Mother held the family together like masking tape on a bumper; it was just enough to keep it from falling apart.
When her, my father and I pulled up to the hospital we didn’t know what to expect, since this sort of thing doesn’t happen to every family and isn’t the “normal” family vacation together. Visiting the psych hospital for me should have been more like a homecoming as I had been in one before, but those places have a way of scaring the shit out of you, and when I walked in that is all I felt…and sick.
At the time I didn’t realize how much my sister needed me, and how lost I was with no ability to care about anything or anyone outside of myself.
Nothing mattered but heroin. I kept picturing it. My thoughts were stuck on the scary go round and heroin was this huge magnet the size of a ferris wheel attracting everything in my life towards it. As my family reunited and we sat in the hospital room with my sister on the hospital bed wearing the hospital gowns, I sat there and tried to care I really did because part of me was good and part of me loved and part of me was still human…but only a small part…not enough to manifest in my life and maybe perhaps change the way I was acting…which was an a total loser scumbag!
The family had already been through hell and back again with the son. Now the daughter was in the psych unit of a hospital where they all now sat together trying to find some sort of solace or “normal” or anything that resembled life before this…thing…happened.
There are no words that exist in our limited vocabulary called English that have the power to take away the elephant in the room, that big fucker has to just leave on his own or else just be ignored. Sometimes the truth is just too painful to talk about straight up, and it was real and ugly and uninviting and very uncomfortable…so why sit and worry about it?
That is what the family did: they ignored the truth and moved on as best as they could. The daughter who was still loopy off the medication talked as if nothing happened or if it did, then it wasn’t a big deal and we should stop talking about it. The father tried the hardest to try and figure everything out, and the mother eventually came to the rescue and kept it cordial. All the while the son held everything in and didn’t say much, only enough to play his part as the son…wishing he was back in the city with his new friends who were so nice.
They even showed him how to use a needle! Now he could get that rush and get high on his own, he wouldn’t need anyone to do it for him, now he was a real junkie.
If it wasn’t for the elephant in the room, every member of that family would be looking at him and wondering what the hell is going on? Why are you so restless and irritable and why are you sweating so much? They would have questioned the lies until the truth broke free. But today was not focus on the fuck up day, it was focus on the one who had it all together and never had any problems.
This was new territory for the son and brother they all loved dearly, the attention on his sister was almost like taking away a security blanket from a child. It was all he had to exist as a participating member of the family, this fucked up sense of belonging by acting out and being reckless, getting into trouble, and needing to be bailed out of every jam. Perhaps that was it, the reason for his behavior, was the need for attention and care as a way to make sure his family loved him. Because love wasn’t invented yet inside his soul, and no amount of attention and care can ever reach someone who does not have love in their hearts.
The father got a hotel room near the hospital so the family could visit the daughter in the hospital. The son had to return to the city by the next day in order to follow the rules of the sober house. He didn’t want to go back to that house again. The guys in that place were so…negative. He wished he could talk to his parents about all of this. But why mess up a good thing?
Before the son got on the flight to go back up north, the father pulled him aside to talk with him. He tried to reach him and bring the son back to some sort of center, but the son wasn’t even listening it was too late. The father realized this as he started to repeat himself. He had been where his son was, but he didn’t say that and didn’t know why. Maybe he was scared of saying the wrong thing, or worried if he said that then it would change things for the worse…either way, it came down to the love he had for his son.
He handed his junkie son 2o0 dollars that was needed for rent. He watched him get in line at the security check and walk through the metal detectors and disappear.
The father wouldn’t see or hear from his son until months later after he turned up in a facility that helped troubled youth who were homeless on the streets of the city.
I got on the plane and for a few hours I felt strong. I recalled what my father had said and thought to myself: “I can do this! I got it. I don’t have to get high when I get off this plane. I am stronger than that!” I was a scared little boy in the dark whistling to make myself to feel better. Lost, and now I was alone with 200 dollars and a decision to make that was not mine to make. It was already made for me the second a needle was stuck into my left arm vein by a junkie on the street, and I was a slave. Slave’s don’t have a choice.
I held off the demons and the evil the whole flight with affirmations and good ideas about what I would do with my life and how I would change. It all sounded so good. But on the train I heard the next stop coming up was the one that would take away all the feelings of sickness, illness, and hurt. I imagined that rush, that sweet succulent sexiness that would wash over my body and let me float away into happy oblivion…
Door opened. The junkie ran out and up the steps to the bustling street with the smells of the food sewer and human waste all mixing a powerful concoction for the senses.
Another lost child disappeared in the crowd.