Underthecurrent


apple juice in the hall
May 8, 2017, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The call three days ago.

A few days before that, he clicks on a picture.  A few months before, he writes “I love you, I miss you” but he never calls the number in the last message. The last conversation, probably five years ago, no recall of those last words or days.

It’s impossible not to run over the path.

We’re twelve or thirteen and he’s somehow drunk, stupid drunk.  It’s dawn, outside the sun rises and the dew is cold and settled down.  Things are not good, this was out of control.  Sleep gets lost, wrapped in a blanket, waiting for the bad night to end.

Fifteen or so – this one is just a flash.  We’re in a car dropping off bags of fake money.  At the time, it’s not obvious this is what is going on, but later he tells the truth.  He’s getting in deeper.  For fun, for extra cash, it’s not even clear.

Sixteen or so.  A wedding where we steal drinks.  It’s miserable for him, that day.  That’s the story behind those beautiful pictures.  He whispers that he’s taken a pill, the kind that makes you happy and warm when all you want is to drop down, down, down.  He looks happy in the pictures.

Maybe we’re out of our teens now, it’s not clear, this one’s just a flash too.  His parents are gone, maybe they trust I’m around.  The good one.  He’s mad about blood in the sink at this low key gathering of friends, someone’s sneaking off for lines of coke.  At some point, a pill is passed around, little halves of oxy.  It will be years before what this is and how bad this is fully clicks.

Another flash.  It’s a bar and for two minutes, away waiting for the bathroom, then there’s a fight.  He’s thrown out, the police come by.  We go to the hospital for stitches, at some point he cries like a child, when he’s falling asleep or passing out.  Waiting, waiting in the hallway, hearing him cry for his mother, she’s nowhere near in any way.

We’re definitely older now, twenties.  He lies that he’s working at a club, that’s how he’s paying for the apartment, well he’s lying to the rest of the family but the hockey bags going in and out make it obvious.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.  We spend a bunch of time together.  This is the last time he’s at all in control, the last time we feel close, listening to music, watching movies.

It’s two years later.  We meet for breakfast in a strange city, he has a beer.  Things are not okay.  He’s rude somehow, lost to time, the friend with me recognizes it.  This is how my family sometimes is.  We leave the city, leave him behind.

*

The last few days snap all of this in a line, points.  The worst is that he never really made it to this age, this look-back-on-it age where you grant yourself amnesty for the decade before and everyone can be a little more real.  All lined up, the anxiety and sadness is more obvious.  He distracted from it all the time, when he was younger with overconfidence and charm, when he got older with anger.

He wasn’t treated well.  As an adult, looking back, it’s horrible to think about how other adults behaved towards someone who had limited control over the situation he was in.  He was just a kid.  Right to the end, decisions that must be, should be, in retrospect, painful to the people that made them.

This is not to say he should not have been responsible.  So many times there was a right track and a wrong track and he purposefully turned into the wrong road, and sped up.

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