“‘A Willing To Live’ is about Joey, who is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder at a young age that led to drug abuse and being kicked out of his mother’s home, later attempts to turn his life around to see his mother once again. When he makes his attempt to see his mother, it’s not exactly what he’d hoped to discover. This dramatic novel will take you on a journey of dark emotion, mental illness and self-discovery. Joey is plagued with challenges throughout as he writes letters to his mother at the beginning of each chapter showing his step-by-step recovery and his hope to see his mother again, but he soon learns that it won’t be as simple as he had hoped.”
This is not the hospital you’d imagine me in. And this is not my first stay. But I am here now. I am here now and I am safe, my mother. My hearts longs for the moment I see you again, but that’s not going to be for some time now. Not until I get right, right in the head, that is. I hope that you have forgiven me for the things I said and did to you. I am not a perfect man, but a man is that I am. And I have owned up to you for my mistakes and I take full responsibility. Please forgive me. I beg for your forgiveness as that you are my mother, and a mother you were to me. I just wish I could have seen that then, but I’m getting better now. That is why I am here. And here I will be for some time now.
We are here now and we are safe. ‘We’, I mean, as in the other patients. We’re here in the hospital, the one that some type of sane people may laugh at as they drive by on the highway and point at, saying to their children, “there, son, there is where all the crazy people go.” And there may be some truth to saying that. But as Aristotle once said, “No great mind has ever lived without a touch of madness.” Some people believe that we’re all crazy. And maybe we are. In truth, we are all crazy in our own way. But as I learn yesterday, the true ‘crazy’ people are the ones who repeatedly do the same thing, while expecting different results.
My mother use to tell me that people will judge me for coming here. She knew me very well, and she knew I would be here one day. She told me that people will tell me that all the ‘Leaders and doctors’ of the mental hospitals or drug rehab facilities will do is brain wash me. My mother told me that she went to one of these places when she was young, and people told her the same thing, that all they do is brainwash you. But my mother was different, instead of giving into their wild belief, she told them, “Maybe they will brain wash me, which is good, because I have a dirty brain.”
The hospital looks much larger from the outside, but feels smaller on the inside. Almost cramped, but I have to take in consideration that we’re only in the ‘Adult Wing’, while there is a ‘Children’s Wing’ as well. Not to mention all the doctor’s and nurse’s offices that run through the thin hallways. The cafeteria. The intake room. The billing department. There’s a lot of space on the outside, but in here, in the adult wing, it’s very small. The nurse’s station in the adult wing is directly in the center on all the madness and there are two hallways on each side, one leading down the women’s side and then one leading down the men’s side. Eight rooms down each hallway with two beds in each room. The ‘common space’ is directly across from the nurse’s station and there’s a bullet-proof glass wall with a door that leads to the patio where all the smokers go to have a cigarette. That’s where I spend most of my time. I spend it hunched over with a cigarette between my fingers as I chain smoke one after another. And then another. Because there’s nothing else to do but smoke cigarettes and think about what I’m going to do when I get out.
“Joey” The technician, Berta, called.
“The doctor needs you.”
I whisper under my breath, “Finally”.
I spend all this time thinking about what I’ll say in group therapy, what I’ll say to the nurses when they ask me, “On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your depression?” and most importantly, what I’ll say to the doctor. But on the walk to his office, my mind feels hollow with no thought process whatsoever and I can’t truly express how I’m feeling, how I am, how nobody understands me. I spend all this time thinking, and when it comes time I have nothing. That why I usually turn to writing it all down. But I forgot that too.
We walk into a small office behind the nurse’s station and the doctor sits down in a black chair that swivels while I sit in the leather black chair across from him, next to the door.
“Joey?” Dr. Turner asks.
“Yes, sir.” I subtly reply.
He asks me, “When is your birthday?”
“February 17th 1990.”
He scratches ink into a stack of paperwork.
“Ok, good. Now tell me, what brought you in here?”
Now that is a complicated question, to which I don’t truly know the answer, because I don’t fully understand what’s going on with me. But I think to myself, maybe if he understands the series of events that led me here, then maybe he can tell me what the fxck is going on with me.
