I plan on continueing this later on. I have a general idea on where it will go. Hopefully it will work out. Either way enjoy or hate. I plan on adding more tomorrow or tonight. Whenever I get to it. As I now have to sleep.
Lights are bright inside this room. Making even the sunlight outside seem dim in comparison. I stood there for a moment looking into the mirror at my naked body. The fine lines and bits of hair scattered about. Scars on my chest and arms too faint to make anything out but my imagination and memories made up for the lack of detail. ‘Grant me death’ was the plea but never was it given. The execution was stayed as none wished to do the deed. At least no one within my own mind. I now stood there alone. Having found rebirth has made living an addiction. Each moment spent trying to do more than the previous one. Experiencing new things at all times and sharing it with others. Minutes filled with conversations about theology. Hours spent hiking and enjoying the world. Days filled with study and reading trying to grasp a simple yet so complex of an idea. Weeks packed full of conventions and fellowship with fellow believers. Months of talking and words used over and over again. Years if fighting trying to fill my life with something more than what I already had.
Standing there one hand caressing my clean shaven face. It traveled downward along my left shoulder and arm. It followed the path etched upon my soul. It was a short path and memories fill me as I idly traced over a scar that once spelled out ‘Why‘.
It was a dark and rainy night. Mom had tried to put me to bed early tonight. I wanted to stay up and watch TV until daddy came home. So I lay right outside of my bedroom door. Head laying in the hallway so I could watch the TV. I remember cupping my hand over my ears and I could barely pickup the one liners and parts of the punch lines. It wasn’t the words that entertained me. It was the pictures on the TV that moved and the occasional clash of the drums when a joke ended. The funny tricks people or animals would do late at night so others can watch them. I would lay there still as part of the floor. Slowly and mentally pushing further into the floor as to make myself disappear. A few times mom would look in my direction and she would not see me. So I stayed there laying watching TV, silently hoping daddy would come home before I fell asleep. Time passes by differently when your young. To me it passed slowly but to the rest of the world only an hour passed by. The TV show was ending and the jokes were being tallied. People were still laughing when some stomping at the door was heard. I had dozed off a little laying there but now Daddy was home! I silently got up and went back into my room. Barely closing the door so I could peek out and catch when Daddy walked by. I made a plan, on opening it quickly to give him a hug before as he passed by heading to bed. More stomping at the door and the front door opened. It groaned like an old man getting up as it opened slowly. Heavy footsteps sounded as one stomping ones feet on the rug near the door. The slight creak as the large person turns around then the closing of the door. Occasionally a creak in the wall as someone put their hands against it as they balanced themselves. Though I could not see what was happening I could imagine it. Mom welcoming home dad. Typically an argument would ensue but tonight there was a few seconds of silence. I crept towards my door so I could listen in on the conversation. I stood there waiting and holding my breath as it was so loud it could prevent me from hearing everything.
“Where have you been?” Her voice sounded stern and angry. She had work in 5 hours but had stayed up waiting for daddy.
“I was over at Joe’s place with some guys. We were talking about the move the rig could be taking….” His voice was just a little slurred but to it still sounded like dad.
“Why didn’t you call?” Her voice raised a little bit but still controlled as she apparently did not want to wake me. Good she thought I was sleeping.
“I did but the phone was busy.”
“No one has been on the phone all night long.”
“um no I meant someone there was using the phone and I couldn’t call.”
“For 3 hours? Someone was on a call that was so important you could not even call?”
“um It wasn’t my house so I didn’t bother asking.”
“You know what today was. Why did you not bother calling?”
“Um today.. ?”
A crack filled the air. Even without watching I could tell mom had slapped dad hard. I waited wondering what will happen next.
“Today was my doctor appointment. Don’t you remember me telling you this?” Her voice was now shaking a little. I can still picture tears in her eyes.
“Oh sorry. The replacement crew was late and we got back late I missed it figured you could handle it ok. How did it go?”
“It went .. You don’t care your just asking now because you will feel guilty otherwise.”
“No really I do care. Martha you’re my life.” Suddenly his voice changed a little. It grew warmer as if he was shaken from whatever was preventing him from grasping the situation. “Though I hangout with the guys now and then you’re the one I want to be with. Lets sit down and tell me how it went. Was the prognosis good or is there some treatment we have to pursue?” A few sounds as they moved to the couch and further away. I could hear crying from her though as she tried to tell how her appointment went.
“I was told it is terminal. They cannot operate due to the closeness of my spine. Even if they could remove it I would have very little chance at survival.”
“We can beat this dear. We will find another doctor to look and examine it. I will take a few days off next week and we will both go.”
“He told me even if they did try to operate the chance of me surviving and not suffering permanent damage or being disabled for the rest of my life was nil.”
“Alright its ok. Don’t worry we will beat this. I will call your work and tell them you wont be in tomorrow.”
“No I need to go. Otherwise the girls will work short and I don’t want them to suffer.”
“But you will suffer. Sometimes you have to put yourself before others.”
“No I cannot. I want you to promise me one thing though.”
“Anything dear you know I will do anything for you.”
