Today we have a sneak peek from the memoir by Kathy Brandt and Max Maddox, Walks on the Margins.
In Walks on the Margins, mother and son weave two narratives into a single powerful story of what it means to suffer from mental illness. Max takes readers into the abyss of mania, psychosis, and depression as Kathy narrates her struggle to help her son in a world beset by institutional failure. Each day they confront the unknowns of their lives as they maneuver a twisted path to recovery. A finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction, Walks on the Margins is a fiercely candid story about the emotional turmoil and confusion of those who struggle with bipolar disorder.
Here is an excerpt from Walks on the Margins…
The Electric Blue Hour
Fine chocolates and white wine, little soaps and body powders wrapped in satin yellow bows, a diamond accented with emeralds on a band of white gold. The Love Park fountain bursting through the city lights. A childish quartet splashing in the baby blue, exhilarated by the coming of the hour. The air was for once fresh, the flags of the avenue full as sails with the warmth of summer. Sisters of hers, brothers of mine, drifted by, the priest, the promenade.
The scene was fleeting, emptying, disappearing. She never came, and where I thought my walk had ended, it had only just begun. And so I stood. Twisting precious gems around my little finger, to my fair lady I heeded the signs. The flier on the telephone pole, in the newspaper box, the ad on the side of the bus. The arrangement of flowers in the store window, the stray cat, the draw of the cicada’s pulse, the charms that fell from her bracelet.
Bent over like a real beggar, smelling like fungus and urine, I walked on the same blisters, only bigger. Gruesome, unnerving, crimson silver dollars on my Achilles heel, medallions on my walks over the horizon, marathons on the margins. On the fissures in the bricks of the lovesick, in the storm that would right everything wrong, it was for her, my paradise.
She was a promise, one that could never be made good. But a promise so great that its very mirage crippled even the strongest of wills. If I finally do recover, it will be from my undying love for her; it will be from a broken heart.
But let me start from the beginning, nearly 12 years ago now.