.”

Dr. Shelby: “That was unusual.”

Mary Evans: “There was also my mother’s health problems. For years mother had been complaining about headaches. She was sure she had cancer. The doctors thought she was nuts, a hypochondriac. When she was finally diagnosed with a brain tumor, it was too late. The last few weeks of her life were racked by terrible visions. She would sit in a chair on the front porch staring at me and opening her mouth to warn me about something but nothing came out. Mother died peacefully rocking back and forth on the porch waiting for my father to come home from fishing.”

Dr. Shelby: “Did your mother say anything to you before she died?”

Mary Evans: “She told me that no one really dies. They’re just forgotten. I’ll never forget her.”

Dr. Shelby: “Tell me, Mary, what was your first sexual experience?”

Mary Evans: “Back to sex again… eh, doc? The first time was with a boy named Nick at the beginning of this school year.”

Dr. Shelby: “Yes.”

Mary Evans: “We were both in the same psychology course. I talked to Nick about my mother and her powers of perception. Nick was fascinated. We went down to the Dominion House for a drink one night. After a few beers he insisted I read his palms. I laughed and explained that I couldn’t read palms, that I had no such powers. Pushing his beer toward me, he insisted that I read the suds. He looked angry. I was afraid to say no. I looked into his beer. I couldn’t see anything. Nick took this literally, meaning of course that he had no future to see. Grabbing my hand he dragged me out of the pub and down the street. I was too drunk to complain. Soon we were lying in the grass under the Ambassador Bridge. Nick was all over me. He was a big man and I could hardly breath. His hand started tugging at my panties. I guess I didn’t put up much of a fight. Maybe I wanted it to happen. Before I could catch my breath he was in me and out. I couldn’t believe that I had waited all these years and that was it. Nick peeled the condom off his penis and threw it at me. Read that, you bitch! he cried.”

Dr. Shelby: “And how did you feel about that?”

Mary Evans: “I didn’t think it was too romantic.”

Dr. Shelby: “Did you report it to anyone?”

Mary Evans: “Report what?”

Dr. Shelby: “Anything else?”

Mary Evans: “I was glad I’d finally gotten it over with. And I was disappointed. If that’s all that sex was, I couldn’t see the point in going through it again.”

Dr. Shelby: “But there was a next time?”

Mary Evans: “Yes.”

Dr Shelby: “Was your next experience more pleasant?”

Mary Evans: “Not much. It was with a boy named Jeff. I met him at a dance at the

University Center. Tall, blond, handsome, Jeff was very charming. I told him I hated Windsor. The town was dead. Jeff laughed. It seems his father was an undertaker. After the dance we went for a walk through a park by the river. We sat down on a park bench. Jeff began to tickle me. I hate being tickled. I ran into the park. Jeff ran after me, pulling me to the ground and kissing me. His hand slipped up my leg. I asked him to slow down. We were both still laughing. I know what you want, he said. Everyone knows what you want. Jeff’s other hand slid under my blouse and began to tug at my bra. No! I protested, but Jeff wasn’t listening. You’re too big! I cried. Shut up! Jeff barked. I closed my eyes and waited for it to be over. I heard someone calling out for their dog. Opening my eyes, I looked over Jeff’s shoulder and saw a large dog standing behind him, sniffing at Jeff’s bare ass. I couldn’t help myself and started to laugh. Jeff slapped me.”

Dr. Shelby: “Were you raped?”

Mary Evans: “What do you think?”

Dr. Shelby: “No, what do you think, Mary?”

Mary Evans: “I felt as if someone else was being raped. I was along as a chaperone.”

Dr. Shelby: “Could you have said no?”

Mary Evans: “I did say no, but he wouldn’t listen. I was just a slab of meat, something dead and frozen picked up at the local grocery market. I told some girlfriends in residence. They said I shouldn’t have been in the park with him. What did I expect?”

Dr. Shelby: “What did you expect?”

Mary Evans: “I don’t know.”

Dr. Shelby: “Do you blame yourself?”

Mary Evans: “I suppose. Maybe they were right.”