“I don’t really know how to answer that question.” I explained to the doctor. “It’s complicated.”
“We have time, Joey, tell me why you’re here.”
“I think it goes back to my childhood, to be honest with you. I used to get in a lot of trouble and fighting and stuff like that and on top of that I was sexually abused when I was 14.”
“Joey,” Dr. Turner says, “I won’t make you go into detail but I know it must’ve been hard for you.”
“It was, but I’ve learned to forgive,” I say. “And he’s in prison now so he won’t do it to anyone else any time soon. It just sucks that things like this happen every day. To so many people.” I explain as I count on my fingers, “And not just rape, doctor, but war and famine and abuse and hate. The world can be an f’d up place.”
Dr. Turner has a look in his eyes showing he cares, almost tearful. A glistening.
Dr. Turner raises his hand high in the air and asks in a calm voice, “Do you ever feel really high, almost, like, too happy at times,” He lowers his hand towards the ground, “And then really, really depressed soon after?”
I lower my neck and shoulders and I lower my voice as I reply, “I have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder by a couple other doctors, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“Do you have mood swings?”
“Mood swings. Night terrors. Paranoia. Voices. Delusions. Hallucinations.”
“What do the voices say?”
“Most of the time it sounds like a ton of voices talking at the same time. It sounds like an airport when you’re waiting for your flight and you can hear everyone, but you can’t make out what they’re saying. Every now and then I will hear a distinct voice, a guy telling me all the bad things I’ve done in my past. Like a constant reminder. But they never tell me what to do, like the ‘command type’.”
He tells me, “I’m going to prescribe you medication that will help you with that. By the time you leave here, you should feel stable. But let me ask you this, what happened right before you came here?”
“My girlfriend, well my ex-girlfriend now, she broke up with me… and I guess, well, I don’t know I guess I didn’t take it very well.”
“What happened that she broke up with you?” Dr. Turner asks.
I honestly explain, “Two or three weeks ago I started having delusions that she was cheating on me with one of her co-workers and I confronted her about it and she didn’t take it very well. She started throwing things at me and yelling and screaming and that made me yell and scream and then the police were called and, I don’t know, it didn’t end well. When she told me she couldn’t take it anymore I broke down. She left and I was alone. That’s when I break down. When I’m alone. And I did.”
The doctor asks, “Did you do something harmful to yourself or anyone else?”
“I wouldn’t harm anyone else,” I say. “Not anymore. I hurt a lot of people in my past, physically and emotionally. And I try my hardest to make sure I don’t do it again. It’s just that, well, I don’t know, you know what I mean. I can’t help it sometimes. I lose my mind and I can’t control myself. I kind of black out sort of. In the moment I’m at a total loss of self-control. But to answer your question,” I say, “I was crying, I mean like, really, really crying. I couldn’t take it. I wanted to die again. So I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a knife and held it to my arm, I was ready to cut down my arm and end my life. I held it to my skin and pushed really hard and I cried even harder. But I had a moment of realization. I thought, when I die, it will not be at my own fault. I will not die because of a woman and my own stupidity. I will die when I die, but that wasn’t going to be that day. So I drove here and checked myself in.”
“I’m so happy to be here with you today,” Dr. Turner said to me, “I am happy that you’re alive and I just want to let you know that you’re well on your way to recovery. I’m going to give you Abilify and a medication for bi-polar called Lamictal. By the time you leave here you will be stable enough to be back into society. Do you have any questions for me?”
“Nothing that I can think of but I know as soon as I leave here I’ll have a hundred of them.”
“Write them all down,” He says, “Write them all down and we will go over them in our next appointment.”
I left the hospital three days ago and I feel better leaving the hospital than I ever have. This could be a major turning point for me, my mother. But I feel as though this is me restarting. Since I went back to the hospital, I feel like this is square one all over again. Everything I did before is a wash. I am in recovery, and I will not let you down. This is all for you, my mother. This is so I can see you again. I have been clean and sober for two years and I know that is hard to believe, but it’s true. Now I am getting right in the head. I will see you again, and you will see me, me being healthy and strong, strong willed. Moving forward. You will be proud, and proud is what I want you to be. You will love me again, and love is what I have for you. This is all for you. This is me making things right. This is me, clean and sober, getting healthy for you. I love you.
