I woke up to beeping. I slowly opened my eyes, but it was too bright, so I immediately closed them and groaned. Did my head ever hurt.
“Mom, he’s up,” I hear a guy say.
“Oh, thank god my baby is okay.” a woman says.
“Cade, how do you feel?” The guy asks.
I groan and try to open my eyes again. Once I do, I let my vision adjust. I see my little brother Noah on one side of my hospital bed and my mother on the other. At first, I’m shocked that my mother is here, it’s been over a year since she left the house. Then I start to feel confused. I can’t remember how I got here. The last thing I can recall is meeting up with my old friend Josh at some seedy motel.
“What happened,” I ask.
“Lola found you in an alley behind the restaurant she works at. You ODed. The doctors said that you were extremely lucky that she found you when she did. If it would have been a few minutes later the naloxone wouldn’t have worked.” Noah explains.
“Lola?” I say looking around. Is she here, I hope I didn’t upset her. I couldn’t think after I held Tessa, it was too much. I thought I was ready but clearly wasn’t. I should have at least replied to her texts. God, I knew I wasn’t good enough for her.
“She went home, she was here all night but had to pick up her siblings at 10. She left an hour ago,” Noah says.
I look down ashamed of what I put her through. I was no better than her mom. In fact, I was worse. At least her mother was bipolar, I had no excuse.
“She’s such a sweet girl, I’m glad you’ve found someone like her,” my mother says.
“Wait, you met Lola? And how were you able to come? ” I ask my mother.
“Kyle told me what happened, and I came as fast as I could. You’re my baby Cade, I’m so sorry that I couldn’t be there for you this past year. I promise to be here now. What happened, almost losing you made me realize that you need me and that I have to try.” My mother says through tears.
“Mom, come here,” I say and then give her a big hug.
When we pull away my mom continues, “I mean it, Cade, I’ve even set up an appointment here at the hospital, I have a whole team that is going to help me. My first session with a therapist is tomorrow.”
“Thanks, mom. I’m sorry I did this, I just, well I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking, I felt so upset and wanted the pain to stop.” I say as my mom wipes her tears.
A few moments later Kyle walks into the room with a tray of coffee. “Good, you’re up. Dad set you up with a psychiatrist, he wants you to meet with her before they release you.”
“Okay, can I see her soon? I need to apologize to Lola as soon as possible.” As I say this Kyle sets down the coffees and looks at my mom.
“On that note could I talk to Cade alone guys?” Kyle asks. My mom and Noah nod. They grab their coffee and head out.
I raise an eyebrow at Kyle. “I think you should tell her,” Kyle says in a serious tone.
“No, I can’t talk about it,” I say.
“It’s going to get worse unless you talk about it, especially with her. She’s raising an infant; you won’t be able to avoid babies if you want to be with her.” Kyle pushes.
“It’ll only last for a bit, once she gets older, I won’t be triggered anymore. I can’t do it, Kyle.” I say in desperation.
“I could tell her if you can’t. She needs to know.” Kyle says in a softer tone.
“Can I let you know? If I can see her today, I’ll try to tell her, I just don’t know if I can.” I ask a bit ashamed. Lola deserved to know why I acted that way. I also needed her to know, or it would happen again.
“Sure, I’ll get mom and Noah now. Dad is still out of town, he talked to the doctors over the phone this morning. He apparently got you the best psychiatrist in the state.” Kyle says. He then gets our mom and brother from the hall.
A doctor came in and told me that I will be seeing my new psychiatrist at 2 pm which is in an hour. He said I should be released by 5 pm.
At that point, I decide to send Lola a text.
Hey, could we meet up at 7 tonight? I owe you an apology and an explanation.
A few minutes later I get her reply.
Sure, I can come over at 7:30.
I send a reply.
I’ll see you then.
I meet with my new psychiatrist. She’s okay, she gave me a treatment plan. I have to see an addictions counselor once a week as well as check in with her twice a month. She prescribes me antidepressants. I also learned that my school, specifically Mr. Garett was informed of this whole thing, which meant I’d have to talk about it with him when I went to school.
At 7:30 I’m nervously pacing my room. I keep thinking about what I’m going to say to Lola. Part of me thinks I should let her go; she’d be better off without all my bullshit. But the selfish part of me won’t let that happen. I don’t want to lose Lola. I am changing and still have a long way to go. She gives me a reason to want to get better so I can have a life with her.
At 7:45 I wonder downstairs wondering why Lola is late. As I’m on my way to the front door I see her sitting on the couch with my mom.
