BPD Voices Project, Living With BPD, Scott's Voice
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Bess.

PLEASE PLAY THIS WHILST READING – THEY GO TOGETHER WELL

When I was 8, my mother decided that it would be a good idea (for whatever reason) to put my dog – “Bess” to sleep.

Bess was only two years old, she was a Labrador (golden) and had significantly soft ears that I used to rub and snuggle into.

Hey, I was 8!

My mother had said to me “it’s either you go, or the dog goes, I cannot deal with the both of you”.

Bess was not a mean dog, she was not aggressive at all, quite the opposite – she would run up to anybody for a pat and a cuddle, and especially if they had food.

My father had wanted to get Bess because it was so terribly hard for me to make friends at school, he thought it’d be a fantastic idea to get me a puppy instead.

At least, that way I had someone to play with before and after school, on weekends, and she’d be a good companion for me.

Bess was a good companion. She was very loyal, very trusting, but she hated my Mother from day one, even when she was a puppy – she knew what type of person my mother was, and steered very clear of her.

In the two years that I had her, Bess developed a passion for food, digging, and running away (mostly in that particular order).

My mother used to get so agitated and furious when Bess dug holes, she would sit at the hole outside and wail at the top of her lungs like a madwoman. Bess would sit there staring at her from my side, perhaps she wondered what was wrong with my deranged mother also?
At night times, Bess would always follow me to bed, and sleep on top of me (uncomfortable, I know, but who could resist?). My mother hated Bess sleeping with me, also, for some reason. I never knew why, although whenever my mother would try and remove her from my bed – Bess would growl from deep down in her gut to let her know not to fucking touch her.

On the day of Bess’s execution, my mother was in full form – dancing and singing around the house at the crack of dawn – a cigarette in one hand and a cup of weak-brewed tea in the other.

Needless to say, Bess reacted strangely to her, and so did I – I knew when my mother behaved this fucking crazy that something was up. Something was brewing from the depths of this woman’s insanity – and it most likely way not a good thing.

My mother kept me home from school on this day, she told me I could “say I was sick”. She said she’d write me a “sick note” to give my teacher, Mr. Ryburn.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with me. Even though I was only 8, deep down inside the very pit of my stomach, I knew what my mother was preparing to do:

She was celebrating the death of the only thing in this life which brought a small amount of joy to me.

The abuse which I undertook on an almost daily basis? It all felt manageable when Bess jumped on my bed at night and I stroked her ears and rubbed her tummy for her. She would stay on my bed with me until morning.

At around 9Am, after my father had gone to work, my mother dragged me by the ear from my bedroom out into the kitchen (why she did this, I do not know – would it not have had the same effect in my won bedroom?!)

I sat at the kitchen table as my mother sat opposite me, puffing on one of her “Pall Mall Blue” cigarettes.

“Y’knnow Bess is getting killed today, don’tcha?”

(My mother had a specific way of speaking that I will never forget, it turns my stomach and makes me want to vomit, to this day).

I began to bawl (as anyone would expect – I was an 8-year-old boy who’d just been told that his Mother was killing his dog – his only friend).

My mother slammed her fist down on the wooden kitchen table, called me a faggot, and told me to stop crying immediately.

It was in this instance that I heard a torrent of speech come out of my “mother’s” mouth that I won’t ever forget.

“You bastard. You are nothing but a faggot, that is why your father’s so “close” to you too! Bess is getting put to sleep today or you’re gonna go away somewhere for good!”

I knew what she meant by that – my Mother used to like threatening to “put me away” for good, she liked to see the terror in my eyes as she explained the horrific things that were going to happen to me while I was locked up in an asylum full of adults.

I continued to cry and my mother got up, stood behind me and spat at me, directly onto the back of my neck. I could feel the smoke-tainted saliva trickle down my back as she stormed off down the hallway.

She walked into my bedroom and seconds later came out, walking my dog by the scruff of her neck.