It is my own dedication for getting better that put me in the hospital. Let me tell you this, I don’t want to kill myself, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in depressive episodes that it feels like I have no choice. So I grab a knife. So I grab my gun. So I grab pill bottles. So I grab myself. When I finally snap out of it, then I feel guilty. I feel embarrassed which only leads to deeper depression. It’s a vicious cycle that I can’t seem to break out of, until I break out of it. Then, and only then, I feel peace within myself. However it doesn’t last long. I begin to feel lonely. And then the depression begins to set in again. And again. And again. I’ve been searching for an answer for so long that I forgot the question. I forget to tell myself that this dark feeling is only temporary. I won’t feel depressed forever, I tell myself, but when I do, it feels like an eternity.
In the hospital I would tell myself, don’t get back with her, don’t get back with her, it’s self-destruction. But this time it feels different as I watch Sarah play on her phone while she lays on the black leather couch and I sip dark coffee from a mug and lean against the textured wall. Maybe, just maybe, this time will be different.
I walk to the couch, set my coffee cup on the wooden coffee table and lift her legs and sit down and lay them over me. I look at her eyes while she plays on her phone. I look at her cute little toes and imagine spending the rest of my life with her. She the most beautiful girl I’ve ever been with. People don’t understand our love. Yeah we fight, but that’s what couples do. It’s very unconventional.
She tells me, “If you ever go back to the hospital again then I’m not taking you back.”
“Don’t worry, Baby,” I tell her, “I’m not going back.”
“That place is for crazy people and you’re not crazy. They want to tell you that you’re crazy so they keep you coming back and they can make money off you and give you pills. You don’t even really need those pills. It’s the pharmaceutical companies telling you you need them so they can profit off of your… well… You just don’t need them.”
“Look, I have an illness and those doctors and therapists do a lot of good for me and they treat me well. They are there for me when I need help and it’s a safe place for me to go when I’m not myself.”
“An illness,” Sarah says, “Is like cancer. Like the flu. You are who you are and you’re not ill. You’re not going to die from it. People die from illnesses.”
I wish Sarah understood me, but there’s no point in arguing with her. I’ve kinda learned to understand that most people are like her. Like Sarah. Hell, every relationship I’ve been in has been like this. It doesn’t matter what facts are put in front of her, she will stick to her guns. Do you know the type? No matter what you say is wrong and they’re always right? No matter the circumstances? Do I grow to live with it or continue to search the needle in the haystack? I feel like if I were to find the needle, it would be a rusty heroin needle that stabs me, and I don’t want to get stabbed by a rusty heroin needle.
What do you do in these situations? The situations where you know you can argue, and argue, and argue and still get nowhere. I can pull out a dictionary and show her,
: a specific condition that prevents your body or mind from working normally : a sickness or disease
But it would still lead me down a road where I end up apologizing to her for something I said.
“Joey?” Sarah says.
“Yeah? Sorry.” I say, snapping out of thought. “I think I’m going to go to Austin’s house tonight.”
Her eyebrows hunch and she says, “What? Why? I want to go to Brad’s house tonight. He’s having a party.” She explains.
“Sarah, you know I can’t go to parties and shit anymore.”
“Oh, quit being a pussy and go. You’re always being like this. A little goody goody.”
Mother, I think to myself, I will get better for you.
“I will go for you. But if there are any drugs or…”
“Quit.” Sarah says as she lays her finger over my lips, “Just stop, please. For god’s sake, just quit talking for a minute. You can be so freakin’ irritating.”
