Scared

11/27/2021

Life had turned complacent.

Neutral it seemed, to it’s very core.

It reminded me of the shade the walls turned as they stared back menacingly on the nights where no light dawned.

There had been no sign of real danger in a long while.

Yet my face was stricken with the pressed smile of a harvest moon.

Lately my spirits had faltered and the last sight of normalcy was chipping away, hefty chunks which fell and broke around my bare feet.

I’d been plastered with denial and struck with a frenzied panic that resembled what I imagined to be electromagnetic waves during an ultraviolet radiation symphony.

The risk of awakening again was far too great.

Each day grew longer and I became even more unsure of the pills, of this seemingly too concrete foundation that laid the framework for my reality.

I covered what mirrors I could and anything that could possibly reflect back the settling darkness that held as a placeholder for the once smoldering fire in my eyes.

They knew too much and their emptiness hung open.

I feared that their weighing validation on my state at the time would shatter my wall and conjure the demons in my mind to rise once again.

I could hear them screaming in the back, yearning for not just anyone but for me to come and join the madness at their digression, to trade in all I’d built for another night of rendezvous.

I held my angels tighter.

I begged them to hold me during the moments I could not stand and brawl.

I questioned if I even had it in me to maintain any longer than I already had.

I was falling short.

One step behind falling apart.

I figured I’d sit on my hands and wait it out until it passed through but as time lingered I became bothered, fidgeting until the terror spiraled in stark intensities.

The fright strikes vengeance and with it came friends from around the bend.

I closed my eyes and even though the nightmares had subsided and monotony was my tune, I realized as long as I was in my skin I’d never escape the impending doom.

Cheerios

I remember the feelings of discombobulation as the junction of limbs made their way through the kitchen in sluggish movements. First they stumbled, then they swayed, struggling to stay upright and functional. I sat perched upon the distressed futon that had never moved from it’s spot in the day room with knees tucked to my chest and a furrowed brow pitted above somber eyes. His incompetence gave him away as he clambered through cabinets in hopes of putting a breakfast together. A string of barely audible curse words left his mouth as dishes fell around him. Sighing, I made my way to the dishwasher with its grimy pile of plates and protruding odor of food residue, pulling two bowls from the wreckage and proceeded to fill them with what cereal we had left. After seeing that I had it under control my dad retreated to the futon, dropping all his weight to the cushions in defeat. I stayed quiet as I placed the cereal bowl in from of him. He looked straight ahead at the blank TV expressionless, failing to notice the cereal, failing to notice his company. It was 10 AM and he was gone. Morning rays flooded through the window, spilling in a light which held hope for a good day. I cursed it’s inaccuracy. The discomfort and disappointment settled around me like the flecks of dust exposed by the light radiating from the panes. He was sick again and I felt crushed and cheated. It took me a while but I was old enough now to know his sickness wasn’t like the others. His sickness came from pills. The kind that were suppose to help people, but they only made him worse. He ate the blue pills as I ate my candy; in hand-fulls and with yearning.

“The best day of my life”, my dad told me with cheerios plastered to the side of his face, “was the first time I ever tried heroin.” Milk dripped idly from the corner of his mouth without notice and my heart sank a little deeper into the knotted pit of my stomach.

“Thats a high you’ll never get back”, he slurred in between bites, “that feeling of some good H.” I was 11 years old watching my hero nod off into a cereal bowl. Bubbles followed his breathing.

I didn’t speak in fear of it coming out as a cry. I wasn’t allowed to cry. The sadness lingered in the space between us and cartoons clamored from the TV set filling the silence I couldn’t afford to break. Cereal distracted my abhorrence and I gulped the soggy cheerios down in haste. By the time I’d set my bowl on the wooden TV tray my dad was already slumped across the armchair asleep. His light snoring the only thing left of him for today. There was a wretched feeling in my chest as I shook the bones of his shoulders awake.

“I’m just tired” he mumbled, drifting to and from consciousness. After the third shake he stood up groggily and excused himself from the day room to go take a nap. There he stayed until nightfall. When the drugs wore off he would come join me in my same place on the futon where we’d laugh and watch movies. This was the only time I could actually see him and I’d try my hardest to outrun the weight of exhaustion before he picked up the orange container. Sometimes I’d win, but more times than not I’d lose to the blue pills and instead deal with a noodle for a dad and an ache for a soul. My mother despised my coming here and would only let me see him on the account that he was clean. I never told her he’d only been clean one of those times and I never spoke of the morning cereal ritual or the twisted things he’d tell me. I don’t know why I liked going there other than I loved him so much I didn’t care that only a fragment of him would be there. He was my friend and I so desperately wanted to save him.