As a young man, I had very little regard for my life. I often found myself in questionable situations, due to my reckless behavior. It never fazed me, though. I had long since deemed myself invincible, as most young people do. So, when my life came to an abrupt end, just a month shy of my twenty-fourth birthday, I was shocked, to say the least. My demise was nobody's fault but my own. Although, that didn't stop my parents from blaming themselves for what happened. When they found out I was dead, they were devastated. They were even more devastated when the details of my life eventually came into light. Nonetheless, it was my girlfriend who was impacted the most by my death.
Amy was the one thing in the world that I cared the most about. She was a beautiful, kind hearted person, and I should've married her. Instead, I kept her at a distance, and often found myself in bed with other women. I know I sound like a prick but, it’s not like I did it with intent to hurt her. When you party hard, shit just happens. Amy didn’t have a clue, though. She didn't know about the drugs either. She loved me for who she thought I was. I could never allow her to see the real me. Putting on the daily façade was exhausting, and I was sick of pretending to be something I wasn’t but, I would never allow myself to bring her into my world. She was better than that. She was better than me.
I started using recreationally, typically while I was out partying. At first, it was just pot but, before I knew it, I was being offered shit that I never would’ve touched in a million years. Over time, my willpower slowly diminished, and I began doing any drug I could get my hands on. As a result, it wasn’t long before I found myself falling head first into the wretched, loving arms of addiction.
My life consisted of work, parties and more parties. My paychecks didn’t last past Sunday. I couldn’t pay my rent or my bills. And I needed my fix. So, I started visiting my parents regularly. I could always count on my mom for a meal and a couple of bucks. She didn’t really have much to spare, though. My little brother’s medical bills were outrageous. He was awaiting a kidney transplant and had to undergo dialysis several times a week. My parents were in horrible debt. I guess it didn’t help that every time I stopped by, I raided mom’s purse for money and checks. She noticed things were missing, and towards the end, I think she began to suspect me. Although, she never said a word about it. Her notions were confirmed however, once when my autopsy was conducted and they found out the results of my toxicology report.
It was raining that night. I was stoned off my ass and speeding down the highway. I wasn’t going anywhere in particular; I just needed time to clear my head. Amy and I had a fight earlier, and I had said some awful things to her. I hated making her cry. In fact, it damn near broke my heart. But, that wasn’t enough to stop me from pulling the same shit time and again. Her last words to me before I left that night were "I hate you". I looked her dead in the eye and said "Good. Fuck you". Then, I turned and walked out the door.
I blinked tears from eyes before grabbing the fifth of bourbon that sat between my legs. I brought the bottle to my lips and took a long pull. I felt horrible. Things weren't supposed to be this way. We should be happy. I should be providing a better life for us. As I took another swig from the bottle, a sudden revelation hit me. What the fuck was wrong with me? Why was I such a selfish bastard? Not only had I screwed shit up with Amy but, I screwed my family over too. I needed help, and I needed to make things right. I wanted my life back.
I didn’t notice the curve coming up ahead. By the time I saw it, it was much too late. I jerked the wheel hard and spun out of control. My car slammed into the guardrail, pitched over the side and rolled down an embankment.
I did not die instantly. It took what felt like hours of agonizing pain, before the life that I had taken so much for granted, finally slipped away from me. I could literally feel myself dying more and more with each passing second. The pain was searing as it pulsated through my shattered body. The bone structure on the left side of my face had been completely obliterated. There was also something terribly wrong with my left leg. I reluctantly reached down to examine it, and instantly felt sick when my fingers made contact with the jagged edge of my femur. I recoiled, causing my body to shift slightly. The action caused my head to roll sideways, and then involuntarily flop downward. The movement was so sudden, that it rendered my left eye free from the socket. I wretched, as I could feel it hanging loose from the optic nerve. My punctured lung made breathing almost impossible. As I was struggling to breathe, I clenched my one eye shut, in hopes that I would pass out from the pain and die in unconsciousness. Nothing’s ever that easy, though. Not even death.
A passing motorist noticed the smashed up guardrail and the debris on the road. She pulled over and saw my car all torn up at the bottom of the muddy embankment. She called 911, but as fate would have it, they got to me too late. I was pronounced dead at the scene.
My dad was the one who identified me. I remember the look on his face when he broke the news to my mom. Amy was there too. Shock immediately took hold of her. She just stared blankly off into space. I often wonder what was going through her mind at that exact moment. She really didn’t cry until they let her see me in the coffin. At the recommendation of the undertaker, I had a closed casket. However, at the request of my parents, they opened it after everyone had left my memorial, and that was when it hit her. She completely broke down.
My life was now an open book. Mom, Dad and Amy knew about the drugs, and the sham of a life I had been leading for the past couple of years. As I mentioned previously, they blamed themselves for my death. They felt as though they could have prevented it. Had they known the severity of my addiction, they would have gotten me help. They would have tried to save me. It kills me knowing that I could have spared them all this pain and heartache, if only, I had strength enough to save myself.
It wasn’t long before Amy found out about the girls I had on the side. A mutual acquaintance opened her mouth in a drunken stupor one night and told Amy everything. That was the last straw for her. She finally found out who I really was, and it devastated her beyond all comprehension. She started drinking heavily, day in and day out. I guess she just didn’t want to feel anymore. Soon, the booze wasn’t enough to numb her pain. She began using pills, and eventually, she turned to heroine. Not long after that, she began prostituting herself in order to support her habit.
I see everything. I’m here with Amy almost every day and every night. I witness the abuse she endures at the hands of the men that help to feed her addiction. I watch as her eyes roll back in her head after she injects poison into her veins. Some nights, she drinks herself unconscious. Other nights, she screams and cries and trashes her apartment. Occasionally, when the numbness of the drugs wear off, I watch her cut her arms and legs with a dirty straight razor. There's nothing left of the beautiful, king-hearted girl that I once knew and loved. I had destroyed her.
When I’m not watching Amy, I’m watching my family. I stole a lot of money from them. My funeral only put them further into debt. I watch Mom and Dad go without food, just so they can take care of my sick little brother. Mom cries every day. She does it when she thinks no one is looking. But, she’s never alone. I’m always there. I see what I’ve done to them. I see how much harder I’ve made their lives. Sometimes, I wish I could just shut my eyes and make it all go away. I wanted to shut them so badly when I saw my Dad put his loaded Colt .45 into his mouth. Much to my relief, he didn’t pull the trigger. It scares me that someday he just might; when he really can’t take it anymore. And when he does, I’ll be right there with him.
I'd like to think this hell will end when everyone is gone. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the case. I think I'll be forced to witness all of these agonizing experiences over and over again; doomed to be constantly reminded of the pain and suffering that I inflicted on those who loved me the most. I deserve this, though. Without a fucking doubt. I was a lousy human being. I was a terrible son, brother and lover. Nevertheless, I yearn for this to end. I want nothing more than to forget about everything and dissipate into the cold, inky blackness that surrounds me.
That would be too easy, though. And nothing's ever easy. Not even death.
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