Depression can be all self-control and all smiles and laughter. It can be a compliment awaiting a compliment. It can be respect until disrespected. It can be the leader in a life less followed. Depression can eat you alive and still be hungry. It can be hard working and self-sacrifice, all for the company or pleasure of others. Depression does what it takes to make others happy, because a person who suffers from depression knows what it’s like to be depressed, so they would never wish it on their worst enemy. Therefor it remains too dangerous in the mind of the beholder, and it must be tamed or controlled.
Brad’s home is a rundown white (or used to be white) trailer with plastic over two of the three windows, and it’s only my guess that they were shattered out by someone throwing bricks through the windows because Brad is the type to have enemies. The type that fxcks people over with no self-control or awareness of other people’s feelings. It’s the drinking. It’s the cocaine. It’s the heroin tablets and the pains of withdrawal.
Sarah demands, “Don’t do or say anything dumb tonight, ok?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Never mind,” She says, “Just… Be the person I want I want you to be, do you know what I mean?”
I think to myself, I really don’t. I want to be myself. Is that the idiot she’s talking about? Me? Me, being myself? How am I supposed to respond to that? So I just don’t.
She quickly walks in front of me, in a manner that makes me believe she doesn’t actually want me here. As if we’re showing up separately, individually. Honestly, I’m not supposed to be here anyway.
Her knuckles knock against the wood that creates a bang within the hollow blue door. Its paint chips fading. This door has to be 20 years old, never replaced. Its hinges creek as it opens wide.
Brad yells, “Hey, you two, ‘bout time you showed up.”
The odor quickly finds its way into my nose, making me nearly gag. The smell of a floor vacuumed years ago. The scent of vomit, rotten eggs, raw sewage and skunk. But it doesn’t seem to faze Sarah, making me imagine she’s been here too many times and has gotten used to the smell. Stop, I tell myself, stop. The delusions are kicking in again. The paranoia of them being together so many times behind my back, they were probably cuddled up together watching terrible b-rated horror movies. They were holding hands. They were kissing each other, nearly passionately that led to them having sex in this gross trailer.
No, no way. I’m just crazy. It never happened. It never happened. It never happened. Let this be my catchy song that plays in my head through the night. It never happened. It never happened. It never happened. As I play it on repeat.
30 minutes later, we’re here, and we’re not safe. We, I mean, as in Sarah and me. The other folks here at the party aren’t safe either. They’re in danger as I watch the straw scoot against the glass coffee table that hasn’t been wiped off since, well, maybe it hasn’t ever been wiped off. The powder disappearing as it’s sucked into his nose.
Woo, he says as he tilts his head back, still sucking in air through the white straw.
He looks at me, me sitting on the dark stained couch with my arms crossed just awaiting for our departure and he says, “Wanna bump? I brought enough for us all.”
“No, thanks,” I tell him, “I’m trying to stay away from the stuff.”
“Why?” He asks, “It’s fucking cocaine, man, the best shit created by the Gods.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it, but I really can’t.” I tell him.
“It’s up to you, man. It’s here if you want it.”
I smile at him graciously, as if to say thank you once more and then I continue to imagine the door shutting behind Sarah and me as we leave this god forsaken trailer.
After a moment of conversation between Sarah and Brad, Sarah walks over to me with news that I didn’t want to hear.
Sarah says to me, “Hey Joey, Brad’s going to get more beer and I’m going to ride with him. We’ll be back in a few.”
Uhh, I say, with nothing else coming to mind. I can’t say ‘no’ in front of all these people, it may create confrontation, and my anxiety is already through the roof. I have no choice, I must agree. Besides, what’s there to worry about? It never happened. It never happened. It never happened.
Five or ten minutes have gone by since Sarah and Brad left, and every passing second leaves me more anxious for their arrival. I just can’t take it, I have to get outta here. It’s killing me. The smell, the drugs, the guys shotgunning beers left and right. I mean, I have nothing against them, of course. I let them have their fun, but the urges to join in leave me paralyzed with anxiety. I think to myself, I have to get outta here. So I do.
I walk out the front door and not a single voice on earth echoes the words, ‘Hey, where are you going?’ But that’s a good thing, I don’t want to have to speak another word to anyone for the rest of the night. My palms are sweating. My face burns red as I wipe the sweat away from my forehead and begin to pace down the road. I’m just going for a walk to kill time.
