I am one of the gifted ones. I cry at night because I see things as they really are. I want my pain to go away. There is only one way: I must change myself.
My child’s presence still lingers here, though others have said he did not exist. But I know my five-year-old existed, because I know how he died…
Jason was playing in a well. Neighbors said to me—told the cops even, when I called them—that for over six years I have gone out to the dirty, empty well behind Fred’s and my house, and pretended to drink from it. That is, until Jason died.
I thought it would be obscene to go drink from a body of water in which my child had perished. I heard him screaming, and I thought he was in the woods playing with fireflies (he liked to pretend he was a fairy combing his blond hair with sticks he found in the leaves). I ran out there to comfort him from crying. I found my son hanging on the edge of the well, drinking with only his lips. He told me that he screamed when he saw his face shining on the top of this pool. “Why is it there, Mommy?” He asked. Then he waved, and fell in.
I was devastated that he fell in head first, for the well was narrow, and I didn’t clean it or use the water. The tarp that hung over it was gone, blown away with the wind. I had to run 300 hundred yards from the porch to the boy’s place of drowning.
But the paramedics took me away, instead of exhuming the body, the one I couldn’t find with a long stick even after I had reached in and tried to pull him out. I was screaming and spitting foam nearly, so they loaded me up and told me the well was empty of the water I claimed Jason drowned in. But they did a search of the woods and my house. I guess they got discouraged when they found no toys or clothes belonging to a child, only a bottle of antidepressants on the shelf above the fridge.
Later, when I lay calm and dressed in white with blue dots against my will, I told them I loved Jason. I didn’t know what was happening to me. Why had the doctors kidnapped me? Why had they made this long list of orders? Why had they used the word “hallucination?”
Editors' Note: Read "The Dirty One: Part 2" next Thursday, Feb. 3.
About Jana Gifford:
I am on the Dean’s List at Ashford University. During quiet times, I enjoy reading about psychology and mysterious happenings.
Currently, I am crafting a graphic novel called The Involuntary Vow of Silence, which is coming in June from iUniverse. Also, I am collaborating with a film director from The Art Institute in Portland on a certain script. Slake your thirst for perspective at www.janagifford.blogspot.com