Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Brass Bed

Large oil pastel drawing, past work, Risperdal or Zyprexa

This is “The Brass Bed”. The part of the picture that really matters to me is the backside of the girl at the window who is hanging herself. I was very upset and suicidal when I drew this picture. There is some unbalance or sense of doom from the attempt for the figure on the bed to clasp the hand of the swinging girl. The girl on the bed is falling off the bed, and the swinging girl is trying to save her. No matter how pretty the flowered wall paper is, or the colorful braided rug, or the smiles on the girl’s faces, or the pink of the curtains and the bed comforter, the drawing for me is very dark.

The object that is in the center of the drawing is the brass bed. I’ve never heard of a brass bed that combined brass and wood, and no doubt such a thing would be very ugly, but for the sake of pattern this is exactly what I have done. The lines of the wood planking run toward the center of the floor and then shoot excitedly upward in the panels of the bed. The posts of the bed are brass and that is all that remains of the real brass bed that I had become so attached to, and which after being gifted to me by my mother, was taken away again because, as she said, I did not deserve it.

My mother was angry at me and some of her anger I deserved. She was renting me an apartment for $400 and for the last month that I was there I only paid her $200. The year before she had let me save $200 for Christmas presents in December and I assumed that she would give me this discount again the next year. Besides not paying the full amount of rent, two weeks into the month I suddenly moved out to go live with my boyfriend and left behind a dirty apartment. It had been the first apartment that I had ever rented and I did not understand the rule that when you leave an apartment, you leave it well cleaned for the next tenant.

My mother had bought at an estate sale a large, ornate brass plated bed which in an excess of gleaming, looping metal, looked luxurious. Eventually she bought a wooden sleigh bed for herself and put the brass bed in the cellar. I discovered the brass bed and asked, since it wasn’t being used, if I could have it. My mother gave it to me and I was wild about it.

When I moved out of the apartment I left the brass bed behind, intending to make arrangements for it to be moved later. My mother said then that she wanted the bed back, because I did not deserve it, and in addition to this, that year she believed that I did not deserve any Christmas presents either. So that Christmas when the family gathered I watched my brother and sister open presents from my mother while there were none for me. I was also told that she would never rent an apartment to me again.

Both my brother and my sister have lived for extended times on my mother’s rental property and never paid rent. I am the only child for who rent has been mandatory. All of what happened was merely a family squabble, but when my mother turned her back on me, I felt like I wanted to die. This feeling comes upon me often no matter how much medication I am on. It must be a symptom of my illness and I can only guess that if it wasn’t for the medication, lifting and blunting my world view, I would be dead by my own hand.

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