Ugh, this is it. I’m finally alone and can get a good grip on my thoughts and calm down a bit. But wait, is that Brad’s truck? Not driving down the road, but parked on the side of the empty street? It’s a blue Ford, like Brad’s. But not possible, I think to myself. They’re going to get beer, there’s no reason for them to be parked on the side of the road. Again, I’m just crazy.
And just then, my heart sunk. My palms even sweatier than before, as I see the truck gently rock back and forth. At this very moment, I snap. I’m not me anymore. I know it’s Brad’s truck. I only know because I remember glancing at his license plate earlier tonight, reading, “AF3” at the beginning of his license plate number.
Fight, flight, or freeze.
Fight. I choose fight.
I race to the back door of the truck and open it wide and I hear screams from both Brad and Sarah, which makes me yell AHHHH back at them as Sarah quickly pulls down her shirt and covers herself. I slam the door shut as hard as I possibly can and I rapidly pace around the empty street, with my fingers interlocked tight behind my head, right outside of the truck’s back door. My face burning ever more fiercely than before. I open the door again and I see Sarah pulling herself off of Brad. Brad, who’s speechless, zips up his pants and begins to help Sarah gather herself.
I slam the door shut again, and I stand in front of the door, staring through the lightly tinted window, contemplating life in general. The feelings rushing through my veins have me paralyzed. The shame. The regret. The hopelessness.
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your depression?
The scale only goes up to ten.
Do not kill him. Do not kill him. Do not kill him.
This is not Brad’s fault, as much as I want it to be. This is on me. Me and only me.
I run my hand through my hair as I look up towards the sky and think, where do I go from here? So I look back towards Brad’s trailer and then I begin walking.
I simply get in the car and I leave before any more mistakes are made. In the rear view mirror I see Sarah standing in the middle of the road with her arms in the air, as to say, ‘Where are you going?’
Home, Sarah, I’m going home.
I am in a dark place, my mother. The last three weeks have left me feeling empty inside and I don’t know where to go from here. I have continued sober, though. Not a needle in my arm or a drop of whiskey on my tongue. But I feel as if I need you more than ever. It’s hard to continue alone, because I feel emptier every day. I don’t know where to go from here, but I promise you, I will continue to get better. I will see you again. One day. Maybe on my death bed, but I promise, I will see you again when I am all better. And you will be proud of me, proud to call me your son. I will hold you tight in my arms for days. You are all I think about and I am doing this for you. If you will have me, that is. I love you and I miss you with all of my heart.
The dark wooden end table next to the couch slightly trembles as the buzz of my phone continues to vibrate. The name at the top of the screen reads the person who brought me to this low point in my life. Her name in my thoughts cause my stomach to drop every second of every day, triggering me to lose my appetite at the beginning of each meal that I try to force down my throat. I’ve lost five pounds. Sleep remains erratic and rare. I close my eyes only to see images of the truck. Images of her. Imagines of him. It’s consuming my life and I have no thoughts of my own.
Three weeks and my only thoughts outside of her exists in limbo, that time heals all wounds. I continue to think, how much time? How much time until my stomach stops hurting and my mind can deviate from one single incident that ruined it all? How much time?
The only reason I haven’t gone back to the hospital is because of my friend Anthony. He’s the only reason I haven’t ended it all. And I mean that quite literally. When I’m with Anthony I can laugh and smile, but only to keep my mind occupied for a brief moment. It doesn’t take long for my cheeks to shrink back into form with a blanket stare about me. It’s tough. I laugh and then I cry. I smile then don’t, but if it wasn’t for him, I’d be dead.
He’s on his way over to my apartment now and then I will be able to shake the shivers of depression that have left my body feeling drastically colder than my normal body temperature. My hands shake when he’s not around. I feel as though I can’t be left alone with my own thoughts. They’re too dangerous. I have absolutely no control over them, as if they’re being manipulated by a person who only wants me stricken with sadness and depression. Someone who has it out for me and only wants me dead. That’s who’s controlling my thought patterns. But for a brief moment in time, I can get a grip, and take control. With the snap of a finger, and just like that, my mind drifts off into wicked contemplation. I become the victim to my own thoughts. It’s a battle, but a battle I’m willing to fight. I’m willing to fight it for my mother and for myself.
