It is lonely. It is so quiet and so noisy. I want to make it stop. The quiet and the noise. I know it’s bad for me, but I know no other way to make it good. I call the dealer.
It is cold. I shiver. No heat warms me anymore and there are never enough covers. Only one thing comforts me. I wait for it to arrive.
My mom calls. She is checking on me. Not how I feel but if I am alive. This makes the bells ring louder still, the stillness more terrifying. She loves me without limit and that makes me hate myself the same. I look for a needle.
My dad reaches out no longer. It is too painful. His boy is lost and finding him seems impossible. This shames me and I don’t know how to drive it away. I search for a vein.
Friends bang on my door. They beg me to open but I have no idea how. They haven’t given up on me. But I have long given up on myself. I plunge downward.
I’m in the ER again. The same kind faces who knew last time that they would soon see me again. There is an odd sort of love here. Not family, not friends, but heroes just the same. They should have written me off long ago, but they try once again. They tell me real treatment is the only end to my torment. That, or the thing they don’t dare mention. I feel safe around them. And then the pain from the bed next to mine calls them away. I am alone again and wait for the hospital to let me go.
On my way out someone gives me a card. “These people are different,” she says. “Pick up the phone and when you are well, bring us flowers. We will be waiting. I promise.”
The cabbie asks where I am heading. I have nowhere to go. “Avenues” I say. I don’t know why. Maybe because that card was still in my hand.
It is the first day of tomorrow.
The ER lady was right. It feels different here. They don’t just preach love, they practice change. There are no excuses in this place, just hard work. Everyone is worth it, even me. There is purpose. There is community. Most of all, there is thought. The real kind.
They carry me until I walk. They pick me up when I fall, and I fall a thousand times. They teach me how to talk to mom again, how to hug dad, and how to open the door for those still knocking. I make new friends and fix the holes I made in old friendships. I slowly believe again, hope again, live again.
It’s been three months. I breathe the fresh air. The cabbie asks me where I am going. I know this time. I have fresh flowers to deliver. They are waiting. She promised.