I remember those words as though it were only yesterday. Pleas by my mother vacant attempts at delaying my first arrest.
But of course, it is not yesterday. It is thirty years later. Yet, the scolding vulnerability of such a statement did not stop me then. The DUI’s, the intoxicated in public, the driving dangerously close to the fatality mark…never hit.
I smoked pot when I had been eight. I took LSD as an after dinner mint from the age of sixteen forward. I pillage and rough housed my way through the lives of many who dared to love me. My mother brought to the pediatrician when I was ten and begged:
“What can I do about her? She shouldn’t be drinking at her age!”
Only to be told…’she is just going through a stage.’
I sat in barren smoke-stained detox centers and stale but filled with vacant carcasses of humanity rehabs. I sat in wait for the next carton of cigarettes to be brought my way. My bruised and battered body running on empty.
Alas, so had I been running, empty and helpless and hopeless.
It is not a fortunate thing, addiction. It follows the brightest days with a single dark cloud. It covers the summer night’s with stolen thoughts of ice-cold beer.
Addiction is morose and evil, decadent and strong willed.
The times they are not changing. For another has been taken by the hands of the devil and a friend of mine. Young, fresh and waiting for what life may bring young adult…a thought and a glimpse in the rear-view mirror and he too has not fulfilled a life long dream. A dream to be and wonder and expect and love and cry and laugh and contemplate.
If you know an addict love them. Most likely they do not know how to love themselves.
If you know an addict and plan to see it through. Understand the road is no easier to bear and/or bare as a witness than it is for the lost soul with whom you’ll lay your cares.
Pray for those who do not wake up in the morning but come to.
The day I died was an ordinary school day. How I wish I had taken the bus. But I was too cool for the bus. I remember how I wheedled the car out of Mom. “Special favor,” I pleaded. “All the kids drive.”
When the 2:50 bell rang, I threw all my books in the locker. I was free until 8:40 tomorrow morning! I ran to the parking lot, excited at the thought of driving a car and being my own boss. Free!
It doesn’t matter how the accident happened. I was goofing off — going too fast — taking crazy chances. But I was enjoying my freedom and having fun. The last thing I remember was passing an old lady who seemed to be going awfully slow. I heard the deafening crash and felt a terrible jolt. Glass and steel flew everywhere. My whole body seemed to be turning inside out. I heard myself scream.
Suddenly I awakened; it was very quiet. A police officer was standing over me. Then I saw a doctor. My body was mangled. I was saturated with blood. Pieces of jagged glass were sticking out all over. Strange that I couldn’t feel anything.
Hey, don’t pull that sheet over my head! I can’t be dead. I’m only 17. I’ve got a date tonight. I’m supposed to grow up and have a wonderful life. I haven’t lived yet. I can’t be dead!
Later I was placed in a drawer. My folks had to identify me. Why did they have to see me like this? Why did I have to look at Mom’s eyes when she faced the most terrible ordeal of her life? Dad suddenly looked like an old man. He told the man in charge, “Yes, he is my son.”
The funeral was a weird experience. I saw all my relatives and friends walk toward the casket. They passed by, one by one, and looked at me with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen. Some of my buddies were crying. A few of the girls touched my hand and sobbed as they walked away.
Please — somebody — wake me up! Get me out of here! I can’t bear to see my mom and dad so broken up. My grandparents are so racked with grief they can hardly walk. My brothers and sisters are like zombies. They move like robots. In a daze, everybody. No one can believe this. And I can’t believe it, either.
Please don’t bury me! I’m not dead! I have a lot of living to do! I want to laugh and run again. I want to sing and dance. Please don’t put me in the ground. I promise if you give me one more chance, God, I’ll be the most careful driver in the whole world. All I want is one more chance!