Dr. Shelby: “Do you think that these experiences led to your attempt to kill yourself?”

Mary Evans: “No.”

Dr. Shelby: “I see. What is your explanation for your behavior?”

Mary Evans: “Michael.”

Dr. Shelby: “Tell me about Michael.”

Mary Evans: “I vowed not to get involved with any more men. I met some other girls in residence and we really hit it off. What a howl we would have. Sometimes we would go drinking together at the Bridge House and stumble home together peeing our pants with laughter. One evening I was there with Marie, my closest friend at the time. At one point in the evening Marie invited Michael, a friend of Marie’s that I had seen around campus, to sit down with us. At first I was wary but we had some more beers and Michael was very funny. Marie excused herself soon after claiming she had a test in geography the next day. I suspected that it was a set up. Marie knew what had happened with Nick and Jeff and I knew she wouldn’t leave me with someone who would hurt me again. And I liked Michael so I stayed. We talked and laughed and drank. I guess I got drunk. Michael took me back to his f1at. When we entered his room he kissed me and started taking my clothes off. Shit! Its started all over again, I said to myself. I started to cry. Could we just talk? I asked. Sure, Michael replied. And that’s all we did. After that we spent each evening, naked, in each other’s arms, talking and laughing. Michael was so patient with me. After a couple of weeks of this, Michael asked very politely if we could make love. Michael bought a box of condoms and we used them all up in one night. I could hardly walk the next day. Michael said his dick had diaper rash the day after.”

Dr. Shelby: “What happened then?”

Mary Evans: “Everything was great. I began to take a keener interest in school. Even the city of Windsor became bearable. Everyone said I had a new glow about me. And then one evening I got a call from Nick. He asked to see me again. I felt so strong, almost invincible. I told him where he could stick it. But that weekend Michael went home. There was some problem with his sister. They were very close. Friday night was fine. But Saturday evening I got restless. I thought I’d go down the Bridge House and have a beer. No one wanted to go with me so I went by myself. I met Nick there. He was a different person, so charming, and funny and exciting. He invited me back to his place. I knew I shouldn’t go. I knew it wasn’t right. But, I was curious. When we got to Nick’s place he brought out some weed. I had never smoke marijuana before. I almost coughed out my lungs. And then we made love. I don’t know how it happened.  It was wonderful, much better than it had ever been with Michael. After that it was Nick I wanted to be with. I made excuses to Michael, told him I had assignments due, or there was a get together with the girls, or it was my period. All the time I was fucking Nick. I felt guilty as hell but I didn’t care. You see how terrible this is?  All my life I have been around wonderful men, my father, brother, and now Michael and…”

Dr. Shelby: “You had been unfaithful?”

Mary Evans: “It wasn’t just that. It wasn’t that I had lied and cheated on Michael. It wasn’t that, because I was quite willing to continue lying and cheating on Michael. I had slept with the lamb and I preferred the beast. I understood the woman with the long hair that had been murdered by her husband. I understood her. She couldn’t leave him; she preferred him. Why doctor? Why am I like this? What is inside me that chooses the Nick’s of the world?”

Dr. Shelby: “I don’t think that all women prefer these type of men. Relationships are a difficult and complicated matter.”

Mary Evans: “It’s not about relationships, doc. It’s about sex.”

Dr. Shelby: “You would eventually get over Nick.”

Mary Evans: “And the next one would be another Nick. Don’t you see, doc? I despise women who chose men like Nick. I can’t stand women who would turn men like my brother away, kind men, gentle men, good men. And I know I am one of those women.”

Dr. Shelby: “You can change Mary.”

Mary Evans: “But you can’t guarantee that.”

Dr. Shelby: “We’ll discuss that in our next meeting. I’m going to write a note to the Dean allowing you to continue classes. What’s this?”

Mary Evans: “It’s a razor blade.”

Dr. Shelby: “You just took that out of your mouth!”

Mary Evans: “Yes. I swallowed the rest.”




One Response to “I wanted to give the speech”

  1. This was a very wonderful post today. Thanks for sharing this. Have a great day.

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