“I want you to stop the course of action your on.”
“I want you to be a father. I know you are doing exactly what your dad did and it worked fine for you. I want you to be more though. I want you to be the dad that you never had. I want you to be the daddy to Nicholas that he deserves.”
“I will do that not only for you thought but because he is my son and I love him.”
“Do you promise?”
“I promise. Now are you sure you don’t want me to call in for you?”
“I will be fine. I want you to find a day to take off work next week and we will go see another doctor then.”
“Alright dear. Remember though I get wrapped up in other things I still love you.”
“and I love you. Don’t you ever forget that.”
Sounds as they got up off the couch and started heading into the hallway forced me back into my bed. I quickly laid down and pretended I was asleep as my dad came in and tucked me in. I remember this memory so vividly because it was the last time I heard my mom. The next day she suffered an aneurysm and died at work. The next few years were tough but my dad was there. Always supportive. Always there when I needed him. He kept his promise to her and was there for me as if trying to make up not being there for her when she needed him.
I put my under cloths on. There was a tradition that I was to cast off my old clothes and present myself to the congregation a new man dressed in white. New clothing to cover up the used body that I inhabited. I read my literature. I memorized the words and I went through the motions seeking an answer. Seeking something to help me find where I can find the answer I kept asking throughout my life. As I pulled the robe around my shoulders the white reminded me of hospital sheets and brought forth another memory.
The years had passed since she passed away. I got involved in sports and just like my father I found out I had legs that could carry me swiftly across the ground. I could almost run on air. I remember dreaming when I was younger about running up into the sky to meet mom. As soon as the coaches found out that I could run I was placed into ever sport program they could fit me. Age 10 it was baseball and football. At 11 a local soccer group tried to form and I got involved in that. At 12, 13, 14, and 15 it was all the same. I would go out for a sport and excel in it. My dad would sit on the sidelines watching and cheering. He would help me train and even bring me along to the oil rigs so I could run around free and during their lunch and other breaks they would take turns throwing a football or hitting a ball out to me for me to run after. Both of us were almost possessed. Trying to be something more than what we really were in hopes it would honor her memory. Being good at sports made me popular in school. Girls would notice me and guys would hangout with me just to be seen. I remember my birthday parties were always full of people I barely knew but didn’t care that much if they were there. I was a rocket ship heading to the stars and if a few people wanted to hang-on I would not mind the extra weight. Every weekend though my dad would be there for the games and would be there after the games.
On the weekdays though when life had to return to normal for a few days before practice again he would go out and drink with friends. I did not mind him going out and leaving me home alone at night. I could take care of myself and he was there for me in so many other ways heck he deserved to go out drinking with his buddies. I remember one night he did not come home. I found this out because he wasn’t in bed in the morning as I made breakfast and headed out to school. When I got home he still had not arrived so I practiced by myself and ended up cooking my own dinner. That night though I got really worried and hoped onto my bike to find him. I rode down the streets until it was dark. The moon full in the sky lighting up the world making an almost eerie twilight. I stopped at a few places he would haunt and his friends places. I rode, and rode for hours on end. When I started out I rode fast pumping my legs hoping to find him before it got really dark out. I kept my legs moving until they started hurting but kept on riding. When the moon was high I figured I should start heading home incase he was there and turned on a street. I was riding on the side of the road and I remember seeing a truck coming down the street.
That is the last thing I remember of that night. I wish I could remembered more. The next memories are of rooms of white and tubes. A silent TV in the background and random faces entering and leaving my field of vision. White sheets, white bowls, beige cups, off white wallpaper, Nurses in light blue dresses and white smocks, white ceilings, and white floors. If I had thought about it back then I bet I could have imagined I was in heaven. There was no pain. There was always this grogginess that filled my mind. People brought me juice and food. All the Jell-O and TV that I could ever want.
I was 16 at the time when I found out my dad had killed himself. He apparently went on a drinking binge at a local bar then bought some more beer and drove out to a remote location. He slept there and came back to keep drinking. When he left the bar the second night he was legally wasted. Even after the crash and several hours at the police dept he was still trashed. They say he drove because he couldn’t even stand up. In the years I had spent with him I never at such a young age realized he still felt guilty over my mom’s death. Then after he hit me and sobered up he found out I may never walk again. He went home and ended his life. I found this out a week after it happened. No one had the heart to tell me.
I wonder what it was like for the nurses who would come in and try to cheer me up to only be confronted by questions of where my daddy was. Questions on if I could still go to the game. I felt no pain from the drugs they pumped into me. How was I to know my knee was now a jigsaw puzzle? It was my grandmother who ended up telling me. The morning before they wheeled me out so I could attend the funeral. It was her who also told me how they figure that nights events happened. It was her who spat on my daddy’s grave and me who slapped her for it. She gave me a look but she said nothing of it. I remember thinking how dare she do that to my daddy after all he had done for me. How dare she?