30 minutes later, Anthony and I are at the bar, having a drink. Anthony having a whiskey and I’m having a coke, of course, and we’re chit chatting about Sarah and where I go from here.
Anthony bluntly says to me, “Fxck her, man.”
My Thoughts exactly and I say, “I know, but she was the most beautiful girl I’ve ever been with and she seemed perfect to me.”
“I’m going to be completely open and honest with you,” Anthony takes a sip from the skinny black straw perched from the glass and then says, “she was a bxtch and you can do a lot better than her, you just don’t see it sometimes.”
I say, “I know I can, but you know how I am.”
“That,” Anthony says, “I do.” And he continues to ask me, “Do you feel like you need to go back to the hospital?”
My shoulders curve downward and I look towards the table; I fidget with the napkin in my hand as I tear off small pieces and roll them into tiny balls and I can hear my words echo from the wood and into my ears as I tell him, “No. I don’t think I do this time.”
Anthony looks at me as he takes another drink of whiskey, waiting for a follow up and verification.
“Really,” I tell him in a low voice, “Honestly, I think this is just one more step in recovery.”
Anthony leans in and says, “I think your mom would be proud of you.”
“You think so?” I say as I look up from the table and into his eyes.
“I do, man. When you go to see her I bet she will leave everything in the past and see the new you. I think she’s going to be very, very proud of you.”
“I really needed to hear that.” I say.
We continue to talk for half an hour. We talk about everything and crack jokes and I can laugh. Sometimes my laughter is cut short though, when she snaps back into my thoughts and Anthony can see that because my face becomes blank and white. He grabs my arm and tells me that everything is going to be ok, and I believe him. I just have to tell myself that the concept of time heals all wounds, but right now I feel like I’m missing a huge part of my life.
We leave the bar and head towards my apartment. We don’t talk to each other as the music is turned up too loud to speak, but the song is keeping my mind occupied. This, listening to music, is one of my coping skills. And just then, two things happened.
The song Take Me to Church by Hozier plays on the radio. It was one of my favorite songs. I only say was because at that very moment a silver truck plowed into the driver’s side of the car as we were driving through a green light, sending us into a galaxy of twists and turns.
The wreck must have knocked me out, because the next thing I know I’m laying down on a stretcher that’s being loaded into an ambulance.
I ask the woman on my left who is currently lifting the stretcher into the ambulance, “What the hell happened?”
Before she could answer, I look behind her and I see a man in handcuff being escorted into a police vehicle.
The smell of burnt rubber. The car being slowly loaded onto a tow truck. Police and witnesses and pedestrians standing and watching with their arms crossed. Incoherent chitter chatter.
“You’re lucky to be alive.” She says as she and the paramedic on my right side count down from three, two, one, and then lift me into the ambulance.
My line of sight is straight ahead, staring at the roof of the ambulance. I have a thick neck brace on and I can’t take my eyes off of the lights inside the ambulance. Just then, Anthony became my only concern.
I say, “Where’s Anthony? The guy who was in the car with me.”
“He’s on his way to the hospital.” She says, “But for right now our job is to make sure you’re taken care of so that’s what we’re going to do.”
My hands are tight as I feel a sharp, sensitive pain coming from the right side of my gut.
I hold my side with my hand, applying pressure to sooth the pain, and then I lift my hand high in the air to get a glimpse of what’s wet. And it’s blood, a lot of it. Dripping down onto my forearm. My whole hand looks crimson and I loathe the moment of death.
It doesn’t feel real.