“Oh yes Bitch, Suzie’s going to have you killed today,” she grinned, coming down the hall.

I stared into Bess’s eyes as she approached my side with my mother holding her and pinching her nails into her neck, the same way she did with me.

“Say goodbye to this fucker,” she hissed.

Crying and sobbing uncontrollably, I knelt down on the floor, eye-level with Bess as I held her face in my hands and kissed her nose, and those furry soft ears for one of the last times.

The joy in my Mother’s face was reminiscent of what you might expect from a woman who’d just given birth or was about to be married – she truly was ecstatic.

“Go and get dressed,” she commanded, pulling me up by the scruff of my neck.

I recall shrugging her off of me and making my way down the hallway to my bedroom, Bess following close behind me, always the loyal companion, even on her death day.

I slammed my door shut, knowing that my Mother would not have expected it, I was not an angry child, despite the shit that I had to deal with on a daily basis from both of my parents.

Bess jumped up on my unmade bed and made herself comfortable, rolling onto her side for me to rub her belly.

I rubbed my face against her stomach and apologised to her, knowing that deep down there was no way that she understood anything of what was about to take place.

I spent quite some time getting dressed that day, making sure that the rest of the bawling I did do was with my dog, and not in front of my Mother.

It wasn’t long before my mother crashed through the door, fag in one hand and dishcloth in the other.

“Get the fuck out here, boy. That mutt’s had its last day in my house,” she bellowed, still grinning.

She had gotten herself dressed also, wearing her long grey track pants and white knitted sweater. I could smell her musk perfume filling my room, which made me sneeze.

My mother waltzed in, whistling a high-pitched jig incredibly loudly as she pushed me out of the way and grabbed Bess by the scruff of her neck, causing her to let out a howl.

“Shut the fuck up, you BITCH!” she yelled, kicking Bess in the side hard with her heel.

Bess let out another whimper and I walked out to the kitchen/dining area where I waited more instruction.

It was an incredibly long walk with my mother up to the local Vet clinic. She dragged Bess along beside her, a choker collar attached to her. She gagged and coughed all the way there, and I cried all the way there, despite my previous decision not to.

Once we finally arrived, my mother sat down on the bench outside the Vet clinic and lit u a cigarette.

“Ya might want one of these fuckers before going in there, boy,” she exclaimed, pointing to the Pall Mall cigarette dangling from her lip.

I shook my head, wiped my eyes and sat down across from her. Bess nestled into the side of my leg and began panting. She was worn out.

“Hey, at least she got a fuckin’ good work-out before we slot her.”

I rubbed Bess’s ears for the final time as my mother sat there with a shit-eating grin from ear to ear, puffing insanely on her cigarette.

I hated her so much.

My mother threw her cigarette out into the street as she stood up, brushed her pants and asked if I was ready.

“No. Can’t we just go home? I promise I’ll keep her in my room, you’ll never see her!” I pleaded.

Bending down to face me, my mother grabbed my face between both hands and spat at me.

“That fucking mongrel is getting killed. I told you – either you go to the funny farm or I get rid of the dog.”

I wiped my face with the back of my hand and tried to pull myself from her.

My mother pushed me away from her with a force which almost made me fall into the road. I held on tight to Bess’s lead and steadied myself finally.

“Come on, let’s get this over with!” she shouted.

People walking past us in the street stared. It must have been a sight – crazy mid-aged woman bellowing at the top of her lungs while her young son held onto his dog for dear life, bawling his eyes out.

My mother snatched the lead from me, gave Bess one last swift kick to the back with her boot and marched towards the vet – my 2-year-old dog’s death.

Inside the small cramped clinic, we were the only ones there, and just as well too – I had made enough of a fool out of myself outside.

The receptionist told my Mother that the Vet wouldn’t be long, which made this whole ordeal seem even worse to me. I wanted to grab my dog and run, I knew my mother wouldn’t have caught me, but I was too scared of the aftermath.