I lifted a cup of cold water to my lips not to drink but to wet them a little. I still looked in the mirror the metal bracer on my left leg looked out of place. The metal shined and reflected light back at me. A cruel reminder of life sometimes I could almost see a face in the reflection laughing at me. Even now as I look in the mirror at myself. I am all white even my hair as I bleached it a few weeks ago out of boredom. All white except for my blue eyes, red lips, and my shiny reflective metal bracer. The memories came quicker this time around.
Three months of surgery and laying in bed. Faces of people important and not so important would enter my little white world then they would leave. The insurance money from the truck paid for everything that had to do with my injury. My grandmother’s pleading paid for the time and for people to come and visit me. Teenagers are so flighty. You don’t show up for school a few weeks and suddenly your forgotten. I remember wheeling myself into the school one day to pickup some things out of my locker and half the people didn’t recognize me. A few teammates would stop by and say hi. They would quickly leave as if my injury was contagious and they worried they would no longer be able to walk. I wanted to scream at them that I was still me. I wanted to tell them to not take what they had for granite. I wanted to tell them so many things but my anger kept me silent. I doubt my anger helped. I was made on not being able to play football or hangout with them. I was forced to an existence of being bound to a chair and stuck in a room at my grandmothers as she tried to catch my education up. At times I would wake up screaming from a nightmare or from when the pain medication wore off.
A year went by silently. It was then I found out who my friend were. Sadly there was not many of them. I could count them on a single hand and still have room for improvement before expanding to the next hand. They were the last people I expected too. One of them was from the Art class I had taken as I had to focus my energy on something and trying to draw or paint took up a good amount of it. Another was a girl who liked to read. I would approach her with a question about a book, an author, or subject and she could point me in the right direction or warn me what would happen if I pursued the path. These two filled my life up with hope and fun. It was also these two who encouraged me to get a surgery done. I had heard in the news about this new surgery that could help some people walk. It was reconstructive and it was not 100% but it had helped restore others. Being that I had no job I tried pursuing charity and fundraising to cover the costs. In the end the town could only give so much I had to choose between using what was left from the sale of my parents house or the possibility of being able to walk again. Being young I followed the dream.
It took 6 operations 4 pounds of metal though only a few ounces remain inside me now and my family’s savings for me to take three steps. I promptly fell to the floor but I was happy. It was just a step on my path. She was there watching me. My grandmother tried to be supportive but she knew where dreams could take someone. Especially if they were delusions of grandeur. She always told me that self deception was a tool of the devil. I never really understood it but she was older and knew more than I did. Still though I took my first steps and from there proceeded further. A few months later I could take a small walk across the room and into the arms of my girlfriend. Soon I was able to walk to my desk in class and sit down. I could not stand or walk for very long without my brace but still I could walk. There was several years to go before I could run and I would never be able to achieve that which I already had but it was my efforts in trying to recover what I lost. It seemed though that every time I gained something I would lose something else.
It was the summer after I turned 17 that she killed herself. I never really understood why she was so distant and always off in some other place. Her vivid imagination and smile are what attracted me to her. She was found in a bathtub of her own blood. A note written with love to me found in her bedroom. Her daddy apparently loved her differently from other fathers. She could not stand hiding it anymore and was scared I would find out. When I did find out it was apparently too late. When I went over to her house to confront her father it was also too late. The police had hauled him away. When I went to court to look into his eyes as they sentenced him it was also too late as he had either killed himself or was killed in his cell. The paper said he hung himself but there were conflicting reports otherwise. It appeared to start a trend. My being too late. Slowed down by my brace and broken body. When my grandmother passed away that fall it was expected. She was old and the past years did not go by easy for her. She left instructions with a lawyer to make sure I had money for a few years and a place to live. What she did not however leave was instructions for me. I had lost everyone that I cared for and was alone. It was this loneliness that forced me to spit on her grave after we buried her.
Depression is a tough thing to fight. I remember taking pills for the pain in my leg but never could find anything or take enough to stop the pain that existed elsewhere. Sometimes I would take no pills at all and feel nothing but the pain inside my body. Other times I would take so many I would go numb and collapse on the floor, chair, bed, or wherever else I was. I eventually dropped out of school and spent my time at home surfing the internet listening to dark music. The songs of darkness that filled my existence I remember fondly as I caress the scar on my arm. I remember writing “Why” because I wanted to know what I did to deserve this. Other words appeared across my body as I kept asking questions and never got a response. The pain pills would go unused as I wanted to suffer. Perhaps I would suddenly expire from suffering too much. I would push myself to the brink and be ready to accept death but could not do it myself. Anger would then fill my mind as I would be sickened with how weak I was. I would cut further and deeper into my skin to punish myself for not being strong enough to end it. Sometimes intelligence would reemerge from the darkness and I would make sure I would clean my knives and wrap up my cuts to prevent infection. Stories of people getting their arms removed from infection would scare me. I was partially crippled and did not want to be completely disabled. This continued for several months. Long nights full of songs of sorrow. Thousands of droplets as my life and pain was slowly bled out of me. Still each night as I sat there the light would reflect off the blade as it would with my brace. I was a slave to pieces of metal. One that caused me pain and the other that was put in me because of the pain. At times which was which would overlap and I could not disconcert the difference.