I attract broken people, I think.
This is why I keep them.
We have a huge heroin problem where I live.
An epidemic, really.
I've lost more friends and classmates than I can remember from the shit. We buried my cousin not too long ago because of an overdose.
It breaks my heart.
Every single time I see or hear or read about another heroin or any other drug related overdose, it simply breaks my heart.
When John* died though, it broke my soul.
I have this memory of him in high school. It was one of those trust-building field trips, with all the ropes and games and shit.
And a climbing wall.
One of my most vivid memories from high school is watching John as he flew up that wall. He made it look effortless, like maybe he was somehow floating up the thing, immune to the laws of gravity.
He flew up the wall, perched on the top of the thing and grinned down at the rest of us with his amazing, brilliant smile.
The sight of John smiling down at us so dominates my memory of that day that I don't remember if anyone else even made it up the wall, myself included.
It wasn't John's dying that affected me so much. I was saddened that he'd passed, just eighteen years old. More so, though, I was horrified by the way he died.
A passerby found him passed out in the passenger seat of a truck, just a block or two from the local hospital. He would never regain consciousness and would be removed from life support 10 days later.
Someone reported that the vehicle had been left in the parking lot by another man, who then got into a car that was driven by a female and one other man. When they printed men and women, I'm assuming they meant people around the same age as John... 17, 18, maybe 19 years old. Maybe not. I don't really know.
I can imagine they were just scared little kids, afraid to get into trouble. I would assume there are some sort of criminal charges they would have faced if they'd taken the kid into the ER instead of leaving him alone to die in a parking lot just feet from an antidote. Maybe they couldn't fathom having to explain to their parents why they were hanging out with a dude that was overdosing on heroin. To them, I suppose avoiding the questions, the scenes, must have been worth letting John die.
It could have happened anytime, I guess. He could have overdosed and died alone in his room, or anywhere else where no one was around. But he didn't. He overdosed with a group of friends that left him alone to die. I have never been able to wrap my head around that.
I would like to say that I don't know anyone that does any illegal or dangerous drugs.
I wish I could say I've never seen anyone do too much of a potentially deadly substance.
I'd like to say that I've never been around a person that was suicidal and crying out for help, in whatever fucked up way it usually comes out.
I wish I could say I'd never seen someone hurt themselves or someone else.
I've been terrified to let someone fall asleep.I've watched pupils dilate to almost nothing, and also grow so large the iris seemed to disappear. I've poked and slapped. I've taken away weapons and said all of the wrong things. I've cried and yelled and sometimes I've hit people. I've made it perfectly clear that I am not afraid to call 911 for someone, even if it costs them their jobs or kids or anything else they might lose. I don't know if there are some sort of charges they can press if you are bringing someone in for an overdose, but I am not afraid of that either.
Even when I am terrified, or angry, or fed up with people doing stupid shit over and over?
John's memory haunts me.
I picture him, alone in that truck.
He may have lived for 10 more days on life support, but essentially, that poor kid died all alone.
I wonder if he was scared.
If he was lonely.
If he even knew what was happening to him.
I wonder if he knew how close he was to that hospital.
I wonder how those kids lived with themselves after he died.
And I don't leave people alone.
*Names have been changed.