Bess laid down on the cold floor and rested her head on my foot as she looked up at me.

My mother’s demeanour had changed, she’d taken a handkerchief from her pocket and was dabbing at her eyes and sniffing.

I knew it was fake, she often did this in front of others, and I’d had years of practice getting to know all of her little quirks and tricks by that stage. It made me feel sick inside, to think that she was pretending to be upset about killing my dog, when just moments before she was laughing and cackling away about it like a lunatic.

{Suffice to say, my mother was and is very much unstable, she should never had had children, animals or a husband.

When she gave birth my brother and her instabilities were present, it should have been someone’s job to have stepped in and prevented her from having me – just my thoughts on the matter. I realize and understand that not everyone agrees with me on this, but this is a free medium, and my thoughts and feelings are mine, they are all I have left.)

After a lengthy wait, a young vet surgeon with blonde hair and wearing a pale green smock appeared in the waiting area.

“Mr. Heath with Bess?” he asked.

My mother hadn’t even had the balls to book the appointment under her name. I couldn’t believe it – she wanted no responsibility for what she had arranged – the premature death of my dog.

I stood up, holding Bess’s lead in my right hand and my mother sat crumped up next to me, playing the snivelling poor role.

“Mrs. Heath, I think you should come in there with your Son, it’s not an easy thing,” the vet spoke.

Slowly, my mother rose to her feet holding the hanky to her face as she continued to fill it with fake tears.

The three of us walked to the back of the surgery where a bright room awaited us complete with a large table laid with blankets.

“Let’s pop Bess up here on the table shall we? She’ll be comfy up there.”

Why was he speaking to me like that?

My emotions completed began to shut down as I dropped Bess’s leash and the vet kneeled down to pick her up. My mother cowered in the corner of the room. She wanted people to think she was a victim in all of this.

I moved closer to the table and rested my hand on Bess’s head as the vet began preparing the injection which would end my childhood.

I looked over at my mother, pleading with my eyes, yet she had her back to me, her face pressed into the wall.

“OK, it’s time to give her one last pat, say goodbye, and Bess will be fast asleep very soon,” the voice rang through my ears as I bent forward and kissed her forehead.
“Sorry Bess,” I cried as I held her neck so tight.

If there was ever a time in my life I should have prayed, it would have been then, but I just didn’t have the words as I looked into her golden brown eyes.

In my child’s mind, my dog begged me to let her live, and I would have traded places with her (still would), but I don’t control the universe – not then nor now.

I let out one last sob as the vet inserted the needle into Bess’s leg, slowing her breathing and forcing her beautiful eyes to close finally.

My mother exited the room behind me, slamming the door. I turned around, one hand still holding my dog’s soft collar and felt the emptiness in that room as Bess’s soul slowly left it.

The vet placed his hand on my shoulder and ushered me out of the room. My mother was waiting outside the surgery; I could see the smoke billowing around her.

“You can go home with your Mum now,” I was told.

I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to speak to her ever again, but I knew I had no choice.

She had taken away my only piece of happiness, my fist dog. A child’s first pet is always special, similar (I guess) in some ways to your first initial kiss, or your first time feeling completely connected to someone like never before.

Bess certainly was my companion, and I never had forgotten (or replaced her).

A few weeks ago I suffered a terrible fever where I had visions of Bess, complete with her asking me to please not kill her etc. It lasted all day long, and has probably been what has prompted me to write about her in such a manner.

Not particularly BPD related, but trauma, for sure. I have phobias of vets, needles etc.

The photograph is of myself and Bess, a few days before my mother murdered her.

RIP Bess.

SIDE-NOTE:

32 years on, as I write this – it has taken me four days. I don’t think the writing itself is very good, it’s sloppy, it’s rushed (even though it took four days, I needed to finish it because it hurt). The way my mother behaved during the whole ordeal is an example of her own issues, be it what they may. She has never been diagnosed, I have often wondered – so if people have suggestions as to how her behavior may be categorized, please feel free.

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