While revisiting the memories my friend’s bad time, it reminded me of the responsibilities that come with friendship. Yes, it does take a lot of energy and effort but one cannot give up on another simply because they do not live the life you want them to live.
Walking around the neighborhood was our hobby during our high school days. It was the only chance we really had to leave our homes; and rid ourselves of the daily annoyances that come with living among the same people for so long.
“Can I bum a square dude?” said Alex.
“Of course man.” I replied. Somehow no one would question if we were old enough to smoke. Maybe they did not care perhaps it brought our neighbors relief that we were eradicating ourselves faster through this. Regardless, we continued to do the things that we do. This started during our sophomore year of high school, when we were both sixteen years old. The days came and went during our sophomore year the walks became longer and our lunges grew darker with each escapade.
There was one particular walk though. It was during his drivers training and he noticed that there was about a million brown paper bags in his mom’s car. He thought that they were just for her lunches. That was far from the truth, whenever his mom would come home she brag about eating lunch with her boss and coworkers. It was then when the light bulb went off. Immediately we did a one eighty and made a b-line back to his house. When we walked up the driveway we saw his moms car, Alex’s eye was filled with fear over the thought of what we might find. It took no less than a minute before we found a bottle of booze that was half empty. Alex’s last sense of innocence was shattered that day. The thought of his mom being a drunk hit him hard and with it came rebellious anarchy.
The aftermath of this brought a paradigm shift to his social life. During that summer of sophomore year his friends abandon him when he needed him most. Myself and few others stayed by his side during this traumatic experience. These other friends had connections though, connections to substance. When our friend Shane A.K.A. Big Dawg introduced us K-pin it was a terrific experience I remember just sitting in a room and just feeling good. I remember Alex looking over to me.
“I feel okay about myself. I don’t feel like the little shit I see myself as every day.” He said. Even though K-pain puts you into a temporary state of nirvana I was still shocked. At that moment I could not think of anything to say to turn that around.
The summer had passed and moved onto junior year of high school of high school. Alex and I began to grow apart. I did not have anything against him we just had our own schedule at the time. I was a little worried about him though; the new group of friends that he was with loved opiates and benzos more than anything else. There was one day though that still sticks out to me. It was moving into spring time and almost all of the snow had melted away, the trees were still bare, the sun had set, and I hear my phone ring out.
“Davveee! I really want McDonalds come with me!” He said
“Yeah dude I’m down for a bite.” I replied. I waited outside and all of sudden I see him speeding up to my house in that little red caviler. He slams on the breaks and I hop in.
“Dude I just saw crystal castle. They were so good.” He said. It was obvious that his voice was slurred. His tone was deep and rhythm was off.
“That’s cool man. What happened?” I replied.
“We found some dude selling benzos. We bought about five pills each.”
“How many did you take?”
“All five.” He stares at me for a while driving down Hayes. Not caring about the traffic.
“Oh yeah, how do you feel right now?”
“There are so many lines on the road right now.”
“You should let me drive dude. I’m sober.”
“Naw I got this dude.”
“Alright man… you got to promise me though that once we get our food we’re going to park and eat.”
“Okay.” We get to the drive through of McDonalds and Alex spends a solid Ten Minutes just looking at the menu and another ten just seating at the talk box. He orders and we get our food. After we pull through the drive through he starts heading towards a parking spot, but suddenly switches gears and heads straight for the main road. I’m paranoid like no other just waiting to get pulled over for reckless driving. In all honestly he was driving pretty well for how blitzed he was. He continued to drive down Hayes and pulled a few turns until we were on 22 mile going back toward Hayes. He was starting to drift off road a little bit.
“What are you doing dude!” I said.
“Huh?” he replied. He gazed at me and he had the look of a zombie. No emotion no thought just a body with an empty mind. We were going head first into the point of the guard rail.
“Fucking turn man! Fucking turn!” I said. He looked spaced, but had a quick snap back into reality and he jerked the wheel at the last second. “Pull the fuck over man! You’re going to kill us both!” He did not respond but he listened and pulled into the closest neighborhood. As he put his car in park and opened the door he puked all over some poor fellow’s lawn. Now that I was in the driver seat I began driving us home.
“I’m sorry man.” He said.
“It’s fine dude. Let’s just get you to bed.” I replied. When we arrived I helped him get inside. Luckily his mom was asleep and did not notice us coming in. It was weird though. I should have been mad and disappointed, but I wasn’t. Maybe I thought that by having his back and being there for him was the best thing for him rather than criticizing him. That’s what his parents did to him and it lead to this.
When senior year of High school came around so did Alex. He could not stand his ride to school anymore. He drove himself, and offered me a ride. It was great at the start; being reunited with my childhood friend just like old times. Now I got to see what his life had become first hand. I heard a lot of rumors about him and I finally got to know the truth behind them. While driving together I learned of all of his adventures and how he became more involves with the drug world. The weird thing about it was that I was not worried. If anything I was excited to be a part of these adventures. It could have been that I was in my young and dumb phase, but it was obvious that this was only going to end badly. Perhaps I just missed hanging out with him. Each day we tested our luck with in more daunting ways. We eventually reached the point where would walk around the park and do them in the open. After a while I noticed the effect the opiates were having on me and I did not want to be dependent on them. So I stop using for a while and Alex continued and he would indulge more and more each day. Oddly enough the year was not too bad for him, he seemed happy. The girl he was dating was definitely a keeper, he received a 40,000 dollar scholar ship CCS, and McDonalds wanted to promote him to manager. It was right around winter when he started to disappear for most of day. He would not answer his phone; respond to texts, or anything. I discovered later on that he has just been snorting opiates; the worst part was that he did during class. If he had gotten caught it would have been the end for everything that he had worked for. It was hard to hear him tell his stories snorting opiates in class. Even though I knew this was hurting him I did not have the courage to try and stop him, it was affecting my life as much as his. I know his parents gave him a low self-esteem. His mom and dad, although divorced, still had great team work at criticizing him together. Finding new ways to knock him down a peg, I remember him telling me that his dad raised him on the quote. “I’m just preparing you. So when you fail you will not be surprised.” Hearing that from one’s own father would eliminate any kid’s self-worth. While he was under the influence though he felt okay with himself, it brought him some brief inner peace.
Senior year was coming to an end and we were blowing off school as much as possible. It was around that last week of school when we went to our buddy Jake’s house to get wasted. There was a few of us and we all threw down to buy a half gallon of five o’clock vodka and some cheap whiskey. After we hit the half way point on the half gallon Rachel and I came to realize that we needed to give Alex an intervention. We convinced him to join us upstairs and when he met up with us Rachel and I unloaded all of the emotional turmoil that he has caused everyone. How he meant a lot to us and it kills us more and more each day to him deteriorating in front of our very eyes. He dropped his head and tears started to poor down his face. He looked up and had sense of joy. It seemed that it finally clicked that he meant something to other people that if he died from the way he lived that it would permanently scar the ones who cared for him. That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I remember my heart pounding and coming to a cold sweat. Rachel was crying through most of the intervention but together we helped Alex get past his addiction.
Currently, Alex is living happily in Royal Oak. One the best students at CCS and has not touched opiates since high school. He is still dating Rachel.