What I’ve Acquired

In the past two years,
and about 10 hospital stays,
I have acquired a large amount of things
from the people that I’ve met.
It’s just something that kinda happens.
I never asked, people just gave.
And sometimes I didn’t want to take.

There are good things like index cards with hope,
Suitcases that carried my things home after 2.5 months..
Ladybug stickers on the wall of my room.
Mandalas drawn for me.
There’s T-shirts, K bought for me when I didn’t have clothes.
Or the cat bookmarks she gave me.
Pants the janitor bought me from goodwill,
mint beadlets to keep me grounded from A.

There is the flannel in the back of my trunk,
from the night T overdosed in my bed.
The hospital wristlet from the night J stabbed himself
There’s the paintings and the memories.
And today while cleaning I found the ring.

The ring which I had purposely forgotten.
Diamonds.
Blue and white.
The lady who gave it to me, L
she cried,
as bandages covered her wrists
and her neck was bruised.

We had known each other for a while,
From one hospital,
To a program,
and now to this hospital.
It almost seemed as if our crises were in sync.

“I don’t know why I wanted this ring.
But I made my husband buy it for me,
and now – everytime I look at it
I remember trying to die.
Wrapping the belt around my neck.
Please.
Please.
Take it, so I don’t have to remember.”

I took the ring.
And I wore it.
And I felt uncomfortable,
and when I got home,
I searched up the value –
To find that L had given me a ring
worth $279.
And I didn’t want it either.

And now I have found it.
And I remember L.
I am sad,
because I honestly don’t know
if she’s alive or not.
And I hope she’s doing well,
but last time I saw her,
she truly wanted to die –
and that is something I understand.

I have acquired a lot of things over my stays.
And it’s not about the material stuff.
It’s not about the ring, or the suitcases, or the cards.
It’s not about the paintings, or the stickers, or any of that.
It’s about the people, the relationships.
Some people I keep in touch with,
others I do not –
but every person changed my life.
And from them I have acquired a lifetime of experience,
A mountain of hope and survival skills that each person taught me –
And mostly the incredible ability to love.
Because when we were all struggling,
we gave, even when we had nothing to give.
And that is how I acquired so much.

-cdk

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