The other day, I sat down for coffee with Australia and my new friend Cuba. Cuba and I have had some issues over the years, but we are working on it. To be honest, I need all the friends I can get these days. We talked about the weather as I ordered a apple fritter donut with my cappuccino.

Australia asked how I was doing, as I hadn’t seen him in awhile. I always loved talking to Australia. He is, well, definitely not a busy body-that accent though. Wow. Could listen to that forever. I told Australia I wasn’t doing that great. He confirmed what everyone already knew. Cuba quietly nodded. It was no secret to the neighborhood that I had been having some rough times at home. Great Britain hadn’t come to coffee today because she as well had been having some trouble at home but had sent some flowers nonetheless because she is thoughtful like that.

Cuba and Australia encouraged me to go for counseling.

“You have got to see a psychiatrist or something”, said Cuba.

“You know,” chimed in Australia, “Pluto has extra time on his hands since he stopped being a planet. He’s fantastic. Call him up. Make an appointment. Get help.”

“Ok. Fine. I will”, I reluctantly conceded. I am not a huge fan of asking for help. But the entire cul-de-sac could hear the yelling and fighting and it did need to stop before it got worse.

The day of my appointment with Pluto finally came. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I hadn’t been sleeping well at all. Ugh. I got out of bed finally and showered. I wanted to wear a long sleeve sweater but knew that Pluto needed to see my arms. Needed to see the truth. I put on my rainbow colored sun dress. It’s my favorite. But it does show the track marks and the cutting. I rubbed my arms and looked in the mirror. Dark circles under my eyes from many nights of nightmares. I sighed. I’m tall and beautiful but that day I looked haggard.

I got to Pluto’s and walked into his office. I bent down to shake his hand (he’s a short little man with the wisdom of the ages-and he does truly care).

“Have a seat. What’s been going on America?”

I looked him in the eye. “I’m not doing very well. This week especially. I, um…” I looked down at the carpet. Oh goodness. I was dripping blood. I looked towards the door. An entire trail of bright red. Pluto looked as well and then looked back up.

“You are bleeding. Are you sure you shouldn’t go to the hospital?”

I apologized as I started looking for the source, peeling off all my bandaids. Layers of bandaids. And I started to cry as I realized the hopelessness I felt. The more I realized it, the more I wept. Oh God. I need help. I put my face in my hands and I sobbed and sobbed. I’ve cried before but the gravity of where I was now shook me as I wept.

“Why don’t you start at the beginning?”.

The beginning? Oh geez.

Pluto and I started talking. The Native Americans. Declaration of Independence. The constitution. Revolutionary war. The African Slaves. The Civil War. The Gold Rush. Industrial Revolution. World War I. The Depression. World War II. Japanese internment camps. Pearl Harbor. Vietnam. Assassinated presidents. Korean War. Cold War. All the other wars. We talked about the invention of planes and cars and radios and phones and microwaves and TVs and baseball and football and movies and music. We talked about Mexico and Canada and Iraq and China and Korea and porn and sex trafficking and junk food and slaughtered animals and obesity and drugs and pharmaceutical companies and greed and lust and lies and unkept promises and hate and prejudice and racism and gambling. We talked about all the murders I have committed, rapes that were never brought to justice, nursing homes and the elderly and day cares and the babies. All the people in prison and how that affects their children and their wives and their husbands and their moms and their dads. We talked about the guns I keep in my purse and how often I pull them out and shoot people down. We talked about taxes and elections and abortion and immigration and friends and enemies, and enemies who are not enemies and friends who are not friends. We talked about the atheist parts of my heart along with the islamic, christian, buddhist, hindu, new age and satanic parts of my heart. We talked about the people I have helped in my neighborhood. We talked about the times I have hesitated to get involved and then when I finally do, some things get worse and some things get better. We talked about my heroin problem, my crack problem, my narcotics problem, my alcoholism.

Pluto’s face was soft but sad through this conversation. We talked about the unmarked graves of the slaves that were part of George Washington’s home. But we talked about how I went through a Civil War and survived but how I’m still hemorrhaging. Part of me is still in denial, part of me is still cutting away at my arms.

“You have forgotten who you are, why you are here”. I looked down at the pile of bandaids. Pluto pulled out a bag, sifted through it and found a needle and thread. He took my leg and started stitching with hope and peace, vision and purpose, joy and gladness.

“Which of your legs do you like better? Your left or your right? Which one do you use more?” Pluto looked at me.

“Huh? I need both of them. I like both of them. My Right and My Left.”

“Exactly. You need them. Both of them. Your kidneys aren’t better than your liver. Your anus is not better than your mouth. Stitch up your right. Stitch up your left….My God, woman, get healing. The world needs you. The healthy you. Not the you that points fingers. Not the you that is sleeping around and getting diseases. Not the you with your mouth full of rage. The world needs the you that is here. Not you with your head buried in your books, buried in your phone, buried in your Netflix, buried in your policies, procedures, rules and regulations. Stop policing the world and be a neighbor in your cul-de-sac. Plant some trees. Plant some flowers. Turn the sprinkler on. Bake some pies. Your pain is deep. Your wounds are deep. You have hurt people and others have hurt you. You need to ask for forgiveness from a lot of people. You also need to forgive. Forgive yourself and others. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t understand all you have been through. I have never done what you have done. I have only looked on at a distance. But I do know this. There is hope. He is God and He is not far away. In your pain, in your dark hours, in your hemorrhaging, He comes. He is not safe. He is not mild. But He is good. You don’t have to believe me. I know you are still wrestling with yourself. But try Him. Ask Him for what you seek. And I promise you, He will find you. Whether you make your bed in Hell or in Paradise, He will find you and He will not give up. Ever.”

I looked down at my legs. The bleeding had stopped but there was going to be some nasty scars. Scars are better though than gaping open bleeding wounds. I gathered my stuff. And stood. I felt a little better. In pain, but a little clearer in the head. I hugged Pluto and asked if we could do this again next month. I’m gonna need counseling for awhile. He agreed of course.

The sun was warmly smiling down as I left the office. I pulled my phone out and dialed. If I’m throwing a party next week, I needed to start making some plans.

“Hey Mexico. It’s me, America. I know it’s been awhile. I’m gonna throw a party. Can you help me? You make the best guacamole. Gonna invite everyone over. You free next Saturday?”