What Would You Do?

neurosis
What would you do if it were me face down on the sidewalk instead of you?

Ambaum Boulevard and SW 124th Street.

What if I called you on a Saturday afternoon begging for you to come to me.

An intersection, my only offering.

Would you come for me?

If my body couldn’t move because it needed a syringe, would you come?

What would you do if I were writhing in front of my dealer’s house?

Alone. In pain. In tears.

Wanting to die.

You were the only person left in the world I could call.

All other bridges I had burned.

What would you do?

I can tell by your voice you remember the pain.

But where is your compassion?

I know you remember.

The anguish of the mind.

The agony of each bone.

The ache of every muscle.

How did I get here?

How could I let this happen?

Again… and again.

Would you give me 20 bucks and watch me crawl like a beggar through my dealer’s doorway?

Maybe you would show up to scream at me for destroying our lives?

Or would you simply pick up my frail, run-down body out of the street and take me to a hospital?

Perhaps you would call the police?

At least I would have a place to go.

Three hots and a cot.

Or would you let me suffer?

Like I let you suffer.

Covering your ears praying it’s just a nightmare.

Or would you simply stop answering the phone and wait for me to stop breathing?

What would you do?

I called the police that day.

I was too far away to make it to him.

I didn’t want him to die.

He handed me the intersection.

So I turned over his life.

It’s not where he wanted to end up that day.

But he is alive.

What would you do if the father of your chiildren called you from the floor of a sidewalk…

What would you do?

man on sidewalk

Invictus

absence

Maybe not being able say “Happy Birthday” to your daughter on her thirteenth birthday is exactly what you need, so you can feel the depth of how low you have sunk this time.

The realness of the text message brought him back to reality, the same feeling he had been running away from.  It severed his heart.  And his heart bled shame.

He sat on the floor against the wall, at some junkies’ apartment or a cheap motel in which he bartered for shelter.  His phone slipped out of his hand to his side onto the floor.  He picked up his crack pipe with his other hand simultaneously, a movement so robotic it no longer required any thought, just the trigger of an addict’s feeling, if it deserves that much respect.  He exhaled the cloud of white smoke. It wasn’t the head rush, but rather the heaviness of his grief, that caused his head to collapse into his hands.  The pipe dropped and he let out a scream.  A wail that nearly emptied his soul.

On the other side of the world, or so it felt, I too, divulged a scream.  It was a cry of exhaustion. A plea of desperation. Okay, that sounds too elegant. It was more like an ugly explosion. I dropped to my knees with my hands cupped over my ears and I yelled as loud as my lungs would allow. I had to let go of the angush. The obligation of him I could no longer hold.  Like mothering a child, I was clinging to a responsibility.  But this burden was no longer mine to bear.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.  May you never have to carry the burden of this man.  You are stronger without him. As am I. We are never broken.

Invictus.