“Oh, hey sweetie, I was asking Lola here if she’d want to come to a movie night in a couple of weeks. We decided that we’d watch Cars since that’s her little brother’s favorite movie. Is that okay with you?”
“Yeah, that good, but um mom is it okay if I talk to Lola now?” I ask.
“Oh yes, of course, I’ll get out of your hair, I’ll see you later Lola.” My mom says and begins to leave the room.
“Let’s go to my room,” I say, and Lola follows me to my room.
We both sit on my bed, after a few minutes of silence I say, “First I want to apologize, I am so sorry about doing that to you. You deserved a response; I shouldn’t have disappeared like that.”
“I agree, I don’t need someone else in my life running away for days or weeks at a time, without knowing where or why,” Lola replies.
“I know, I am so sorry. I was triggered and I ran away. I’m going to do better. I’ve gotten professional help. I also owe you an explanation. I want to tell you about something that happened but it’s hard. I’ve never told anyone before.” I say nervously.
Lola nods and I gulp. I am extremely nervous.
“I’m not going to push you to tell me. But I will say this, talking about it makes it easier, it did for me when I told you about when I was raped.” Lola says gently while taking one of my hands in hers.
“I want to tell you, I’m going to try but it might be too hard,” I say.
“There is no rush, whenever you are ready,” Lola says gently.
I take a deep breath and begin, “I left out some parts of the story about what happened to my mom last year. After she was raped by the guy that I pissed off she found out she was pregnant. It was the rapist’s baby. My dad wanted her to have an abortion, she said she couldn’t just like she couldn’t when she found out she was pregnant with me. My dad blew up on me, he basically said that if she would have aborted me, she never would have been raped a second time. My mom was upset but was able to cope. She was excited to have a baby and move on from what happened. My dad refused to help or go to any appointments to do with the baby, so I went and helped her out a bunch. I was in a bad place and was coping by doing drugs and partying. One night when she was 30 weeks pregnant, I was out on a bender for a few days. My mom and Kyle tracked me down and found me at a dealer’s house. When they tried to take me, the dealer flipped since I owed him so much money. My mom ended up being pushed down some stairs in the chaos. She went into labor and had the baby early. Her Name way Rae. She was premature but a fighter. My dad refused to visit her, he never met her. But the rest of us would visit her every day, we thought she was going to make it. It was a week before she was going to come home when I got a call from my mom. Rae wasn’t doing well; she somehow caught a virus even though we were extremely careful about washing our hands before we touched her. The doctors did everything they could but in the end, she didn’t make it. My mom and I were there when she passed, we were both devastated.” I say. As I let what I said sink in I being to cry. A few moments later I’m full out sobbing. The whole time Lola holds me. Eventually, I catch my breath and slowly stop crying.
“I’m so sorry you and your mom had to go through that Cade,” Lola says as she runs her fingers through my hair.
“It destroyed my mom; she didn’t leave the house for a year. And me, well I failed grade 12 and tried to throw my life away.” I say.
“If you don’t want to be around Tessa I totally understand,” Lola says with a concerned look on her face.
“No, I want to be around her. I’m getting more help now; I have 2 counselors and a psychiatrist. I will get better, that’s all I want. That means being sober, communicating with you, being around babies, and being able to talk about what happened.” I say with determination.
“That’s really good Cade, I’m glad you are getting the help you need. I’m here if you need to talk but please when you are having a hard time tell me. I can’t help if you if I don’t know and you run away.” Lola says.
“I know, I’ll do better,” I say.
We fall silent for a while. Lola breaks it by saying, ” So your mom? Is she getting better?”
“Yeah, me almost dying made her realize she needed to get help in order to help me. I’m so glad she’s getting help. I really want her to get better.”
“Me too, she’s a wonderful person. She was so nice to me. You know she told me a story about when you were being potty trained,” Lola says in a devious voice. At that moment I realize how well she gets me, she knew I needed a lighter topic, I couldn’t talk about this stuff anymore. Wow.
“Mhm, what did she say?” I ask.
“Just that you would make her take pictures of your poops because you were that proud,” Lola says and starts to laugh, I chuckle with her.
After some happy conversation, I ask if she wants to sleep over. Her siblings are with her family friend Maria so Lola can get a full night’s sleep before returning to school. Lola says yes but will have to stop at home to change before going to class tomorrow.
As our night goes on, I tell her about my treatment plan and the goals I’ve set myself. We decide that she’ll bring Tessa to our movie night. If I can’t handle it Lola can take her into another room.
That night I have a great sleep. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have Lola. I don’t know where I’d be without her.