Some time passes by, I’m not sure how much, but I’m at the hospital in a small room with a television turned onto the local news playing silently as I put forth little effort to look around because this neck brace restricts any movement in my neck. I peek left and see an IV bag dripping fluids and pain killers through clear tubes into my left arm. I look as far right as I possibly can, which isn’t much, to see two empty chairs with wooden frames and a plaid pattern on the seat cushions. I close my eyes for a brief moment, and a single tear drops from the corner of my eye and slowly makes its way down my cheek as I wonder where Anthony is and I hope to god that he’s alive. On the bed is a remote with a red call button for the nurses, so I press it.
The nurse, a tall black man, walks into my room and says, “Glad to see you awake, Joey. How are you feeling?”
“I’ve felt better.” I tell him. “Where is guy I was in the car with?”
“He’s alive, Joey. He’s in surgery now.”
My voice is raspy as the neck brace is pushing into my throat, I ask, “What happened?”
“You were in a car wreck.” He tells me. “From the little bit that I know, you were hit by a drunk driver, but you’re going to be ok.”
Difficult times have hit me, mother. You told me when I was young that things always get worse before they get better and I am in that place now. I was in a car accident, but I am fine. My best friend Anthony, who has helped me along my journey through sobriety and mental stability, has been in a coma for two weeks now. I haven’t spent a day away from him and I read books to him as he rests peacefully. I have spent every waking moment with him as his friends and family come and go. Even though I am with him, I feel as though everything remains missing. As if he’s not there resting in front of me. I can’t imagine losing him, as he is one of my two best friends. These trials will only make us stronger, and when I gain courage and strength, I know you will want to see me again, healthy and sober. The day I see you again will be the day that I can finally say I will die happy, but until then, I will fight to be the best man I can possibly be. I love and miss you, my mother. I will see you again.
I take a seat beside Anthony’s hospital bed and I prop my elbows on my knees, as my forehead rest on my squeezing hands. The monitors beep continuously, one after another, they beep. It’s the only sound in this lonely room. And I begin to speak, only hoping that Anthony can hear my words.
I tell him, when I was 18 or 19 years old, I was driving down the highway when I witnessed a horrific car accident and I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I’ll never forget the aftermath. The mangled cars. The continuous car horn roaring from the white SUV from the person, who appeared knocked out or dead, as they were hunched over in the driver’s seat lying against the steering wheel, not moving a muscle. When I got out of my car I heard the yells and screams coming from a man in a small maroon truck who had been viciously hit. He was screaming HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME as loud as he could, as I believed he was in shock from this horrendous car accident. Without hesitation or fear, I ran to his truck for his safety. While I was running to help him I noticed a small flame under his truck and fluid leaking from the bottom, so I only assumed it was gasoline and the truck was moments away from exploding. I remember it being so cold outside, but the man’s shivers were not from the winter’s chill. He said to me, “My leg is broke! My leg is broke!” and I took that into consideration, but I had to get this man out of his truck as quickly as possible. He was wearing a heavy coffee colored coat. He was making his best effort to open his door, but it was jammed shut. I grabbed the man from the back of his coat and told him he had to crawl out of the broken window. He continued to yell, “My leg’s broke!” But my only option was to ignore the screams and pull him out of the burning truck. So that’s exactly what I did. I helped pull the man out of the truck, who weighed 250 pounds easy and he plummeted to the ground. I then grabbed him from under his armpits and pulled him as far away from the truck as I possibly could as he continued to yell for a bit, but he soon gained a bit of his composure. At this point there were many people standing outside of their cars watching, but nobody dare to help. I continued to pull him, and pull him, and pull him away, until I felt we were a safe distance from the truck. I began to hear sirens in the distance, but I did not know how long it would take them to get through the traffic, but I knew help was on its way. A man finally rushed over to us both as he told me to lay him on the ground because he could have broken his vertebrae. I listened, and I tried to lay him down, but the man with the broken leg grabbed my arm and said, “Hold me. Please hold me,” As he began to cry. So I did. I held the man and I said to him, “There are moments in your life where you have no choice but to be strong. This is one of those moments, and I need you to be as strong as you can possibly be.”
Anthony, I need you to be strong. If you can hear me, I need you to wake up. I love you, brother. I can’t do this without you. You are my rock that keeps me grounded.